February 2016

I just created a new Google form to recruit business partners, following a conversation with my friend, business and squash partner Pawel Nowak.   Will it work ? I don’t know. Below is the introduction  you will  read if you click on it.. to read the questions as well, you need to go to the form itself

Feedback welcome

Co founders/entrepreneurs/partners for Richard Lucas

Why this form?I realised in February 2016 that I don’t have a good co-founder recruitment process. I’m known as an angel investor, and entrepreneur. I don’t often get people approaching me wanting to be a co-founder. I am ready to contribute time money experience and contacts to new ventures I am involved in, so this form is designed to encourage people who want to be my partner or co founder get in touch.

if you don’t know who I am check me out here
http://richardlucas.com/about-2
https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardhlucas
(if you are an Eddie Izzard fan take the opportunity to re-watch the Death Star Canteen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma3a7hqZer4

It is extremely difficult to profile a co-founder. If I look at the people I am in business with they vary tremendously. And as in attraction, love and relationships just because I might want to be in business with someone, doesn’t mean that they will regard me as being a suitable partner.

You are likely to have at least some of the below characteristics.

• high levels of motivation and energy
• excellent/reasonable/acceptable interpersonal skills,
• creativity
• self confidence,flexibility, tolerance, open mindedness. I’m internationalist in outlook. Patriotism is fine, nationalism and intolerance absolutely not.
• a willingness to “get your hands dirty”. To do work needed rather than just describe it.
• ability to communicate in English, other languages a plus.
• willingness to learn, to start solving a problem by spending an hour or two on Google before wanting to hire an expert.
• A willingness to try and take on new challenges.
• Generosity.
• High expectations of yourself and other people.
• Good communication skills
• Toughness -the ability to take hard decisions
• Curiosity about the way the world works
• Good at Time management, self organisation and getting things done
• intolerance of waste, interest in getting things done well as effeciently and quickly as possible
• Ambitious. a desire to build work on something great. it doesn’t have to be a project with the scale of of Space X or Tesla (though why not?) but if we are doing a shoe repair business, let’s aim to make it the best run, most efficient and profitable in Europe.
• Profit orientated. A business that is not aiming to make a higher rate of profit than the average, as much if not more than the best companies is not interesting. Being cheaper than the competition may be a strategy, if our costs are lower. but if we are better then we should be able to prove it by charging more. If you for example – want to start a bar, and you don’t know how much bars like the one you want to set are making, you have not done you homework. The profitability of businesses can be found out, if you don’t know how, ask me.
• be able to code, or manage developers. It doesn’t mean that we won’t pay for development, but a technical co founder can bring the ability to spend money wisely.

• common sense.

Money. It’s great to know if you have got some savings. All too often the mind set of technology start up-ers is conditioned by years of grants and competitions. They want to rewards of their own business without ever experiencing the financial risk of failure. Of course someone who has 2 kids and 10,000 złoty in savings, is not in a position to put in significant amounts of cash, but on the other hand, to be in that position at all,  shows they know how to manage their money. it’s a plus. And I know they will work like crazy to succeed.Many of the successful entrepreneurs I know started with their savings, or money borrowed from friends or family who expected their investment to be spent carefully. Many ventures which started with “easy money” from me or others have ended up with the founder and me losing time and money. The ability to learn fast and think is more important than previous experience, People with motivation and commitment tend to pick up experience as they go through life. If you have no experience of anything what have you been doing between the age of 3 and now?

Richard Lucas January 2016

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

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

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

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

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

both episodes are musts – listen to Rasheeda here 

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

Derek Sivers' "First Follower" TED talk

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

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

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

Thank you messages

Ghana Code Club showing printed hand outs

Ghana Code Club showing printed projects

BBC World Service show presented by Bola Mosuro

Thanks on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

As of January 2016,

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

Curriculum

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

Challenges

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

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

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

Laptop instead of projector

Laptop instead of projector

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

OUR NEEDS

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

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

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

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

Conclusions

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

Richard Lucas   March 2017

Introduction

Wedding photography is a business like any other. The rewards go to those who are focussed,  professional and work hard. Much the information in this article is based on listening an impressive podcast “For Wedding Photographers by Louis Torres. The great thing about Louis is that he is a real live breathing walking talking practicioner. He bases his advice on his own hard work and experience.

http://louistorres.com

Many of my Polish readers are not so aware of the wonderful world of English language podcasting (there just aren’t enough listeners in non-global languages but English language podcasting is full of gems).

The Podcast on iTunes.

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

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

Some of his recommendations are just common sense and obvious, but important.
– don’t just be punctual, be early. Get to your venue an hour before you are due. Park, and wait, walk in exactly when you are expected. You can read a book, even listen to his podcast.  It leaves you time for a flat tyre, transport delays.
–  don’t charge for a wedding – if you are first timer.   “only”  $500-1000 is way too much to charge if you are inexperienced.
His advice for those who are getting started: Do you homework, research, prepare, practice, get the right equipment, and then do weddings for free for family, friends or people who don’t have a budget, Do your best,  but don’t promise to be something you are not. Build your portfolio so that you can base first paid offers on experience and references.
Here are some of his tips and ideas if you are already photographing weddings.
Focus on your relationship with the happy couple. Of course they want someone professional, but also friendly, nice, respectful and funny.  This starts from way before the wedding, from first contact, maybe at Bridal Shows, to discussions and feedback about the plan for the day, to the day itself, post wedding communications and delivery of photos in whatever format has been agreed.  The photographer’s experience should lead to advising clients to take the right decisions. They don’t have the experience,   the photographer does.
Get those shots done. On the day, the couple may want the photographer to wait and not take photos at particular moments,  but Louis advises that the photographer should  take the photos anyway. The situation you want to record may never arise again, a key family person may be missing, leave early, No one will remember that you were told to wait. Get the shots when you can.
Show some photos on the day itself During the wedding,  use meal breaks to process and post some photos on social media like Facebook pages. Have a stand and a big monitor/screen where you can show some of the photos in an elegant slideshow. Bring more down to the party in the evening.  The couple, their family and  guests will love to see the photos right away, will be impressed by your speed and professionalism.  Each wedding may have couples who are engaged, who are very likely to ask you for a business card. You will pick up more clients.
There are numerous other episodes covering issues like how important it is to focus, time management,  tools for processing, editing and distributing photos, contracts, deposit payments.  I have no doubt that if I had time to listen to more I would know much more. You can learn about important industry events, his recommended vendors of complementary products and technology tools., If you want to learn about wedding photography  this podcast is a great place to start. You get the wisdom and experience of a successful straight talking American professional.

http://louistorres.com/forweddingphotographers/why

As Simon Sinek TED talks fan knows, the most important question is  Why.  Louis takes the time to answer that too.

There are  lessons in this podcast and hopefully this blog post –  for a listener who knows nothing about photography, and doesn’t want to be a wedding photographer too.

For everyone –  work hard, push and educate yourself, learn how to sell what you do, be friendly and nice to your clients. –  heck iTunes for podcasts about the areas you want to learn about. It won’t be a waste of time, and a hat tip to the remarkable Louis Torres
Richard Lucas January 2016
What I don’t know, why it matters, and the importance of knowing the right questions to ask
I spent a serious amount of time looking for answers to questions that are relevant to the businesses I am involved in, or researching business projects. If I find what I am looking for, I forward it on with a few comments to the person to whom it is relevant. Other times, I can’t find what I am looking for, which means an unsolved problem.
My search for answers is also inefficient because along the way I find out facts,  issues, problems and ideas that are new to me,  meaning that I distract myself with my own curiosity, and often have new business ideas.
My process involves Google (and learning how to search Google well is a skill – that – like others – can be improved), Googling people I hear on the radio,  all kinds of social media,  Linkedin, Youtube, Slideshares, Investor  information sections of listed companies, Trade Associations, Event speaker, attendee and exhibitor lists, this list is long.
When I cannot find what I am looking for I sense an opportunity. If what I want to know is valuable, the value of knowing it may be high (or perhaps worthless:-))
Years ago, a startup magazine called Proseed published a column where I acted as a kind of “Agony Aunt” to entrepreneurs.   I am not so arrogant – I hope-  as to share my “wisdom” about everything I read.  If I don’t have something to say it is better to stay quiet.   Derek Sivers shares his notes about the books he has read and recommends on his excellent blog – but he is successful with some excellent and hugely popular TED talks behind him, not to mention his business success with CD Baby which he sold for US$20 million.

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

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

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

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

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

Richard

A Quora question here  provoked this Sunday morning article.

Richard.
Q What does the startup community need from Campus Warsaw? 

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

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

3  Support pro-entrepreneurship movements like Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. be interviewed on projectkazimierz.com   🙂

13. encourage angel investors

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

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

Richard

Richard Lucas August 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard  Lucas

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

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

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

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

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

See More

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

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

Estimote in Piotr Wilam's TEDxKrakow talk

Estimote in Piotr Wilam’s TEDxKrakow talk

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

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

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

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

“that was a great experience”

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

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

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

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

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

“Everything was perfect ! :)”

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

“It was a very interesting and diversified event.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Great event! For sure worth spreading!”

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

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

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

Everything was alright

“it was motivating event. Great job guys !”

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was awesome !!! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

it was very impressive “

“It was great”

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

“It was a nice friendly, local event.

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

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

 

 

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

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

24th June 2015

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

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

Richard Lucas

Ashton Kutcher @ Teen Choice Awards

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

Ashton Kutcher

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

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

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

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

Tesla’s 1891 Wireless transmission of power and energy demonstration

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

Innovation form

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

April 2015

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

hi

Answers in the text below.

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

Richard
Szanowny Panie,

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

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

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

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

Szanowny Panie,

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

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

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

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

Jerzy Sadecki

Richard Lucas –  21st March 2015

Introduction

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

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

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

This is what he said.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final comments

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

My TEDxWarsaw notes about the talk

My TEDxWarsaw notes about the talk

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

 

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

 

 

March 18th

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

The main objectives of the announcement were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me tell you how and what to do.

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

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

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

 

A leader needs the guts...

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(laughter, chaos and lots of hugging)

Good, thank you: Go out and Evangelise for TED

thank you very much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Back to the blog. …… Continue reading

Richard Lucas February 2015

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

feedback as always welcome
 
Richard

Richard Lucas February 2015

update – May 19th 2015

Podcasts are live. both off the website and in iTunes.
www.Projectkazimierz.com

www.Projectkazimierz.com

Project Kazimierz in iTunes

Project Kazimierz podcasts in iTunes

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

February 2nd 2015

Introduction

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

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

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

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How startups got started

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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