Richard Lucas September 2017

Introduction

I am publicly committing to improving my personal productivity. Why ?

A few months ago I signed up on a course Productivity Step by Step  run by Piotr Nabielec who spoke at a Krakow Enterprise Mondays event I was hosting a few months ago.

I also interviewed him for the Project Kazimierz podcast here If podcasts are not part of your life, and you spend time doing things like driving, commuting or working out every day – listening is a great way to stimulate your thoughts and learn new things

Produktywność krok po kroku

The course started two days ago. I have a task or two every day. One of my tasks as part of the course is to make a public commitment to improve productivity. This is that public commitment.
I was talking about this course with my American business partner and friend Kimon Fountoukidis  who I interviewed here for my  Project Kazimierz  podcast more than a year ago.  I am making this commitment to him.  Yesterday while talking about the course, he showed me his diary –  and described his own time management processes. Without – as far as I can see – training or courses of any type –  he has such a good personal productivity process that I’ll be inviting him back for another Podcast interview. He is not crazily busy, is excellent at prioritization, delegation, and saying “no” to things that don’t fit his plans. He’s also good at business. The company he has run since its founding –  Argos Multilingual  – is the largest and consistently profitable of all the companies I am involved in with a terrific team and tremendous growth prospects.
Background
I am not a “newbie” to the idea of personal productivity processes being important .
In the mid 1990s –  SKK (now SKK Global) was growing into the market leader in automatic identification based on bar code in Poland.  The business was doing well but not me.  I was not coping at all with the organisational demands of business success.
My approach to life –  that had seemed to be working just fine until then – having got me not only from school into Cambridge University to a job in Consulting  were not enough for the demands of business leadership.
I found a book “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management”

and signed up to the course that Hyrum Smith’s company Franklin Quest provided.
Years later they merged or bought the company set up by Steven Covey -whose best selling “7 habits” book is so well known to this day.
When Piotr was asked at the KEM meeting what people can do to improve their productivity he gave a simple answer which took me straight back to Hyrum Smith’s book from 20 years ago. He said,
“Think about the most three  important things you have to do today”
“Then think about the three most important things you have to do this week”
“Then think about the three the most important things you have to do this month”
“Then think about the three the most important things you have to do this year”
and do them.
The “10 laws” book is almost exactly the same, only in reverse. Think about your fundamental life goals, write them down. Then make a yearly, monthly, weekly and finally daily plan. When vitally when you are thinking about the things you need to do today  – take into account your longer term goals –  resulting in a prioritised daily task list. Doing things that are important before those which are urgent. Focussing each day on the stuff that really matters. It’s so simple, and so powerful.
As I read the book – I had that feeling  – not for the first or last time – that if you can get through your education to the world of work –  without anyone teaching you how to be productive –  there is something wrong. I have had supposedly one of the best educations that the UK used to offer. and nothing on motivation, personally effectiveness, team work, management or leadership.  Vital skills for a happy life –  if you want to make the most of your talents.
The idea of planning and knowing what you need to get done is not revolutionary, But  you will meet many people who don’t do it at all.
This blog post is not going to be a summary of all the techniques and habits I have learned or I am learning… However, here are a few observations and tips that I will share.
As Hyrum Smith argues, your life is measured in terms of years. Get control of your time – and you get control of your life.  When people are stressed they say things like they ‘aren’t managing’ or ’things are out of control’. Getting control reduces stress.  Your priorities can (maybe should) include family, relationships and fun. It’s a book for everyone, not workaholics.
2.Having good “to do” list, calendar/diary and email inbox management is vital.  Getting things out of your brain/into your calendar means you don’t have do use valuable mental energy remembering things.
3 Setting up an environment that means you can focus, with the minimum of distraction, is vital, Switching off notifications on your phone and laptop really helps.
4. Learning how to run meetings effectively is really important. Golden rules, 1. clear agenda and goals defined beforehand, 2 start and end on time 3. Take decisions 4. have a record keeper.  5 Communicating who needs to do what by when to all present afterwards.
5. If you are  a manager you should set an example.   If you don’t answer e-mail, show up on time, you are a hypocrite if you expect it of others.
6. Having good record keeping systems so you know where to store and later find information is important.
Being personally effective is necessary, but not sufficient. If you want to get more done that you can do yourself – you need to know how to lead and manage other people.  A brilliant podcast and training resource for this is the American Manager-Tools.com  I dearly wish I had known what they teach 30 years ago. The four key activities of all managers are   “One on ones”, 2 Feedback 3 Coaching and 4 Delegation
If you are an audio person listen to the podcast here  By pure chance, their most recent podcasts at the time of writing  are about focus and effectiveness.
If you are a video person, check Mark Horstman’s outstanding talk “What you have been taught about management is wrong” at USI.  If you are a reader, check Mark Horstman’s book  here.

 

Putting time management into practice means developing habits –  this takes time, according to Piotr Nabielec, 30 days, in his book, Effective Multitasking, which I also recommend.

My father JR Lucas of Merton College Oxford always had with him a notebook – he called it his “tiny mind” into which important things were written.

If your systems work and you are in control of things, there is no need to change. If you feel overwhelmed. following the advice I give here may have a bigger impact on your life than you can imagine.

Tough fun fact
If you want a rough and ready check on how someone is dealing with their tasks and responsibilities, ask to see their diary. while a full  diary does not necessarily mean someone is productive, an empty diary raises questions. I know of a senior manager who was fired because a diary inspection by his boss revealed that he was lying about what he was doing, making himself inaccessible to those who reported to him, and not using blocked off time to work on key priorities.  Get your diary into shape!

Greetings all

The  Project Kazimierz Podcast handover episode with Sam Cook  is on line here   This was recorded a few days ago when Sam made public what has been the case for a while, that he is handing over to me. Project Kazimierz is now 100% Richard Lucas’s show. Good or bad –  the złoty stops with me.  Sign up iTunes here

 

Project Kazimierz handover episode with Sam Cook

I want to integrate my podcasting, blog and other activities.  This post is an example. Hopefully there will be positive synergy.
Valuable content should be shared widely.

I’m always looking for interesting and entertaining people, projects and ideas for the podcast (also as guest hosts for Open Coffee Krakow, speakers at  Krakow Enterprise Mondays ,   Wintrepreneurs  and  Cambentrepreneurs . If you are funny, and can tell jokes, I can help introduce you to  Krakow Standup Comedy

Ideas for the  TEDxKazimierz stage are very welcome – (but subject to much tougher criteria in terms of selection for obvious reasons.

I’m a great believer in Kaizen, the Japanese concept of continuous improvement. This integration of content delivery is just one step. Readers’ ideas and suggestions  of ways to improve are also very welcome.

 

 

 

 

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Richard Lucas April 2017
I received this e-mail a few weeks ago from the organisers of a business plan pitching competition.

Request for help

“Dear startup pitching competition organiser.
My first reaction is  “NOOOOOOOOO”
“I’m too busy. My TEDxKazimierz event is only three weeks away.     There is a lot of great advice on how to pitch available on this top secret website here 

Having said that it’s good to ask for advice. I shouldn’t be too harsh,  I will share my thoughts in a blog post that is available to everyone, based on the hundreds if not thousands of pitches I’ve seen and read and the thousands of hours I’ve devoted to TED and TEDx – in recent years helping many TEDx speakers prepare “the talk of their lives”.

Continue reading

Richard Lucas  January 2017
I saw the below post on Facebook, and thought that my answer might be valuable to more than this FB friend’s little brother, so here is the post and my answer..

Richard

Facebook post asking for advice

 

Dear Little Brother… .

You are lucky to have a big sister who cares about you and your choices. but… it’s your life..
You have to decide for yourself and you should be the judge of your own success..

 

Continue reading

Richard Lucas November 2016

This post is in honour of and in respect to attendees of OMGKRK and All in UJ’s  Startup Academy which launches today.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-12-28-04

The good news is that the Krakow Silicon Valley is real. You just have to look for it.

If you Google “Krakow Silicon Valley” or Kraków Doliną Krzemową You’ll get plenty of hits.

 

When Pawel Płaszczyk came back to Krakow after years abroad he looked for Krakow Silicon Valley and couldn’t find it.
Continue reading

November 2016
Introduction 
Alumni are “low hanging fruit” – an under used group who can be mobilized to good purposes. It’s time for a revolution in alumni/student/pupil relations with respect to support of entrepreneurship.  North Americans tend to be good at this – Europeans not yet. Every entrepreneur is an alumni of somewhere.
I’m starting with several  assumptions.
  1. People who have started businesses -entrepreneurs – have experience, know how, insights and characteristics  and (sometimes) money that would be valuable to share with people who are thinking of starting a business, whether alumni, students, or others.
  2. Students would benefit from be able to listen to, ask questions and interact with entrepreneurs, and other students interested in entrepreneurship.
  3. the benefits would include increasing the chances that people who had such experiences and interactions will start new ventures, and if they do, both reduce the risk of failure and increase the scale of success.
  4. Exposing students and alumni to people who are considering the possibility of starting their own ventures can be inspiring and motivating, increasing the chance that those people will make then most of their lives
  5. Having more new initiatives and business ventures will change the world  for the better faster, increasing human prosperity and welfare.
  6. The internet makes the spreading of new ideas and the organisation of new movements easier, cheaper and faster than at any time in human history.
  7. Many “pro-entrepreneurship events” are badly run and do not achieve nearly as much as they could. There is a better way of running events.
    Good practice from TEDxAmsterdam

    Good practice from TEDxAmsterdam

    Years of organising TEDx events,  Open Coffee Krakow events, Krakow Enterprise Mondays  and speaking at multiple entrepreneurship related conferences has given me a strong insight into what makes an event special. I was even asked to do a workshop about this at TED – who do the best events I’ve ever attended.

Open Coffee Krakow
8. if more alumni become successful –  and the place they studied has had a part in their successv-  it may positively impact on the school/university in terms of increased donations.

The starting position seems bad
1 Most alumni are not actively engaged in the the life of the place they studied at all.
2 To the extent that some alumni are engaged somewhat, they are not actively engaged. They might show up once or twice a year, and/or send some money. I will be more than glad to cite honourable exceptions. I want to be wrong.
3. A major purpose of engagement from the point of view of the School/University is fund raising. The thought that the alma mater is going to ask for money may act as a disincentive for alumni to engage.
What are the components of a revolution?
The bad news is here are several components and to achieve full impact they all need to work together smoothly.  This is not easy and will take time and effort from those who share the vision.
The purpose needs to be made clear. Entrepreneurship is not just about making money  it is about encouraging people and teams to take the risk to start social and business projects that may lead to making the world a better place and celebrating the fact that there are those people who are ready to take the risk.
The alumni of an organisation who have gone into business need to be identified and contacted in an intelligent way to establish if
a) they are interested in supporting entrepreneurship and networking with other entrepreneurial alumni and current pupils/students 
b) they might be ready to help on or off line by giving talks, mentoring, investing or coaching 
While the alumni contacted need to be asked and prompted to think about what they able and willing to do in networking and helping each other current students, and others, it is probably best to start with early adopters. In any community there are the natural leaders who are most active and committed, and the least with most people being somewhere in the middle.  It’s important to identify these early adopters and leaders and work with them so that those who might be  willing to get involved but are not sure, having inspirational people to follow and work with.

This project may be best done in co-operation with the Development Office, the Careers Office, the Alumni Relations office and/or independent Unofficial Linkedin/Facebook Groups.

Unofficial Alumni Linkedin Group

This is a case by case decision based on the current situation. It is worth  making contact with these organisations to see what they think and whether they want to help. At Cambridge University – the alumni office supported the formation of an officially sanctioned group Cambentrepreneurs.
Cambentrepreneurs
At Winchester College, Wintrepreneurs
Wintrepreneurs

operates more independently of the School, but is still broadly approved of.

on the other hand in Kraków, Poland where I live – an Alumni Association of a famous University is so unsupportive that it not only does not have time to to meet to discuss the idea, it is too busy even to answer questions about their activities by e-mail.

An important and hard to map challenge is to find out who in a School/University are responsible for inviting guests, be they teachers, parents or pupils.
What sort of people are invited at present, what sort of events take place at which entrepreneurial alumni would be welcome and helpful. It is sometimes easier to build on top of existing institutions and practices (like guest lecture series) than do something entirely new. On the other hand if there is the ambition and local leadership aiming to “do things better” than normal, a dedicated event offers more control.
Additional questions include
What awareness is there of the potential of alumni to contribute to the purpose of the School/University ?
and what would they like  alumni to contribute? At some schools I have spoken I have spoken at I have been the first entrepreneur school pupils have ever met.  It would be a mistake to assume to that  everyone knows what the potential of this asset is. Sometimes guest workshops can fit very well some parts of the curriculum.
This means it is important to ask and find out what platforms are there for spreading information about the benefits of this practice.  Is there a school web site, newsletter,  school magazine, Facebook page, or Linkedin group where an article about the idea can be published?   Who can write an article about the topic ? If there is a local leader they need to think about what they would like the local situation to look like?  If there are to be regular meet ups, basic “who? what? whens, where ?  Who is in charge?  owns the process:  how frequent the meetings should be?  with what format?  questions need to be asked.  If you are at this stage I can provide some input and support, if you share my values.  Icebreakers, Short talks, Q&A, Office Hours, Community Announcements, Education, Pitches are the basic ingredients, together with a laser like focus on welcoming and participant experience.  Doing good events, not just events is vital,.
Existing assets and relationships need to researched be understood. There may be particularly active staff, alumni, teachers, pupils or organisations that can be ideal for spreading the idea. Getting these people on board can be a game changer. They need to feel you are co-operating not competing.
It is important to look at the values and attitudes of the existing community and defining what is going to be important to the early adopters. I’ve made clear for the movements I lead that despite (maybe because of) their elite position they are “Open” in the sense that they are not Cambridge or Winchester  “only” they are  Cambridge or Winchester “and”.  It is not for me to define the values that matter to those reading this, but it is important to make sure the founders of your initiative know what they stand for.
Processes and habits take time to build.
Assessing local competences and skills is important.  In some cases there may be a need to “train the trainers”/ Teaching the entrepreneurs to teach. This is very much a question of local conditions. Many entrepreneurs are natural trainers, because they have had to do develop on boarding and training processes for all their staff. In other cases, one person entrepreneurs/freelancers (or people in the school/University) may have no idea how important training and development is to successful enterprises, because they never thought about it.  A really bad workshop may be worse than nothing, although as my father told me “the best is sometimes the enemy of the good.” If you care and want to do a good event, it is better to do something than nothing. There has never been so much know how available for free as now.
As always it is important to have clear objectives for each activity/event. Krakow Enterprise Mondays defines its goals as follows:
1. To facilitate and encourage transfer of know how and capital to from successful businesspeople among the alumni of Polish Universities to current entrepreneurial students

2. To give current students access to role models among entrepreneurial alumni who can help transmit the message that business success is possible.

3. to celebrate the business success of alumni. and the sense that the current generation of students  appreciate and value entrepreneurial success.

4, To encourage existing alumni associations to include entrepreneurship support in their activities

5 to provide a business friendly environment where students from different universities in Krakow can meet and get to know each other, and develop their networks.

6. To encourage Student Societies to support business and social entrepreneurship among their members.

You need to know your objectives.
objectives for alumni/entrepreneurs might include: feeling good, valued, and useful, making new contacts, finding new staff, co-founders, clients, suppliers, partners, investors , and well as having fun.

objectives for students  may include learning new skills, being inspired, making new contacts, finding jobs, investors, co founders, and having fun.

If you want to mobilise the

– trend towards self organising networks,
– desire for people to have better experiences in their lives, rather than just accumulating assets,
= willingness for people to be useful
and believe the world needs more entrepreneurship, join me in making this revolution happen. I’ll do my best to help.

November 2016

It’s an honour to be regarded as an authority by Techcrunch’s John Biggs   so rather than just answer in the thread, I am making a blog post. John posted the below in a thread here  by Maciej Serafin who is looking for a native speaker freelancer.

I am an authority on Brits in Krakow...

I am an authority on Brits in Krakow…

Who are the Brits in Kraków?
English teachers….  Kind of obvious.  the local rate $13-17/hour goes quite far here.

People with Polish partners, who prefer it here to where ever they are from

People working for international businesses
Aspire Employment stats
According to Andrew Hallam of Aspire.org.pl – which generated the above slide – about 15% of the staff in the Business Process Outsourcing/Shared Services sector are foreigners which means about 2000, but companies like Cisco have put major research centres here, like their Cyber Warfare/Security/whathaveyou monitoring centre, thanks to the admirable work of the likes of Ramon Tancinco   They are more than 75% foreigner. and have 2000 employees so it adds up.

Academics 
Trustafarians  – like Rastafians but living on trust funds from mummy or whoever..

Adult  Polonia –  people who made their money elsewhere, tried to retire here, but ended up working.

Entrepreneurs  – it’s cheaper to start your business here as an entrepreneur than in major western European countries, Your money goes further.

Freelancer translators –  Your clients can be anywhere

Other freelancers like Jason Sanderson who sound edits  Jason Harbinger’s hit podcast The Art of Charm live in Krakow
Paul Pearson – who does Krakow Startup TV and TEDxKazimierz is a film producer who works locally and internationally.
Many others

Stag Nighters  no comment.  Almost as ashamed of them as of Brexit.

Dodgy Brits with criminal records

In principle you might think you ought to be able to outsource your English language content creation/news gathering to a English language low cost country. I tried  years ago when I was running PMR but wasn’t happy with the results

failed outsourcing attempt

People who get stuck here
They arrive, think it is great, settle in, have a kid or two, get divorced, and then realise they can’t afford to leave

According to Sam Cook of ProjectKazimierz podcast, the “East is the New West”, the land of opportunity. (btw can we interview you for Project Kazimierz John? )

If you mix local and international income., live smart,   – and for sure – content creators can do that  – why not?  you can live better in Kraków than in many places on the same income.

At the same time if you don’t think about what you do, who you work for and how to keep your income higher than your outgoings, you are going to be fucked, possible faster and more nastily here, than in a  high cost country.  You can always vote for some crazy politician who blames immigrants, foreigners and the EU,  promises to make your problems go away…

Brits can come here live and work without a visa – for now. Thanks to Brexit this right is being given up, so if you are reading this in 10-20 years time,  things will be different. There may be British economic refugees here, if we aren’t all fleeing from an even more dangerous neighbour.  A lot of tech businesses will be forced out of the UK by Visa issues, or racism. For sure some of them will end up here in Kraków where they will be welcome no matter what nationality they are.

Brexit Lament

This article reflects my views on Brexit

In the meantime, I would underline that through our thriving Startup Community, and local as well as international investment, (and not just in Kraków), that Poland is very much open for business. Getting working visas is a lot easier than in the UK or USA. The government seems pretty committed to that.  We may have a political problems but they are nothing on the scale that face the UK or maybe the USA, provided we are not invaded in which case all bets are off

Please come to one our Open Coffee Krakow – or Krakow Enterprise Monday events or indeed my the newly launched Cambentrepreneurs first meeting in Edinburgh in two weeks

It doesn’t really matter what nationality you have in my eyes, it’s just about the contribution you make, (and I don;t know how many Brits there are in Kraków)

 

 

 

 

November 2016

Introduction

I’ve have a lot of meetings recently with a similar agenda

What do I/you do  ? What do I/you want? (unspoken agenda) Do I/you like the idea of doing things  together?

How can we help each other ?

of course, there is the “Get to know, background check, are you/I (?!) creepy, do I risk my reputation by being helpful, making introductions?

helpful_download

 

 

I’m unusually trusting and helpful in my behaviour, even if in the background I have my “is this guy/girl dodgy?/what does he/she really want?” sensors switched on.

Sometimes I fire out invitations and introductions during my meetings, other times I follow up with a letter like this below.

This blog post includes the “copy paste” text I am often writing some versions of to those I just met:

If you want to help – get in touch.  If I can help you, (and you meet my smell tests :-)), and I’ve got the time. I will. Even if I’ve never met you.

Extract of my standard message

Dear <person I’ve just met>

………

You are more than welcome to attend the meetings I am responsible for and make a short 1-2 minute announcement about your project at the meeting.

Open Coffee Krakow 

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-56-58

 

Krakow Enterprise Mondays

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-56-25

 

or the next TEDxKazimierz Monthly Meetup.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-55-33

 

 

If you want to talk for longer, let’s discuss.

Do please promote these events – they are all free of charge-  to your community, and people you think would benefit.   If you want introductions to people in my network please just ask.

You asked how you can help in our mission to change to perception of enterprise for the better, and bring great ideas to global attention.  Thank you (There are many more people who approve passively, rather fewer who actually offer to help).

If you have any media contacts, with optimistic journalists/vloggers/bloggers who are interested in speeding up Poland’s development and growth rate, please introduce me.

Journalists/Media are really important to us in getting to word out to those who don’t realise how important the cause is. Not everyone realises that our national survival depends on making more of our potential. Journalists are also great sources of contacts for potential topics for TEDxKazimierz talks  They tend to have know what ideas are worth spreading . so introduce me to journalists. or contact them suggesting they ought to take an interest and show up.

Students we struggle with the “Thank God it’s Friday” “Shame the Weekend is over” brainwashing that is propagated from multiple sources in Poland –  as if the ideal state of a happy Pole is resting.  To reach students we need contacts with leaders: from Student Associations, be they based on Faculty, Interest, or part of a global organisation like AIESEC. To reach students we also need contact with positive minded academics, both lecturers and in the administration.  The great support we get from AGH is an example that could be emulated by other Careers Offices.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-13-17-47

 

 

Apart from students  – we need entrepreneurs who are patriots and risk takers.  Please introduce me to Entrepreneurs who would be ready to make short presentations and mentor/coach students.    Patriots because  we need people who both care about the country, can set a positive example and realise that unless Poland grows and prospers we are in danger and that we ought to work to make the best of our potential. Risk takers because my projects are new, and they have to trust that working with me will not damage their reputation.

An pro-business eco-system also involves government officials, politicians,  trade and professional associations, training bodies, NGOs, financial institutions, lawyers, accountants, recruiters, consultants and so on. It would be great if they were better represented in our pro enterprise eco-system. If you know the right type of person, please please send them along.    Anyone else you think I ought to know or work with  – just make the introduction.

If you can help with these projects, I will be very appreciative
…..

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.

 

Continue reading

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

Background.
Hugo Dixon is an excellent journalist,  entrepreneur and person. He founded the Infacts.org 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.

 

 

 

Infacts.org home page screeshoot

Infacts.org 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

please

 

Richard

 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Richard Lucas
Date: 27 June 2016 at 07:43
Subject: please stop us leaving the EU
To: david.warburton.mp@parliament.uk

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 Warsawhttp://projectkazimierz.com/rafal-plutecki/ 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 (jwms.pl) who is a regular at Open Coffee Krakówockrk.co/faq 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXD5vt0xhyI 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.

http://crossweb.pl/wydarzenia/?miasto=warszawa

http://crossweb.pl/wydarzenia/?miasto=krakow
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.
http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/entrepreneur…/…/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.

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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 ProjectKazimierz.com 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.
11226202_10152835190291828_3666462047012326042_o-2

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.com
TEDxKazimierz blog http://blog.tedxkazimierz.com
TEDxKazimierz Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/315044671995229/
TED and TEDx Fans in Poland group, www.facebook.com/groups/TEDxFansPoland
Follow the/TEDxKazimierz page www.facebook.com/TEDxKazimierz page
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/TEDxKazimierz
Watch talks from our 2015 event 
Sign up for our newsletter
Other ways to engage with TED
What is TEDx all about http://www.ted.com/tedx/events

Make a profile on TED.com https://auth.ted.com/users/new

Other TEDx-s 
special respect to the 1st  TEDx in town  www.tedxkrakow.com

 

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 a 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.

bests
Joe Doe
Co-Interplanetary Awesomeness Officer and Founder
Creepaability-aka-dontknowthefuckwhatthisisallabout.com ”


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 effectively 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 if you are in town.

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.

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 (if we decide to meet)

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.)

Richard

Reflections

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

Brands:

– 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

Mistakes

– 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

matpaszkiewicz.com

matpaszkiewicz.com

 

Richard Lucas April 2016

When I was approached by Toptal, a blue chip and highly successful outsourcing firm backed by top VCs to host a post from their blog, I speculated about how Kraków might look through the eyes of their community,

I know about Toptal from listening the the awesome Mixergy.com – a podcast by Andrew Warner where he does insightful interviews with successful entrepreneurs.. Toptal are a regular sponsor of his show. They provide top class developers to entrepreneurs, and solve the recruitment problem. From what I can tell Toptal  competes on quality rather than price.

So talented Toptal Developers and entrepreneurs, what can I tell you about Kraków Poland?  

It’s more than the top outsourcing destination in Europe.

Many global companies have put RnD centres here. If you want to know about investment opportunities, and potential sources of clients, check Krakow Silicon Valley – Why not talk by Ramon Tancinco of Cisco , the OMGKRK portal and its group on Facebook Aspire and Open Coffee Krakow

OMGKRK Facebook April 2016

Although Google for Entrepreneurs has moved a couple of hours north to Warsaw, T-Mobile’s Hub.raum and other co-working centres lead a very dynamic Startup scene, and every startup needs a CTO and development team.

“We did not come here for cheap labour”  said Wojtek Burkot – when Head of Engineering at Google Krakow, “we came for Talent”. With EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition winner, Codewise, Estimote – world leader in iBeacon tech, Brainly – a leader in social learning, and Base leader in Mobile CRM, Kraków is bursting with high profile startups. Azimo – valued in 2015 at US$100 million – is here too. Innovation Nest, led by Piotr Wilam – founder of Onet.pl Poland’s Google/Yahoo hybrid supports the startup community

There area plenty of opportunities, plus Krakow is reckoned to be one of the top places in Europe to live – and visit for tourists which dynamic nightlight, numerous restaurants, lovely old town as well as the booming economy.

Come on over – Toptal visitors. If you are an entrepreneur – it’s a serious place for business as well as a great place to live and work. If you are a freelance developer and want to be somewhere cool, relatively inexpensive and fun while working for global clients, Krakow is awesome from April-October. If you are looking for “cheap developers” it’s the wrong city.
Krakow is great value for money, a good place to find clients, investors, business partners,people and technology, but not cheap.
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by Richard Lucas March 2016

Most of the information in this article comes from an interview with Jenny Chen of WalktheChat  (details below). Thanks to her for sharing her time.

 

WeChat

WeChat is a leading mobile Chinese Social Media platform which combines the features of many of the most popular global social media and e-commerce platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Skype.  As the name suggests –  the basic function is Chat but  users can also have a website, pay a bill, book a taxi, make a phone call (from January 2016 to landlines and mobiles), buy and sell, and play games. The mobile aspect is very important. For many users it is their gateway to the internet. Companies have official Wechat  accounts. Games are big in China, and a lot of their users are gamers. The last time WeChat published figures they had 650 million active monthly users.

WeChat is relevant for both B2C and  B2B businesses. Although it is primarily for the Chinese market, a lot of Chinese users living in other countries use it.  Users can use WeChat Wallet to transfer money among friends without transaction fees.  WeChat charges 0.6% transaction fee for businesses collecting money using WeChat payment.  For more detailed and impressive information about Wechat read here

A Wechat store can be set up for free, and as many users never leave WeChat this is pretty obvious move if you want to reach clients in China.

Five free and popular stores are  YouShop (微店)www.weidian.com/ Youzan (有赞/口袋通) http://youzan.com/ JD.COM (京东微店) Lewaimai 乐外卖 www.lewaimai.com/ and  VD (V店) http://www.vd.cn/ for full analysis of the features of each read an  excellent review here

Foreign brands can struggle to market on WeChat.  Great content is important.  Applying the same marketing strategy as on Facebook and Twitter accounts isn’t going to work.  Promotional content can easily leads users to unfollowing the WeChat account. Content has to be of direct benefit to users to be effective.  There are tremendous challenges to keep content relevant, brands should identify the main influencers among their readers, and give them access to VIP groups,  providing services like package tracking,  loyalty cards, and ordering systems to keep followers engaged and using the site. They should  target readers by gender,  geography and their reading preferences, they should  work on article design, using surveys to make sites more interactive and to better engage users. Sometimes it is better to build a presence on less competitive platforms and then migrate to WeChat later. more detail about this topic here

The Chinese market is one of the biggest in the world and highly competitive. As with other countries consumers appreciate value for money, high quality and keen prices. At the same time expensive wine in top venues in major cities can be over 10K Euro for a bottle. Big spenders still exist, even after the crisis.  For companies whose products are suitable for the Chinese market, a store on WeChat may well be part of their market entry strategy.

WalktheChat helps foreign companies establish their presence on Wechat.  It was was established Thomas Graziani,   a Frenchman living in Beijing, Jenny Chen joined the board shortly after.  WalktheChat has been effective in finding its own clients through content marketing, a high quality blog, a good website, and get found through SEO and Google searches. They also ran viral marketing campaigns on Wechat account which are highly effective. Their services are viewable here www.walkthechat.com

Check out Bohan.pl for more information about doing business in China