I was looking for an presentation on an old hard drive and found this –  I wrote it in 2008, edited in 2010. There has been a lot of  progress in the last 5 years,  but much of this is still relevant, and this is a project that will never, ever be over and done with. It’s curious how some of the topics and websites that were relevant back then are just gone now.

Richard Lucas November 4th 2014


Goal 1. Improve school business links in Poland, learning from the experience of Oaklands Secondary School and others. (See Appendix  How to run a school-business partnership). Use free of charge open networks like www.Goldenline.pl  and www.nasza-klasa.pl  in Poland and Facebook internationally to encourage alumni of schools and universities to interact with current staff and students

Nasza-Klasa has come from nowhere to being almost the most popular web site in Poland and is obviously an ideal platform on which to launch interaction between schools and their alumni.


It is hard to co-ordinate and manage voluntary activities, so I propose not trying to, but instead facilitating open networks and infrastructure which facilitates low/no cost learning and voluntary activites.  Obviously there are circumstances where someone has to take responsibility when children are being cared for, but this can be solved case by case by drafting appropriate guidelines.

  1. Leverage Poland’s participation in Global Enterprise Week (November 2008) to be a spring board for advancing the  cause of enterprise education in Poland. http://www.unleashingideas.org/

    3. Facilitate the development of programmes like those at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) in Cambridge  like Ignite, and Enterprise Tuesdays in Poland

    4. Use existing networks and technology to gather and develop free resources to help with enterprise education projects, probably using Connexions

Connexions  http://cnx.org/aboutus/


Develop sustainable low cost know-how spreading and activity supporting infrastructure. The ability to mobilize large numbers of people very quickly in Poland for voluntary activities is remarkable, take the examples of http://www.wosp.org.pl/ and now www.Nasza-Klasa.pl


There is plenty of course material available. Finding good teachers and coaches may be more of a challenge.

This would create the possibility of modular input into existing projects and courses.  Parents participating in making presentations to the school their children attended in Poland would be motivated to think that their materials would be available free of charge for anyone anywhere in Poland.

5. Promote awareness of low cost social lending projects like http://www.kiva.org/ in Central Europe and Russia

6. Use no cost volunteering programmes like http://www.socialedge.org/ in Central Europe and Russia to get people in to help, but also develop local resources.. You may be more aware of the NGO situation here than I am. In Cracow there is a thriving Malopolskie Centrum Wolontariatu.  http://ogloszenia.ngo.pl/ the Volunteering group on the Polish networking site http://www.goldenline.pl/grupa/wolontariat-w-teorii-i-praktyce


  1.  Leadership entrepreneurship summer camps project, like www.Youthcan.org
  2. Develop a roster of “entrepreneurship evangelists” in Poland like Guy Kawasaki and others who can give compelling talks about business to Polish school children





Appendix 1 Winchester College revamps its careers service


Dear Richard,

Thank you for your long and interesting reply.  There are things in there I must think about.  With the turmoil of Christmas nearly upon us, would you mind if I replied in more detail in the New Year?

An old member of my house lived in Cracow for a year, teaching English.  It sounds a very lovely city.  Eastern Europe is one of our hoped-for destinations some day but I’ve got to retire first!

With best wishes,

David Baldwin


From: Richard.Lucas@pmrcorporate.com [mailto:Richard.Lucas@pmrcorporate.com]

Sent: 18 December 2007 09:20

To: Baldwin, David

Cc: Karol.Kolt@pmrcorporate.com; Nicholas.Scott@pmrpublications.com

Subject: RE: entrepreneurship and careers


Dear David


Thanks for the speedy and detailed reply. It is obvious you’ve done so much that I wonder how much I can add. I hope I am being this productive when I am 65.


A few comments and ideas


  1. Have you thought of asking the director of the Crown and Manor club if they are interested in having volunteers from your network give support to the Youth Club in London? It will be easier for London based OWs to visit Hoxton than Winchester, and certainly those involved in business could give some valuable insights. Self employment in some ways has big advantages for those without a strong CV. I am planning to write anyway, but  obviously the amount of support I can give is limited due to geography. (By the way, its 1000 miles, not 2000 from Cracow – Winchester)


2 I write about business topics for a blog, magazines, and our own web sites, and am interested in the spreading of good ideas and best practice, I would like to write up your experience as an article (on the brave assumption that it is best practice). It seems to me you have achieved a lot in a short period, and many schools could learn from it .  If you are ready to facilitate this, I would come back to you later, with a series of questions.


  1. I remember Rupert Younger – he was my exact contemporary. I do remember you as well, though sadly not that much of what you taught me.
  2. Web Presence Getting information about what you are doing, and copies of presentations onto the Win Coll Careers web page would make sense in terms of making the presentations available to those who cannot attend, or are interested but don’t qualify, and reduce your workload by reducing the number of enquiries about what you are doing,  if you have a contact with the College Webmaster it should be very simple to set up.
  3. I need to review my other commitments before promising to come, but at first sight it looks as if March 14th might be feasible. I’ve pencilled it in to my diary.
  4. Internships at PMR  – This isn’t a firm commitment, because I am not the final decision maker, but at PMR we might have placement for 6 months (or longer) based in Cracow  in either international sales/marketing or for report and web portal news journalism, article writers and authors. If they were native level speakers of languages other than English this would be an advantage.  I will discuss this with colleagues next week.   Other companies I am connected to also might be interested in anyone who can write software, particularly anyone interested in Ruby on Rails/Agile RAD environment. Anyone who has the drive and commitment to consider living and working in Cracow Poland independently for a while, could write to me directly.
  5. The Pembroke College Parmee prize awarded GBP1000 to one student and GBP500 as a runner up. I don’t know if you are planning to follow the format of the TV program exactly, but there were various features of the competition that made a positive difference (like having an internet exchange of information about business ideas in advance via an internet forum). If you want me to review the format you are planning and make suggestions, I’d be ready to do that

best regards



“Baldwin, David ” <djb@Wincoll.ac.uk>

12/13/2007 01:56 PM

To <Richard.Lucas@pmrcorporate.com>
Subject RE: entrepreneurship and careers

Dear Richard,

Thank you very much for responding to the note in the Alumni Newsletter.  It has been quite productive. Thank you too for offering to be of assistance.

Since taking on this job only last year, I have introduced two careers events a year, plus a business awareness seminar. The latter used to be done by one of the many outfits offering this sort of service – it was becoming very expensive and the people they sent were a bit past it.  So, with the assistance of the wife of a colleague who is quite high up in retail marketing, we set up our own intro to the world of business.  I got hold of two OW entrepreneurs (Rupert Younger and Colin Howman, both of whom had been with me in Chawker’s) who talked about their own experiences and the boys taking part were then set the task of making a business pitch. For this coming term, I have the services of two more OW entrepreneurs and we will give the boys more freedom to choose what they wish to pitch for and will run a sort of Dragon’s Den with the entrepreneurs forming the jury.

We also arrange visits from various big finance institutions when the opportunity arises – we had Deutsche Bank here last term explaining how a big bank works and they have offered to have a party up to visit the trading floor.

The two careers events are pitched at boys in the Lower Sixth (VI2) in March (14th   4 to 6.30 p.m.) and the third year (GCSE – Vth Book) in June (20th    2 to 4.30 p.m.).  I have managed to amass a very diverse range of speakers from OWs and present parents and my aim is to give the boys insights into all sorts of professions in addition to the usual bankers, financiers, accountants, lawyers and medics.  These will also be represented, but I have managed to get hold of archaeologists, journalists, broadcasters, an actor, a theatre designer and entrepreneur, someone from the Navy and the Army, an architect, hopefully some ex-gappers and so on – almost an embarrass de richesses.  The format is a carousel of 18 or so speakers, from which the boys choose to listen to 3 or 4, each talk/presentation to last no more than 25 minutes, but the whole thing followed by refreshments at which the boys can meet the speakers more informally and feel freer to ask questions.  This worked well last summer.

Further to this we have also built up a bank of people who can help find work experience for boys seeking to do it, and we do stress the importance of doing so.  And I recently asked for further help on this from present parents.

We also offer preparation for SATs, a commercial outfit (Kaplan) does this, a weekly law course, and interview guidance from two different outfits, about which I still reserve judgement. I shall be going to look at alternatives this coming year.

We still offer the ISCO/Morrisby psychometric profiling which is done in Vth Book.  It sometimes comes up with some good things for the boys but the main thing is to get them thinking about themselves and their aspirations.

Another part of my job is university entrance and for this we have visits from American universities, the occasional Oxbridge college and other universities. I oversee the university application procedure.

So that is the state of play.  I am sure it could be improved, but I think we offer a pretty good service.  There is a good careers/university library full of brochures and guidance leaflets and boys come and go all the time, asking for advice.

I came back out of retirement to take this on, but I shall be 65 next June and may have to go.  I might however stay on for one more year, so hope to put a few more things in place by then.

If you are interested in contributing to one of the careers events, or coming to do a presentation of your own, which I am sure we could fix up, then please do let me know.  I would be delighted, if it could be possible, even though you are coming 2000 miles.  Is that still Poland or is it now further than that?

I look forward to hearing back from you.  I shan’t be in the office much more now, but still look at my e-mails from home.

With best wishes for the season,


David Baldwin, Head of Careers/UCAS, WinColl

From: Richard.Lucas@pmrcorporate.com [mailto:Richard.Lucas@pmrcorporate.com]

Sent: 13 December 2007 04:52

To: Baldwin, David

Subject: entrepreneurship and careers


Dear David


I saw you were interested in contact with OWs who could talk about their professions. I’ve been doing this for a while, most recently in Cambridge http://www.careers.cam.ac.uk/sectors/camconnect/entrepreneurship1.asp


I’d be more than ready to come to Winchester at some stage during 2008. My particular focus in self employment and entrepreneurship.I do work shops, and training, and was on the panel of judges for the Parmee prize at Pembroke College a few weeks ago. as described here:



You can see some information about the businesses I established in the attachments, and examples of materials of talks I’ve given.


I also wrote an article about internships that would be relevant to gap year  http://www.pmrcorporate.com/internships.html


I am interested to know what you and the school are doing at present in terms of enterprise education, with respect to business and social entrepreneurship.


There was very little education of this type when I was at Winchester 1979-84. I remember two talks in the 5 years I was there, one from a local Winchester company called something like Magnet which made Portakabins, the other an “industry day” where someone from Shell came in to give a talk. Both made a great impression and influenced me a lot, but I could have benefitted from much more.


We could have a discussion by e-mail about what the most useful things I could do are-  given that I live 2000 miles away, I would like to make the visit as productive as possible.


I look forward to hearing from you. We can have a discussion by e-mail or perhaps talk on the phone once I have a better idea of the current state of play for careers/enterprise education at Win Coll



 Appendix 2 How to run a school-business partnership

By Michael Skapinker

Published: December 3 2007 19:38 | Last updated: December 4 2007 03:19


Tower Hamlets is the most deprived borough in London and the fourth most deprived area in England.

Oaklands secondary school, which nestles amid rows of Tower Hamlets public housing, has all the marks of deprivation, too. More than half the pupils are eligible for free school meals. The majority speak a language other than English at home.

Which all goes to show how little bald facts tell you. The east London streets are spotless as I make my way through them one recent rainy afternoon.

The students emerging from Oaklands look cheerful, as they should. A school inspector who visited the school in September described Oaklands as “outstanding” – the highest grade that the school inspectors ever award.

The inspection report said behaviour at the school was “excellent”. Social, moral and cultural education were “outstanding”. Lessons were “well-ordered, stimulating and harmonious”. The head teacher led the school with “openness, insight and clarity of purpose”. Although the students arrived at age 11 with “below normal levels of attainment”, they left at 16 with results above the national average. The school’s “value-added” – the degree to which students progressed during their years there – put Oaklands in the top 3 per cent in the country.

The inspectors also commended the school’s “creative relationship with a large City bank”. Lehman Brothers has been working with Oaklands for 10 years. Many companies have adopted schools, but this school appears particularly successful.

On the day I visit, Oaklands is throwing a party to celebrate the first decade of its link with Lehman Brothers and I have come to ask what makes for a productive partnership between a business and a school.

Patrice Canavan, who is in her third year as head teacher, says Oaklands was in pretty good shape when she arrived. The reasons for Oaklands’ success are uncomplicated, although difficult to achieve: clear and well-enforced standards of behaviour, a pleasant physical environment and high aspirations.

Her task, she says in a rare bit of management-speak, is to take the school “from good to great”. Because life is not a fairy story, Oaklands still has work to do. The inspection report said that the most able students did not perform as well as they could.

Peter Sherratt, vice-chairman of Lehman Brothers in Europe, has chaired the school’s governing body since 2001. Lehman staff help in classes, mentor students and teach them job interviewing techniques. The school holds its Saturday morning pre-examination revision classes at Lehman’s offices at Canary Wharf.

I ask Ms Canavan and Mr Sherratt what the main ingredients of a good school-business partnership are.

First, says Mr Sherratt, the school must lead and the business partner follow. The teachers are the ones who understand education. The bank provides what the school asks for.

Second, you have to look for areas of shared culture. This might seem a stretch when talking about an investment bank and an inner-city school, but it helps that Lehman’s ethnic mix, with 60 nationalities at Canary Wharf, is even greater than Oaklands’.

Third, you need to produce tangible results. Mr Sherratt says the Lehman staff can see how well the school has done since they have been involved.

Fourth, says Ms Canavan, students must see both sides working together. When the inspector asked about Lehman, she says, the pupils talked about the bank “as though they were a department at the end of the corridor”.

Finally, says Ms Canavan, there is “filthy lucre”. Mr Sherratt estimates Lehman has invested about £500,000 in the school over the decade, although he says the real contribution is Lehman staff time. The money supports the school’s aim of broadening the students’ horizons. Using money from Lehman and the British Council, Ms Canavan took a group of students to Beijing. She plans to take a group to New York.

There is an unspoken aspect to this, too. The school is smart and freshly painted. Ms Canavan dresses like, well, an investment banker. At the reception to mark the decade of partnership, there are no plastic cups. There are proper glasses with soft drinks and wine, and the canapés are the sort you get at Canary Wharf. The message to the students is clear: none of this is beyond you.

There are a few speeches. Sofian Amrani, a former Oaklands pupil who plans to join Lehman when he finishes his economics degree at Queen Mary college, London, mixes with the kids, teachers and local dignitaries.

A choir of girls and two brave boys sings a song by R. Kelly: “If anybody asks you who I am, just stand up tall. . . and say, I’m that star up in the sky, I’m that mountain peak up high, hey, I made it.”

You need stiff self-control to remain entirely dry-eyed throughout this performance and your correspondent didn’t quite make it.  Appendix 3 Europe’s school books demonise enterprise

By Stefan Theil

Published: January 8 2008 02:00 | Last updated: January 8 2008 02:00

-There has been much debate over the ways in which historical ideology is passed on to the next generation – over Japanese textbooks that downplay the Nanjing massacre, Palestinian textbooks that feature maps without Israel and new Russian guidelines that require teachers to acclaim Stalinism. Yet there has been almost no analysis of how countries teach economics.

In France and Germany, schools have helped ingrain a serious aversion to the market economy. In a 2005 poll, just 36 per cent of French citizens said they supported the free enterprise system. In Germany, support for socialist ideals is running at all-time highs: 47 per cent in 2007 versus 36 per cent in 1991. In both countries, attempts at economic reform have been routinely blocked by a consensus against policies considered “pro-market”. Might some of this be traced to the ideas instilled at school? In a project for the German Marshall Fund, I analysed French, German and US high-school curricula and textbooks for their coverage of the economy, the welfare state, entrepreneurship and globalisation.

“Economic growth imposes a hectic form of life, producing overwork, stress, nervous depression, cardiovascular disease and, according to some, even the development of cancer,” asserts Histoire du XXe sie , a text memorised by French high-school students as they prepare for entrance exams to prestigious universities. Start-ups, the book tells students, are “audacious enterprises” with “ill-defined prospects”. Then it links entrepreneurs with the technology bubble, the Nasdaq crash and massive redundancies across the economy. Think “creative destruction” without the “creative”.

In another widely used text, a section on innovation does not mention any entrepreneur or company. Instead, students read a treatise on whether technological progress destroys jobs. Another briefly mentions an entrepreneur – a Frenchman who invented a new tool to open oysters – only to follow with an abstract discussion of whether the modern workplace is organised along post-Fordist or neo-Taylorist lines. In several texts, students are taught that globalisation leads to violence and armed resistance, requiring a new system of world governance. “Capitalism” is described as “brutal”, “savage” and “American”. French students do not learn economics so much as a highly biased discourse about economics.

German textbooks emphasise corporatist and collectivist traditions and the minutiae of employer-employee relations – a zero-sum world where one loses what the other gains. People who run companies are caricatured as idle, cigar-smoking plutocrats. They are linked to child labour, internet fraud, mobile phone addiction, alcoholism and redundancies. Germany’s rich entrepreneurial history is all but ignored.

A typical social studies text titled FAKT has a chapter on “What to do against unemployment”. Instead of describing how companies create jobs, it explains how the jobless can join self-help groups and anti-reform protests “in the tradition of the East German Monday demonstrations” (which in 1989 helped topple the communist dictatorship). The text concludes with a long excerpt from the platform of the German Union Federation, including the 30-hour working week, retirement at 60 and redistribution of work by splitting full-time into part-time jobs. No market alternative is taught. FAKT blames unemployment on computers and robots – a recurring theme in the German books.

Describing globalisation, another text has sections headed “Revival of Manchester Capitalism”, “Brazilianisation of Europe” and “Return of the Dark Ages”. India and China are successful, the book explains, because they practise state ownership and protectionism, while the freest markets are in impoverished sub-Saharan Africa. Like many French and German books, it suggests students learn more by contacting the anti-globalisation group Attac.

It is no surprise that the continent’s schools teach through a left-of-centre lens. The surprise is the intensity of the anti-market bias. Students learn that companies destroy jobs, while government policy creates them. Globalisation is destructive, if not catastrophic. Business is a zero-sum game. If this is the belief system within which most students develop intellectually, is it any wonder French and German reformers are so easily shouted down?

The writer is Newsweek’s European economics editor. Reproduced with permission from Foreign Policy #164 (January/February 2008) www.foreignpolicy.com. Copyright 2008, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Newsweek and the anti enterprise culture

Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 11:21:43 +0100
From: “Stefan Theil” <stefan.theil@newsweek.com>
Sender: st.theil@googlemail.com
To: RL <richard.lucas@richardlucas.com>
Subject: Re: demonizing enterprise
X-Google-Sender-Auth: 5420278cbd2a93a1

Agree on all counts.


There’s a new project for a global Enterprise Week / Entrepreneurship

Week, which you might want to tie into. JA Poland would know about it,

otherwise check Enterprise Insight or the Kauffman Foundation.


On Jan 15, 2008 11:17 AM, RL <richard.lucas@richardlucas.com> wrote:

> Great, thanks,


> There is a lot for me to review.


> There is no point in un co ordinated actions not taking account of the work

> of others


> I am talking to a voluntary group in Ukraine about leadership and enterprise

> summer camps for school kids they have been doing to see if they can be

> replicated.

> A key issue is how to teach these things when they are compulsory, or

> whether such initiatives can only work when they are voluntary. The evidence

> in your article suggests that compulsory negative education is going on at

> the moment so presumably complusory positive education could work


> If there are subjects like the British PSHE which leads into citizenship

> type training in other countries , at least have a debate about enterprise

> could be a start… The issue is very hot because all countries are forced

> to think about their identity and values now thanks to issues of terrorism

> etc if this is an opportunity to get iniative and enterprise onto the list

> of European values, it should not be missed.


>  Best regards


> Richard



> At 11:06 AM 1/15/2008, you wrote:



> Richard, thanks for the links. Here are two more articles I’ve done on

> the subject. I worked with Junior Achievement European HQ in Brussels,

> DG Enterprise at the EU commission is active in this, and the Brits

> are doing a lot, e.g. Enterprise Insight, which has Gordon Brown’s

> backing. Also check out what’s going on in Norway and Denmark. In

> Germany, there are various private sector groups going into the

> schools, including the Banking Association and IW Koeln / Junior

> Projekt (the German branch of Junior Achievement).


> Cheers,


> S.



> On Jan 15, 2008 10:51 AM, RL <richard.lucas@richardlucas.com> wrote:

> > Hi

> >

> > Thanks for getting back to me so fast. I’ll keep you up to date with my

> > initiatives in this area.

> >

> > re:the basics of entrepreneurship.

> >

> > There is something like this that I heard about from the Polish office of

> > Junior Achievement.

> > www.junior.org.pl

> >

> > You could try contacting their Director Zbigniew (Zbyszek) Modrzewski

> > zmodrzew@junior.org.pl

> >

> http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GZHZ,GZHZ:2007-33,GZHZ:en&q=Zbigniew+Modrzewski+JAI

> >

> > He told me a few years ago that schools have trouble delivering on this

> > aspect of the curriculum,

> > my knowledge about this will be less than his.

> >

> > Is there a web page where I can read what you have written on this

> subject,

> > and are you aware of any organisations or individuals who are making an

> > effort to address the anti business bias you have identified?

> >

> > My idea is to develop a network of allies and organisations, who are doing

> > things towards promoting social and business entreprise, give a platform

> to > > views such as yours, and challenge representatives of Ministries of

> > Education > > in countries with “pro business” governments to change the curruculum, or

> at

> > least insist that students be told about alternative sources of opinion

> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6vjrzUplWU

> > it won’t be easy, but it is worth trying.

> >

> > I wonder if companies could be persuaded to devote their CSR budgets to

> this > > sort of thing. most CSR is captured by a CSR industry. my views of CSR are

> > here

> > http://www.pmrcorporate.com/Corporate-Social-Responsibility.shtml

> >

> > Thanks/regards

> >

> >

> >

> > At 09:59 AM 1/15/2008, you wrote:

> > Dear Richard,

> >

> > Thank you for your feedback and interest. I’d be happy for you to link

> > to the article. Let me know if I can help you with anything else.

> >

> > I actually have a question for you: I’ve been told that Poland now

> > requires, as part of the regular high school curriculum, a one year

> > course that covers the basics of entrepreneurship. Do you know

> > anything about that?

> >

> > Thank you and best,

> >

> > Stefan

> >

> > —

> > Stefan Theil

> > European Economics Editor

> > Newsweek | Chausseestrasse 5 | 10115 Berlin | Germany

> > Tel. +49 30 8870-9426

> > stefan.theil@newsweek.com

> > On Jan 15, 2008 7:58 AM, RL <richard.lucas@richardlucas.com> wrote:

> > > hi

> > >

> > > I am a businessman living in Poland involved in enterprise education

> among

> > > school kids on a volunteer basis and  found your recent article in the

> FT

> > > very thought provoking

> > >

> > > I am considering taking some action to lobby to change the situation you

> > > described, and wondered if I

> > > could

> > > a) get permission to link to this article, use it when appropriate

> > > b) ask for your advice and involvement in an advisory capacity. I don’t

> > know

> > > if I will get any money but I won’t ask for much in terms of your time.

> > >

> > > If you are interested, I will write to you in due course with more

> > > information about what I plan to do,

> > > and would look forward to your constructive critical feedback

> > >

> > > thanks/regards

> > >

> > > Richard Lucas

> > > Skype lucasrh gsm +48601400058

Appendix 4 – the case for enterprise education

Never too young to be an entrepreneur

Published: November 21 2007 02:00 | Last updated: November 21 2007 02:00

From Mr Carl Schramm



Sir, Peter Thal Larsen posited an intriguing question in his recent column about the venture capitalist Sir Ronald Cohen: “Is it realistic to suggest that large numbers of people can become successful entrepreneurs? Surely most of the population does not have the skills or drive to set up a business, and is probably better off sticking with a safe job?” (“An evangelist for the risk-takers”, November 8.)

It is difficult to answer the question properly because too many people are never introduced to the possibility of being entrepreneurs. And Sir Ronald identifies a key reason: the lack of entrepreneurial role models for young people. While both US and British school-children are taught about the great inventors of the past – from Newton to Edison to Einstein – they are less frequently introduced to the living, breathing innovators of today. People such as Bill Gates, Pierre Omidyar (the founder of Ebay), and Sir Ronald are ground-breaking business leaders who built successful enterprises when they were not far out of school themselves.

Teaching entrepreneurship to young people, by example and through practical experience, is essential to spurring economic growth and technological advance, as well as addressing a host of other challenges, from alleviating poverty to eradicating disease to developing cleaner energy supplies. We need the young leaders of the world to put their creativity and ingenuity toward meeting these goals.

Next year’s first Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 17-23 2008, has just been announced. It is an effort that builds on successful American and British programmes bringing enterprise training and education to young people. The goal of Global Entrepreneurship Week will be to connect and inspire potential entrepreneurs around the world, with the simple message that one is never too young to be an entrepreneur.

Success in this endeavour will mean that more of the globe’s population will possess both the skills and drive to leave safe jobs behind and chart their own path to success. We will all benefit in the process.

Carl Schramm,
President and Chief Executive,
Kauffman Foundation,
Kansas City, MO 64110, US

Evangelist for risk-takers

By Peter Thal Larsen

Published: November 7 2007 23:09 | Last updated: November 7 2007 23:09


Entrepreneurs have rarely enjoyed a more prominent position in the British popular imagination. Not that long ago, the ruling classes looked down on the self-made man (or woman). Today, successful entrepreneurs are feted in the media and the fruits of their efforts documented in newspaper “rich lists”.

Television shows such as The Apprentice have dramatised the cut and thrust of corporate life while making household names of Donald Trump and Alan Sugar. Other programmes, such as the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, fuel the notion that almost anyone can have a go at setting up their own business.

Sir Ronald Cohen, one of the founding fathers of the British private equity industry, is well placed to tap into this trend. As co-founder of Apax, one of Europe’s largest private equity groups, he is a successful entrepreneur in his own right. The nature of that business means he has spent several decades observing and working alongside entrepreneurs backed by Apax.

Now he has tried to distil those lessons into a book. After stepping down from Apax on his 60th birthday in 2005, he initially embarked on the project as a way of passing on some parental tips to his child ren, aged 20 and 16. But he now sees it as a kind of handbook for the budding entrepreneur.

Speaking at the London offices of Portland Trust, the foundation he has set up to promote economic development and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, he says he was not attracted by the idea of writing an autobiography: “I wanted to write the book that I would have found useful when I was 26 and starting out,” he says.

Polished and deliberate in conversation and with the faint trace of an accent, he argues that entrepreneurs can benefit from uncertainty and by anticipating trends. This is summed up in the book’s title – The Second Bounce of the Ball – a phrase originally coined by Maurice Schlogel, the first chairman of the company that became Apax.

Sir Ronald’s own background provides plenty of material. He was born in Cairo in 1945 and fled to Britain with his parents, following the Suez Crisis, at the age of 11. Although he did not speak a word of English on his arrival, he excelled at school in London, winning admission to Oxford university and then to Harvard Business School. After a brief spell with McKinsey, the management consultancy, he left at the age of 26 to set up an advisory firm with some of his Harvard classmates.

That business eventually became Apax, which backed successful companies such as Autonomy, the search company, and PPL Therapeutics, the biotech group that created Dolly, the cloned sheep.

Through Apax, Sir Ronald pioneered the development of the venture capital business in Britain. However, he suffered setbacks along the way. Within a few years of setting up the business, his original partners had quit. It also took him almost a decade to establish Apax as a venture capital business and overcome widespread scepticism to raise his first fund.

Today, private equity groups have become buy-out specialists pursuing mega-deals that have little to do with identifying or backing entrepreneurs. Even Apax recently announced it would stop making early-stage venture capital investments.

But Sir Ronald still thinks today’s 26-year-old could find new opportunities in the business. He points to healthcare venture capital, investing in distressed debt or exporting the model to other parts of the world: “There are going to be fantastic private equity firms built in China,” he says.

He is also a fervent believer in what he calls social entrepreneurship, the application of business ideas in the charitable sector.

Yet the premise of the book invites a question. Is it realistic to suggest that large numbers of people can become successful entrepreneurs? Surely most of the population does not have the skills or drive to set up a business, and is probably better off sticking with a safe job?

Sir Ronald acknowledges that not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It requires a state of mind that encourages people to look for opportunities. “It’s the urge to do your own thing that leads you to look for the opportunity. It’s seldom the opportunity that leads you to decide that you should do it.”

But he also believes that a greater number of people could set up their own successful businesses than are doing so today. With an enthusiasm that borders on the evangelical, he lists the advantages of being an entrepreneur: the satisfaction of doing your own thing, the benefit of not having to take orders from others and the greater rewards than are available through paid employment.

So why are more people not taking the plunge? The first problem is the lack of suitable role models. “In Britain we’ve tended to have the role model of the crafty, shrewd business person that saves every penny and somehow cuts corners, or, at the other end of the scale, the role model of the mad inventor,” Sir Ronald says. “I don’t think we’ve had the role model of people who can build businesses. What the book is all about is what it takes to build a substantial business from scratch.”

The book is honest about some of his mistakes. Apax chose not to invest in James Dyson, inventor of the eponymous vacuum cleaner, who went on to create a successful business. Sir Ronald also describes his involvement with Sir Clive Sinclair, the technological entrepreneur whose ability to come up with innovative new products was not matched by his management skills.

Above all, Sir Ronald believes potential entrepreneurs are being put off by a fear of failure that persists in Europe. He agrees that the perception of risk-taking in Britain has changed. He points to the outcry over the British government’s decision to change capital gains tax rules as evidence of the greater influence of small businesses. But he still believes Europeans are less accepting of risk-taking – and the likelihood of failure – than their counterparts in the US.

Yet it is only by embracing risk that entrepreneurs can hope to succeed. “The key lesson from the book is that you only become really successful if you can take advantage of uncertainty,” Sir Ronald says.

“You can’t really make a huge success out of a market that is totally transparent for everyone to understand what it takes to be successful.“

‘The enemy within’: when Sir Ronald weighed in to the tax debate

Sir Ronald Cohen has stayed out of the spotlight for most of his career. This year, however, his public profile was raised after he weighed in to the UK debate over the taxation of private equity.

In June, he suggested that larger private equity funds should pay a higher rate of capital gains tax, a move that prompted Jon Moulton of Alchemy, the private equity group, to describe him as “the enemy within”.

Sir Ronald subsequently warned about the social tensions that could arise from the growing divide between rich and poor.

His statements have been given added weight by his perceived political influence: he is a prominent donor to the Labour party and is close to Gordon Brown, the prime minister.

But his stated opinions have also opened him up to accusations of hypocrisy. Sir Ronald’s fortune, estimated at about £250m (€360m) ($530m), has been boosted by the favourable tax treatment of private equity. He has also faced persistent speculation about his own tax status, a subject he refuses to discuss.

Since leaving Apax in 2005, Sir Ronald has devoted his time to Bridges Community Ventures, which invests in companies that will bring social benefits, as well as spearheading a proposal to use dormant cash in UK bank accounts to finance the creation of a new social investment bank.


Appendix 5 delivery via University careers advisory service

Colloborative creativity and enterprise education


Charles Leadbeater talks here http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/63

About the power of users getting together to enhance content. This is very relevant, as if

School children and students can collaborate with teachers and business people in an open source open network format there will be much more gain than. The power of education where the course material is generated by at least some of the users. This is particularly relevant to teaching about entrepreneurship, because there is no defined set of rules.  The other idea is the power of open networks, where we facilitate the creation of value among alumni of programmes such as Szkola Liderow, and School enterprise projects

Richard Lucas 3rd November 2014

“Okrągły stół nauki i Start-Up’ów z NZSem” Niezależne Zrzeszenie Studentów AGH

It has long been a matter of regret that the fabulous engineers of AGH so seldom show up in the pro entrepreneurship and start up community, so hats off to Maciej Tyrała and Monika Wawryniak of the AGH Students’ Association for organising a round table to bring business and technology students together.

I’m doing this summary so the ideas and initiatives are available to a wider world. Here are links to the ideas and projects presented. Apologies for any errors

AIP http://aipkrakow.blogspot.com Sebastian Kolisz

Open Coffee Krakow www.ockrk.co/faq
Open Coffee Krakow summary https://richardhlucas.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/open-coffee-krakow-2nd-october-2014-at-google-for-entrepreneurs-krakow-summary/
TEDxKazimierz www.facebook.com/groups/315044671995229/
AGH Entrepreneurs Association
‎Krystian Meresiński

Woman’ s Entrepreneurship Day – Krakow https://www.facebook.com/events/1486450731603977
Joanna Formella

Business Speed Dating www.facebook.com/events/295466683972852/
Richard Lucas

Innovators’ Summit www.facebook.com/events/800321643323784/
Change Leaders Foundation

Biometr http://www.biometr.agh.edu.pl/aktualnosci

AGH Racing https://www.facebook.com/aghracing


my business partner Alex Schey led this project http://www.racinggreenendurance.com


AGH Junior -> http://www.agh.edu.pl/en/agh-junior/ promotion of AGH and tech to school kids

KNE – Koło Naukowe Elektroników http://www.kne.agh.edu.pl bee tracking
Wojciech Sojka

For Polish readers, here is the invitation
Szanowny Panie, w imieniu Niezależnego Zrzeszenia Studentów Akademii Górniczo-Hutniczej mam ogromną przyjemność zaprosić Pana do udziału w spotkaniu roboczym “bez krawata”, pt. “Okrągły stół nauki i Start-Up’ów z NZSem”. Chcielibyśmy razem z Naszymi gośćmi ustanowić płaszczyznę porozumienia między dwoma ważnymi, a często zbyt odległymi obszarami – nauką i przedsiębiorczością. Wielu młodych ludzi nie wie, jak połączyć obie te dyscypliny i – zaczynając od tego spotkania – chcemy to zmienić. Z tego powodu przy okrągłym stole pragniemy między innymi zaprezentować gościom najnowszy projekt organizowany przez NZS AGH – Konkurs Konstrukcji Studenckich “KOKOS”, oraz oddać go pod dyskusję. Wydarzenie odbędzie się w poniedziałek, 3 listopada o godzinie 17:00 w sali 110 w budynku B2 na terenie kampusu AGH.
Ramowa agenda spotkania: 17:00 – Otwarcie spotkania. Prezentacja założeń projektów KOKOS i WP. Przedstawienie założeń inicjatywy Kraków Miastem Startupów. 17:15 – Krótkie (do 3 minut) prezentacje działalności zaproszonych gości. 17:30 – Prezentacje wybranych projektów studentów AGH. 18:00 – Dyskusja na temat promocji postaw przedsiębiorczych i możliwości komercjalizacji twórczości naukowej studentów. 18:30 – Część nieoficjalna. Rozmowy kuluarowe.

Zaproszeni Goście: Marcin Bielówka – Fundusz Zalążkowy KPT
Piotr Wilam – Innovation Nest
Richard Lucas
Rafał Kunaszyk – Eurokreator
Sebastian Kolisz – Akademickie Inkubatory Przedsiębiorczości
Dr inż. Katarzyna Klimkiewicz – Wydział Zarzadzania AGH
Dr inż. Dominik Kowal – Centrum Transferu Technologii AGH
Mateusz Krawczyk – Uczelniana Rada Samorządu Studentów AGH
Marta Dendys – Studenckie Towarzystwa Naukowe, Przewodnicząca Krajowej Reprezentacji Doktorantów
Dorota Jeziorowska – Studenckie Towarzystwa Naukowe

Jesteśmy przekonani, że Pana obecność wzbogaci Naszą dyskusję i pomoże w realizacji tego jakże ważnego celu.
Z wyrazami szacunku,Maciej Grzegorz Tyrała PS. Uprzejmie prosimy o potwierdzenie swojej obecności na spotkaniu.
Maciej Tyrała
Wiceprzewodniczący ds. Promocji
Niezależnego Zrzeszenia Studentów
Akademii Górniczo-Hutniczej

26 announcements and projects  

by Richard Lucas


A busy  Open Coffee Kraków this foggy morning. Paweł Majka from the Krakow City Government’s enterprise support department came. This is very good news.  We hope it is the start of a trend.    Only about 15 people at 08:00 but 43 by the time the meeting closed.   If I made mistakes or left you out apologies.. a blogger volunteer would be welcome. I explained the rules and idea. (more detail here  ) everyone can have 1-2 minutes: Telling others present   who you are,  where you are from, what you are doing, what you want, how we can help you and what you can offer. The introductions to everyone stops and networking happens at 09:00. English preferred, Polish OK. We welcome foreigners in Kraków,  have a historical role as a trading centre, and are against nationalist, xenophobic trends West and especially East of Poland).  It’s no problem if you are not an Entrepreneur, or a Geek. Geeks and Entrepreneurs are welcome. Anyone positive minded is welcome, whether investor, employer/employee, future business partner, clients, suppliers or someone who just wants to promote their project. People who make it by 08:00 in the morning to our events  – which start on time –  are a step or two ahead. Here is what was shared this morning and we had the pleasure to host:

Rafał Samborski CEO at Elner, Project Manager at Unico Software have 7 restaurants in Krakow and one in Warsaw using their Android App. “I’m CEO of Elmer. We’re Krakow startup that’s going to change the way we communicate with restaurants.looking for seed funding”

Joanna Formella OpenCoffeeKRK Volunteer, native German speaker. She is looking for speakers and workshop organisers for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

Pawel Kołodziej IT Project Manager at Serwisy branżowe xtech.pl Sp. z o.o. wrote “I’m a member of board at xtech.pl, i’m looking for marketing advisor, a person who will share knoledge with xtech.pl.

4 and also looking for exciting projects for our IT team see it.xtech.plhttp://www.automatyka.pl  http://it.xtech.pl

William Shaw told us about his English language psychotherapy and relatoinship councilling practice and his free workshop  here  http://william-shaw.com

Richard Lucas told about http://www.ambasadakrakowian.pl/ as a great place for NGOs and volunteers to host events and..

7 described the Wintrepreneurs meeting he hosted in London last week in Google Campus using Open Coffee Krakow format. Wintrepreneurs page here

Paweł Majka  from the President of Krakow’s office attended. Have local government officials responsible for  supporting enterprise attending our meetings is something that is very welcome.

Sue Młeczko told us about her involvement in international education and how she is looking for a new project here in Kraków

10 Bogusia Luka works for Uniwersytet Dzieci (the Children’s University) and is looking for schools to use their new products  http://www.scenariuszelekcji.edu.pl

11 Marzena Wieczorek writes “I’m a director of ProActivate Ireland, an NGO from the West coast of Ireland

Marzena is looking for experienced project managers to partner with/ she runs projects for http://www.proactivate.ie

12 Marta Ryłko Open Coffee Krakow founder – talked about the Lifetramp.com career testing platform, and  13 Brainly.com. Brainly closed a US$9 mln investment round  and is hiring.  www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/brainly-expands-to-us-with-9m-venture-funding-led-by-general-catalyst-279269232.html

13 Tomasz Ozon Embedded SW Developer Hardware and software engineer looking for projects to join to. involved in this Tram Simulator  http://pclab.pl/art42115.html

14 Łukasz Siatka volunteer at  Open Coffee Girl Geek Carrots many events told us about  http://devfest.pl  15 zloty  8th November – He’s a sound designer, sound engineer, OSX86 scene developer, workstations (mobile and desktop) builder Music producer and sound effects designer for products (videos, games, etc.), events co-organizer & helper GDG Dev Fest 2014 Krakow Co-Organizerhttp://devfest2014.pl

15 Richard Lucas talked about the TEDxKazimierz team and informatino meeting he is hosting this evening at JCC in Kazimierz at 18:00. Find out and be invited to the meeting here   He is organising TEDxKazimierz and looking for TED and TEDx fans who want to help make it happen. launch meeting goals, team building explain vision roles, tasks, to dos. If you cannot make and you are interested in in helping, let him  know. Hope to facilitate joining by Skype and Hangout

TEDxKazimierz will serve the Kazimierz community, giving great people, ideas and projects in Kazimierz a global stage, while bringing inspiring, relevant or/and wonderful people, ideas and projects to Kazimierz. TEDxKazimierz will aim to serve and build community among TED and TEDx fans in the area, and be an event that enables people who want to share, learn and contribute to Kazimierz to strengthen their existing connections and forge new ones. The event will be run in the spirit of TED, of the free voluntary sharing of ideas worth spreading and all team members should enter into the spirit of co-operation with other team members, other TEDx-s in Krakow, Poland, and around the world.

16 Daniel di Gusto  North Star  Consulting  keen to get involved startup community.  Running Start-up Mintia.com, Pitch2 Program – B2B sales training on 14th-15th November http://pitchprogram.pl/ Krakow Tech Park

17 Antonina Sudnik :-( brought two Ukrainian software guys Titania and Alexander from Ukraine  who have a CRM software for pharmacies business.

18 Richard Lucas said that we are committed to supporting Ukrainians as best we can.

19 Kamil Łopata talk about new special offers from Colab.pl co working space includign low cost high speed translation from  http://turbotlumaczenia.pl and the

20 http://startupclass.samaltman.com Monday evening viewing events they are hosting, and

21 Colab Open Coffee meetings

22 Piotr Szczesny SME advisor at Poznanski Park Naukowo-Technologiczny is in Krakow for few days and would like to meet creative people. He works in inqbator.pl in Poznań.

23 Konrad Głowacki is building a low cost  SLS 3d printer. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_laser_sintering

24 Richard mentioned the cool new Zortrax 3D store opening last week

25 Darek talked about the Smart Med community of people who are into medical technology he is building  https://www.facebook.com/BigIdeas.SmartMed

26 Anna Godek-Biniasz New Media Manager at Zetha Media has new mobile projects and wants to help Polish startups enter the UK market via  their website http://www.polishexpress.co.uk

by Richard Lucas



This was the 3rd Wintrepreneurs meeting we’ve held, and the first on the 3rd floor, the first documented meeting, and the first with a guest speaker –  Angel Investor of the Year – Peter Cowley. Many thanks to Laura Jenkins and the Google team for providing the venue. The format of our meetings continues to be work in progress.

We will keep the meeting open to all positive minded comers, and to have the main value based on input from participants, as per Open Coffee Krakow values.

We certainly want to encourage the support of (legal) entrepreneurial activity at the school.

If someone wants to take a lead on helping organise the next meeting probably mid December – Christmas meetup – get in touch with me and/or Ed.  There are always things to do:

Volunteers for posters, welcoming, tidying up, writing blog posts, photos, managing events. If someone wants to help with our webpage  we will be grateful. We want to keep the events low cost  “near free” so we are not in hock to boring sponsors who drone on and on….    With an all volunteer team –  and no one charging expenses, the cost of drinks etc was about GBP80 and we got GBP47 from the collection. Sponsors are welcome of course and will be thanked.

You can join our Facebook group here  our Linkedin Group here and sign up on our web page too.

Here is the summary of who said what –  (errors and omissions expected)

Ed Neale sold his delicious and great value  Barigaldi pasta and asked for input into his Brazilian garment venture – and co hosted the event, managed the clean up afterwards.

Adam Martin talked about his revolutionary 3 D printed tubes and marbles “Everyone can code” initiative for teaching programming in UK Schools which have a requirement but not the means do do so. There is a legal requirement in all UK schools to teach coding and his 3D printed kits are a new approach to making it happen

Adam Martin -  of Everyone can Code.

Adam Martin – of Everyone can Code.

Don Allen talked about his TV production business idea Which I like TV only better QuakQuak – it’s just like TV. But better.

Andrew Atter  Managing Partner, Executive Dialogue Ltd Founder of Pivomo, a provider online mentoring tools for entrepreneurs.

Patrick Schneider Sikorsky is doing corporate due dilllgience services and looking for opportunities

Chris Wacławec talked about Estimote –a world leading iBeacon company that has investment from Eric Schmidt (as well as me:-) Maybe we can do an event with Estimote?

Alex Powell talks about  the Sportshero App a fantasy sports betting platform without involving money.

Tom Davenport talked about his recruitment platform

Pawel Jaworski   is looking to develop an App for scientific conferences

Bill Orme  co-founder & principal of V1rtue, helping stop #fails since 2014. We Keep Social Media #Social. Virtue mitigates the risks of accidental or inappropriate uses of social media for Corporates, parents and college graduates looking for am advantage in the labour market

Chris Wheatcroft Tech Club Manager at Angels Den  is putting on an OW Entrepreneurs Guild pitching event at The Oak on Monday 26th January at 6:30pm  in a similar format to the event at Fruit Towers (Innocent HQ) last year.  There will be four companies pitching for investment or contacts and an opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and investors. If you know OW entrepreneurs who would like to pitch please let him  know.

Carl Heimdal   – www.babydino.com – baby e-commerce

Richard Valtr - Mews Systems - Hotel Software and Hotel guide app

Richard Lucas talked about the TEDxKazimierz event he will be organising next year. on the look out for inspiring  people projects or ideas of relevance to this historic area of Kraków

Peter Cowley angel investor of the year gave a keynote talk.

Richard Lucas October 2014


I met  Łukasz Krasoń  at the TEDxWarsawSalon on the 15th September organised by Agata Dziekań and the TEDxWarsawSalon team.


Łukasz on stage with his wife Gosia, (hosts Agata Dziekań and Mateusz Nowak to the right)

He got a standing ovation for his quiet and compelling talk (in Polish) with the title “stop complaining” Apart from wanting to learn more about his story, I also heard about his dream to travel the USA next year. I felt sure  that by putting this interview up in English, and spreading news of it in the TEDx community,  I might help  find potential hosts and speaking opportunities for him in America. It does no harm to try (if you are interested, leave a comment below or get in touch with my via the TEDx network).

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 21.31.19

Łukasz on the TEDxWarsawSalon event page.

RL Please introduce yourself, who are you, what do you do and where are you from?

ŁK: My name is Łukasz Krasoń and I am motivational coach and speaker. I am a citizen of the world, who came into the world in Poland in 1988. My mission is to inspire people to act.

RL: When did you decide to become a public speaker and work to motivate others ?

ŁK: I decided to become a motivational speaker in 2012. When I was still living in Barcelona I got a ticket to a weekend Conference that took place in Madrid. It was there, after listening to a 30-minute speech delivered by the main speaker, that I felt my mission began to become crystallise. I have always felt that I would do something good for others, for the world and for myself, but only then did I understand that this something was to inspire people to act.
RL:How did the thought first come into your mind ?  Did you have an inner voice telling you that “this is crazy!”? And if you did hear that voice how did you overcome it, and if you didn’t why not?

ŁK: Here it may come as a surprise, but I never doubted when my heart and was were first gripped by that vision to inspire people throughout the world. Just as when I decided to set off for Barcelona, the faith and desire to achieve my goal were so great that that „little voice” had no time to even make itself heard :)
RL:  When did you first hear about TED.com and TEDx. What was your first reaction?

ŁK:I first heard about the TED initiative before I had even discovered my mission, i.e. at a time when my personal development did not have the same priority in my life it has now. I lost my TED “virginity” when I heard Anthony Robbins’ speech, heh heh. I remember there was a time when we watched several speeches every day.
RL Why did you decide to give a speech at TEDxWarsaw Salon?
ŁK: The aim of the TED initiative is to spread ideas and thoughts worthy of people’s attention. I believe that our story and its content bring many positive things. At the basis of all happiness lies an acceptance of ourselves and a faith in the value which we bring to the lives of others. It was precisely this that I wanted to talk about at the TEDxWarsaw Salon and that is what I did :)

RL What are you most proud of in your life.
ŁK: If I were to choose one moment it would be the time I said “yes” to a certain text message, a message that led me and Gosia to move to Barcelona, which in turn was a key moment in my life.
RL: What did you find most challenging in given talks
ŁK: Hmmm, there are probably a number of things. Certainly, each speech has a different audience and I always try to adjust the way I convey my message so that it achieves the maximum effect. Answering spontaneous questions during the course of a speech is something I find very exciting. You very often face unexpected questions :),
However, the biggest challenge, not only when you are on stage, but also in life as a whole, is self-development. Every lecture and every speech teaches us something. It gives you the space in which to improve yourself as a person and your skills in knowing others.
RL: How did you get started with public and motivational speaking ? What was your first talk?
ŁK: That’s probably the first time anyone has asked me that question. I gave my first speech in August 2012 at a rehabilitation camp. I was there to improve my physical fitness with a group of boys I had been going with for many years. After Gosia had talked me into it I decided it was worth instilling a little joy and belief in their hearts. I talked about dreams and about the fact that regardless of our own circumstances it is we who shape our own lives.
RL: What tips would you give to other people who want to make speeches.
ŁK: There are many techniques and methods for giving speeches. You can learn how to begin in an interesting way and provide an unexpected conclusion. But what I believe is most important in a speech is honesty and authenticity. You can make things more colourful, but if you truly believe in what you say, such that even if woken up in the middle of the night you were still ready to subscribe to it with all your heart…. then you can reach out to human hearts and you really can change their lives.
RL: Do you write your own speeches down and learn them, or do you just know approximately what you are going to talk about?
ŁK: I prepare a template for a speech, thanks to which I know more or less which direction I will take, although it is very often the case that you end up having to change everything as you go along. I try to feel intuitively what the group needs, what values it expects and then I focus on those areas.
RL Tell us more about your American tour dream. Do you know why it is your dream ?
ŁK: We are flying to the States to Polish community there with the spark of inspiration. to talk about us and what happens when we stop complaining. When I was in the States for the first time in July this year I celebrated my birthday there, and I wished that day that I would have the chance to return to America as a speaker. And that dream has come true.
Why is this so important for me? I have adored American films since I was a child. I am fascinated by their variety and by the conviction that there is great potential lying in all of us. This “miraculous” world was, however, too far away then, impossibly distant. Today, however, I am ready to cross boundaries and turn the impossible into the achievable.
RL: What do you say when you meet someone who hasn’t heard of TED.com or TEDx
ŁK: I tell them that instead of going to school they should watch dozens of short films from the TED.com website, he he he. Obviously, that’s a joke, but the fact is that the speeches you find on TED.com are hugely inspiring. I will always encourage others to seek their own teachers.
RL: How do you decide who to give speeches to? Is it to everyone or do you have some criteria

ŁK: I only have one criterion: Coherency. My message is always very personal and positive. Hence wherever I speak I always take the same approach.

RL: Have you set up a foundation? What are its objectives, where does it get funding from and on what causes do you support?

ŁK:I have always liked to help people. When we first came up with the “Arise and Ride” Convoy project the idea of establishing a Foundation emerged along with it. First, because by creating your own logo, and second by possessing your own foundation, it becomes just a little bit easier to obtain funds. As regards funding, from the very beginning we put great stress on crowdfunding and it is largely through this source that the first “Arise and Ride” Convoy was able to take place. As regards the aims of the Foundation, they are an extension of the aims of my speech, i.e., to inspire people to act. I am a great advocate of the idea of the rod instead of the fish and that is what we do. Our projects broaden people’s awareness and we guide them towards developing themselves, encourage them to discover their own potential. This is quite clearly obvious from our name: “Arise” – be inspired, discover a new perspective on life, look positively at the world around you. And “Ride” – i.e. take the first step, overcome your fear of something new and make changes for the better.

RL How does Poland’s Catholic tradition impact on the way people engage with you ?
ŁK: I can only speak from my own experience. The message from the Bible is very simple in my opinion: enjoy life and allow others the same enjoyment. This is not always..

Thank you very much

(for non Polish speakers  Łukasz is pronounced ‘Woocash’ although saying Lucas or Luke is also usually OK)

Łukasz’s answers in Polish follow below

0 Please introduce yourself, who are you, what do you do and where are you from ?

Nazywam się Łukasz Krasoń i jestem coachem i mówcą motywacyjnym. Jestem obywatelem świata, który przyszedł na świat w Polsce w 1988 roku. Moją misją jest inspirowanie ludzi do działania.

1  When did you decide to become a public speaker and work to motivate others  ?

Decyzja o zostaniu mówcą motywacyjnym zrodziła się w 2012 roku. Jeszcze mieszkając w Barcelonie dostałem bilet na konferencję weekendową, która odbywała się w Madrycie. Tam po 30 min przemówienia głównego mówcy, poczułem że mój obrazek zaczyna być wyraźny. Od zawsze czułem, że zrobię coś dobrego dla innych, dla świata i dla siebie, ale dopiero wtedy zrozumiałem że tym czymś jest inspirowanie ludzi do działania.

2, How did the thought first come into your mind ?

3 Did you have an internal voice saying “this is crazy”  and if you did how did you overcome it, and if you didn’t why not?

Tutaj być może zaskocze, ale wątpliwości nie miałem kiedy moje serce i umysł ogarnęła wizja inspirowania ludzi na całym świecie. Podobnie jak podczas podejmowania decyzji wylotu do Barcelony, wiara i pragnienie realizacji celu były tak wielkie, że “little voice” nie miał czasu by się nawet zająknąć :)

4 When did you first hear about TED.com and TEDx. What was your first reaction?

Po raz pierwszy usłyszałem o inicjatywie TED jeszcze przed odkryciem swojej misji, czyli w momencie kiedy rozwój osobisty nie miał takiego priorytetu w moim życiu. Straciłem TEDowe dziewictwo podczas przemówienia Anthony’ego Robbinsa hehe. Pamiętam że przez pewien czas codziennie oglądaliśmy kilka przemówień.

5. Why did you decide to give a speech at TEDxWarsaw Salon?

Celem inicjatywy TED jest szerzenie idei, myśli wartych uwagi. Wierzę że nasza historia oraz treści w niej zawarte niosą wiele pozytywnych elementów. U fundamentów szczęścia leżą akceptacja samego siebie oraz wiara w wartość jaką wnosimy w życia innych ludzi. Właśnie o tym chciałem opowiedzieć na TEDxWarsaw Salon i to zrobiłem :)

6 You used your personal love story as part of your  “anything is possible” argument. Given that finding happy relationships and love is so hard even for the most motivated and kind people, is this not the one area of life where people don’t have control because it so much depends on  other people?

4. What are you most proud of in your life.

Jeśli miałbym wybrać, to byłoby to odpisanie “tak” na pewnego jednego szczególnego smsa, smsa który sprawił że wyprowadziliśmy się z Gosią do Barcelony, co z kolei było momentem kluczowym w moim życiu.

5. What did you find most challenging in given talks

Hmmm chyba jest to kilka rzeczy. Na pewno każde przemówienie ma inną publikę i staram się zawsze dostosowywać sposób przekazu tak aby dać maksymalnie dużo. Odpowiadanie na spontaniczne pytania, w trakcie przemówienia to również bardzo ekscytujący moment. Zdarzają się bardzo nie oczekiwane pytania :)

Największym jednak wyzwaniem na scenie, ale myślę że i w życiu jest rozwój siebie. Każde przemówienie czegoś uczy, daje przestrzeń do doskonalenia swojej osoby i umiejętności poznawania innych.

6. How did you get started with public and motivational speaking ? What was your first talk?

Chyba po raz pierwszy ktoś zadał mi takie pytanie. Moje pierwsze przemówienie odbyło się w sierpniu 2012 roku na turnusie rehabilitacyjnym. Byłem tam z grupą chłopaków, z którymi jeździłem od wieku lat podnosić swoją sprawność fizyczną. Po namowie Gosi uznałem że warto wlać trochę radości i wiary w ich serca. Opowiedziałem o marzeniach i o tym, że bez względu na okoliczności to my kształtujemy nasze życie.

7 What tips would you give to other people who want to make speeches.

Technik i sposobów przemawiania jest bardzo wiele. Można się nauczyć interesującego rozpoczęcia, niespodziewanego zakończenia, ale to co moim zdaniem najważniejsze w przemówieniu to autentyczność i szczerość. Pewne rzeczy można przekoloryzować, ale jeśli wierzysz w to co mówisz i nawet wybudzony w środku nocy jesteś gotów się pod tym podpisać… wtedy trafiasz do ludzkich serce i możesz realnie zmienić ich życie.

8  Do you write your speech down and learn it, or do you just know approximately what you are going to talk about?

Przygotowuje szablon przemówienia, dzięki któremu wiem mniej więcej jaką drogą będę podążał, jednak bardzo często już w trakcie procesu wszystko się zmienia. Staram sie ituicyjnie wyczuwać czego grupa potrzebuje, na jakie wartości czeka i potem kładę akcenty na te obszary.

9 Tell us more about your American tour dream. Do yo know why it is your dream ?

Lecimy do Stanów aby przekazać iskrę inspiracji Polonii tam mieszkającej. Opowiedzieć o nas i o tym co się dzieje kiedy przestajemy narzekać. Będąc po raz pierwszy w Stanach w lipcu tego roku, w dzień moich urodzin zamarzyłem by wrócić Ameryki jako mówca, właśnie się to marzenie realizuje.

Dlaczego jest to dla mnie takie ważne? Od dziecka uwielbiałem amerykańskie filmy, byłem zafascynowany tą różnorodnością i tym przekonaniem o wielkim potencjale czekającym, w każdym z nas. Ten “cudowny” świat był jednak tak daleko, wręcz niemożliwe daleko. Dzisiaj jestem gotów aby przekraczać granice, a niemożliwe zmieniać w osiągalne.

10 What do you say  when you meet someone who hasn’t heard of TED.com  or TEDx

Powiem by zamiast iść do szkoły odpalił kilkadziesiąt filmików ze strony TED.com hehehe. Oczywiście to żart ale fakt że ilość inspiracji płynąca z przemówień na TED.com jest ogromna. Zachęcać będę zawsze do szukania swoich nauczycieli.

11, How do you decide who to give speeches to? is it to everyone or do you have some criteria

Mam jedno kryterium: spójność. Mój przekaz jest zawsze bardzo osobisty i pozytywny, dlatego tam gdzie występuje przekaz również taki musi być.

12. you set up a foundation?  Why what are it’s objectives, where does it get funding from and on what causes do you support

Od zawsze lubiłem pomagać. W momencie kiedy zrodził się pomysł Konwoju “Wstań i Jedź”, równolegle powstała Fundacja, po pierwsze gdyż chciałem aby projekt był traktowany jako daleko idąca idea mająca swoje logo, a po drugie posiadając Fundacje odrobinę łatwiej organizować fundusze. Co do funduszy to od samego początku mocno stawialiśmy na croundfunding i poprzez to źródło w głównej mierze pierwsza edycja Konwoju “Wstań i Jedź” się odbyła.

Jeśli chodzi o cele Fundacji to są one swoistym przedłużeniem celów mojego przemawiania, czyli inspirowania ludzi do działania. Jestem wielkim zwolennikiem ideai wędki zamiast ryby i to robimy. Nasze projekty poszerzają świadomość ludzi i nakierunkowują na rozwój, na odkrywanie własnego potencjału. Nasza nazwa mówi o tym dość wyraźnie: “Wstań” – zainspiruj sie, poznaj nową perspektywę na życie, pozytywnie spójrz na otaczający Cię świat. I “Jedź” – czyli zrób pierwszy krok, przełam strach przed nowym i dokonaj zmian na lepsze.

13, How does Poland’s Catholic tradition impact on the way people engage with you ?

Pozwolisz że wypowiem się za siebie. Przekaz jaki idzie z Biblii jest bardzo prosty moim zdaniem, ciesz się życiem i pozwól cieszyć się innym. Nie zawsze jest to tak proste, ale zawsze jest to osiągalne. Postać polskiego papieża Jana Pawła II wywarła na mnie wielki wpływ. Dużo wrażliwości i empatii nauczyłem się właśnie od niego.

14  Which are your favourite TED talks and why ?

Anthony Robbins – Why we do what we do. Lubię Tonego i to w jak prosty sposób potrafi przedstawiać ludzkie zachowania. To konkretne przemówienie zawiera wszystko to czego poszukuję: zaczepny temat, uniwersalny przekaz oraz interesujące i zabawne wykonanie.

15 You met your wife on line on a help forum how long have your been helping in on line fora and why did you start doing it?

Tak jak już wspominałem odkąd pamiętam lubiłem pomagać, zarówno wcześniej kiedy byłem grafikiem komputerowym, tak samo teraz już jako coach i mówca motywacyjny. Wierzę że dobro wraca i dlatego pomagam na tyle ile mam możliwości i czasu.

16  What funny interesting and/or strange facts can you tell us about yourself than most people don’t know about ?

Hmmm może to. Ci co mnie znają wiedzą, że prawie w ogóle nie przeklinam, a wręcz namawiam do tego samego innych, ale nie zawsze tak było. W okresie największego buntu w liceum przeklinałem w co drugim zdaniu. Pamiętam że po śmierci Jana Pawła II w Polsce zorganizowano akcję w której młodzież do szkoły miała pójść w czarnych opaskach jako forma uczczenia jego wkładu w rozwój świata. Założyłem taką opaskę, ale też dodałem do tego postanowienie, koniec z przeklinaniem. Trzymam się tego do dzisiaj

17. If you were going to look back at your life and be proud of one thing you had done or achieved what would it be ? Some crowning achievement that might be written on your grave stone?

Od dawna towarzyszą mi slowa z Horacego – “zbudować pomnik trwalszy niż ze spiżu”, myślę że tym pomnikiem jest Konwój “Wstań i Jedź”. Wierzę że nasza idea dotrze do serc wielu ludzi na całym świecie i będzie jednym z elementów zmieniających świat na lepszy.

by Richard Lucas

16th October 2014 at Google for Entrepreneurs Kraków

A bustling and very international Open Coffee this morning, only about 15 people at 08:00 but at least 40 by the time the meeting closed.   If I made mistakes or left you out apologies.. a blogger volunteer would be welcome.

I explained the rules and idea. (more detail here  )

everyone can have 1-2 minutes: telling others present   who you are,  where you are from, what you are doing, what you want, how we can help you and what you can offer.

The introductions to everyone stops and networking happens at 09:00. English preferred, Polish OK. We welcome foreingers in Kraków – (we have a historical role as a trading centre). It’s no problem if you are not an entrepreneur, or a geek. Geeks and Entrepreneurs are welcome, but anyone positive minded is welcome, whether investor, employer/employee, future business partner, clients, suppliers or someone who just wants to promote their project. People who make it by 08:00 in the morning to our events  – which start on time –  are a step or two ahead. Here is who took the time to make announcements today and we had the pleasure to host:

1 Maya Joachim  one of the co-founders of FarmerFinder.com  -all the way from Australia –  looking for developers moved with her team to Cracow. (Smart move :-)

Joanna Sawicka   – the writer and social media caretaker :) If You wish the words to change the world (on Your website or company blog) I can help with that (copywriting, posts, articles – both PL and ENG). http://worldofchange.pl/

3 Łukasz Siatka one of our hero host ockrk.co volunteers told us about  http://devfest.pl and 4  http://designthinking.pl/design-thinking-week/

Samuel Cook told us about his  Digital Publishing Company http://prism-communications.com and other company  http://triathlonresearch.org can help with podcasts

6  Mike Pilecki CEO & Sound Designer at Mono StudioSound Design /startups / entrepreneurship   https://soundcloud.com/monostudiomusic told us about his sound company also looking for other opportunities

Madeline Betlehem is in Colab.pl til Tuesday with her healthy living food project

8  Konrad Pabianczyk Owner at K. WASP Consulting BlueSky Theorist, Innovator, Problem Solver, Entrepreneur, Consultant, Researcher, StartUps  Konrad is a American Pole  coming home  has ideas for a startup..

Fred Cox, CFA Brazilian, complicated background..  is with http://www.picturehouses.co.uk spends half his time in Krakow, told him about the iBeacon possibilities

10  Bart Czarnecki CEO at StagingMate Ltd. Winter is just around the corner… cannot focus on work… is looking for foreigners with garden centres to give input into http://www.zaprojektuj-ogrod.pl

11 Michal Smiałko told us about  http://www.prismake.com ex BASE CRM (one of Krakow’s best and most successful startups) does iOS apps, ready to talk to anyone interested in doing Apps one of the most engaged people in IOS community.  does cocohead(?)   and  AGHacks – the biggest students hackathon. And it’s coming next week :-)

12 Peter Braga  from Hong Kong/Canada represent investors from Hong Kong. ready to put in $20-250K to decent projects wondering about exporting Solar Panel Tech to Poland  has money :-)

13 Tomasz Ozon Embedded SW Developer  Looking for hardware & software projects to join to. Didn’t talk about his tram simulator.  Ready to help with hardware software projects

13 Alex Jaholkowski Graduate Student at Jagiellonian University From the US, studying in Krakow, coming up with a business plan to stay here  looking for help with  https://izi.travel

15 Przemyslaw Stanisz Co-founder and managing director at Mintia.com, Co-founder at NorthStarConsulting Pitch! 2 – effective sales training session http://www.web.gov.pl/programy_akademia_2014/710_4290.html

16 Ania Bywanis-Kwiecień UI/UX Designer at IBM, currently working on getting the HolePatchers project off the ground :) She told us about  http://holepatchers.com  –  it  did well at Hack4Good

17 Fred Murumaa CEO at Snowangel Specializing in passive income systems Looking for funding for a Taxi Hailing  App http://taxify.eu

18 Kamil Łopata running COLAB & KrakSpot  krakspot.pl/ http://colab.pl told us about forthcoming event 22nd October with  Piotr Wilam and Kamil Stanuch

19 Bartosz Rybski new business manager at j-labs looking for business opportunities…what’s up in startup community

20 Joanna Formella  looking to promote and help with Women’s entrepreneurship event 19th November

21 Richard (your host) talked about techsaturdays.com/pl/News NONFERENCE in two days with Rafał Styczeń, John Biggs from Techcrunch and an awesome speaker line up

22 and the fact that he has a licence for TEDxKazimierz and that anyone who wants to help make it happen should get in touch

by Richard Lucas

October 2014


MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) from organisations like Coursera are making available the finest University courses in the world for free to anyone who signs up. Part of the TEDx/TED.com phenomenon involves people getting together to watch and discuss TED talks both as part of TEDx conferences and TEDxCinema or Salon events. In September 2014 Y Combinator – one of the best known accelerator programmes for startups in the world –  launched  a  How to start a startup course  which encouraged viewing parties to assemble all over the world via a Global Facebook page with written Transcripts of talks  a Youtube Channel Recommended Readings for each talk,and a Startup Ideas/Projects database  on Reddit   Hundreds of viewing parties are taking place globally.

Getting together to watch and discuss  educational on line video is highly disruptive. It addresses one of the most basic criticisms of  MOOCs –  that participants miss out on the social experience and interaction of ‘normal’ education. Although Salman Khan memorably recounted  in his famous TED talk about Khan Academy how his cousins told him they preferred his Youtube  educational videos to him in person…  clearly critics have a point.   It is good to get feedback from other students and instructors (and have a social life :-) )

Y Combinator’s initiative is potentially disruptive and is an early large scale iteration among early adopters of a practice that will increasingly undermine universities as we know them. Why have hundreds of average lecturers delivering their content expensively  when the best in the world is available for free?  The current system is costly, inefficient  less good than well organised education based around online content.

However, it is not a foregone conclusion that self organising get togethers are good enough to compete.  Colab, a prominent co-working space in Kraków, Poland  got a group together – (see the Facebook event page here )  After the first session, a local blogger Paul Chen wrote somewhat critical comments here.  He argued later in an interview that that while Y Combinator may be a great Accelerator it is not experienced in education, that viewing parties can be improved through pro-active hosts, TEDxCinema type discussions in English, presence of startup community leaders and commentary by experts and many commenters said that Sam Altmann’s opening talk was not well delivered

As someone who has been deeply involved in trying to build community around TEDx,  startup community and other events for many years, I agree very much that good event design makes a huge difference to the success of online viewing parties. This article provides guidelines to improve the experience and  educational outcomes of on line viewing groups with a focus on Y Combinator, and is of relevance to all kinds of viewing events, such as TEDx Cinemas and Salons.

Overall  if the on line content is weak, you will struggle to make a great event. TED has raised the bar of what we expect from a talk. Chris Anderson gives a compelling talk about on line video here and there is no question that our expections are rising. Sam Altmann’s opening talk had good content, but was not delivered to  TED like standards.  Paul Graham’s was much better. So if you are organising  an viewing party event, choose your talks carefully.   So having ensured that the on line talks you are discussing are worth watching here is a 10 point plan

Be clear about what you are trying to achieve. The goals of the on line content creator must match yours up to a point but the reasons why you want to get people together to watch should be clear. Is it community building, networking, socialising, education, … that’s for you to decide.

  1. plan and implement pre-viewing party PR. How are you going to get the word out, encourage people to come.
  2. Build community and an event around the talk – otherwise you might as well just watch at home.   Follow the guidelines I wrote here   Organise ice breakers, make sure people talk to strangers, and interact with each other. It’s easy, and transformational.   Design thinking is important, from the moment potential attendees are made aware of your event through to their experience as they arrive at the venue. At TEDxWarsawPresidentialPalace Mateusz Nowak aimed to make sure that there was not an atmosphere of “the party is elsewhere” for those at the “viewing party”. It’s inevitable that this feeling may exist. The challenge needs to be accepted and addressed.
  3. Welcoming, registration and badging are important and should be done well. 
  4. Have a host – with relevant experience and skillswho introduces the talks, like is done at some TEDx-s, gives feedback about the talk and input into the  discussion, and facilities the user experience. TEDxKrakowCinemahas guest hosts for each topic. which provides for variety. If you are doing this, make sure the responsibilities of the host and you the organiser are clearly defined
  5. Educational aids for small and large group discussions. It’s hard to predict how this will go, but the more you are focussed on education the more tools like flip charts  marker pens etc are needed. 
  6. home work/action items. Encourage your host to suggest reading lists, home work, and action items (such as giving feedback, nominating hosts, helping out at future events.
  7. Social media during and post event  ask someone  take photographs to post on social media,  invite a  blogger to write an article, and people to tweet.
  8. Feedback of course ask attendees for feedback and what can be done better, and take note of it. 
  9.  Knowledge skills acquisition testing and attendance certification. Decide what if anything you are going to do, and then do it. This is an area where MOOCs have a lot of know how to share. and you have to decide if it is worth it.

In conclusion

If you do it at all,do it as well as possible. Feedback about this article welcome. Here is the powerpoint from my hosting of Monday 6th October event

by Richard Lucas 2nd October 2014
I don’t normally post meeting summaries of  Open Coffee Krakow meetings but today I am to show what a dynamic atmosphere we have here in Kraków, I noted 23 useful announcements.
meeting starting

meeting starting

Below is a summary of who presented what – apologies if I made any mistakes. I’ll correct them on request.
We’ve been hosting Open Coffee meeting with Marta, and Aliaksei for more than a year. We are happy and proud of our high value, low cost early morning events. Read about the events here
today there was a big turnout -over 50 people- with many late comers and lots of people who didn’t register. It’s not too late do it here ockrk.co   We start at 08:00 sharp, and it’s best to be there 07:45.
The one minute announcements 
1 Don form London is looking around into school entrepreneurship projects
2 someone not wearing a badge told us about his freelance video making platform http://quakquak.co.uk
3 Marta told us about her startup Dropsport  and her regular work at world class compnay Brainly
http://brainly.com  looking for web analytics
4 Michal Driebergen radio journalist from the Netherlands is making a report about Startups  for www.radio1.nl and was interviewing people
5 Łukasz Siatka  – one of our volunteers told us about the   www.producerslunchbox.com
6 Adam told us about a simple App  for restaurants including a calendar and guest book. he used to be a restaurant manager:  He will show us later.
8 Joanna told us about the Volunteer Appreciation event 3rd October in Pauza in Garden at 19 the Krakow Volunteer Appreciation Event and Afterparty If you know a volunteer invite them and come along to appreciate volunteers in Krakow
9 and she talked about Global Entrepreneurshiup Week  http://tydzienprzedsiebiorczosci.pl  and http://www.gew.co
and  10 her event on 19th November for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and
and  11 I mentioned the Business Speed Dating that will be part of the week. www.facebook.com/events/295466683972852/
12 Noam Lavi talked about Lavi Audio Designs
13 Dimas from Indonesia  – Brainly. Told us abut the amazing internet scene in Indonesia
http://www.similarweb.com/website/brainly.co.id  and his award  winning anti plagiarism site  with a cool domain
14 Tomek told us about his tram simulator  http://ats.d6team.com/?j=0 which has a market in  museum  and mass transport companies
15 he is looking for new clients from German for freelance IT programming
16 Michal is recruiting and told us abut Solar Winds  http://www.solarwinds.com and its cool culture
17 Paul looking for a girl friend <3 His Facebook profile is here 
18 I talked  KTP’s B2B Gielda from yesterday
19 We heard about language learning system Core and Quirks
20 Andrzej is our  photographer willing to do small projects for free but wants to make money
21 I told him about  http://zalamo.com/home
22 Joanna talked about https://mojapsychologia.pl and how it is moving into events. she wants a partner , and usability help
23 Gosia Holden-Dzik talked about her event
24.Join COLAB Open Coffee next Thursday http://colab.pl/events/opencof… and
we are at Zabłocie on 4 Romanowicza St. and 25    Y Combinator class “How to start a startup” on Mondays 6pm 
25  Paweł Brewczyński told Google the room was empty so they could lock  up and turned out  the lights

or “rejects are valuable”

rejected images

Richard Lucas September 2014


I’ve been rejected many times in my life and I still feel I am a valuable person.  I know many other people  who have been said “no” to by serious and important institutions and companies at different stages in their life. Many of them have done great things and are wonderful people.

This post aims to focus on the issue of why TEDx rejects (people who have applied to attend a TEDx and didn’t get in) are important, and makes suggestions about what can be done to  improve the current situation.


I remember how bad I felt about all the people we had to turn down when I was on the committee taking decisions about who got in to TEDxKrakow 2010.  This issue has not gone away, in fact it is possibly getting worse, as the popularity of TED and TEDx-s grows and grows, and the limits on numbers allowed to attend TEDx-es does not.  Just last week (September 2014) at a great TEDxWarsawSalon

Łukasz Krasoń at TEDxWarsaw Salon

300 out of every 400 applications was rejected – the TEDx licence was for 100 maximum.  TEDxWarsawSalon sent a polite message of regret to those who didn’t get in.   I don’t know if four applications for every place is normal, but even if one person is rejected, TED has an issue.   I discussed with the organisers my idea that more could be done, and here are my reflections.

The question is, whether it matters and whose job it is.  Within TEDx-es there is an issue of  priorities.   It is quite understandable that someone who has taken on the challenge of organising an event decides to put all their efforts into making the event good for the people who are going to be there.

I am arguing that the  issue  of “TEDx rejects” matters.   I was one of the lucky 100 who got in to  TEDxWarsaw Salon, but there were another 300 who tried and were rejected.  When I went to another excellent  TEDxWarsawSalon  in 2013 I remember meeting someone who told me  – “I’ve tried to get in twice before – at last I’ve been accepted. ” I’ve met people who have a negative feeling about  TED and TEDx as being elitist and exclusive because their only interaction with TEDx is failing to get a ticket to an event. Because I’ve been to so many events (four TEDxKrakow, +/-ten  TEDx Cinemas (about), Three TEDxWarsaws, Two TEDxWarsaw Salons, one TEDxWrocław Salon, Two TEDGlobals, Two TEDxKrakowLives. one TEDxKrakowCity.2.0) I know that TEDx-ers are not exclusive or elitist., but if you don’t get in you don’t know.

When Unilever, McKinsey and many other employers said no to me when I was job hunting back in the 1980s they always sent a nice letter saying “you  made a great impression, while we were impressed you didn’t quite meet our requriements good luck with your  job search”. If a company doesn’t want to employ someone, or an event is full, such rejection is inevitable.  In the case of TEDx-es –  there is something going wrong if anyone feels completely rejected. The main idea of TED and TEDx – is that there are “ideas worth spreading” for free –  Ideas cannot and should not reject people and therefore TED and TEDx-ers should not let people feel rejected either.

So how can  TED and TEDxs  address this?  TEDx s and TED conferences are limited either by space or licence – (TEDx- licences have limits on the numbers who can attend).  On line sharing of ideas  – which is how the majority of people interact and hear about TED is obviously not limited by space.  Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are never “full”. As TEDster Clay Shirky argues in his book “Here Comes Everybody”  thanks to the internet people can create, engage and be part of  communities without being part of a  local structure  – meaning that it is not just possible but in the case of TED quite likely that people who have a close emotional connection with TED feel positively hurt and upset when they are not welcomed with open arms even if the reasons are good.

It is understandable that the organisers of TEDx-s don’t feel this problem in the same way the rejects do. As Nobel Prize winner  Daniel Kahneman wrote in ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’    our rationality is limited by ‘availability”. If you don’t have the rejected person in front of you, you won’t think about him or her very much. Having been rejected in various contexts I am acutely aware of how it feels. TEDx-ers with licences, know how it feels to have a licence, and meet and interact  with people who they have accepted. Thinking about the rejects is possibly unpleasant.

At one level it is possibly can feel  “high status” to curate an event that is so popular that people cannot get in. The reasons that events are over subscribed is because of the power of the TED brand. Handling the over subscription/reject  issue well should be regarded as a challenge and responsibility rather than a sign of success.

There must be millions of people who would love to come to TEDx-es but who cannot due to their location,   job , financial situation,  relationships,  domestic responsibilities or even disability. It’s  natural to focus on the people who come. but the online invisible community is also out there.  For every Daria Musk who escaped from her remote location, and became a star  thanks to Google Hangouts, there are for sure many other valuable people who may never be able to engage with TED or TEDx face to face at an event .

So what can be done ?
My proposal is for TED to insist on having a high quality and radically improved rejection process..  It doesn’t cost time –  just an improved rejection letter, and I’ve drafted it already to make it even easier.   Below is a draft to deal with people who are not accepted for a TEDx  (the process of being rejected for a TEDx Licence,  as a potential volunteer or Team member  would be a bit different but  the numbers are much lower, and the  reasons may be good). I am sure the letter can be improved, and modified to local circumstances.  – for example the links could be to local webpages. The ones below are by way of example.

Draft Proposed TEDx  Rejection Letter


We regret to inform you that we are not giving you a ticket to our TEDx event.  We are really sorry. We hate the thought of saying “no” to someone who could contribute to and benefit from our event. We hope you understand and do not take it personally or as a rejection.  The reason is that our licence is only for x number of places, and we have received y number of applications (best not use this argument is there are 101 applications for 100 places). or ” Our venue only has space for X places and we received Y applications

There are a number of ways you can engage with the TED and TEDx community even if you cannot come to TEDx events. We encourage you to consider them all.  If you are active in the ways we suggest below for sure it may help with your applications to attend future TEDx events.  Here are some suggestions:

Here in our local area, apart from the  TEDx event you applied to, we are organising a … (TEDxOurplaceCinema, TEDxOurplaceSalon, TEDxOurplaceLive, Hackathon, Translatathon, OTP group,  Community meet ups, whatever)

You can sign up on TED.com  web site and take part in on line discussions  in the comment thread below each talk.

Go here  and search in your local area to see if there are TED fans in your town or village you know or can make contact with.

You can visit the TEDx subpage on  TED.com  to find other TEDx s in your area. Maybe you can volunteer to get involved in their existing activities.  Search on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Couchsurfing, Google groups, and your local national social media portals to see if there are TEDx groups there. Maybe you can get involved in local events, on and off line discussions and/or meet ups. In Poland there is a TED and TEDx Fans in Poland group   Maybe you can set one up, or offer to run such a group for your local TEDx.

You can appoint yourself a TED Social Media Ninja and post links TED talks you love that are relevant in on line forums you belong to.

You can get involved in the TED Open Translation Project  If you don’t know about it, watch Why I translate TED talks  Even if you cannot translate, you can do “same language subtitling” which is the first step to getting talks into the repository of talks that can be translated

Could you apply to be a TED Fellow? Check this out    Anyone can apply.

If you are a teacher or trainer, you can sign up for TED-ED  and learn how to turn videos into educational content.

You can organise unlicensed discussion meetups with TED talks  –  it’s worth checking with TED first – . Provided they are  free, in line with TED values and it is clear that it is not a TED or TEDx, it’s allowed. Here are some  examples of such events

TED talk, Pizza and discussion at Penn State University

TED talk, Pizza and discussion at Penn State University

In Kraków Poland TED talks were part of this event.  In Warsaw I organised an “Pre TEDx Warsaw meetup” as part of TEDsurfing  - the  TED and TEDx Travel and meetup club   At Penn State there were TED talk and a pizza discussion meetings.   The people who come might be potential team members to do your own TEDx.

Before TED Global in Edinburgh in 2012 I organised a small gathering of TEDx Fans and Couchsurfers here  (this may not be visible unless you are logged in to Couchsurfing)

You can organise an information meeting about TED and TEDx in your place of work or study showing talks about TED like  June Cohen’s here     The statistics are a bit out of date but the TED is even more popular now than it was back then. Showing such talks is a great idea if you are considering applying for a licence. If you show this talk that must be played at every TEDx then you just might end up forming a group to apply to do your own TEDx!!  We appreciate that watching video telling you how great being at a TEDx is. it may be a bit frustrating, given you haven’t got a place to ours.

We hope this message makes clear we are genuinely sorry we don’t have room for you this time,  we want you as part of the our TEDx community and encourage you to engage in as many ways as you can

In the startup community there is a commonplace idea that failure is good, or at least useful. “fail fast ‘ ‘failure is a valuable learning experience’  ‘The problem with Europe is that we don’t accept failure’. JK Rowling in her brilliant and moving Harvard commencement address even goes so far as to say ” It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all”.  Even if you are very disappointed we hope you won’t give up.

We are not happy that we don’t have a place for you. Please don’t think of yourself as rejected. We hope to meet you another time and to find a way in which we can work together for the ideals of of TED and TEDx. a global voluntary conversation about ideas worth spreading.

on behalf of your local TEDx team

curator or a named team member.

first name. second name

As an experiment I’ve set up a Facebook Group called the TED and TEDx fans, TEDx attendees and TEDx would be attendees group Please feel free to join.

Richard Lucas