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.  As anyone who studied economics as long ago as I did will know Karl Marx wrote  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 insight about the importance of technological change is something that business people should note.
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.
Not 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 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.  
There may also come across change and innovation that impact our clients even though  are not actively involved in changing our offering. 
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,
date name topic/innovation internal/external Why relevant link Potential Business unit next steps/action items estimated cost?
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.

April 2015

I got a call from a journalist Jerzy Sadecki interested in my investment in Lovekrakow.pl,  a news website with stellar traffic. I don’t know how much of  my answers will be published, so am posting the correspondence below.

hi

Answers in the text below.

I’m giving you the right to non exclusive right to publish this. I’ll also be publishing on my blog, I translated your questions, you can translate my answers if you like.  would you like to write an article on Lovekrakow too?  We welcome guest columnists and someone like you would be of interest to our readers.   Michal and Patryk are in charge so the final editorial decision would be theirs.  We considered an article from my brother Edward Lucas who writes in international as well as Polish media and you may have heard of. Please send me a link to your the article when it goes to press. Cheers

Richard
Szanowny Panie,

Jestem krakowskim dziennikarzem (szczegóły o mnie znajdzie Pan na wikipedii)
Miesięcznik branżowy “Press” zainteresował się działalnością i pozycją portalu LoveKrakow.pl

i zamówił u mnie tekst o nim  na tle rynku lokalnych portali w mieście.
Zbierając materiały zauważyłem , że nie tylko jest Pan  wielkim propagatorem innowacji, start upów,  TDX ect , ale włączył się Pan również w portal LoveKraków.pl, bedąc udziałowcem wydającej go spólki. Stąd moje pytania:

RL translation 
Dear Sir
I’m a Krakow journalist and you can read about me in Wikipedia , the Monthly “Press” is interested in the Lovekrakow.pl portal.  and asked me to write an article about local portals in Krakow, In my research I noticed that you are not only a  supporter of Startups and innovation, TEDxs, but that you also are a shareholder in Lovekrakow.pl, so here are some questions
1. Dlaczego zdecydował się Pan wesprzeć portal swoja osobą i pieniędzmi ? Why did I invest my money and reputation?
Because I thought it was a good idea with potential. Media is moving onto the web.  LoveKrakow is part of this trend. Michal and his team were committed and full of energy. They showed me that want to create new media in Krakow, which will be independent and what is more important – with ambition and energy.  Actually I put very little time into the project. Sometimes I make suggestions. I am a small shareholder.
2. Jaką, Pana zdaniem,  ma on odgrywać  rolę w Krakowie? What role does the website play in Krakow?
It is an information portal, that writes about what’s going on in the city, independent from traditional media
3. Czy spełnia Pana oczekiwania? Does it meet my expectations?
More than ->  The  traffic is very impressive: http://www.similarweb.com/website/lovekrakow.pl. It must be doing something right.
4. Czy wypełnia jakąś luke na rynku . Does it meet a gap in the market?
Yes – I think so.
5. Jak widzi  Pan jego przyszłość What about the future of Lovekrakow?
We have plenty of ideas about how to make more revenue, for now the focus is building  the readership – giving them access to information that is not necessarily available elsewhere. with high volumes of readers, we will find ways to monetise when we are ready. 

2015-04-10 18:27 GMT+02:00 Jerzy Sadecki <jerzy.sadecki….com>:

Szanowny Panie,

Jestem krakowskim dziennikarzem (szczegóły o mnie znajdzie Pan na wikipedii)

Miesięcznik branżowy “Press” zainteresował się działalnością i pozycją portalu LoveKrakow.pl

i zamówił u mnie tekst o nim  na tle rynku lokalnych portali w mieście.

Zbierając materiały zauważyłem , że nie tylko jest Pan  wielkim propagatorem innowacji, start upów,  TDX ect , ale włączył się Pan również w portal LoveKraków.pl, bedąc udziałowcem wydającej go spólki.
Stąd moje pytania:
1. Dlaczego zdecydował się Pan wesprzeć portal swoja osobą i pieniędzmi ?
2. Jaką, Pana zdaniem,  ma on odgrywać  rolę w Krakowie?
3. Czy spełnia Pana oczekiwania?
4. Czy wypełnia jakąś luke na rynku
5. Jak widzi  Pan jego przyszłość
Będę wdzieczny za pilną odpowiedź.

Jerzy Sadecki

Richard Lucas –  21st March 2015

Introduction

TEDxWarsaw 2015 on 18th May –  was a memorable experience. As always TEDx-es live by the quality of their speakers. The wonderful venue of Teatr Polski only added to the sense of quality.

Andrzej Lubowski gave a great talk last week which I want to share, am summarizing, and adding my own notes to.

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His bio from TEDxWarsaw is as follows “Our next speaker, Andrzej Lubowski, moderated first ever TV debates between Solidarity and the communist government of Poland in 1981. He’s the author of i.a. “Zbig. The Man Who Cracked the Kremlin” currently on the path of writing a new book. A Varsovian by birth and upbringing, Andrzej has lived in the USA since 1982 where he worked in senior executive positions for major international companies. He has served as an adviser and a board member in American and European companies as well as non-profit organizations. “

This is what he said.

 

1 Don’t take “No” for an answer (giving the example of Decca turning down The Beatles in 1962)  If you really believe in your idea – persist, don’t give up, keep going.

2 Challenge the status quo wisely –  (Driving on the wrong side of the road is an example of a stupid way to challenge the status quo).  But don’t just accept things the way they are. He quoted the extraordinary Elon Musk who not only realised that if humankind is to move to other planets we have to learn how to to make rockets reusable, but set to work to make it happen with Space X. Read (listen to or watch) Elon Musk being interviewed by Chris Anderson at TED here

3. Learn from the best.  Andrzej had a fascinating job of being “global head of benchmarking” – There is nothing wrong with copying good or best practice. Make sure you know what you are trying to optimize and bench mark.

4. Communication is vital – and the messenger has to fit the message. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. listening is a vital communication skill (note to self – try not to talk so much). When Wayne Calloway asked Andrzej to introduce changes at Pepsico having done a global benchmarking study – (I think – need to check this once the talk goes on line) Andrzej disagreed with the the process and told Wayne that the person who led the change process had to be someone who would have authority with the Vice Presidents who needed to make the changes. He found the CEO of TI (I think) to do this and it made all the difference. This is an incredibly valuable insight that I have known intuitively but never seen articulated

5. Change is painful –  and people will find ways to avoid it if they can. This is so true

6. Develop the image of a burning platform  Create a sense that the platform or bridge you are on is on fire, is burning. Once people understand that they are or might be on a burning bridge they will (should)  be more ready to change.  This is a very valuable idea. whether we are looking at environmental challenges like reducing our dependence on fuels that put carbon into the atmosphere. Understanding how free countries need to adapt to deal with threat of unconventional and information warfare from Russia. Being in any business which has to adapt to the impact of the internet  – think bookshops, taxi companies, hotels, most of my businesses… The image that the status quo is dangerous – – your bridge is on fire – is a powerful metaphor for the imperative to change.

7 Find and surround yourself with people with positive energy. Essential. So true. When I have invested in businesses it is one of my criteria. A working success and productive life is  bound to be full of challenges.  it is so easy to lose faith.  Positivity, optimism, generosity in the people around you will make a huge difference and keep you going.  Positive energy is necessary but not sufficient in my view.   I want reference the extraordinary talk by Ashton Kutcher at Teen Choice Awards (the start of this talk is anything but promising, but watching the whole talk is 5 minutes well spent – I promise you). Ashton says that the three most important lessons he had to share were that “opportunities looks a lot like work, 2 that being smart, thoughtful and generous is what makes someone ‘sexy’ (see the video to understand the context), and 3.  that ordinary people can shape the world we live in.

Final comments

I was making notes about this talk from about half way through and started thinking as Andrzej was concluding… meaning that I missed his summary where he said something about the need to be emotionally prepared if you want to change the world.

My TEDxWarsaw notes about the talk

My TEDxWarsaw notes about the talk

I am guessing that this was to do with the fact that it you need to be tough..  I am going to find out how he concluded but for now this is as far as I have got. Thanks Andrzej and the TEDxWarsaw team for sharing these ideas. Yet another positive impact on my life

 

Once the talk goes on line –  (as all TEDx talks must by their Creative Commons licence) – I will post a link. The first TED talk I remember ever watching – by Richard Baraniuk – was about the Creative Commons)  The wonderful TED Open Translation Project will make this available in Polish for sure. and I’ll do the English transcription. I’ve only transcribed one talk so far – It is many hours work which makes me appreciate the OTP all the more.

 

 

March 18th

IMG_8154

Ralph Talmont asked me if I wanted a couple of minutes on the stage at TEDxWarsaw 2015 In a two minute annoucement a lot gets left out.  Lots of updates about the event itself and who spoke are here  Thanks to Ewelina and Suzane from TEDxKazimierz team for their input into my talk, and who heard my nervous preparation the day before..

The main objectives of the announcement were:

– encourage attendees to spread the word about TED and TEDx, to support their local TEDx-es and the Open Translation Project, and

– to encourage and build community among TEDx attendees and fans  –  not just TEDx organisers and team members,

(and to be memorable, entertaining, inspiring  and motivational).

So – more or less – this is what I said or wanted to say, with links and details,   Thanks Ralph for giving me the stage.

“My purpose is to encourage you to evangelise for TED and TEDx, and build community among attendees of TEDx events.   Can the foreigners here raise their hands ? can the TEDx organisers and team members raise their hands, and the first timers raise there hands..?  TED is an international movement and everyone is welcome here. I am not sure who should be applauding who –  because TEDx is a journey . Please appreciate  each other with a round of applause….(applause)

My TEDx story started in 2008/9 and the first TEDx I was involved in was 2010.  It’s been a wonderful experience and journey for me with great relationships and experiences.. .but this is not about me –  it’s about you and what I want you do. It’s not just about what you can get from TED and TEDx it’s about what you can give and contribute. The more you do for TED the better your experience will be.

What about the people who are not here with us today ?

how can you spread the wonderful idea of “ideas worth spreading” to people who are not in the room and don’t know about  us.  Being here is a privilege –  there are people who wanted to come who did not get tickets – and with privilege comes responsibility.  What can you do to spread the word and share with this wonderful world ?

Let me tell you how and what to do.

At TEDxKazimierz one of our goals has been to spread the word about TED and TEDx, not just about our event. You can take small, medium or big steps

A small step can be showing a friend your favourite TED or TEDx talk on line, posting it on your Facebook page, joining the TED and TEDx Fans in Poland Facebook group, making thoughtful relevant posts about how TED and TEDx inspires you.  If you are into Couchsurfing  – join the TEDsurfing group bring Couchsurfing values to the world of TEDx.

A medium step can be to to take inspiration from Derek Sivers inspirational TED talk and be a “first follower”, which he calls a under appreciated form of leadership.

 

A leader needs the guts...

Derek Siver’s “how to start a movement” TED talk

 

You can track down and offer to help in your local TEDx movement (if one exists). it’s easy enough to find either on TED.com here  or if even like this  – if you excuse my passive aggressive sense of humour, or you can get involved in the wonderful TED Open Translation Project  Even if (like me) you are not a translator, you can do same language transcription. The first step to get your favorite Polish language talk into English ->  is to transcribe and subtitle the Polish to make it ready to translate.

For those who want to do more –  a big step can be:   to emulate what we have  have been doing in TEDxKazimierz.  That includes (I’m putting a few more links in here than I could do from the stage)

– Presentations about TED and TEDx at other people’s events. For example at 10 slides x 10 seconds each presentation about TED, TEDx and TEDxKazimierz at a Pecha Kucha night here  ( slides used are here   Years ago Krystian Aparta of the OTP and I did a session at the Krakow SLOT festival, (though I can no longer find a link).

– going into schools and other institutions to give talks about TED, TEDx and your local  TEDx.  Irka,  Ewelina and łukasz were doing this in a Kraków No V Liceum earlier this week – Anyone can do something in their school, university or company. Just make clear it is a meeting about TED and TEDx,  not a TEDx itself.

– organising open information meeting about TED and TEDx, so “meetings about TED and TEDx”, as opposed to TEDx meetings. In the past I have done with with local Couchsurfers as per here  We are trying different formats for TEDxKazimierz open information meetings. This is coming. 20th March. In December 2014, with a guest from TEDxKyiv we did events like this   It is important in communications to make clear that these are not TEDx events.   (For more ideas about how to make your events inclusive and welcoming read this article)

With responsibility comes accountability – .so I want to you choose whether you are going to take a small medium or big step; – Stand up and face your neighbour  – noting their eye colour – (this guarantees eye contact). Please tell you neighbour in 10 seconds whether you are going to take a small medium or large step to spread the word about TED, TEDx and build community

(A roar of noise, which I stopped with my red football whistle )

now I want to you seal your Commitment to your neighbour with one of three actions, A hand shake, a hug or a kiss)

(laughter, chaos and lots of hugging)

Good, thank you: Go out and Evangelise for TED

thank you very much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will never ever ever post to https://richardhlucas.wordpress.com  (unless I change my mind), but before clicking submit for the final time, here are a few statistics, action items and reflections.

At  the beginning of 2015 I decided to migrate my blog to richardlucas.com to which the help of Rafał – a recommended WordPress consultant.

I wondered about whether it might be disrespectful to use “The Last Post” as a title.  The Last Post is played at military funerals in many countries and cultures the world over, including my grandfather who died more than 30 years ago, and fought in both World Wars. It is important to know and acknowledge those who fought and died for freedom and democracy, especially now in 2015.  You can hear Reginald Portal describing his experiences in First World War at Gallipoli here  and also insights into his views on  Royal Navy education and social relations of 100 years ago.  If just one person reflects on the sacrifices and horrors of war as a result of this aside, it is worth it.

Back to the blog. …… Continue reading

Richard Lucas February 2015

Gary Vaynerchuk said the other day that Linkedin is getting really big. I read elsewhere that top 10 lists work really well.   So I thought I’d try writing a “top 20 sales questions” list and see how it worked.  As my experience is selling to business –  not consumers  – it turned into a B2B list, and 20 questions was not enough. So you get 40 for the price of 20 (free). I wonder how  the traffic will develop. It’s on Slideshare here and possibly visible on the blog below. feedback welcome  Richard

 

Richard Lucas February 2015
Introduction
I’ve been telling friends about the power of podcasting for many months.  I grew up in a household in Oxford England with no TV, but where the BBC radio  was always on. The money I earned as a 9-10 year old went on a radio which cost GBP20 in 1976, about GBP100 in today’s devalued pounds.The great thing about radio compared to TV/film is that the pictures are so much better. I completely understand and get the idea that video is very powerful, and that Youtube, film and live performance can offer an different, more immersive  experience. one of TED Curator Chris Anderson’s brilliant TED talks compares the revolutionary power of on line video to that of the printing press.  Still  – reading a book or listening to a talk has its advantages, both in the way you and the ideas interact, and of course the functional aspect. You can listen with your eyes shut, while you are driving, cooking, or even trying to get to sleep.
Often people come to podcasts because they  offer a time shift..  Offering “the radio” when convenient,. Later you discover podcasts are  better because you get to choose to listen to the content that suits your interests. If you like to listen to entrepreneurs, there are almost unlimited choices.

Continue reading

Richard Lucas
February 10th 2015
Thanks to Kamil from Colab for giving me this idea  My blog is not yet the Ask Gary Vee show — but who knows what the future holds. “You ask questions, I answer them- it’s the ask “Richard Lucas” show. If you haven’t watched an episode of Gary Vee then this may not make sense. GaryV has built two $50 mln revenue plus business through sheer hard work and energy… take him seriously.
Kamil Łopata leader of the awesome  full and expanding Kraków  Co-Working space Colab (in which I am an investor)  asked – 0n 10 February 2015 at 15:08, kamil@ wrote:
Richard

do you have list of people and organizations which are investing/helping startups in Kraków?
Sometimes I need a mentor for an event and it would help me a lot.
Could you share it with me?
regards
Kamil

Kamil  – There is no full list  to my knowledge but I created this “Krakow-Social-and-Business-Startup-Community-Entrepreneurship-Communication-resource” and Ramon with help from Kamil and myself did this…  Krakow IT Companies   (The Hackpad  is password protected. If you want access, drop me a note with your e-mail and the organisation you represent and I will add you).

Two more ideas  –  the City Government wants to help so check here and send in your questions  here via their contact form. I’ve given the government feedback about how to improve this site.

Also  Bartosz Józefowski  of Krakow Technology Park has been nominated by the leading lights of Krakow Startup community as our nominated representative, so ask him. I’ve never seen such strong support from so many people so fast.

 

 

February 2nd 2015

Introduction

If you don’t know who Paweł Tkaczyk is, then read this The depth of thought and knowledge is remarkable. For anyone who wonders what it takes to do well in life, it is impressive that it took Paweł less than 5 hours to send me his answers. I’m really impressed. read on….

You are well known in the world of social media and marketing in Poland. How would you introduce yourself to foreign readers who don’t know anything about  you?  

I’d say that my name is Paweł and I make my living by telling stories. Sometimes I tell them in front of a crowd, last year it was as large as 3,000 people during the Infoshare conference in Gdańsk. I do a lot of public speaking. Sometimes I write my stories — I wrote two books, third one is on its way. The first book, „Zakamarki marki” won the Marketing Book of the Year award, the second one, „Grywalizacja” was one of the first books on gamification (first one in Poland), and it became an instant bestseller, too. But most of the time I help my customers tell their stories. I own a branding company and I believe that a strong brand is a story well told. The market is full of people who have great ideas, but have trouble conveying their stories to the greater public. This is where I come in.
When did you first get interested in branding, markering social media  and why –  what was that attracted you, and how did you set about becoming an expert ?
I started my company in 2000 with the idea of creating systems of visual identity for brands. Back then it was an innovative idea, there were like five companies doing something similar in Poland. Then, after a couple of years all the advertising agencies started offering corporate identity designs, we had to move forward. I asked myself: what is the thing that is needed before you even think of corporate identity? Communication strategy for brands was the natural direction, I also had a knack for it, my MBA was in marketing strategy. Social media came along as I decided — boldly, looking from today’s perspective — to not advertise in a traditional manner, but instead to brand myself as expert using only online channels, blog and emerging social media platforms. It worked…
When did you decide to get into Podcasting and why? Mala Wielka Firma   is one of rather few high quality Polish language business podcasts. When will Polish language podcasting  become more significant?
I always liked uncommon promotion ideas. My parents owned a publishing house so I grew up among books, authors and book promotions. When my friend, Marek Jankowski, wrote his first book (entitled „Mała Wielka Firma” – Little Big Company) he came to me for promotion ideas. We always liked discussing ideas and podcasting was becoming a thing in the US, so we said what the heck, let’s try this. It was a great promotion tool for the book and we got a small number of fans who convinced us to continue with this project even after the book was gone. Then came a radio station – Mała Wielka Firma became a weekly economic radio program and our audience grew. Right now, according to iTunes, it’s the most popular Polish in the economy category.
We observe the comeback of podcasting after a year or so of decline. People moved to YouTube but there are formats that are better consumed as audio-only. 30 minutes of talking head (that’s how we call our format) does not require video and it’s more convenient to listen on your daily commute or during workout. Polish language podcasting will never have the numbers that English language podcast get but it’s becoming a widely used tools for corporations to spread their message within. So, if you want to make money from sheer numbers, you should go for English. But if you want to position yourself as an expert and make money from your expertise, those thousands of core listeners in Polish are more than enough.
Who is who this section is about who you regard as really talented in the industry in Poland and abroad,
 Which internationally known experts do you regard as authorities?  Who you follow, subscribe to watch or listen to?  Which are your favourite  bloggers, podcasters, vloggers (Youtubers)? Which websites you go to for information and who do you regard as authorities in this area in Poland? 
I follow prof. Lessig, Brian Sollis, Guy Kawasaki, Mitch Joel, Gary Vaynerchuk — the regular social media gurus crowd. But my interests lie often outside just new media. I like reading Jane McGonigal and Gabe Zichermann for gamification, I listen to Marketing Over Coffee (with John Wall and Christopher Penn) and I Love Marketing (with Dean Jackson and Joe Polish) podcasts — for obvious reasons — but also The Lede (from Copyblogger). My work takes me sometimes deep into the human mind, so I like reading psychology and technology: Daniel Kahnemann, David Pogue, Dan Ariely… Prof. Alexander Bard writes about the information society, as well as Andrew Keen or Chris Anderson. I believe there is power in diversity so I try not to limit myself.
In Poland there is Natalia Hatalska who writes about the relationship of technology, society and the future. She started as an ambient media specialist but evolved into this imagination, inspiration expert. You should check her out. Artur Kurasiński is an enterpreneur who does interviews with all the shakers and movers of the tech world. He’s better than your regular journalist, because he knows the right questions to ask. Roman Łoziński and Krzysztof Sobieszek are both strategists and we meet during conferences, I love to hear what they have to say.
Are there any well known personalities who are better at selling themselves and promoting their reputation than are actually knowledgeable in their own right. In other words people who are famous and well known but not as talented as they are perceived to be (I will understand if you choose not to answer this question) 
I will answer your question but my answer may surprise you. If your goal is to sell yourself and you are good at it, I believe you are successful. Take Kim Kardashian — you can say she knows nothing and is just famous. But if this „knows nothing” earns her a handful millions of dollars a year, she knows the system, knows how to take advantage of it, who am I to say she knows nothing? I earn less within the same system… We may not value that knowledge or say it’s sheer luck, but still: we are no better. Jimmy Kimmel recently did a great prank during one of the organic food fairs in LA. He basically blended Skittles with water and sold it as an organic juice. And people bought in! Not only that, they praised the taste, the „organicness” of the juice and were willing to pay big bucks for it. So it’s not only the experts’ knowledge that is sometimes overrated. Our ability to rate this knowledge is much flawed as well.
 Equally are there experts who you regard as extremely talented who do not yet have the reputation they deserve super heroes? Who are the “Experts’ experts” and who are the experts for the general public?
I believe the key lies in the ability to… tell stories. If you are a physics genius but are understood only by a handful of physics nerds, you will not become famous. But if you take the same knowledge and package it in a great story, your chances of being successful are much bigger. This is exactly what authors like Malcolm Gladwell do — they find great stories in science and bring it to light. There’s this great guy, Sławek Łuczywek, he works as a global coordinator in Migam. This is a company that works on automatic translation of sign language into speech. They got a grant from sir Richard Branson (among others) to develop their technology. And Sławek is so good at what he’s doing because he’s deaf himself. Yet he lives in the „hearing world” or — should I say — between two worlds. He knows the matters of the deaf and can tell their stories to hearing folk. Talking to him is a great eye-opener. These are the hidden heroes I admire.
There are so many interactive agencies which have some level of skill, experience  and competence –  or at least more than their clients. If you want to make a quick assessment of whether an agency is any good, what do you look for, and what can a non specialist  do to qualify an interactive agency or consultant as being any good?
I look at the agency through the people they hire. Because it’s the people who come up with ideas, write strategies and so on. So, look at their top employees’ social media profiles. Are they interesting people? Do they have followers? Do they live their work? Agency can buy fans, people seldom do that. Also, see if you can come across some thought leadership — did they write some thought-provoking articles, spoke at conferences that were not just advertising gigs? If not, chances are you’ll hire craftsmen, mechanics not artists. And there’s nothing wrong with that if this is what you are looking for. But you should know in advance whether you want to hire an artist or a laborer.
If someone wants to get good at online marketing and acquire the skills that you have, what can do, apart from reading your blog and listening to your podcasts. 
Thanks for the plug, but there are many better than me ;) There are — in my opinion — two ways you can acquire the skills. First, you have to learn the basics and be able to imitate the great ones. So, when you want to learn marketing, you read marketing books: Kotler, Godin, Aaker. You learn the rules. If you want to sell hammers, you put an ad here and there, the sales start. But then you need to learn to break the rules, bend them to your will. And this you find outside your core field. When we first started writing communication strategies, we took the core from marketing books, but then we added psychology, theatrology (yes, there is such science), improv techniques, game design, social sciences…
My company helps create strong brands. To do that, we had to realize that all the branding happens within customers’ heads. Brand is a mental construct. In order to influence that construct, we had to learn psychology. This led us to motivation, game design and many other fields. So my advice would be: never stop learning. The patterns will emerge eventually.
The different status of English compared to Polish on the internet leads to some interesting challenges for marketeers who want to be successful on line both in English and Polish. What advice do you have for on line Social Marketers who care about a) the Polish market alone, and b) those who want to do well internationally.  
It’s a great question, my goal for 2015 is to take my personal brand internationally, so I’m pretty well acquainted with the challenges you mention. On the internet, you can be important on the local market but at the same time be very insignificant as a global brand. It’s easier to go from global brand to local market, you just need to find local opinion leaders. For example if you wanted to talk technology in Poland, the best places are Antyweb and Spider’s Web portals. They are often ignition points of the technology discussions. When it comes to taking your local brand globally, the strategy is basically the same — you have to find the shakers and movers of the industry. The trick is, they often have the status of global celebrities and having them notice you may prove quite difficult.
As for differences between Poles and English-speaking nations, Poles are less open, they keep to their social circles more and tend to avoid formal organizations. We don’t have neighborhood book clubs, garage sales and tight local communities. Overcoming this may pose a problem when you want to use social circles to promote your product.
When you consider all the different skills and platform competencies that on line marketers need those days:  optimization, conversion,  landing pages, on line chat, SEO, Content, UX, analytics, design, Coding, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Google Plus, Whatsapp, Snapchat,, Amazon, Ebay. Allegro….. the list is endless…    which are essential and which are ones that you can outsource  Which platforms are most important to be familiar with,
I’d say you can outsource any platform, because marketing is not about platforms. It’s about the user experience and knowing your customers. If you know your customers intimately, if you know what they’re passionate about and where they like to hang out, you can design an unforgettable experience using any tool. I’ll give you an example. There’s this e-shop that sells t-shirts in Poland, it’s called Koszulkowo. It’s a very specialized shop, they address older geeks, the generation before Millenials, the people who used to play games on their Commodore 64 and watch Star Wars. Last year they had a customer glorifying their service in a Facebook post because he was able to… guess the promo code for 100% discount. He just used the most common cheat code from old games (IDDQD – if you don’t know what it is, google it). This kind of intimate knowledge of your customers is not platform-dependent but it’s an unforgettable experience. And this is the skill I suggest people learn if they want to do great marketing.
What are your main observations about trends in old school marketing – trade fairs, events,print media , TV Ads, bill boards,  Does it have a future at all,? what opportunities and challenges do you expect to see as traditional old school  ways of reaching clients die out.
There’s longer story here to be told. Markets are changing but at the same time they’re going full circle. To understand the changes we need to divide the marketing into three parts. The first one is called the age of the marketplace. Products were made and sold by craftsmen, markets were local and we fulfilled our needs if we could afford it. Then came the factories — the price of everything went down radically, we could afford things our ancestors could not. So we started buying just because we could. „Build it and they will come” we call it. It’s also the dawn of mass media and the great divide between the publishers and consumers of stories. Most of the marketing knowledge we use today was conceived during that period. 4P of marketing, Unique Selling Proposition and so on. But then two things happened at once. We had so many things we stopped buying just because we could. We started paying attention to quality again. In 2015 we value products that are the opposite of factory-made: hand crafted, limited editions, organic, not industrial. The other thing that happened is the dawn of the internet: the tool that allowed us to go back to two-way communication but on a global scale. The media is no longer served to the weak audience, the amount of information flowing around is overwhelming and we started to value our attention more than anything else.
We are observing the transition between the Millenials (who are tech-savvy, multicultural, share-all) and Gen Z (who are judicious about what they share, they communicate more with images than words, value offline more). Their attention is even more precious than that of the previous generations. If you try to buy it cheap, you will fail. Ironically, traditional paper is more attention-grabbing for them than a shiny Facebook campaign. The sooner we realize that, the better marketers we’ll become.
The trend to mobile appears unstoppable and presents many challenges to those who want to reach their target audiences via smart phones and tablets.  Who are the winners and losers in this and why?   
I’m giving a talk at a mobile conference next week and I have a full presentation devoted to answering this very question. Long story short: for the Millenials the mobile screen is a browsing medium, they still prefer to finish their shopping on their computers. So you should allow them to do just that. Amazon has a brilliant idea: whenever you see something interesting on your mobile device, just add hashtag #AmazonBasket to it and – with proper configuration – the product will land in your basket, waiting for you to sit in front of your computer to finish shopping. Optimizing your e-commerce for mobile transactions is — for now — a less effective strategy than providing a seamless transition between mobile and computer.
Then there are Gen Z-ers who are often „mobile only”. The losers in the battle for this generation may be… the banks. If any of the efforts to develop a money-transferng service without the need of a bank succeeds, they will adopt it quickly. Many are trying, with Snapchat’s Snapcash as a poster project. Also, there are over 160 cryptocurrencies in circulation at the time I write this. None of them backed by a bank. They will have their impact as well.
What on line marketing trends are going to have the biggest impact in B2B marketing in the next 12-18 months. 
If I was to point out one trend that interests me, it would be crowdfunding. It’s a major disruptor in many areas, but I see it as a way for the companies to market-test their ideas without the need to build a prototype of any kind. Crowdfunding gives you near-instant access to significant resources without the hassle of the banks but with responsibility directly towards your customers. Many companies are building great stuff that they would have great difficulty building any other way.
If an entrepreneur  has 50-100K to spend on on line marketing is it better to hire a young person with passion and let them get on with it, as best they can,  or give the budget to an agency, or for the entrepreneur to learn the skills themselves and deploy the money him or her self?
Paid amplification – have you heard of this term? It’s going to be a trend in 2015 online marketing and it’s partly an answer to your question. Paid amplification means going viral by having it both ways: doing something crazy, extraordinary that people just want to share, but at the same time just buy the traffic in an old-fashioned way to make sure your viral doesn’t go unnoticed. Volvo Trucks did that with their Van Damme movie. So if I had 50-100K to spend on online marketing, I would hire a young person to go with his or her guts and make epic stuff, but at the same time I’d hire an agency to make sure this epic stuff does not go unnoticed.
If a non specialist reader or listener realises that on line marketing is important but doesn’t know where to start what are the best first things that he or she can do to make sure that the current efforts they are making are OK
I would recommend changing the way of thinking. First, establish a good measurement unit for your efforts. In case of online marketing I use the unit I call „eyeball-hours”. Think of it this way: if I am to spend an hour creating a content, where I should put it next for it to get as many eyeballs as possible? When you start thinking this way, marketing becomes easy. You decide that this article you just wrote should not go on your blog (because it gets like 1000 hits a month), but you should spend extra time trying to sell it to other blog that gets 1,000,000 hits a month. So, if your eyeballs-hours are going up, you’re doing a good job.
What is the best way to get a really objective SEO on line marketing  audit –  that is not designed to turn into a contract for the agency taking on the audit task. Who do you recommend for audits when the client doesn’t have much money, or should they do the audit themselves ?
SEO is not really my thing so let’s skip this question :)
Would you rather have a creative smart marketing person with a small budget, or a big budget and give it to a recommended  agency.  
This is a wrong comparison. If I have a small budget, I can only hire a smart person. But if I have a big budget, the choice is different: I can either hire a big agency or I can hire a hundred smart people with smaller budgets. And this is the option I would choose.
Do you believe that new technologies, iBeacons, NFC and other location technologies. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Wearables  are going to become significant in Poland any time soon.  
No, Poland is a difficult market in this regard. Here’s why: this is a country of 40 million people. Too big to rapidly deploy some new technology, yet too small for large-scale experimenting. If you want high-speed internet nationwide, you install it in Iceland with its half-a-million population, if you want to scale your SaaS, you go to USA or China. When new iPhones are deployed worldwide, we are in the second or third wave of countries. And this is how it’s going to stay.
If a company has a web site  and is spending nothing on marketing it. and they want to  a) increase traffic, and b) increase conversion or capture of the contact details of visitors, what are the most important things they should devote resources to:
- website design to make it easy to navigate, understand
- Content creation, written, video, audio, 
- conversion optimization
- pay per click traffic, from adwords, Facebook, youtube, Twitter, 
- viral marketing (posting link bate on Social media groups
- on line activities like Webinars
and where are the best places to find people who can do  the above  tasks well.
Man, you sure know how to ask complex questions ;) My answer is of course „it depends”. But the way of my thinking would revolve around the concept of 4C – it’s something that replaced 4Ps of marketing around 1990. Instead of Product we think in terms of Customer Value, Place is replaced by Convenience, Price should be considered as Cost and one-way Promotion is now two-way Conversation. I would first go with customer value: what is the reason anyone would visit their website. If such reason exists, how can we make this visit as convenient as possible (so: website design, among others). Convenience also means thinking about costs for the customers. Not only in terms of money. Cost can be viewed as comprising of three currencies: money, time and nerves. And all of them are interchangeable: the consumer is willing to put time and/or money to save nerves, some of us have more time and use it to save money and so on. But the perfect recipe is different for different industries so I won’t tell you.
There is a lot of talk of real and on line marketing integration.  What are the best  examples you have come across in Poland?
JWT Lemon Sky did a great stunt for Tymbark, producer of juice drinks. Tymbark has always been a choice for a younger generation. And they were thinking, how they could engage young people who are „digital natives” with a traditional product. They came up with an idea called „gramofun”. There’s an app that runs on your telephone. If you put a Tymbark bottle on top of it, it produces a stunning light effects that are in sync with the music that is playing on your device. And you can sync the effect with your friends’ devices to create huge disco-like performances using Tymbark bottles and your phones. I love the idea. And outside Poland there’s „Pay Per Laugh” project done by McCann for one of the Barcelona’s comedy theaters. It’s a facial recognition app that is installed on a tablet strapped in front of you when you watch a comedy show. The app recognizes when you’re laughing and… calculates the ticket price based on the amount of laughs you had. This is the technology blend I would like to see more.
What do you think of the trends in Marketing Automation. The fact that Rafał Brzoska –  one of Poland’s most successful businessman invested in  Sales Manago suggest it has a bright future.
I believe in the consumer’s inbox as the next social media platform. Because social media is no longer just about public sharing, it’s about communication. In Q4 2014 four of the largest social media networks across the world had around 2 billion users. In the same quarter four of the largest instant messaging platforms were reaching the same number – and their growth rate was much more rapid. Snapchat is the fastest growing social app in the US. But many of us feel we don’t need another app for one-on-one communication. We still have e-mail that is evolving but is one of the most intimate places on our screens. Marketers who know how to use it will gain in 2015. And marketing automation, big data help in personalizing the message. Which is very important in one-on-one communication.
If you career and life works out exactly as you want, what will you be doing in 5-10 years from now?
I will have finished my fifth or seventh book (I plan to write one every two or three years), all of my previous books will have become international bestsellers, I’ll be on my way to the next big conference where I will be speaking about… Well, this is the hard part. I love what I do — sharing knowledge, speaking publicly, building things… But I don’t limit myself to just single one field of study. Marketing led me to branding, then to gamification. My third book is on storytelling and it’s already full of cognitive psychology. I know roughly what my fourth book will be about, but fifth? No idea. I’m sure the discovery process will be a great journey.
If is there anything I  haven’t asked  that you would like to tell us that you think is important, please let readers know. Nope, this was a pretty extensive interview. It also helped me shape a few thoughts for the mobile conference, thank you
for that. And I’ll be seeing you around.

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How startups got started

 

Ralph Talmont of TEDxWarsaw asked me for suggestions in preparing a speech-  in answering his e-mail I ended up creating this blog post. This is  both an aggregation of other lists –  (disclaimer – where I have done this  I am neither taking the credit for the work done, nor claiming that the startups listed are good companies –  in the sense of providing clients with something fun or  useful, creating good jobs, paying taxes and proving a return to investors).

The photo of Open Coffee Kraków’s event at Google for Entrepreneurs is a partly an advert, and partly a public thanks to Google for Entrepreneurs Kraków who did a great deal to accelerate the Krakow Startup community. I’ve written about this elsewhere and also  here 

If you want to keep up to date with the startup community  there are a few places to check regularly. My passive aggressive streak will take you here   though this approach can lead you to strange EU funded lists like this  The best list of startups is here on Quora – copy pasted below  (note the total lack of government money). Hat tip to Borys at Reaktor Warsaw for this, it’s copy pasted below..  Ramon’s Tancinco gave this memorable TEDxKraków talk and build this free site    which has a very good list including many startups

There is an effort to bring the Polish Startup Community together here 

There are places where local communities find out what is going on, For example OMGKRK’s Facebook page

Proseed magazine in Polish  and Bitspiration and Mam Startup Goal Europe has regional news. Probably Techcrunch is a great place to look. Mike Butcher and John Biggs know more about our eco system than most, and regularly visit.

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