Richard Lucas January 2016

Every now and again I come across ideas and projects so worthwhile that I make contact with the people behind them.

BBC Radio has been running a series  “100 Women” and there were impressive broadcasts from Ghana and Uganda.

through which I heard of  Ernestina Appiah here  Founder of Ghana Code Club   and Rasheeda Yehuza of Tech Needs Girls

Rasheeda Yehuza www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038dxr9

Rasheeda Yehuza 
www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p038dxr9

both episodes are musts – listen to Rasheeda here 

Interesting things have happened as a result of me approaching people I hear on podcasts, see on line, read about in articles. Often I see myself as  doing what Derek Sivers recommends in his famous TED talk as an under rated form of leadership, helping others who are doing great things.

Derek Sivers' "First Follower" TED talk

So I contacted both Tina and Rasheeda offering help, not just because I believe in so doing, but also because I want others to do likewise..

Tina send me a ton of information about what she is doing Ghana Code Club designs step by step project guide for kids using scratch, HTML+CSS and Python. Most of the schools i volunteer in do not have access to internet nor projectors, (We’re working with the Parent Teacher Association in fixing these) until then, there’s no other option but to print out the project guidelines. Each project normally has an average of 15 pages, including challenges for the kid to try out before the next session.We’re using scratch to build a PAINT BOX for example this week, and this project has at least 18 pages, please find attached. There are not less than 100 kids in the first school that need a copy each of the guide, so your money will help print out projects for at least 150 kids, and we shall inscribe your name and logo on our websites as our supporting partner. We shall also establish good relationship with you as gestures like yours is a great honor to us. We’re continually seeking for  funding each week for print outs alone until the schools we volunteer in get projectors and internet connectivity, getting the materials to the kids remain a challenge to us. Another area we need help in is getting our training centre together making it possible for the less privileged children to be taught for free. In Ghana, most government schools where the less privileged children are have no access to computer labs that are functioning. This remains a headache to some of us who are willing to help. Having our own computer lab can go a long way. We’ll need funding for rent, Computers, air conditioners, internet service, furniture, projectors setting these up. If this can be achieved, the sky is the limit. We are also looking for funding to get our back office together on our website where we can pack training materials including video for volunteers. So you see ….  immediate funding and future funds will go a very long way.

(I sent money with Azimo.com –  Marek Wawro the CTO lives in Kraków, and helps mentor startups for free. The transfer when very smoothly :-)  I also asked Tina for some pictures that might encourage others and show what could be done with my support but  but was not expected what I received a few days ago

Thank you messages

Ghana Code Club showing printed hand outs

Ghana Code Club showing printed projects

BBC World Service show presented by Bola Mosuro

Thanks on Twitter

I also asked her for a project description/report. This is what Tina sent

REPORT ON GHANA CODE CLUB AS AT JANUARY 2016 by Ernestina Appiah

Ghana Code Club is a digital fun club that is designed to be led by volunteers or ICT teachers in elementary schools all over Ghana, led by trained volunteers or ICT teachers. The club begins after regular classes are over for 2hours or less once in a week.

We initiated such a program because currently, there is little or no digital making activities in elementary schools in Ghana, meanwhile the world is revolving with technology. It is our aim that as children goes through the coding projects and challenges that come along with the project, kids’ interest in technology will grow causing them to participate and patronize other digital making in the future so that we can have a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs and critical thinkers.

The Ghana Code Club began in August last year during the summer vacation school at the Hillview Montessori School in Accra, where I, (the founder) volunteered to teach myself using Scratch programming software. 80 kids between the ages of 8-14 started but after the regular school resumed, the number of kids tripled to over 240 forcing us to split the class into groups. Currently, there are 2 computer labs at the Hillview Montessori School. One has a sitting capacity of 30 and the other has 60. And so each week, we have 3 sessions. I supervise groups 1 and 2 with 2 other volunteers and group 3 is supervised by the ICT teachers who are happy to share in our vision and have been trained to become volunteers of the code club.

On other days, we visit 4 other schools where we are repeating the same procedure as we do at the Hillview School. Unfortunately the other schools do not have more than 40 computers and so we are forced to limit the number of kids who are willing to join the club.

As of January 2016,

  • Hillview Montessori School has 257 members with 5 volunteers including 2 ICT teachers
  • Gospel International has 70 members- 3 volunteers including 1 ICT teacher
  • Liver Rose International has 83 members-3 Volunteers including ICT teacher
  • Rising Sun Montessori school has 60 members- 4 Volunteers including 2 ICT teachers
  • University Primary has 80 members 3 volunteers including 2 ICT teachers 

Curriculum

We have designed projects in Scratch, HTML+CSS and Python languages. We start with the basics of scratch language where kids are thought to explore to obtain the basic principles in programming.

Challenges

Currently out of all the 5 schools we visit, only one school, University Primary, Legon that has necessary infrastructure to make learning  easy in place. We have quite a challenge with power outages in the country until January 2016, when power cuts have slowed down a bit. When power cuts off, we need to close our session and the kids may need to take their step by step project printouts home to continue without our supervision.

There is no internet in 4 out of the 5 schools. But we are fortunate that the languages we have chosen have offline options. But to share the finished project on the internet is a challenge. Sometimes, we the volunteers end up using our own internet modems and airtime to enable the kids share their creativity online

We also have a big challenge when it comes to screening videos that can empower the kids even more. This is because 4 out of the 5 schools do not have projectors. This makes supervision so tedious considering the number of children involved in each session. Anytime we start a new project, we hold our laptop and move about showing the kids how their finished project should look like.

Laptop instead of projector

Laptop instead of projector

 Since there are no projectors to project the instructions, we end up printing project guide to serve all these children which is so expensive. At the moment, Ghana Code Club does not have any source of funding from any organization. We rely on our pockets and some little donations from family and friends to keep on. Parents are not supporting us yet because the school authorities have not agreed to the demand of the code club to seek for donations from the parents. The authorities of one of the schools have asked that we hold on to the close of the month January, 2016 where a PTA meeting will be held and parents informed formally about the Ghana Code Club activities. 3 of the other schools support once in a while with the printing using their own resources

OUR NEEDS

  • Ghana Code Club requests for support to be launched out formally once our back office is ready to serve as training resources for volunteers. We need funds for storing the resources including video tutorials. We intend to invite technology institutions and the minister of education in Ghana to help us outdoor this initiative into all elementary schools in Ghana..
  • We need funds to be supporting our day to day runnings. Transportation, airtime, electricity bills, Project guides and volunteer meet-ups.
  • We need a projector with accessories, Printers and photocopiers and one laptop.
  • We also want to establish our own computer lab where other activities can take place. Some children from the government schools where there are non functional computer labs can attend our sessions on weekends. We can train others who are willing to pay to ease our day to day expenditure.

Of course I want to help, and others to do so as well. I informed contacts in Google and Astia about what they are doing, and  I introduced Tina to Emmanuel Leslie Addae Curator of TEDxAccra –  with whom I made contact having figured out that her story and project might be worthy of a TEDx talk. They have yet to meet. Perhaps more publicity and introductions can help Ghana Code Club find deeper pockets than mine and encourage other people to do similar projects in other schools, towns and countries.

Rasheeda Yehuza’s project ” Tech Needs Girls” is also looking for partnerships. she wrote “Tech Needs Girls would be excited to explore a collaboration! A donation would really help propel our activities as we scale country-wide, and an introduction to the Polish coding community will be fantastic.”   I haven’t found a partner for her yet. but am looking around.

Not everything is making progress. I heard about the mDex smart phone clip for TB and Sickle Cell detection at Afri Gal technologies and tried to connect them to Peek Vision,   which has a high profile project for diagnosing eye disorders at low cost also with a smart phone clip one.  I thought that the UK project would be a good source of advice and mentoring., So far Afri Gal Tech haven’t taken up on this offer. but who know what may happen. Their project is really impressive sounding, and I yet believe I may be able to help

Conclusions

The idea worth spreading in the above experience is that it is worth trying There is nothing to stop anyone reaching out to anyone anywhere. Google and Twitter make it so easy, and finding out what you can do to help.  It’s my belief rather than a proven fact that my approaches in these cases was the right one. I know that it is too early to tell. If the only benefit is that  of my donation, then the gift without any associated PR could be enough.    The test of whether it  was worth going my public with introductions and posts like this will be whether over the next few months, other positive things happen as a result.    This story at the time of writing-  24th January 2016 – is a work in progress.  I’ll update in a few months. The fact that some offers of help have not led to anything is important to note as well. If you don’t try to do anything you won’t fail, but of course  you can’t succeed either.. As J. K. Rowling says in her wonderful Harvard Commencement talk a life lived without risk of risk of failure is hardly worth living at all.

Richard Lucas   January 2015

Wedding photography is a business like any other. The rewards go to those who are focussed,  professional and work hard. Much the information in this article is based on listening an impressive podcast “for wedding photographers by Louis Torres.  Many of my Polish readers are not so aware of the wonderful world of English language podcasting (there just aren’t enough listeners in non global languages but English language podcasting is full of gems).

Louis has been a photographer for 26 years and can charge US$4000-6000 for a wedding package, although is ready to reduce the cost by scaling back the package.  You have to listen to the podcast to understand how much effort he puts in to doing his job well.  There are 300 episodes with more than 80 hours of content since 2009. Louis tell photographers that they must not be lazy,  should do their own research. He is tough and blunt, which makes each short episode all the more useful. For those who are serious about being successful – there will be valuable lessons.

If someone already regards themselves as a full fledged professional, then this podcast can even be a check list. It will be reassuring to hear someone at the top of the game in a far off rich country is doing the same things as they are.  I am sure you will learn something.  Louis argues that anyone can and will become an expert at finding anything they’d like to learn by doing research using Google and that the difference between an amateur and a professional photographer is the way he or she markets themselves.

Some of his recommendations are just common sense and obvious, but important.
– don’t just be punctual, be early. Get to your venue an hour before you are due. Park, and wait, walk in exactly when you are expected. You can read a book, even listen to his podcast.  It leaves you time for a flat tyre, transport delays.
–  don’t charge for a wedding – if you are first timer.   “only”  $500-1000 is way too much to charge if you are inexperienced.
His advice for those who are getting started: Do you homework, research, prepare, practice, get the right equipment, and then do weddings for free for family, friends or people who don’t have a budget, Do your best,  but don’t promise to be something you are not. Build your portfolio so that you can base first paid offers on experience and references.
Here are some of his tips and ideas if you are already photographing weddings.
Focus on your relationship with the happy couple. Of course they want someone professional, but also friendly, nice, respectful and funny.  This starts from way before the wedding, from first contact, maybe at Bridal Shows, to discussions and feedback about the plan for the day, to the day itself, post wedding communications and delivery of photos in whatever format has been agreed.  The photographer’s experience should lead to advising clients to take the right decisions. They don’t have the experience,   the photographer does.
Get those shots done. On the day, the couple may want the photographer to wait and not take photos at particular moments,  but Louis advises that the photographer should  take the photos anyway. The situation you want to record may never arise again, a key family person may be missing, leave early, No one will remember that you were told to wait. Get the shots when you can.
Show some photos on the day itself During the wedding,  use meal breaks to process and post some photos on social media like Facebook pages. Have a stand and a big monitor/screen where you can show some of the photos in an elegant slideshow. Bring more down to the party in the evening.  The couple, their family and  guests will love to see the photos right away, will be impressed by your speed and professionalism.  Each wedding may have couples who are engaged, who are very likely to ask you for a business card. You will pick up more clients.
There are numerous other episodes covering issues like how important it is to focus, time management,  tools for processing, editing and distributing photos, contracts, deposit payments.  I have no doubt that if I had time to listen to more I would know much more. You can learn about important industry events, his recommended vendors of complementary products and technology tools., If you want to learn about wedding photography  this podcast is a great place to start. You get the wisdom and experience of a successful straight talking American professional.
The are  lessons for a reader who knows nothing about photography, and doesn’t want to be a wedding photographer too.
Work hard, push and educate yourself, learn how to sell what you do, be friendly and nice to your clients. – check iTunes for podcasts about the areas you want to learn about.
Richard Lucas January 2016
What I don’t know, why it matters, and the importance of knowing the right questions to ask
I spent a serious amount of time looking for answers to questions that are relevant to the businesses I am involved in, or researching business projects. If I find what I am looking for, I forward it on with a few comments to the person to whom it is relevant. Other times, I can’t find what I am looking for, which means an unsolved problem.
My search for answers is also inefficient because along the way I find out facts,  issues, problems and ideas that are new to me,  meaning that I distract myself with my own curiosity, and often have new business ideas.
My process involves Google (and learning how to search Google well is a skill – that – like others – can be improved), Googling people I hear on the radio,  all kinds of social media,  Linkedin, Youtube, Slideshares, Investor  information sections of listed companies, Trade Associations, Event speaker, attendee and exhibitor lists, this list is long.
When I cannot find what I am looking for I sense an opportunity. If what I want to know is valuable, the value of knowing it may be high (or perhaps worthless:-))
Years ago, a startup magazine called Proseed published a column where I acted as a kind of “Agony Aunt” to entrepreneurs.   I am not so arrogant – I hope-  as to share my “wisdom” about everything I read.  If I don’t have something to say it is better to stay quiet.   Derek Sivers shares his notes about the books he has read and recommends on his excellent blog – but he is successful with some excellent and hugely popular TED talks behind him, not to mention his business success with CD Baby which he sold for US$20 million.

I am however going to flip it round. I am planning to start posting questions I don’t know the answer to, and to explain why these are important.

If some contacts me and can help, then maybe they can be a business partner, or potentially work for me finding the solution.

Why bother? why does this matter?
The gap between being ignorant, a generalist and a specialist is important to understand.
To be a successful entrepreneur – I recommend the advice of my father J. R. Lucas – who said to me when I was a teenager – “don’t be a specialist – if you need a specialist you can always find one” and that once you have a specialist skill you may well end up working using the skill in which you specialise for the rest of your life, because that will be the best rewarded in the short run.  This is not a bad outcome if this is what you want to do, but is not for anyone who doesn’t love their job.
My father’s advice is not great for anyone who has not worked out a way of generating income for themselves. Anyone who has never held down a professional salary should read  So Good They Can’t Ignore You  which sets out the opposing case for getting really good at something rather than following just your passion. The book is well summarised by Derek Sivers here .  If you are able to bring in more than enough money, without having a specific skill – this means you may never need to get one.  You may have the “what it takes” to be an entrepreneur. The ability to persuade people to buy things from you when you don’t know what you are talking about is worth having.
(thought the wherewithal to sell things you are not a specialist in, while showing an impressive ability to be convincing,  may involve taking risks of major problems).
While there are reasons not to be a specialist, I am not arguing for, or celebrating ignorance.  You should aim to be a generalist, to know enough to ask the right questions, to tell if someone is BS-ing  you, and to be able to tell a specialist what you want and why.  A version of the 80/20 Pareto rule applies –  that you can learn 80% of what matters quickly, the remain 20% may be for the specialist. Read the Wikipedia entry, watch a TED talk or two, read The Economist. listen to a podcast, watch the most popular slideshares, skim the top ten entries on Google, and within an hour you will know much more than most, and maybe enough to find a specialist.  Maybe then you can hire or find the specialist.
I regularly listen to the Digital Marketing Podcast from Target Internet for its clear language, sensible advice, easy to understand and recently I heard this episode about Programmatic Advertising.  (Once when I wrote to Daniel Rowles – the CEO and founder – and he wrote back immediately with helpful advice, a great way to make him a potential partner in the future. I am researching B2B marketing using Adsense type marketing. This podcast enabled me to search intelligently, finding list like this  with specialist firms, and making me confident to post here on Facebook.
European B2B Startup Group on FacebookThe post shows that as well as needing a specialist I know enough not to be ripped off and to deter digital marketing agencies that don’t know what they are talking about. I’d heard of Real Time Bidding RTB before, but not SSP,  DSP and various another acronyms.
The conclusion – > Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know ad hoy are not a specialist but not before you have spent an hour or two turning yourself into a generalist.  And here is another great podcast from Daniel about how to keep your digital skills up in the world of specialists. Effectively he is advising listeners to be generalists.
And if you know how to help organise our RTB on line research, get in touch.

I won’t analyse other than to note that
– he has a BIG vision
– he is aiming for 500 million monthly users.
he loves his job

thanks to Michał for the interview, and  my Project Kazimierz Podcast co host Sam Cook

Richard

A Quora question here  provoked this Sunday morning article.

Richard.
(Thanks to Gosia Kuś for pointing out the numerous typos in my first attempt)

Great question. It provoked me to write this blog post
1. Support, attend,  and partner with regular monthly or more frequent monthly events and meetups across Poland (not just Warsaw)  –  with satellite events/monthly meetup like Open Coffee Krakow OpenCoffeeKRK (that used to take place in Google For Entrepreneurs Krakow ) and events Hive  KrakSpot    Startup Stage and those posted on #OMGKRK – Kraków’s startup community and Crossweb – wszystkie Barcampy, spotkania i konferencje

2.  Co-operate with existing pro- startup and enterprise organisations like AIP and Fundacja Startup Poland

3  Support pro-entrepreneurship movements  like Global Entrepreneurship Week.

4. Invite and encourage government officials from all Ministries to attend existing events (not just do their own). Use Google’s pulling power to get officials involved and engaged. It can and does work. In the South Poland region, for example the country authority runs this  as its contribution to Global Entrepreneurship Week.

5. Encourage low/no cost initiatives – like Open Coffee Krakow movement – throwing money at events makes them happen even if there is no community buy in.

6. Co-operate and support social entrepreneurship like the  TEDx movement TEDx | Event Listing | TED.com

7.   Support development of curriculum based events (finance, marketing, coding) through encouraging meetups on themes or thematic groups like Krakow Unity 3D Meetup Group
8. Support enterprise education in schools , especially at pre-school and primary school level before it its too late
Strona główna – Fundacja Młodzieżowej Przedsiębiorczości
Przedsiębiorcy z naszej szkoły (not just Gymnasium and Liceums)

9 lobby for, and support liberal work and entrepreneur visa regime in Poland for non-Schengen professionals and entrepreneurs. Show that Poland is more open to non-EU  talent than countries like the UK and USA.

10. Invite organisations that could be part of the entrepreneurship support ecosystem:

law firms,
IP Agents,
accountants,
banks,
VCs,
chambers of commerce,
trade associations,
business schools,
universities,
political parties,
government bodies
Charities
NGOs
 to identify people responsible for dealing with startups, and invite them to workshops to present  what they are doing to help enterprise. (It may shame them into action if,  as may often be the case, they were doing nothing before Google asked them to present).

11. Keep promoting enterprise among minorities and  socially excluded groups, including prisons like Last Mile, in refugee camps, and support diversity.

Highlight Polish success stories like Applicake, Azimo, Base, Brainly, Estimote. (no regional bias :-) of course)

12. be interviewed on projectkazimierz.com   :-)

13. encourage angel investors

14. Encourage Polish doctors not automatically to ask every patient how many days off work they want no matter what issue  the patient has,

15 Encourage journalists to stop promoting anti-work culture,  saying “szkoda ze weekend sie skonczy” and “”na szczęście już piątek.”

Richard

Richard Lucas August 2015

When Google for Entrepreneurs announced that it was leaving Kraków and opening its Campus in  Warsaw many people in Kraków Startup Commmnity were a bit disappointed. However, it is better that Google Campus  in in Poland than elsewhere, and as  Dawid Ostrowski of Google Developers Relations pointed out Krakow has a lot of lessons to share in terms of building a dynamic startup community. Borys Musielak is one of the leading lights of the Warsaw Startup Community, on the board of Startup Poland  and the founder of Reaktor .   I saw that their birthday party was full/sold out. See the comments here  and thought that it was appropriate to wish Reaktor and the Warsaw startup community all the best, happy birthday, (and let’s gently compete to see who has the first Polish Unicorn – go Go Azimo :-) Go Base, Go Brainly… (I think Integer and Comarch may be their already :-)

For the benefit of those who are thinking about how to do large scale and positive events in Warsaw, I am sharing how the first X-Massive party came into being in 2013.

Community building is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.

It is very important to make your events welcoming and positive for the new comer, who doesn’t know anyone, have any contacts and is wondering if entrepreneurship and the startup community is a  place where they will feel welcome.

See Open Coffee Krakow and Hive values.  my post on Community Building, based also on my experiences in the TED and TEDx community and Global Entrepreneurship Week initiatives.

#OMGKRK stands for positivity,  optimism sharing and support. Go Warsaw Sto Lat Reaktor.

Richard  Lucas

We appreciate what Google For Entrepreneurs did here, and are thinking about doing a Google For Entrepreneurs Krakow (fan club) meet up in September October to which of course you are all will be invited. (This idea is inspired by TED-ster Clay Shirky and his story of Josh Groban and the Grobanites, Read more here ). If anyone reading this wants to help or get involved, drop me a note on Linkedin or Facebook.

This is the comment thread that kicked off the party, It took a few hours to get 90% of the Krakow community on board.

23 November 2013 · End of year startup community “un-party” with TEDxWarsaw Salon/Couchsurfing style icebreakers

Last year with MSFBCC I organised the below party for the startup community.

If you are interested in helping do something amazing this year, come to a planning meeting Wed 27th evening at 19 @ Nowa Prowincja Bracka 3-5. send me a note if you are coming.

See More

Together with Małopolskie Studenckie Forum Business Centre Club – the most active pro business student community in our region, Hive are proud to invite you to our Christmas party Tuesday, 18…
HIVE53.COM
Richard Lucas
July 2015
Open Coffee Kraków  is on the move -> this time to Colab our next meeting is on 16th July at Colab  ul. Romanowicza 4
as usual at 08:00 sharp
Open Coffee Krakow
It’s been a journey since we started.   www.ockrk.co/OpenCoffeeKRK/1
Since Marta’s announcement at a Hive meeting late 2012/early 2013 about her idea of a  Brad Feld inspired Kraków version of Open Coffee, and her feeling that a morning “un-meeting” made sense, Open Coffee Kraków has boomed, shrunk, split and re formed. At one stage – this child of Ela Madej and Piotr Nedzyński’s Hive53.com  was larger than Hive itself.
The spirit of a “participant led, un meeting, where the focus is not on speakers but positivity, support, open-ness and inclusiveness”  is alive and well. Personally,
I’ve much enjoyed telling people about
 – our strict rules concerning commercial promotion “”we are in favour”
– that Kraków stands for internationalism, trade and open-ness
–  making people  clap and applaud each other, (and government officials when they come)
– playing mood bending Mrs Mills Stripe piano as our theme music at 07:30. I still am determined to lead a Honky Tonk Winifred Atwell piano revival in Krakow.. ,, anyone who wants to help make this happen – get in touch.
– I loved writing the FAQ including not very subtle passive aggressive Q&A like those here. 8 8. You ought to do A B and C  and this  Why don’t you do X  and this one  here 
 I know that there are people who for OCKRK has changed their jobs and lives.
This is not the place to thank our coders Aliaksei, , faithful regular attendees and volunteers like Łukasz, photographers like Andrzej or bloggers like Wojtek, our generous sponsors and partners like those listed here and above all Marta for making it happen.
Since our first meeting in Dynia on Krupnicza, Open Coffee Kraków has evolved, grown, got smaller, and  spread.   We moved to Charlotte on Pl Szczepański, had many happy months  at Google for Entrepreneurs Kraków supported by Dawid  Paulina and Wojtek, and in recent months been in Kraków’s “diplomatic quarter” at Ambasada Krakowian on Stolarska.
One of our spin offs  Open Coffee Colab, under Kamil’s able leadership has grown to be bigger than our recent meetings on Stolarska, and after discussions with Marta and Kamil we decided for now to merge the events and have one event every two weeks in Colab.
Action item
The spirit is intact, the power is with us we still want and look for support. engagement and involvement.  Please give Kamil, Marta and myself the maximum support  –  and keep the spirit of Kraków and OMG alive.
Richard
PS  
Following discussions at Bispiration I’m thinking for doing an Google for Entrepreneurs Krakow (fans)  meetup in September. which if successful may turn into a regular event  – to help support and celebrate the fact that Google Campus is coming to Poland. Watch this space.
Richard Lucas
14th June 2015
Introduction  
So it’s early Sunday morning and  TEDxKraków came to a close yesterday.  Not everyone knows about TED and TEDx. A very  successful businessman and friend told me just last week  – “I really must look into this TEDx thing”. Here is a short introduction about TED and TEDx by Chris Anderson.  For my friend Jonathan maybe the TED journey lies ahead but for me TED.com and TEDx is such a part of my life that the  “My TED story” section  on my profile on TED.com  reads
“I curated TEDxKazimierz in 2015. I spoke at TEDxKraków about running a global movement with no budget via a Facebook group, and at TEDxWrocław Salon about it never being too late (or early) to get into entrepreneurship   I’ve been a sponsor, speaker, team member, co-organiser and supporter of or at  TEDxKrakow, TEDxKrakowCinema,  TEDxYouth@Krakow, TEDxYouth@Podgorze, TEDxWarsawSalon, TEDxWarsawPresidentialPlace I set up the TED and TEDx fans and Travel and Meetup Club on Facebook which aims to bring Couchsurfing values and practice to TED and TEDx fans  I use TED.com talks in enterprise workshops I run in schools and universities as a volunteer on the Polish committee for Global Entrepreneurship Week.   I believe TED is part of my optimistic vision of the way the world should be. I interview TEDx-ers and TEDx speakers on my blog  I like people who like TED. I’ve transcribed a TEDx talk for the Open Translation Project.”
I could write more – but the form only allows 1000 characters.
The purpose of this article is to state why TED and TEDx are so important to me and could be important to you.   I see it is as follows:
Everyone will do something with their lives  – from the terribly destructive –  through the average –  to the sublimely positive.
As Ashton Kutcher said in a talk worthy of the TED stage to the Teen Choice awards “”you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one, build one. Find your opportunities”.
Just as everyone has  choices as to whether they do the most important things they have to do every single day of their lives, everyone has the possibility and choice to live the best version of their life if they want to.  
 TED and TEDx greatly increase the chances that you can have a happy and productive life.   
As Sam Cook said in his TEDxKazimierz talk 23rd May this year  – “you should aim to chose the career and job you love so much you would pay to do it”. My brother Edward Lucas who spoke both at TEDxKraków in 2011 and TEDxKazimerz in 2015 sometimes said of his work at The Economist that he would pay to do it.    In the Project Kazimierz podcast interview with Daniel Ciupryk (aka MC Silk) who had a viral Youtube hit   says “minute 46:11  ” It might sound, you know, too simple, but it was said a lot… Really it’s the thing that you have to find the thing that you really love because if you don’t find it, then you try to focus on things that will give you money or fame, you won’t be good at it because you can only be good at things that you love because you will try and get up, and try and try until you reach that satisfaction level. And even though you might earn money on the other things, but still it won’t be success because you will be doing things that you don’t like for the rest of your life. Somyou can only be great at things that you love because you will spend your free time, you’ll be thinking about it even though you’re not at work, and you will win over people that don’t love that thing that as much as you love it.”
TEDsters and TEDx-ers are not paid. Not the teams, the volunteers, nor the speakers. They are a group of people who:
–  work together for free to promote the idea that there are ideas worth spreading,
 – look for ideas worth spreading and projects worth promoting in their community and networks,
 – encourage people to give the talk of their lives in up to 18 minutes,
 –  put them on both a stage in front of a local community and on the internet in front of  a global audience for ever
 TED has migrated beyond its original mission of TED ->  Technology Entertainment Design-  to give leaders and activists from all walks of life a platform.   Why?
Why do TEDx-ers  spending their time like this help others improve their chance of living a useful life.
It is because TED and TEDx are  an intoxicating cocktail of inspiration, connection, example, positivity, entrepreneurship, optimism and  energy, embodied in the community of speakers and attendees, and the values they share. 

You are bombarded by ideas from the stage. How can someone not be inspired by David Eagleman  whose talk was shown to TEDxKraków yesterday. I tracked David down, and we discussed with Scott Novich whether I could help promote his technologies here in Europe, Will anything come of it ? – I’m not sure. But a key step was the way a fabulous project reached  a global audience via TED. TED started the conversation.    Piotr Wilam  technology entrepreneur and leading light and role model for the Polish startup community  yesterday talked about the importance of sustaining the community. He showed a slide featuring Estimote   as one of Kraków’s leading   Internet of Things –  IoT – cluster companies.

Estimote in Piotr Wilam's TEDxKrakow talk

Estimote in Piotr Wilam’s TEDxKrakow talk

Jakub Krzych and Łukasz Kostka who founded the company started talking about the idea of Estimote at an earlier TEDxKraków in 2012.    So it is not just the fantastic ideas but the examples and role models of people you meet at TED or TEDx-es.  It is not just the super successful entrepreneurs and scientists like Tal Golesworthy’s  who repaired his own heart. It is also the inspiration of being surrounded by people who share optimistic, positive values based around the TED mission of “ideas worth spreading” and who are ready to devote their time and energy to the cause.

In our wired, technologically connected word we have more and more choices about who we hang out with and how we spend our time.  Instead of doing whatever you normally do with the people you normally hang out with you go to  a TEDx. Who would rather hang out with people who are into ideas than go shopping? – if you prefer shopping, TEDx is not for you.
Spending time at a TEDx can be a bit of a reality distorting/mind bending experience for people who are not used to it. If you are cynical and pessimistic, believe that the people in charge of things are typically only interested in feathering their own nests and looking after themselves, then a TEDx is a bit of challenge, to put it mildly.  An army of volunteers,  great speakers  – many of them busy and successful in other walks of life – devote hundreds and thousands of hours to make an event for you for free.
Chris Anderson  – Curator of TED – gave a great talk about how the combination of attention, desire and instant global communication is accelerating innovation.   but it is not just the ideas but the people, because ideas worth spreading need to be put into action.   At a TEDx you are not just exposed to new ideas – but also meet people who are also interested in new ideas and are often doing something to put their ideas into action.
 TEDx-es also act  as filtering devices. I meet people who don’t go to TEDx s because they applied too late to get a ticket.. .. (if they cared they would prioritize it), or they had something else to do (no comment). You meet a more interesting type of person at a TEDx
A word of caution –  there are no guarantees or certainties in life.  I cannot guarantee that a TED or TEDx you go to will be brilliant, that you will like all the talks, you will meet the love of your life. There is always a risk of disappointment.  When I’m responsible I take very seriously issues of making events fun friendly and welcoming. I’ve written about this in another blog post .  What I can say is that for sure you are likely to meet people who are into ideas  – and that makes them  more interesting than average.
Having done my first TEDx – TEDxKazimierz  –  on 23rd May 2015 I am considering whether to apply to do it again. It’s a huge commitment of time, energy and emotion, with much more stress than I expected. The talks are not uploaded yet  – but they will be soon,  When they do go on line you do nothing else see 90 year war hero prof. Wojtek Narębski give the talk that got him a totally deserved standing ovation,
Professor Narębski on the TEDxKazimierz stage_TEDxKazimierz
For me his speech alone made the event worth doing.   At the end of this post I’m posting some of the positive comments I got about TEDxKazimierz thanks to the TED feedback process  – which make me think that if I can put the right team together I want to do it again. (so if you want to help fill in the form here) .
At just one TEDxKraków yesterday –   I was able to exchange words with Ewa Spohn TEDxKrakow,  Ralph Talmont TEDxWarsaw Michal Kasprzyk TEDxWrocław,  Tal Golesworthy, whose talk was on TED.com,  Agata Wilam – Children’s University,  who will become a talent scout for the next TEDxKazimierz, to welcome Piotr Wilam  – Innovation Nest to the elite club of TEDxKraków talk giving alumni, Małgorzata Kuś of the TED Open Translation Project, Joanna  Łasocha, Lech Madej, Wioletta Dec, Agata Wierzbicka TEDxKrakow team, Justyna Skowyra,  Radek Szczygieł, Łukasz Siatka, Ania Bywanis-Kwiecień of the TEDxKazimierz team Ramon Tancinco Cisco and TEDxKrakow speaker  Bartosz Józefowski,  of Kraków Technology Park and leading the Startup Community in Kraków, Krzysztof Kobyłecki and Michał Kalina of Innovation Nest, Marek Wierbicki of Seedlabs    as well family and other friends, talk business with Flytech – a drone company, and meet a potential marketing manager for one of my businesses.
TEDx really is too good to be true – but at the same time it is completely real.
I loved  Stephen Coates talk about how people risked and lost their freedom in the USSR for the love of music. A timely reminder of how lucky we are to be free. Ryszard Źróbek’s presentation of the Nowodworski choir.
So thanks to all at TED.com HQ,  at TEDxKrakow and everyone else from sponsors to volunteers  who make such wonderful events possible.
Richard

Positive comments about  TEDxKazimierz from the TED Post event e-mail  survey.

TEDxKazimierz team on stage
Note This is not the full report. There were some negative comments (three  about one singer – which I accept will publish and address in detail elsewhere). this is a positive pro TED article so you see the sanitized version here)  98 responses (17 passives, 74 promoters, 7 detractors) 61 rated the event 10/10 max  14 rated the event 9/10 12 rated the event 8/10,  5 rated the event 7/10 3 rated the event 6/10  1 rated the event 5/10  2 rated the event 4/10  1  rated the event 0/10.

“that was a great experience”

|Event was very well organized, speakers were great and there was free food too :)

“Great organisation and fantastic guests. I have not known anyone there, but i had wonderful and inspiring time.”

“it was wonderful and very … personal!!! Exceptional experience!”

“TEDxKazimierz really was a special event for me. It was always my little wish to partecipate in TED. The fact it was organised in Krakow, in Kazimierz, was an additional adventage. The people who organized the event gave a heart to it. It was a pleasure to be there, see and meet so interesitng and motivated people who created this special

atmosfere and invited so amazing speakers. I think everyone should have this opportunity to, at least once, be and attendee of TED or TEDx.”`

“Everything was perfect ! :)”

“It was an amazing event where I could meet really awesome people. The variety of topics was really wide so everyone could find something for themself. ‘Age has no limit’ from so many different perspectives. So positive and developing”

“It was a very interesting and diversified event.”

“I had a really great time! It was something interesting. High level of organization, interesting program, good speakers give me a good motivation for self development. The topics mentioned at the event were really inspiring.”

“Great speakers, awesome music and people. The event was organised for the first time, but everything was great :)”

“I love watching TED and TEDx talks, but taking part in TEDx is 100 times more exciting. TEDx Kazimierz heleped me to find new inspirations and meet amazing people whom I would propably wouldnever meet otherwise.”`

“The conference was very well organized. Invited interesting speakers.

“Speeches were accompanied by interesting workshops. Ensured the possibility of linking with each other guests so that they can meet each other and referring interesting contacts. The event was accompanied by a great atmosphere. The organizers took care of the guests.”

“Good range of speaker, authenticity in enthusiasm of the organisers, valuable community spirit”

“It was an amazing experience – eye-opening and really worth taking part in. excellent event. good speakers, good organizers.”

“It was an inspiring and even moving event, with many great people taking part. All speeches were great, but some of them were truly amazing. Best way to spend your saturday!”

“ I loved the topic and the speakers. I think the atmosphere was great. I met two people who I will definitely cooperate with. Oh, and I just loved Richard’s way of running the whole event:) Thank you! “

“It was for the first time in my life I could experience Tedx live. Real people, real challenges, real emotions. What I appreciate the most is the passion in Tedx talks and in the choice of speakers. Very inspiringday. “

“Diverse speakers, interesting topics, good organization! Totally wouldrecommend the event to others, what I am already doing! “

“It was great event, great quality speakers, great organization”

“Great event! For sure worth spreading!”

“great and content of all presentations was very interesting. I will definitely participate in the next edition.””

“was a great conference that helped me to rethink what and why I am doing today. I believe that participation in event like that would be valuable experience for any of my friends and colleagues. “

“It was an unusual experience, which has already influenced my life.”

Everything was alright

“it was motivating event. Great job guys !”

““Po prostu było ciekawie, organizacja wypadła dobrze, a ekipa, która się tym zajmowała była przesympatyczna :)”

It was pretty great, although I think it should have been more focused on talks in english. “

“Because the atmoshere was fantastic and all the speeches presented ideas worth spreading. Balance between inspiration and knowledge.”

“Very good logistics. i think organistators did great job! And the place was awesome!!!”

“Great speakers, wonderful website, awesome venue.”“

“:The event was very well organised. The speakers were very interesting and what they said was thought-provoking and inspiring. I made some new friends.”

It was awesome !!! :)

“Event is perfectly organized. Speakers line up and topics was very inspiring and interesting. It was fit pretty well the general theme “Age is not a limit”. As non a native Polish-speaker (yet) It was a little bit difficult to listen to Polish talks w/o translation or printed materials/ details/transcriptions. Thanks the whole team! And hope to see and be a part of TEDx community again!”

“Naprawdę czułam się tam dobrze i wiele wyniosłam! Na każdym kroku było widać, że organizatorzy dbali o uczestników –

nie za pomocą wielkich nakładów i nie na pokaz, ale poprzez proste drobiazgi: – zdjęcia na wejściu, rozwieszone później na sznurku – ice brakery

– jedzenie! (proste a pomysłowe, zdrowe drobiazgi od konkretnych ludzi! – punkt za wizytówki do autorów przekąsek:)

– wielość opcji w przerwie – na pierwszy rzut oka ponad godzina wolnego budziła zdziwienie, ale każdy mógł znaleźć coś dla siebie – albo rozmowy z ludźmi, albo wykład o astronomii, albo pokazy sztuczek, albo po prostu słuchanie pianisty)

– dobór muzyków – bardzo autorski, bardzo odważny 😉 zupełnie “niehipsterski” 😉

– wspólne śpiewanie spinające cały dzień – i niesamowity, bardzo bardzo wzruszający finał z prof. Narembskim

– jak zwykle, komunikacja online przyjazna, ludzka i z dbałością o szczegóły

(jeden minus – tylko jedna toaleta :( ale jak rozumiem to ograniczenie tego miejsca – nie warto by z tego powodu rezygnować z kapitalnych“ “

“In my opinion TEDxKazimierz was realy great experience, considering all of details: organization, atmosphere and people which were a part of it. Why 9, not 10? Well, it always may be better :-) “

“I chose 10 because all talks was very interesting and inspiring, organization was perfect and catering was delicious!”

“Galicia Jewish Museum was just a great place to be during the event. Not only the speakers were inspiring but also available for direct conversation after their speeches. It’s just a great event to attend if you’re open minded and want to not only get inspired but share you ideas in a great atmosphere of openness too. “

it was very impressive “

“It was great”

“It was very inspiring, the topics were interesting, the organizaton was really good. “

TEDx i have attended on Saturday, May 23rd was very interesting and inspirational event. I believe events like this should be widely shared and recommended to allow others. Everyone can learn something about themselves, about life and take it home with them. This event is like a spark, that can bring light where before there was not much of it, bring idea to place that needed one. And give support to those who want to change something around them. “

“TEDx Kazimierz was a great expirience for me. 4 of all the speakers were people I’ve known before, I met many of my friends I haven’t expected to see there, I had an opportunity to commit new friendships and get closer to the various issues seemed (primarily) to be very fresh to me. I’m getting totally involved in idea of TEDxes :-) I’m appreciate to the people who invented , orgnised and realised that great event. And,of course, I want more…”

 

“I really liked it. Everything was great: inspired and inspiring speakers, themes, networking and organization (especially time management, one of the hardest parts of such event). I appreciate how much efforts were spent in order to achieve this *high* level. As for me personally, I met new people, and this is really valuable.

“It is new and fresh. Some great speakers. An amazing ending. After being at TEDx Kazimierz I already started recommending this event. I am looking forward for the next edition and I would love to be a more active member of TEDx Kaziemierz community.

“It was simply awesome, great ppl, a lot of inspirational talks, opportunity to spend my time among interesting people and learn a little about their work.”

“I liked the whole experience. The speeches were motivating and inspiring.:”

“It was a nice friendly, local event.

“Because this was amazing, inspire, unforgettable event and I met there many awesome people “

“I found talks very interesting esp. of prof. Narębski will be memorable.

 

 

“Interesting speeches, good ambience, nice and open people”

“I loved the very intimate feel of the event. The speakers were well chosen and the musical parts before breaks were very thoughtful”

24th June 2015

I needed this transcript for another article I was writing, so here it is. It’s well worth sharing,

The 4.30 second talk was so much talked about that he was interviewed about it for example by an American chat show host Ellen.

Richard Lucas

Ashton Kutcher @ Teen Choice Awards

Host “here’s to my Friend and the Ulitmate Teenage choice award  recipient  Ashton Kutcher”

Ashton Kutcher

“What’s up? Oh wow. Okay okay, let’s be brutally honest — this is the old guy award, this is like the grandpa award and after this I gotta go to the geriatric home. Um, First of all, um, I don’t have a career without you guys. I don’t getta do any of the things I getta do without you. Um you know, I thought that uh, it might be interesting.. You know In Hollywood and in the industry and the stuff we do, there’s a lot of like insider secrets to keeping your career going, and a lot of insider secrets to making things tick. And I feel like a fraud.
My name is actually not even Ashton. Ashton is my middle name. My first name’s Chris. It always has been. It got changed when I was like 19 and I became an actor, but there are some really amazing things that I learned when I was Chris, and I wanted to share those things with you guys because I think it’s helped me be here today. So, it’s really 3 things. The first thing is about opportunity. The second thing is about being sexy. And the third thing is about living life.

So first opportunity. I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was 13 I had my first job with my Dad carrying shingles up to the roof, and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant, and then I got a job in a grocery store deli, and then I got a job in a factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job, and every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work. Number two. Being sexy. The sexiest thing in the entire world, is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less, so don’t buy it. Be smart, be thoughtful, and be generous.

The third thing is something that I just re-learned when I was making this movie about Steve Jobs. And Steve Jobs said when you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get in too much trouble, and maybe get an education and get a job and make some money and have a family, but life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing, and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you, and you can build your own things, you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one, build one. Find your opportunities, and always be sexy. I love you guys.”

Richard Lucas April 2015
Introduction
At SKK –  the company I founded and have returned to run in the last few months, – I’ve been thinking and researching our innovation processes.  When I studied economics in the 1980s at Cambridge (UK), we learned how Karl Marx argued that the four drivers of the capitalist system were competition, capital mobility, the profit motive and technological progress.  Marx was wrong about many things, and the dreadful impact of his ideas on world history is hard to overstate, but his insights about the importance of technological change to business are important. Businesses that do not innovate effectively will die.
This article is a generalised version of the concepts I am implementing at a business that is one of my most important financial assets.  Why share ? Ideas in business are only as valuable as the quality of their implementation.
Note that this article is a conversion of an internal document, and the tone and voice may be more of a manager to staff than me to my normal readership.
Tesla's 1891 Wireless transmission of power and energy demonstration

Tesla’s 1891 Wireless transmission of power and energy demonstration

Why do we need innovation ?
Keeping your ears and eyes open to internal and external information and ideas about what is going on the industries and sectors relevant to the one you work in, and thinking about them, is an activity that everyone can contribute to the company they work for.
Technological change is always about either doing what you already do better, cheaper or faster  and/or doing things that could not do before.  Both are potential sources of competitive advantage. 
The purpose of this document is describe  a generic innovation and investment process and suggest tools and  links  that may be useful and set out reasonable  expectations a leader should have of staff who want to engage  in an innovation processes.
What type of innovation are we looking for and why ?  
Innovation can increase an organisation’s chances of providing better solutions for its clients,  making clients’ organisations more successful and through so doing helping you and your organisation to prosper and grow.
By improving our internal processes and organisation innovation can make your organisation more competitive, cut  costs, avoid waste, and add more value.
There are two main types of innovation 
1 Incremental improvements to existing products, services and processes
taking out costs, doing things in new ways. These can be as obvious as improving our intranet,  sales and marketing processes, new products from suppliers. or having a thermos of hot coffee put in meeting rooms at the beginning of the day so that time is not wasted in the kitchen.
Any member of staff can make proposals, explaining how the change can cut costs, raise  revenue, increase  productivity, automate manual processes, make things better for the company  or its clients.   
2 Radical change 
in what your organisation does – offering completely new products and services, what we do and changing our business models 
Proposed radical changes  must be informed by systematic client or potential client feedback. Remember the Henry Ford warning “if we asked people what they wanted we would have given them a faster horse”. Sometimes you just “know” that clients will want something before they buy it.  
We may also come across change and innovation that impacts our clients even though we are not actively involved in the technology or other factors driving the change. Even if this is the case, it’s still good to understand our client’s situation and sharing insights can be important in developing a partner rather than vendor relationship. 
3. Innovation that impacts our clients
Sometimes we may come across a change that is important for our clients. In this case it is a talking point and something that we can let our clients know about, showing that we are thinking about them, leading to a conversation about what we can do for them.  
Where can we get information and ideas about innovation
workshops/ brainstorming
benchmarking against external vendors
talking to clients about their problems
thinking
research
monitoring the external world with tools and processes.
There are many tools for keeping up with what is going on in companies, sectors and the news. We can all do Google searches, with “Google News Alerts” the news comes to your inbox.  Google Alerts https://www.google.com/alerts
As someone living and working in a  non English language environment, I cannot underline strongly enough the importance of understanding and using English. You cannot search in every language, but with English being the world’s second language of choice – > the chances of finding out something new in English are way above those in most languages.
Magazines, websites, radio shows and podcasts, industry portals, trade associations, reports,  clients, competitors, vendors, media,(web,  media)   conferences, internal existing projects,
What should the process be for an employee when he or she come across an innovation that is relevant to the company ? or has a suggestion of a new vendor partner or supplier ?
Make a Google Form and distribute the link to your organisation (and selected partners). Ask obvious questions – What Who Why,
Innovation form

Innovation form

Make sure that nominated managers have nominations on their agenda for regular meetings, get more information from anyone with an important idea or major proposal for change. and give feedback to the person with the idea. If merited, project teams can be formed to do further research, and get feedback from clients. 
Conclusion
In a small company, a founder or CEO may “do” innovation by him- or herself. In a  larger company it may be in the hands of a Product Manager. In a good company innovation  is for everyone. and it is a senior management responsibility to make sure that suggestions are responded to. Companies that do not innovate effectively have a serious problem, and may die.