Richard Lucas

September 2016

I sometimes get requested to promote and share details of  events on my Social Media channels.

I am usually more than happy to lend my “social network endorsement” (for what it’s worth)  to people/events who/which look reasonable –  provided it is transparent and people can see what my relationship is with the event.  (If it is in my capacity as a TEDxKazimierz Licencee or any other “official role” I do a bit more due diligence) as I am subject to external rules and need to be concerned  about how far I have a mandate to endorse.

This is what I write back to people asking me to share/and promote.

“Please post details of your event in the on line groups below and then ask me to like and share by sending me a note on Linkedin  Facebook  or Twitter .
Here are some of the best places to get some visibility for your event in Kraków  (I may add and edit this list later so please feel free to contact me if you have additional suggestions).
The best listings site I am aware of is here Crossweb , This site is great for the whole of Poland, not just Kraków.
 The TED and TEDx Fans in Poland group. This “all Poland”  group for discussion and promotion of “Ideas Worth Spreading”   has 2737 members.  I moderate it.  I don’t always accept commercial events.
The OMGKRK Facebook Group The main channel for the startup community in Krakow is here 3849 members
is my own baby and the Linkedin Group is here
Look forward to seeing your posts and sharing.
There are important advantages to this approach.
1. It takes the person asking slightly more effort than it takes me. This is reasonable given that they are asking me for help.  If they can be make the effort to do the posts  – I will usually be motivated to find the extra time to help them.
2. It is clear that I am not the organiser.  If I ‘copy paste’ something as if I wrote it, then sometimes people think it is “my” event.   I don’t want to be seen to be responsible for things I have had no input into. They might be better, worse (or just different) from things I have had a say about.  If I am copy pasting,  I end up having to think about how to  re-draft to make this clear, without being rude  –  and that uses too much mental energy.
3.  I can take a view on the business side of the event being promoted. If it is a TEDx type project being run for free by volunteers, I may  handle it a bit differently  than if if is is a ‘for profit” event where someone is trying to make money for themselves, or there is a huge budget.
4. It raises traffic and diversity on fora I care about. 

Richard Lucas 28th August 2016

Shining a light on the darker consequences of Brexit.

Once the UK is out of the EU the number of illegal immigrants from the EU in the UK will rise as people who are allowed to visit the UK as tourists overstay their visas.   This is a certainty.

The reasons are obvious and well understood.

Just as Australians and New Zealanders come to Europe on tourist visas,  and overstay while working in the shadow economy, hoping either to make enough money,  and/or find a sponsor or spouse to regularise their status,  Europeans allowed into the UK as tourists will start overstaying.

Even the most hard core Brexiters are not yet arguing that they want UK citizens to get tourist visas to go to Europe.  Therefore tourist visas will not be required of  EU citizens. In all likelihood we will end up with something similar to the USA post Brexit, with landing cards, and longer queues –  but hey, Brexit was all about control of borders.

The number of deportations will rise  as the UK “gets control” of its borders.   Smaller businesses, street traders, farmers and sectors like hospitality which need low cost labour will cut corners. Sometimes they will be caught sometimes not.  As with the “war on drugs” attempting to ban doing business between willing buyers and sellers will fail. Otherwise law abiding people will get familiar with illegality as employers and employees.

Illegal immigrants are much more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, because it is so hard to get access to police protection when you fear deportation. Employers open to blackmail, and being shopped.

Questions to  Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and the other architects of Brexit.
– What do you think the rising numbers of deportations of working but now illegal Europeans will do to our relations with Europe?
– What will you say to the families of those illegal immigrants in the UK who are trapped in sex slavery ?
– In some countries victims of human trafficking get the right to work and stay if they escape from their tormenters.  Will you offer work permits and residency to those who are being abused in the UK?

Even if my forecasts of deep and lasting slump and stagflation in Britain come to pass there will still be jobs in Britain that foreigners want to do illegally.

The architects of Brexit have lit the fuse of  a very dirty and repellent bomb.

Richard Lucas

August 2016

Hugo Dixon is an excellent journalist,  entrepreneur and person. He founded the website and movement – which supports Britain’s continued membership of the EU, and has as its mission statement:


“InFacts is a journalistic enterprise making the fact-based case for strong relations between Britain and the EU. We also expose the false promises and inaccurate statements made about Britain and its relationship to the EU.”

I recently sent him – on my brother Edward Lucas’s recommendation – details of a correspondence about how badly the UK media production industry may be damaged when Theresa May’s government leads the UK out of the Single European Market. He invited me to write a piece about why I am applying to be Polish.

Some  other points for my readers.

  1. The post on Infacts site here  is better than my original thanks to Hugo’s editing. I am not a professional wordsmith – he is.
  2. I have many positive reasons for wanting to become Polish that are not relevant to the Infacts readership. My article focussed on how hostile I feel to Britain being out of the EU. If I am lucky enough to be granted a Polish passport. which is not (and should not be) certain, I will carry it with pride.
  3. I am not starry eyed about the European project. The EU has faults, some serious. Yet Britain is insane to leave and the leaders of the Brexit project are reckless and irresponsible.   I struggle to find words to say how much I condemn them.
 home page screeshoot home page screenshot

Why I am applying for Polish citizenship

by Richard Lucas | 21.08.2016

We read a lot about Poles coming to live in Britain. Well, I am an example of the reverse phenomenon, Brits living in Poland. I am now applying for Polish citizenship. Having lived here for over 25 years, I didn’t even get a vote in the referendum.

I want to be citizen of an EU country. I now have rights and freedoms to live, work, trade, study and travel as a result of Britain’s EU membership. I want to keep them after Britain surrenders them.

I want to be fully part of a country that shares my European values, to make a statement that I am fundamentally against Britain disconnecting from Europe and to show how disgusted I am that loyal British subjects living abroad have been disenfranchised.

I am internationalist in outlook. My Britishness is important to me, but not my defining characteristic. I was happy being in a Europe where barriers were coming down and nationality was becoming less important over time. My decision to apply to become Polish is an emotional reaction against the architects and leaders of Brexit. I feel saddened, ashamed, infuriated and/or repelled, by them. Whether they are holidaying in Switzerland or playing cricket the day after the vote, I just can’t identify and feel close to a country led by such irresponsible people.

I want Britain to be a decent country, treating other countries’ citizens and British people with respect. Repeating “Brexit means Brexit” without saying what it means is anything but. Real people and lives are affected. Millions of foreigners in Britain and British people abroad live with unnecessary uncertainty about their residency rights. I did not always agree with Tony Blair, David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher, and other British leaders – but I never felt they clowned around, playing word games with topics that impact people’s lives.

Taking away our children’s future

International contacts and diversity benefit British culture. Rejecting intolerant faiths and ideology requires knowledge and understanding. Reducing the number of British people who know the rest of the world and foreigners who know the British will do lasting harm.

We will never be able to fully quantify the loss of experience that the Brexiteers are imposing on foreigners and British people alike. It is heart breaking. My six year old daughter once told me: “it’s not what you have – it’s your experiences that matter”. Brexiteers are stealing future experiences from our children.

Wealthy, well educated and successful people will find ways to get second passports, visas and escape the stagnation, isolation and poverty that awaits. The Brexit leadership will be mostly OK, and better able to afford a cut in their living standards. For the poor and less well connected, being stuck in Britain will be much worse. There will be much less tax revenue to alleviate the many problems that Brexit will cause.

Alexander Bett and Anand Giridharadas gave excellent talks at the TED Summit in the last week of June 2016, and they spoke for me.  I join them in recognizing that the reasons people voted for Brexit were real.  Those leaders in politics and the media who misled the British people are responsible. If they see the error of their ways in years to come and work together with those who want to lead Britain out of isolation and poverty back to Europe I will be happy they changed their minds. But Brexiteers, it is you who leading this doomed project. You are responsible. It is going to be hard to forgive, and impossible to forget.

Richard Lucas is a businessman with companies in Poland, Britain, Hong Kong, and the US

3rd July 2016

Richard Lucas

“Bring the boys back home” is the cry of those who want war to end and troops to return to safety. In the context of Brexit, those forced to return to Britain is a group who will be repatriated against their will, but the larger group will be those who never get to leave in the first place because it is too difficult to get a visa.

The world of visa restrictions is one that British people only face now when they go outside Europe.  I go to the US and Canada on the “visa waiver” programme. I still have to fill in a form, answer questions about what I am doing, and leave within three months. Pretty much like the Non EU channel at airports. That is where the Brits will be lining up soon.

The consequences are not just economic, as companies relocate out of Britain. It is much more serious. In the short term the pain of lost opportunity, the long run a much more insular and isolated island.

It is going to be much, much harder for British people to marry foreigners and vice versa when Britain leaves the European Union.

“My girl/boyfriend is a an EU national foreign”  is certain not to generate a visa for a Brit to live in France, Italy, Poland  or other EU countries  for more than three months under the points based visa/immigration system advocated by the Brexit-ers.

As Dr. Helen Fisher – the author of bestselling “Anatomy of Love” – argued at the TED Summit in Banff Canada last week,  young people are delaying their commitment to marry until they are absolutely sure about their partners. Extreme caution is shown. Living together before marriage is the norm in  Europe.   Brits will not be allowed to do this in EU countries, and EU citizens won’t be allowed to do this in the UK.

The idea of a “Year Off/Gap Year/Sabbatical” drifting around Europe, with occasional jobs when the money runs out, is also going to be removed. We British will have to  plan our visits to “the Continent ” as carefully as the Americans or Australians do when they come to Britain/Europe. Spending un-structured time in Europe will no longer be an option.

Tech Entrepreneurs will also have tough choices to make. Most will re locate to more “foreigner friendly” places be it cool friendly and expensive Dublin or cheaper cool and friendly Kraków or Berlin.  If Scotland manages not to be forced out, then Edinburgh and Glasgow have a chance to receive Tech Refugees from England.

The Brexit-ers are deliberately and intentionally proposing policies that will remove freedoms that  British people of all ages have enjoyed in Europe for two generations. What a pathetic achievement. I feel miserable every time I think of all the young people whose life chances have been so much restricted

Banff, Canada 27th June
At the TED Summit yesterday a group of TEDsters and TEDx-ers gathered to discuss the profound shock we feel about Brexit.

One idea suggested by a participant was to lobby our MPs as they will have to face their electorate with the terrible consequences of this fateful move.

If you are reading this and you care about the freedoms, peace and stability of Britain and Europe, and you have a vote in Britain, please write your version of this to your MP. You can find out who it is here

If you know any British person who thinks like me, send them a link to this post

I will never forget you helped me if you do





———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Richard Lucas
Date: 27 June 2016 at 07:43
Subject: please stop us leaving the EU

Dear David
I know you have been reported as being one of the MPs  who was in favour of leaving the European Union.

I implore you to change your mind.

 If there is a vote in the House of Commons in which you are given the opportunity to do anything that could possibly stop it happening – please do so,
If there is a general election and you are a candidate for a party that wants to stay in I will vote for you
You have an  opportunity to stop a national disaster and have a historic responsibility to your country, its people and those of Europe too.  The freedoms of trade and movement that so almost all Britons treasure are at stake. The integrity of the United Kingdom and our security are in the balance.
The rising tide of racism and intolerance in the UK will only get worse as our economic plight worsens.
I realise it is a big political risk to be seen to be defying the will of the majority, but
the majority was tiny,

many people did not vote
and Britain’s and Europe’s liberty, prosperity and security are at stake
Many of those who voted to leave are angry with our and the EU’s political systems. Leaving the EU will not do anything to fix these problems.
I have lived out of Britain for many years, and didn’t get  a vote, but have invested in Britain creating jobs,   I have children whose freedoms are about to be lost and I care about the freedoms that the EU gives all Britons, and Europeans too.
This decision will change the course of history.
Please do the right thing and do what you can to keep us in, as we stand on the precipice of catastrophe.
Yours sincerely.

Richard Lucas



June 2106
I posted this on the OMGKRK group on Facebook, and thought it was worth sharing.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 08.16.03
If you care about making University Education more entrepreneurial please listen to this interview with Richard Miller of  Olin.
I am re thinking my approach –  Olin is to Universities what the School in the Cloud is to schools. – maybe benchmarking against San Francisco and/or Cambridge is not ambitious enough. …

here is the post I made 20 minutes ago.
Listen to the head of Google Campus Warsaw in the latest episode

Several points to note
1  Focus not about brand Warsaw, or Poland instead of Brand Kraków but brand Central Eastern Europe,

2. Also note how Professional Service providers (lawyers, and esp bankers) in Warsaw are way ahead our our Kraków community. minute 19:00 in his response to my observation that we never see bankers and seldom lawyers, or accountants at startup community events. In Warsaw they have been showing up at Google Campus events.

With the honorable exception of Jan Marczyński Legal advisor and partner at JWMS law firm ( who is a regular at Open Coffee Krakó and is doing things the western way, offering pro bono advice to startup and Katarzyna Orzeł – who I met at an X Massive event  (companies I am involved in are a client of both law firms ) we are not visited by many professional support services at events like Startup Stage, Hive, Krakspot, and Open Coffee…  (If anyone reading this feels left out and offended, please post a link below, and apologies in advance) come tomorrow (this was posted on Wednesday 15th June) to Open Coffee Krakow and prove me wrong..

3. Rafal Plutecki was a successful entrepreneur, as Brad Feld says here and elsewhere the Start up Eco system must be led by entrepreneurs so it was a great hire by Google.

4 Hat tip the UMK (City) and UM (county) authorities and KPT – county and town and technology park officials do show up and are very welcome… The fact they join our meetings, rather than expect us to show up in their offices is fundamental to developing soft linkages, (other officials reading this please note)

An example of the government being ahead of the business community. 🙂

5. It’s great for Poland that we have Google Campus in our country. Of course it’s a bit sad for Krakow that we no longer have more events than everyone else put together, but a thriving startup scene in Warsaw and Central Europe is good for us. Capitalism is not a zero sum game.
Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 08.18.26

6. I’m leading on AGH but if there are members of our community who can take responsibility for making sure we reach the new students in other disciplines, (teachers, music, actors, artists, geographers doctors sociologists linguists, farmers etc ) who will arrive in Krakow in Q4) get in touch, It’s criminal that there is so little pro active outreach to promote startups and entrepreneurship in these communities, (and again if I am wrong post a link).


Call for action – essentially we need people who can clone what we are going to do in AGH, which is a series of regular networking events similar to Cambridge’s Enterprise Tuesdays where current students interested in enterprise, meet alumni who have gone into business in an informal setting.…/…/enterprise-tuesday/
This is a leadership oppportunity – I can’t organise events in every dept of the UJ & PK, but if anyone reading this wants to take responsibilty, let me know and I’ll invite you to a meeting in September where you can find out what you need to do in your depts If you want to help with the AGH project, you are equally welcome. First and Foremost introductions to AGH Alumni who have started businesses of any description and who would be able and willing to join and contribute (time + energy –  not money) to participant focussed events with students)

Richard Lucas 4th June 2016

Until yesterday I haven’t been to a  concentration camp site since I went to the Dachau site in Bavaria in 1984.  That terrible and profound experience cemented my commitment to tolerance and freedom that has stayed with me to this day.


Ride for the Living 2014-16

Yesterday 3rd June 2016 I was honoured and humbled to have been part of the JCC’s Ride for the Living. See the route here  
and media coverage here  . I went because Jonathan Ornstein asked me a few weeks ago “Why don’t you come on the ride?” (I knew about it from last year’s TEDxKazimierz, and had not thought it was my type of thing)  but found myself saying. “yes – why not” and now I’ve done it. It’s been an very profound and moving experience.    

Before the gates of the Auschwitz museum  at the Opening Ceremony – Jonathan Ornstein stated – calmly and clearly

“My grandparents were murdered here …”

His  message reached seldom touched parts of my soul.  Jonathan and the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow are spearheading a movement to focus on rebuilding Jewish life in Poland.  The realisation that many of the 150 people making the 84 kilometre (55 mile) ride yesterday – were not only making a commitment to life and the future  – but also honouring the memory of murdered relatives hit me at different moments in the day.

An old man, Haim (Chaim?)  participating in the ride  – born in during the war – told me how his  baby brother had died in the forests during his parent’s escape  from a Ghetto in Nazi occupied Poland –  for lack of food and medicine.  His name “Haim” means “life”. His life a testimony that the Nazis failed and lost.

Another participant read out a long list of his relatives who had been murdered. Totally heart-breaking to listen to.

Robert Desmond – whose ride started the whole project off (if you don’t know what the Ride for the Living is watch his TEDxKazimierz talk) told me how he had not lost a single relative to his knowledge in the Holocaust.  For him (and all of us, I think) – the Ride shows that we are defiant and public in our  opposition to intolerance, racism and oppression. He called for those on the Ride to do something positive during the day. I thought “at least I’ll write blog post”. I will also interview him for the podcast –  not just to spread the word about this project – but also his tech startup.

During the incredibly well organised day, a heroic team of volunteers and leaders from the JCC: Sebastian Rudol,  Agnieszka Giś and dozens of others supported us.  (apologies for anyone omitted). The well equipped, organised, and professional police kept us safe (Polish style) on the public roads. Many of those spectating as we cycled by smiled or waved (inevitably once in a while an angry driver sped by, dangerously close and fast. Bad driving is a disgrace every day of the year .

Any time I thought of my sore backside, aching knees or sunburned skin, I just reminded myself of the torture, murder and misery of the war,  the broken hearts and minds, left behind afterwards. Even though my pain was real it was also nothing.

I’m neither Jewish nor Polish, though I’ve lived in Kraków, Poland for more than half my life. The Ride for the Living feels  important because it is so aligned with my core values, namely:
1. No matter what has gone before – we are alive now –   What we do now is under our control and is our responsibility. We are going to be remembered for the things that we say and do.
2. We should know the past. I don’t recommend clicking the following links  if you want a happy day, yet it is important to remember the countless lesser know places of terror like Ivano-Frankivsk  here  in Ukraine, That people like SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Krueger  really existed  and that their crimes against Poles, Jews and others were almost beyond comprehension.  Individual people were responsible for what they did, The millions of deaths were made up of disgusting crimes like these. The Dachau I saw in 1984 was just one hell hole of so many.

3. That it is possible to change the world for the better .  That those in favour of tolerance and freedom, and living a better life now can take action. In the words of 91 year old Professor Wojciech Narębski – here on the TEDxKazimierz stage in 2015 –  “if you are lucky enough to be alive and free, and to have a family – you should appreciate your family, your life and your freedom, and do something worth doing with your life.”  The Ride for the Living raises money for good causes and awareness – both  “never forget” and “celebrate life”.

4. There were smiles and laughter and talk about plans for the future. It is hard to make sense of the atmosphere. At a deeper level, whatever we do  – can be done in a more or less positive way. The Ride for the Living is a terrific example of how to do things right and at scale.

Thank you and respect.

Richard Lucas
I don’t feel I have done full justice to my feelings about yesterday  – This is a start, in the words of my father J R Lucas   “the best is often the enemy of the good”. I hope this is good enough for today.

If you want to know about Jewish life in Poland watch this TEDxWarsaw talk by Rabbi Michael Schudrich (note the subtitles… which I am proud to have contributed as part of the TED Open Translation Project -meaning the talk is available in Hebrew and Korean as well as English). Watch this video to understand why I was inspired to work on Rabbi Michael Schudrich’s talk.    If you  want to know about the JCC watch Jonathan Ornstein‘s TEDxWarsaw talk here


As Curator of TEDxKazimierz I know that the process by which we allocate tickets is a source of many questions, much special pleading and miscomprehension. This post explains What we do and why we do it, and gives tips for those who are keen to improve their chances of getting a ticket.

2015 TEDxKazimierz Team on Stage

I regret the fact that not everyone who wants to attend can come. In an ideal world we would have unlimited capacity but our wonderful venue has limited capacity (about 230 seats in all).

We will have a  live stream, and we upload talks onto the TEDx Channel on Youtube.

The idea of audience curation in general is explained in the TEDx Organiser guidelines.
Because we cannot give tickets to everyone we  allocate tickets according to some rules and on the basis of information provided in the application form.   The form is the vital part of our audience curation process – before filling in the form please read these instructions. here is our FAQ
1. Why do I need to apply ?
The TEDxKazimierz team and our speakers have invested a huge amount of time for free to make a wonderful event. We want precious places at the event to go to people who we believe will contribute the most on the day – and do the most with the experience and ideas we give them.  We want people who commit to being positive and making a contribution, who will spread the word about what we do, use the talks and inspiration in their work and community, and who can persuade us that if they make a promise in their application they will keep it.
2. What are the components of a good TEDxKazimierz application.
– A sentence describing yourself, what you do and where you are from. We welcome diversity of age, nationality, background.  There are places for normal people too – for 20-25 year old Polish students – but if (for example) you are a Grandmother from Panama, running workshops in prisons –  you will bring diversity to our event – and it will be an honour to have you at our event.

– A sentence or two about why you want to come and how you will use the experience both to benefit yourself and more importantly other people.  Think about how you we can verify that what your saying is true. (for example if you say, I will write an article for my School Newsletter about the event, and send you a link, and post it on my Facebook wall, it suggests you are serious. (and we can check up on you 🙂
 –  information about your past activities and current position which shows you are “for real” (if you are) and suggests you are likely to be able to deliver your commitments. If you were active in a  student body, or run a training programme, or write a popular blog let us know.  Give us links, let us check you out.

– anything else that you think should encourage us to give you a ticket.    For example one TEDx applicant wrote “I’m raising two small children with little support. TED and  TEDx stops me from going crazy  – and I talk to my children about what I am learning even though they are a bit young to understand, I’ll do everything and anything I can to be positive and make a contribution on the day”. She got her ticket.

3 Doesn’t this make TEDxKazimierz elitist?

No. We are anti-elitist.  We don’t give tickets to people with important job titles, but to people who have a sparkle in their eyes, and who have a positive “can do” attitude.  We disciminate positively towards the characteristics all applicants have some influence over: To people who want to make the world a better place –  who will come to our event determined to contribute and make the day special, not just “sit there” expecting to be impressed.

Furthermore, you are trusting us with a day of your life. We don’t take you for granted. The success of our event is measure by the way attendees/participants feel about their experience. We don’t just aim to make sure you feel it was a great way to spend your day – we want you to tell people it was one of the best days in your year (or even your life)..

 4 What you shouldn’t write on your form. Don’t be arrogant, rude or hostile. Every year there are people who don’t take the process seriously. We are serious about giving you a wonderful day, so don’t be surprised if assuming you deserve a ticket doesn’t work.

5. Who decides? Several members of the TEDxKazimierz team review all the applications and vote.

6. Why do I have pay ? The price of 29 zloty is very low for an all day event with foreign speakers.  We are pre selling low priced lunches, and the ticket money goes on this. We also believe that paid tickets will reduce the horrible experience of “no shows” where people who were lucky enough to get  a ticket didn’t show up thus depriving others of a chance to experience a wonderful day.   

7 Who pays for TEDxKazimierz ?
We cover our costs with generous financial support from Urząd Marszałkowski Województwa Małopolskiego and one other sponsor. other sponsors give “in kind” support, free badges T shirts etc, .  Our biggest cost is the venue, (which we get at cost,  and speaker travel costs)  We are not allowed to pay them, and because they know we all work for free, they are ready to giving their time for free.
8. Why are you not releasing all the tickets at once?  We don’t want to have a situation where people who are out of town for a few days miss the chance to apply.

9. If I don’t get a ticket will I be able to watch on line or with other people?
Yes we will have a live stream, details will be posted on the website and social media, and if there is demand we may organise viewing parties. If you don’t get a ticket we will tell you about the viewing party option.

10. where can I find out more about TED, TEDx-s and TEDxKazimierz   

Our main flagship web page
TEDxKazimierz blog
TEDxKazimierz Facebook Group
TED and TEDx Fans in Poland group,
Follow the/TEDxKazimierz page page
Follow us on Twitter
Watch talks from our 2015 event 
Sign up for our newsletter
Other ways to engage with TED
What is TEDx all about

Make a profile on

Other TEDx-s 
special respect to the 1st  TEDx in town


May 2016

“Hi Richard, can we grab a coffee – I love to get your feedback on my business idea to do X in Y –  and show you my awesome product. I believe it is really great, and is going to be huge.
We  urgently need small investment of $100K due to our first customers being late in deciding to buy/ to keep us going as we get close to going global. It’s a billion dollar market. We must talk soon, or you’ll miss out. I’ll be able to slot you in next week.
Joe Doe
Interplanetary Awesomeness Officer and Founder ”

I get a version of this  kind of note  from time to time.  I have taken the worst bits from different e-mails and messages I receive  to make something truly awful. I hope this post encourages those who write to investors to reflect on their approach. 
This post tells your  what I think and feel, and what I write back (not the same) , and offers some reflections.What I think and feel
0. not again.. 🙁
1. Coffees are for drinking – not grabbing. Grabbing is rude,  and you might spill it.
2. I don’t care what I or you think about your product. I care about the problem it solves, and what customers and potential customers/users think.
3. If you urgently need money, you are bad at planning. Of course businesses, people, and startups can and will run out of cash,  but if you don’t realise this sounds terrible, you are probably not smart enough to be my partner.
4. $100K is not a small amount of money.  I was well paid when I earned $1500 month net in my best paid job (25 years ago). I took so big pay cut when I started my first business I was paying for the privilege of working.   It could have taken me 10 years to save $100K. If you think $100K is a small amount, I don’t really trust you to spend it carefully.
5. Blaming customers for being late sounds like a stupid attitude.  If they haven’t bought anything you should not be calling them customers anyway.
6. Money should be for specific actions, not “keeping us going”.
7. Going global makes sense once you have a proven product that clients love. You offer no evidence of that so far.
8. What is the billion dollar market?
9.  Don’t rush me. Giving me the impression I’ll have to adjust to your busy life makes me annoyed before I’ve even met you.
10. Silly job titles repel me.
11. If I invite him/her to Open Coffee Kraków they will probably tell me it’s too early in the morning and I’ll never hear from them again.:-) That is probably a good outcome.
12. I respect and admire entrepreneurs who hustle  – so I will try (hard) to be nice.

What I write 

Dear Chief Awesomeness Officer,

Thanks very much for approaching me.

Best is to come to Open Coffee Krakow and we can chat after that.

I trust that you are OK with open feedback and if there are things about your idea I don’t like you’ll want me to tell you. Please confirm, Do send me a Linkedin invite so you can see more about me and vice versa.  Say you’ve done business with me.

Please answer the questions in this blog post I wrote a few years ago –  so that I can be more helpful to you during the meeting.  Tell me how you are going to make money, what you would spend my investment money on, and what you are offering me in return.  It doesn’t matter much what I think  about your idea. What really matters is:
what clients and potential clients think about your idea.
what pressing problem you think you are solving.
what your costs will be.
how many months you can survive before you run out of money in the worst case scenario.
Good luck and see you next Open Coffee Krakow. (if you cannot join in person, we are on Facebook Live.Periscope)Richard


A lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs have read an article somewhere full of “fake it till you make it” type BS and imagine that a stupid angel can be duped into handing over money. It’s seldom true, and it’s not a great way to approach me. I’ve made lots of mistakes and am not that smart  – but I don’t like being patronised.

It’s important to think and reflect before sharing my feelings. I may be annoyed and angry, but I really want to help entrepreneurs. I’ll try to help the guy learn. Maybe I was like that once.

Getting their Linkedin details enables me to figure out what sort of history they have.  Past actions (and inactions) give a great insights into someone’s potential.. )

Maybe there are people out there who respond well to crappy messages like the one I am dissing ?  If anyone reading this found an investor this way,  I would love to stand corrected. The beauty of a free society is that there is more than one way of operating.

May 2016

Mateusz Paszkiewicz lecture at Social Media Thursday in Białystok photo Paweł Tadejko-2

Mateusz Paszkiewicz lecture at Social Media Thursday in Białystok

I tracked down Mateusz as a result of my search for Snapchat experts. He made clear that Snapchat is not his “only thing” but this interview is focussed on Snapchat. My questions in bold

Please describe what Snapchat is and is becoming to someone who has not really got the concept yet

Snapchat is a 100% mobile application which is very specific. Content which we publish disappears after it was watched, read or published on MyStory (in 24 h) It’s a place where people communicate mostly by photos and videos, in a very creative ways (filters, special effects, drawings).

You can communicate directly with people (personal message, chat, video/audio call), show your stuff to everybody by publishing content on stories, watching Live Stories from events or different places or consuming high quality content made by Publishers on Discovery (Mashable, BBC, MTV, National Geographic and more).

Snapchat is very innovative, constantly growing and reaching more adults. Bigger players like Facebook are copying some of it features (QR Codes, Slingshot, poke, self-destructing messages in Messenger)

Why do you think it is experiencing such growth, to start with people said it’s for teenagers who want to be somewhere their parents are not. but is this still true?

Most of new platforms have started from youngsters (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, MySpace). Somewhat it’s a natural cycle, young people have time and want to experiment, check new places build their own world far away from parents, teachers and other relatives.

I think that youngsters feel very comfortable with “disappearing content”.

Snapchat also provides very creative tools: you can draw, put emojis and stickers, put some filters, make face change with your buddy or with a person from the photo – isn’t that cool?

If you look on youngsters world it is very dominated by smartphones and this is 100% mobile app, which take whole screen of your mobile device.

And why Snapchat is experiencing such a growth? It’s a hard question because I believe that there are no simple answers. For me Snapchat has put some innovation on the market in terms of mobile (photo/video) app world, go 100% in vertical, experiment with new stuff, 100% mobile. I think it fits well to new generation.

On the other hand demography of Snapchat user is growing so it’s only a matter of time when more and more adults wills start using this app.

The “wake up call” is often discovering that a major rival or competitor is establishing a following on Snapchat. How easy is it to find your competitors and business partners on Snapchat ? What are the simplest rules and tools?

You have to see it outside Snapchat on other social channels because if you don’t know account name of the brand, you won’t find it.

Now is a very good time to bring your brand to Snapchat.. Figure out your communication on that channel, think if your target audience is there. Do you know what kind of stories you want to tell people via Snapchat and would they be valuable for your audience.

If your answer is “yes” then get stuck in: there is a lot to win. Many brands are waiting for “perfect moment” where they will have advanced analytics and some gurus will tell you – okay it’s safe now, you should go there, it’s working! But then you will miss a lot of opportunity to steal a march on your competitors, user engagement and interaction.

Actually people really care about stuff that you are posting, they are looking at stories, adding new accounts, checking it out. But nothing lasts forever, especially user attention. I remember some years ago how many people in Poland liked everything on Facebook, you wrote “I need 300 people to reach 10 000 likes on my page, please help” or how many new people we add to our friends – people use to do that.

If you try do it now, it’s very different. The platform changed, we changed, our level of excitement went down, and we are much more selective. That’s why watching the market for attention, and knowing when to go with something new is important.

What kind of benefits do companies and individuals derive from establishing a good Snapchat presence. What are the challenges when analyzing competitors’ Snapchat presence. How do you go about it?

Snapchat is a platform where you can bond much more deeply with your community than on other channels.

Second, people are spending a lot of their time there. It’s fresh, new, there is still a big field to do something as a first or create your own way/style. The two biggest assets of Snapchat are user engagement and attention – things that marketers are struggling for every day.

I don’t think that Snapchat will dominate other communication channels, but it will be a great one to provide a different way of communication, Closer & more creative and authentic (even if you use mask filters, you can’t prepare your content before).

I think that biggest challenge is to know how many people saw the stories of your competitors. Some big brands making the mistake of chasing numbers by hiring influencers to make stories for them. This makes a spike in interest, but after that nothing happens on their Snapchat channel or it is simply weak, because the marketing team behind it doesn’t have any idea for consistent communication. It’s a huge waste of money unless part of an integrated plan.

Making an impressive Snapchat video is a bit of a challenge for a Snapchat “newbie”. If he or she is not there in a professional capacity, it doesn’t matter so much as it temporary. but if you are a personal brand, or a company, then it’s a stress, a little like Periscope. What are the options ?

Yes, you are right. A lot of marketers or people who are celebrities are afraid of new things, don’t have too much time or are just romantic about their old channels and don’t see need to be at the front.

For a serious brand or personal brand it is good to contact person who is a specialist (like me ) Should they be on Snapchat at all (is their target audience there, or will they be soon), if yes, They should learn the mechanism the DNA of the platform or find someone to teach them.

A lot of people are stressed with live content (Periscope, Facebook Live) and I respect that, it’s not for everybody. With Snapchat you always decide if you want to publish photo, video or drawing after you made it. A disaster does not have to on line.

There are few tips for personal brands:

– contact with somebody who has practical knowledge about Snapchat

– check the most famous Snapchat users, see how they are using this channel

– experiment, see what works for you the most, how you feel with it, do you want to do it

– set your goals and discuss with experienced professionals


– contact with somebody who have practical knowledge about Snapchat

– is your target audience on Snapchat ?

– what value you want to provide – fun, education, ‘behind the scenes’ stories. Other…?

– think and decide how Snapchat can be part of your communication strategy

– set your goals and discuss with experienced professionals

– review what resources do you have. Can you sustain regular content?

What are the dangers of an unprofessional Snapchat presence., it is better to have a fewer and higher quality or doing them daily even if not so well ?

That depends if you are a brand or a person. I mean from user perspective Snapchat is a platform which gave you a lot of flexibility, it’s not about perfection (that’s why probably a lot of people like it). It’s about moment in time, people use it to communicate with their friends.

From marketing perspective (brand). It’s not about perfection too, but about value. What interesting content you have for your existing and possibly new audiences. Why somebody should give you 30 seconds of their time to watch your stuff. For example if you are and operator for Formula1 Snapchat be where the action is: on the F1 Championship, make takeovers by top drivers, go to Pit Stop – just create your little show around it. Have a concept, but left a lot of space for flow and creativity.

The biggest mistake for brands is just – being boring, don’t have any concept or leaving your whole communication for few big and expensive shots with influencers. You put them on, make an impact– get many new followers – but then what? Consistent planned communication matters.

You just have to know how to use the energy of an influencer for your brand, not only for stats and numbers of followers. Think about building community around your consistent activity – not just around one show.

Mateusz at Marketing & Technology event in Poznan

How often does someone need to post a Story if they are going to be effective, and how much time does someone needs to devote to making a good Snapchat story?

It depends on what kind of brand are you, what is your target, how much resource you have. Ideally it is every day. For some brands it’s much easier to create content, others need to think more about the concept.

A good Snapchat story is not the most complicated or the one which takes most time.

Is the one that is most interesting for your community. It’s different for each branch, because it’s easier to create a good story from event, backstage, makeover then create a concept for specific day with specific content.

What are the key features of a good Snapchat story, and what mistakes do you see most often.

Good practice:

– idea

– be authentic

– creative – use different tools

– provide value – think about your community and their time

– be consistent


– publishing everything around you without thinking “ I’m going to work…. “ I’m making a coffee . here is my office..” might be interesting once if the theme is … my working day

– making snaps horizontal (if there is no need or idea around it)

– no idea/concept for your activity

Once someone has committed to Snapchat and the content is live, should they start promoting it right away, or wait until they it is achieving their objectives? Once they are ready for promotion, where should they do it?

That depends on the story. If the story will have sense from first or second snap I prefer to start it promoting right away. If you are creating stuff which need a one third, half of full story to make a sense I will create it ASAP and then start promoting it on different channels. It’s all about context for people who will join you and have the first impression.

If someone objects to making Snapchat content at considerable expense and seeing it disappear, what can they do to keep it alive on other channels.

Download it to your mobile as soon it will be ready or make print screens to put it on different channels. It all depends how you want to use it. After that you can upload it on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram or in other places.

How do you expect Snapchat marketing to evolve as Snapchat starts to monetize its traffic.

That depends what kind of features they will make live. But I think that next big steps will be opening advertisement panel for more countries (ads, Discover, more local Live Stories) sponsored filters, graphic effects and creating some cool features for brands to tell stories.

I think that Discover and Live Stories have much more power when they are put in context of specific country (geolocation). More people will care about Discover if they could check information close to where they are or are from. The same with Live Stories. So I see some interesting points in that.

One thing I’m sure of and I think the Snapchat team agree about is that you have to implement advertisement in the smart and not too commercial way. People don’t like attacked with advertising. It’s business of course, so that you have to balance it somehow and be smart.

Check out Mateusz’s web page here 

or his Linkedin Group for Snapchat Business