Richard Lucas

1st October 2019

Yesterday evening the British Embassy organised an event in Krakow as part of a road show to inform British Citizens Living in Poland about the implications of a “no deal” Brexit.

The reason for this blog post is that the event was remarkable, unusual, impressive and terrifying. I don’t often go to meetings like this. I’ll describe what happened and give some commentary. The comments are my own.

How the event was described

The atmosphere
A friendly lady ticked us off a list (despite the warming that photo ID would be needed). When I arrived 15 minutes early there were about 30 people in the the room, a number which must have more than doubled by the end. There was no official welcoming, icebreakers (my TEDx eyes scrutinise every event carefully). I found a few familiar faces but most were strangers (I’ve often thought that unlike other national minorities there is no tradition of “the Brits” hanging out together in a place like Kraków. It was the first gathering organised by the British Embassy in Krakow for the British residents here since 1991 (with the exception of another “impact of Brexit” meeting I missed). It was remarkable to see so many completely new faces. The age range was from early 20s to 70s. The meeting started about 10 mins late for no reason that was explained, but it least it started within the appalling “academic quarter” – the idea that it’s “OK” to start meetings up to 15 mins late.

The atmosphere seemed matter of fact, sad and apprehensive to me.

Jason Rheinberg introduced himself, his team, and Polish officials from the relevant government departments including someone from the Border Police (which was thought provoking). My photo of Jason was back lit – there is a better photo of him here.

The officials (British and Polish) in the room were not responsible for the policies they are representing, and so I was planning not to be directly angry with them.

My question about long term post-Brexit visa policies were kicked down the road. I’m very concerned about the cost and uncertainty for Polish family members and employees who want to stay longer than 90 day visits to the UK. The costs are high and the uncertainty troubling:

Example UK visa fees for non EU-countries

There were no answers – “a future Immigration Bill will deal with this”, we were told. ‘This meeting is just about ‘no deal Brexit’ – If there is a deal then there is a much more time.” I don’t think two – three years is long in the context of a planning a career, raising a family or living a life.
I was told
“When the new Immigration Bill is being prepared, a consultative White Paper will be published, where members of the public can make representations. As I don’t have a vote – if I want to reach a politician, I can write to the Home Office.” I’m not convinced that this will make any difference.

It’s not nice to know that the Civil Servants don’t know if it visas will become as hard and expensive for Poles in a few years as it is for Americans now, but I guess that is what is coming.

The oddest part of the meeting was Jason Rheinberg’s description of the political situation in the UK. I was expecting him to represent the government. His Twitter feed has regular retweets of statements by Boris Johnson. I suppose that is part of his job.

As well as speaking about government policy – the Deputy Head of Mission decided to speak for, and interpret the actions and motives of UK Parliament. This is what he had to say about it.

” As you know at the end of that negotiation Teresa May took the package to the British parliament, in fact she took the package to the British Parliament three times and every time parliament rejected that deal. Now there are number of reasons why Parliament did that but it wasn’t because they disagreed with the vast majority of that deal.  Parliament didn’t disagree with the rights it gave EU nationals in the UK or British Nationals in the EU. It didn’t really disagree with the amount of money we agreed to pay the EU for what we owed from our stay. It didn’t disagree with the transitional arrangement – this 18 months where things would essential stay the same. it didn’t really disagree with most of the future framework. Most of this sense of what the future relationship would look like. But one thing they really did not like is the Irish backstop  and you’ll know a lot about this, you’ll have read a lot about it/ But essentially the backstop is a plan B.  It said that if at the end of that transitional agreement December  2020 after we’ed left the EU if even by December 202 we hadn’t agreed a new relationship with the EU  essentially it took longer than we expected that we would fall back into this plan B which kept the UK as a whole within a customs union with the EU and subjecting Northern Ireland to essentially free market or common market rules within the EU. and Parliament said “no” to this. They said “no” essentially because they believed it was taking away too much of British Sovereignty and in particular because you couldn’t get out of the Backstop. in fact it is harder to get out of the backstop  than to get out of the EU because there is no Article 50. The only way to get out of the backstop is if both sides agree to move something else and parliament, or a majority of Parliamentarians felt that that was too much of an improvision?? on British sovereignty and so of course we now have the current government  under Boris Johnston. David Frost our negotiation and his Ministers are in Brussels every day trying to find an alternative to the Backstop. Trying to find another way of protecting the GFA, removing the need for customs check on the Northern Southern Irish border, protecting the European Common Market as another way to the Backstop because they know the Backstop as it currently exists won’t get through the British Parliament.”

I was very surprised. I thought that a lot (maybe even a majority) of MPs were against Brexit completely, and that some of them felt that they should support Brexit out of a sense of democratic duty towards the referendum result. I understand that as a representative of the UK Government he has to say what the the government claims to be true, but particularly at a moment where Parliament and the PM are at loggerheads, it was odd to speak on behalf of deeply divided parliament as if he knew its collective mind and it had a view that could be represented in this way. I thought one of the many problems of Brexit is that there is a majority against all possible versions of it.

Could Parliament could ask Ambassadors to represent it directly (cutting out No 10) ? Of course not. But if diplomats are claiming to speak for Parliament, surely they should take more care with their words, especially at a time like this, when we are weeks away from possible disaster.

As Jonathan Powell – Downing Street chief of staff 1997-07 who was deeply involved in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement put it. in a letter to the Times

 ….If we leave the single market and the customs union, as we will have to for the Canada-style free trade agreement favoured by Boris Johnson, there will have to be a border somewhere. It can be between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK or between the island of Ireland and the rest of the EU.

The DUP has a perfectly legitimate complaint against the border between Northern Ireland and Britain because it undermines its identity. The Irish are rightly never going to agree to a border with the EU. And a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would reopen the issue of identity underpinning the Good Friday agreement. This has been the problem bedevilling the Brexit talks since the start and to suggest that a common agricultural area for the whole of Ireland and some cobbled-together ideas about trusted trader schemes solves it, is nonsense. In truth we are still a long way from a negotiated deal and no one has yet found the magic key to unlock it.”

I understand pro Brexit politicians glossing over this logic, but not professional diplomats., and this problem has not gone away. The underlying reality is that those advocating Brexit were voting against something, not for something. The costs and compromises that the UK would have to make out of the EU to be treated as well as Norway, Canada or Switzerland were not spelled out.

These political comments don’t really matter.

The main focus of the meeting was a wake up call to the looming disruption to “life as usual” that Brexit is going to cause for British people in Poland.

There was a tone of shock and foreboding as officials from the Polish government went through detailed slides addressing the different scenarios that those in the room might be in.
“Access to Health Care ?”- “only if you pay ZUS.?”
“Can you drive on a UK Driving licence?” “Only for six months.
“Will you be able to stay in Schengen for more than 90 days?” only if you register and get a special document”.
I photographed the slides here Just to give a sense of what they were like I am showing you one.

The Police officials were helpful and serious.

What they only partially got across is the the Brits in the room are the lucky ones who are being given extra time – a grace period – to get their affairs in order in the event of a no deal Brexit, and there are routes to Temporary and Permanent Residency rights available for British citizens now in Poland legally that will not be available in the future. It’s going to be much harder for Brits of all ages to come and build their lives here (and vice versa). The amount of worry, strain and concern in tone of questions from the audience was audible.

There was one shocking moment during the meeting when an angry entitled voice from a few rows back called out at one of the Polish Civil Servants
“Why do we have to go through with all this – when in England they (the Poles) have everything done for them by us?”. Although one of the British Embassy people pointed out that these processes were similar to what EU nationals are having to do in the UK, I had a strong sense that the grim symmetry of Brexit is only just dawning on some sections of the British public. I doubt whether the numerous challenges of British citizens in Europe are much reported in Brexit supporting media, though I may be wrong. The more freedoms are removed for EU citizens in the UK the more it is going to restrict British citizens freedoms in the EU.

To conclude

1. The government officials on both sides were courteous and helpful, but the information they were passing on is very bad news for British people with on going interests in Poland and vice versa. The Withdrawal Agreement, if it passes, only delays the moment when freedom of movement ends.

2. Bad though things are, they are going to get worse. UK citizens who have sorted out their legal status in Poland established prior to Brexit day are going to better treated than those who don’t. Bad luck if you have a 15 or 10 year old who might have wanted to look into building a a life here, or you are a 15 year old and you like the idea of travelling and working around the 27 member states. Bad luck if you want to work in multiple EU countries without having to ask permission.

3. Looming is a “legal status” apartheid where Brits who managed to establish themselves legally in Europe before Brexit, or were granted citizenship of an EU country other than the UK will be the lucky ones. Those with British passports only, will have fewer rights and opportunities. There are many citizens of developing countries who are very familiar with the disadvantages of needing visas for living abroad, for travel and work. This is going to be a painful learning experience for many.

If I were just me and my immediately family, I would be more or less “Brexit proof”. I and my children have dual nationality. I’m Polish by choice, not descent, and proud to be part of this great country. I wrote about this here

But I am not just me and my immediate family. It’s going to hurt others more than me but I care about that as well. The impact on our culture, relationships, and identities is going to be profound and that is not to even start on the the damage to the UK’s economy, security and institutions.

I said thank you to the people who organised and spoke at the meeting and I meant it. None the less it was one of the saddest and most depressing meetings I’ve been to in my life.

by Richard Lucas July 2019


I’m bad at doing nothing. I don’t like looking at buildings full of people doing interesting things – I want to be in the building with them! While passing through Gibraltar in late June I met Professor Daniella Tilbury – The Commissioner for Sustainable Development of HM Government of Gibraltar, Honorary Fellow at University of Cambridge. She also leads the Cambridge Alumni Group in Gibraltar.

We talked and brainstormed about the challenges and possibilities of getting a CAMentrepreneurs group going in town. She suggested I write a message for her to share with the twenty-two Cambridge alumni in Gibraltar. It only takes one person (apart from me) to try to a group going, and the outcomes can be spectacular – attracting entrepreneurs who would never have thought that Alumni activities could be about more than watching the boat race, or fund raising.

I realised that my message to Gibraltar alumni would be very similar to that which I would write to Cambridge Alumni anywhere else in the world – (or perhaps for others wanting to do something similar among the alumni of their own place of study other than Cambridge). In other words a message for a wider audience, which is why I am writing this as a blog post (this way of thinking has a history*)

So here goes – if you are not in Gibraltar, imagine Searching for & Replacing “Gibraltar” with the place you are based. It’s a longer message than the one I would have asked Gabriella to send on – as it is for a wider audience,

Message to Gibraltar based Alumni and Gibraltarian diaspora

from Richard Lucas, founder of CAMentrepreneurs, Economics 1985-88, now with 14 companies in Poland. UK, and the US employing about 600 people.

I founded CAMentrepreneurs in 2016 with the aim of changing the way that business and social entrepreneurship is supported and promoted among Cambridge University alumni, current students and others.   I wrote a longer post about the desirability and possibility for a revolution in alumni student relations here.

What is CAMentrepreneurs and what does it do?

CAMentrepreneurs is an officially recognised Alumni Group of Cambridge University to promote business and social entrepreneurship among alumni, current students and others. It’s non-profit and run by volunteers. We organise (usually) free informal meetups of alumni and guests in places where these goals resonate with at least some members of the local community.  We do this in collaboration with existing Cambridge (and often Oxford) alumni groups, and often with other  pro-enterprise organisations (alumni groups from other business schools, Universities, incubators. accelerators, co-working spaces, investment funds, government agencies and the like).  Since our launch in December 2016 we have had 20 odd successful gatherings in Dubai, Edinburgh, London, New York, Sydney and Warsaw, and are planning our launch in Cambridge on 24th October.

We draw on my 10 years of experience as a TEDx Organiser – using TED->TEDx methodology to scale. TEDx is the largest voluntary idea sharing platform on earth – more information here and this global “mega movement” is brilliantly supported by a small team in New York. Like TEDx-es, we only launch in cities where there is at least one suitable person who would like to make it happen.  The first meet up becomes a “test of concept”. I’ve also been deeply involved in building pro-entrepreneurship eco-systems over the last 30 years – and as an entrepreneur I’ve started, and/or invested in and sometime run more than 30 businesses) some of which are now market leaders.

The objectives of CAMentrepreneurs meetups are: 

to provide support, education, inspiration and encouragement in a positive atmosphere for those who attend, no matter where they are on their entrepreneurial journey. It is not a club only for those who have already succeeded in starting their own enterprise, though we celebrate and encourage success.

The longer term vision is to have regular gatherings in major global cities, and perhaps meet once a year and have a local point of contact in smaller cities.  If a CAMentrepeneur from another part for the world was looking to set up an office in Gibraltar – they would have a point of contact who can show them the ropes, make introductions, and vice versa.

Once our Cambridge group is up and running we want to facilitate and enable contacts to explore the possibilities of interacting with the Cambridge eco-system when members of the global CAMentrepreneurs community are in town. We are planning a launch event in the Judge Business School on 24th October – details here

The goals and benefits of meet ups are defined by those who attend based on local needs and preferences:
as simple as basic networking, as varied as:
providing investment opportunities for those with capital
entrepreneurs with sources of capital
staff for businesses with hiring needs
job opportunities for job seekers
potential clients, suppliers and partners for existing businesses.

Can so many things be achieved in a meetup? There are no guarantees. Success depends on leadership, enthusiasm, who shows up, who is committed and lends a hand. My experience as a TEDx Organiser and other voluntary movements shows what is possible at scale. If everyone shows up with attitude that they want to give more than they get, everyone wins. It has never been easier to get together with like minded people. In other walks of life such as Open Source software, and Wikipedia the power and impact of voluntary collaboration is beyond dispute. This can work among Cambridge Alumni too.

But…time is scarce… Why should anyone want to do this? While some of these benefits may emerge out of this initiative it is not guaranteed.

Why bother ?

It is a question of mindset and identity and is hard to quantify in statistical terms. We don’t have a budget to pay for venues, let alone a Monitoring and Evaluation process. Anecdotally there are many examples where people have told me how their lives have been transformed by becoming aware of what an entrepreneurial mindset can bring them and then taking action. There are many practical benefits from mixing people who want to do things with people who have experience, contacts and resources. But ultimately it is a question of identity and purpose. Being at the centre of things, making a difference, and having an impact gives life meaning. It is challenging to do a workshop with some school kids, or mentor someone who can really benefit from your experience and expertise. Through challenges and getting out of comfort zones comes personal development. Along the way you will come across people and opportunities that otherwise would never have crossed your path.

Conclusions and a CTA (call to action)

If you have previously thought “Alumni activities are not for me” because you are busy, working and like to be productive – you may have been right. This is not to say that existing activities: talks by alumni about academic subjects, getting together to watch sporting events and socialising are not valuable. They are. CAMentrepreneurs offers an opportunity to find out if there is a demand and interest for something different. In America, Poland, the UK, the Dubai , and Australia (so far) there is strong evidence that there is a demand, if someone steps forward to take a lead. If you would like to try, or help someone who would, join our Linkedin, and Facebook groups, signing up on our webpage, and most importantly get in touch with me, and we will see what we can do.

Richard Lucas

* Many years ago I wrote a column for a Polish business magazine based on answering questions e-mailed to me. Instead of my content being available for one person only, anyone reading the magazine could benefit. That was one of the motivations for the Project Kazimierz podcast where I often felt that if I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk to someone doing something interesting or impressive, it was worth sharing the conversation with a wider audience/

Richard Lucas

22nd March 2019 (updated 24th)


Open Coffee Wroclaw is launching tomorrow, based on the tried and tested format of Open Coffee Kraków – under the capable leadership of Sun Zhisheng.

I had the idea of sharing the process of getting something new going.

If you are in Wrocław or know anyone who is here 23rd March, do encourage them to come

For non profit activities like CAMentrepreneurs, I use the organisation model of the way that TED supports TEDx, at a much smaller scale.

There has to be a local leader. Zhisheng came from Wrocław to Krakow -> a three-four hour journey a few times to attend and then helped with Open Coffee Krakow. She wanted to do it so we had a local leader.

I explained what needed to be done and that I would help.

Once she found a free venue at a date far enough ahead to give us time to publicize it I knew we could “go live”.

I tapped my local network. Dermot Corr who had organised Tech Saturdays and other events and Michał Kasprzyk the TEDxWrocław leader were particularly helpful.

Zhisheng put a team together. I’ll meet them in about 30 minutes.

I brainstormed the idea with my entrepreneurship students at WSE. One suggested I should have a presentation about what Open Coffee is, which led to a a promo video

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-2019-03-22-at-17.25.29-1024x710.png

and Slideshare about why it is important.

I’ve tweeted to the global founders, have been posting on Social media

Will it work ? ike all new projects it has the risk of failure. Success will be a hunger for a second meeting.

I’ll report back afterward

Updated 24th March

We had an informal dinner the evening before 22nd March, and sense of community was formed.
Dermot Corr, Kasia Kasprzyk, Krysztof Nowak Michał Kasprzyk Leszek Orzechowski as well as Sun Zhisheng and myself.

The venue Fabryka Sensu was attractive and opened up on time on 23rd. Technical issues worked, about 25 people came, we started on time and a date for the second meeting was set.Wednesday, April 24, 2019 OpenCoffeeWroclaw#2

See posts from the event here and the Facebook live here

Final thoughts

Open Coffee Wrocław has started stronger than Open Coffee Kraków did. With good support Sun Zhisheng has every chance of getting this back on the map. Big thanks to everyone who came. especially Zhinsheng and her team. Dermot Corr, Krzysztof Nowak Michał Kasprzyk

Each individual was at the event needs to commit to help her.

October 2018

This blog post has the transcript of my Inaugural Lecture at Wydział Inżynierii Lądowej Politechniki Krakowskiej.
The Dean of Krakow Polytechnic’s Department of Civil Engineering  Andrzej Szarata – full Polish title (Dr hab. inż. Andrzej Szarata, prof. PK. Kierownik Zakładu Systemów Komunikacyjnych Dziekan Wydziału Inżynierii Lądowe” asked me to give the inaugural address to new students starting in 2018.


I decided to ask and attempt to answer the question  “Is 2018 the best time to commence your studies/Czy rok 2018 jest najlepszym czasem na rozpoczęcie studiów?”

It’s somewhat stressful for me to deliver a talk in Polish to an audience of 450

                                                                   Just before I was on stage






I asked myself why I was giving the talk and what I wanted to achieve.Many people in the audience (apart from the students) were suit wearing academics and I felt some considerable pressure. They had never had someone like me at an event like this.

                                                                       Polish Formal Academic Dress


You can read the full transcript of what I said, and why (or watch the video) below.

The reason why I wanted to give the talk was to communicate to the new students that they can influence how happy, fulfilled and successful they will be, if they are pro-active and take the initiative in getting involved in things,  decide carefully how they spend their time, who they hang out with and  use technology to fill in gaps and broaden their horizons.

I showed one of my favourite TED talks –  Derek Sivers “How to start a movement. – which I hope sowed seeds of interest in doing a TEDx in the Polytechnic as well as re-enforcing the message I wanted to get across.

I was able to quote my father JR Lucas  who used to tell his new undergraduates  – reading PPE at Oxford University – “you will learn more from each other than from me”.  If you want to hear more of his ideas go here.

Students swear a pledge: to be good students – to do their best and to honour the good name of institution. These ceremonies feel really important to me.

I only had one slide – talks can be better without  powerpoint.

It was an emotionally challenging experience. I felt a real sense of responsibility.. I said to the students  – “the most important person/people to impress are not your professor(s) your parent(s) or your friend(s) – but yourself. Are you happy with the way you spend your day when you look in the mirror before you go to bed? If not, do something about it. ”

Applying that to myself – I was honoured to be invited, and satisfied with how I did.  Feedback as always welcome.





Polish transcript

Wyobraźcie sobie, że jest rok 2050 i jesteście na moim miejscu, udzielając rady studentom o rozpoczęciu studiów.  Co byście powiedzieli?

34 lata temu studiowałem na Uniwersytecie w Cambridge, Polska była krajem komunistycznym. ZSRR wciąż istniał, internet nie istniał, I Najważniejsze, ja nie byłem Polakiem, a teraz jestem

oczywiście  Świat się zmienił i pod wieloma względami, zmienił się na lepsze. Czy teraz jest naprawdę lepiej?

Wielu z Was jest Polakami. Ilu Polaków jest na widowni?

Czy my Polacy, czy jestesmy ludźmi optymistycznymi czy pesymistycznymi?

Polska znana jest z pesymizmu.

“Najlepsze miejsca pracy są za granicą,

najlepsi ludzie opuścili kraj, nasze najlepsze firmy są sprzedawane obcokrajowcom,

mamy straszną historię,

łatwe pieniądze były do zarobienia tylko w latach 90.

Mogłem kupić 100 Bitcoin za $10 każdy… .

Nawet nasz Hymn Narodowy “Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła” nie brzmi optymistycznie.


Ale ja jestem optymistyczny ale rationalny Polakiem. Wiec

O ile Moje pytanie brzmi: “Czy rok 2018 jest najlepszym czasem, aby rozpocząć studia?


Moja odpowiedź brzmi: Tak, o ile chcesz  i wiesz jak.

Dlaczego mnie to Obchodzi?

Prowadzę warsztaty dla studentów nt przedsiębiorczości i bardzo często jestem przerażony ich brakiem świadomości o tym co naprawdę jest ważne i co się w życiu liczy.

Studenci często nie uczą się


aktywności wolontaryjnej,

przejmowania inicjatywy,

przejmowania kontroli nad sposobem spędzania cennego czasu,

bycia aktywnym I decydowania o tym, co robić ze swoim życiem,

Nie pozwól życiu po prostu się przydarzyć.

Przejmij kontrolę nad własnym życiem.

Studia są drogie, a nie mówię tylko o kosztach utrzymania się w Krakowie, ale i również o waszych  zainwestowanym cennych latach życia spędzonych tutaj tutaj

Jako studenci macie większą władzę nad swoim czasem niż gdy byliście domu, czy w szkole, to jak zdecydujecie się spędzać swój czas, jest naprawdę ważne.

Pozwólcie mi wyjaśnić, dlaczego jestem tu na scenie.

Pochodzę z Wielkiej Brytanii, ale od 27 lat mieszkam w Polsce, teraz jestem Polakiem, przedsiębiorcą zatrudniającym około 600 pracowników w Europie, USA i Azji. Wspieram wiele projektów non profit – takich jak TEDxKazimierz, społeczność startupów i globalne inicjatywy wspierające przedsiębiorczość. Uczę (jestem wykładowcą) biznesu i przedsiębiorczości na WSE I w UEK MBA.

Zwróciłem się do PK z pytaniem, jak mogę wesprzeć przedsiębiorczości w PK i zostałem zaproszony do wygłoszenia tego przemówienia.

Jak wykorzystać wasz czas studiów?

Mój ojciec  JR Lucas był nauczycielem filozofii na Uniwersytecie Oksfordzkim, opowiadał swoim studentom podczas pierwszego spotkania

“ Więcej możecie uczyć się od siebie nawzajem niż ode mnie (i od innych profesorów)”


Studenci tutaj w tej sali będziecie się nawzajem stymulować.

Zadawajcie trudne pytania.

Odpowiadanie na nie zmusza do prawdziwego zrozumienia, I głębokiej refleksji.

Ale nie tylko chodzi mi tylko o sferę intelektualną.

Poznaszacie również swój charakter, dobre i złe sposoby zabawy, nauczycie się kwestionować i wzmacniać inne wartości.

Będziecie spotykać osoby z różnych grup społecznych, które pochodzą z różnych środowisk,

odkryjecie, że najlepsi ludzie nie zawsze pochodzą “najlepszych” rodzin.

że trudne warunki otoczenia mogą czasami wzmocnić ludzi.

Być może ciężko było Ci się tu znaleźć.(dostać)

w Krakowie I także w PK są też ludzie z naszych państw sąsiedzkich, których ojczyzna została zaatakowana, albo którzy pochodzą z domów, gdzie rodzice ich maltretowali lub którzy walczą z problemami zdrowotnymi, jakich nie możemy sobie nawet wyobrazić.

Więc mądrze wybierz grupę znajomych. Wybierz starannie osoby, z którymi spędzasz czas. Stajesz się średnią z 5 osób, z którymi spędzasz najwięcej czasu.

  1. Poznaj siebie: Najważniejszą osobą, której chcesz zaimponować, nie są twoi profesorowie, twoi rodzice czy przyjaciele. Czy ty jesteś I będziesz zadowolony z tego, jak spędzasz czas na koniec każdego dnia? Jeśli nie, zrób coś żeby to zmieniać?

Naucz się inteligencji emocjonalnej,


empatii i

zarządzania własnym czasem.

Zrób coś dla innych – zostań wolontariuszem tak jak “imprezuj” i “baw się”. Będziesz miał dużo więcej zabawy i przyjemności w efekcie robienia czegoś w co wierzysz, niż po prostu z chodzenia do baru.

3 Dowiedz się więcej o przywództwie i osobistej skuteczności. Celem mojego wystąpienia jest pomóc wam jako studentom w osiągnięciu większego sukcesu.

Jeśli nauczysz się być aktywnym i robić rzeczy wartościowe, staniesz się 10 lub 50 razy skuteczniejszy i szczęśliwszy w wyniku tego.

4 Jesteś od urodzenia członkiem ery informacji:.

macie lepszy dostęp do wiedzy niż ja miałem, gdy byłem studentem w Cambridge. Jeśli chcesz nauczyć się jakiejś umiejętności lub za jakimś czasie, możesz zacząć już dziś.

Jeśli nie zgadzasz się z nauczycielem, możesz sprawdzić, czy ma racje czy nie on-line.  Jeśli nie lubisz waszego wykładowcy możesz znaleźć kurs online, który bardziej ci się spodoba,. Nauczyciele nie mogą marnować twojego czasu  lub cię ograniczać.

Macie lepszy dostęp do wiedzy niż jakakolwiek generacja w dowolnym momencie w historii świata, to jest niesamowite. Wykorzystajcie to.  Ta wspaniała Politechnika daje dostęp do ekspertów i doświadczeń innych ludzi. Użyj Internetu, aby uzupełnić i doskonalić to, czego się tutaj uczysz. Istnieją fantastyczne zasoby online do poszerzania horyzontów.

5 Bądź proaktywny i ucz przywództwa i przedsiębiorczości.   Pokażę krótki występ TED-a .

Dziekan Szarata zastanawia się nad ideą TEDxPolitechnikaKrakowska.

To skomplikowane być studentem, poszedłeś tutaj też się dobrze bawić, nie chcesz nic przegapić. Trzeba studiować i kształcić się. TEZ

Niezależnie od tego, czy zdecydujesz się zaangażować w działalność Startup Community, TEDx Community, charytatywną, studencką gazetę, klub sportowy, klub gier, nie ma znaczenia w co tak bardzo, jak to by się w “coś” zaangażować,

Jeśli się zaangażujesz, nie bądź tylko beneficjentem, dowiedz się kto jest za co odpowiedzialny i zaoferuj pomoc – jest to forma przywództwa.

Jeśli ktokolwiek tutaj chciałby mojej pomocy: mentoringu lub wsparcia w zakładaniu firm lub w sprawach związanych z TEDx, zapraszam do kontaktu ze mną.

Chętnie pomogę.

Spędźcie tu wspaniały czas w PK. Powodzenia.

English version (not quite what I said – but close enough)

Imagine it is 2050 and you are in my place giving advice to students about to start studying.  What would you say?
32 years ago I was a student  at Cambridge University, Poland was still communist. The USSR still existed and the internet didn’t exist.
The world has changed, and in many ways much for the better.  So are things really better now? Many of you are Polish . How many Poles in the audience?
Poland is known for its pessimism. “the best jobs are abroad, the best people leave, our best companies are sold to foreigners, we have had a truly terrible history, the easy money was to be made in 1990s
even our National Anthem  ” Poland is not yet lost” is the opposite of optimistic.
My question “Is 2018 the best time to start being a student?”
My answer this question is “it can be if you want and you know how”
Why do I care ? because I do workshops for students and again and again I am terrified by their lack of awareness about what really matters.
Learning leadership, volunteering, taking the initiative, taking control of the way you spend your precious time, being pro active. deciding what to do with your life, not letting you life happen to you
it’s  expensive to become a student here, not just the cost of living in Krakow but investing  years of your life in being here.
As students you have more power over your  time than when you lived at home. how you spend your time really matters
Before I how to best take advantage of being a student now  let me explain why I am here on the stage –
I’m from the UK but for the last 27 years I have lived in Poland, I’m Polish, I’m an entrepreneur with around 600 employees in Europe, the USA and Asia. I support many non profit projects – Like TEDxKazimierz, the Startup community and global initiatives to support entrepreneurship. I’m teaching business and entrepreneurhsip in WSE and UEK.
I approached the PK asking if I could support the development of Entrperneurship in PK and was invited to give this talk.
And this is what I want to tell you,
1 “you can learn more from each other than from me (and other professors),.
When my father was Philosophy teaching at Oxford University he used to tell his students in his first tutorial session.
Other students people in the lecture hall will stimulate you to learn more. asking and answering questions, forcing you to really understand.
You will also learn about character, reliabilty, good and bad ways to have fun,
to question some and strengthen other of  your values
you will meet people from different social classes who come from different backgrounds.
you will discover that the best people do not come form the “best” families
that a tough background can in some cases make people stronger and wiser.

You may have struggled hard to get your place here. For sure there are other people in Krakow, whose homeland have been invaded, whose parents have mistreated them, or who are struggling with health problems you can only imagine.

So appreciate your good fortune if you are more fortunate, and be sensitive to the places other students have come from.

Choose your friend group wisely. Choose the people you spend your time with carefully. You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
2.Get to know yourself: The most important person to impress is not your professors, your parents or friends At the end of the day, look in the mirror. Are you happy with how you spend your time.  Learn emotional intelligence, self control, empathy. and Time Management. Volunteer to do things as well as “partying and “having fun”/ you will have more fun as a by product of doing things you believe in that just heading for a bar.
3 Learn about leadership and personal effectiveness. The goal of my talk is to help you be more successful as students.  If you learn how to be active and do get worthwhile things done, as well as thinking about them you will become 10 or 50 times effective, and happier asa result
4 You are digital natives. Some of you clashed with you parents or teachers about this technology.  If you want to learn a skill or about sometime. you can start today. It’s only a question of motivation. and if you disagree with your teacher you can fact check, and if they are bad a teaching you can find a course on line doing the sam thing. Your Teachers can no longer BS  limit you.You have better access to knowledge than I had when I was a student at Cambridge. and better access to knowledge than any generation at any time in world history. This wonderful Politechnik gives you access to experts and other people’ experience. use the internet to complement and enhance  what you learn here. There are fantastic resources on line to broadening your horizons.
5 Be proactive and learn about leadership and enterprise.   I’m going to show a short TED talk. Prof Szarata is wondering about the idea of TEDxPolitechnikaKrakowska.
It’s complicated being a student, you went to have fun, you don’t want to miss out. you need to study and learn.
Whether you choose to get involved in the Startup Community, the TEDx Community, charity, a student newspaper,  a sports club. a games club doesn’t matter nearly so much as getting involved in something, If you do get involved don’t just be a beneficiary, find out who is in charge and offer to help – it’s a form of leadership.
If anyone here wants mentoring or support in starting businesses or things to do with TEDx, you are welcome to contact me. I’ll be glad to help.
Enjoy yourselves and have a wonderful time here at PK.

Richard Lucas

July 2018

Years ago I wrote a column for a Startup magazine called “Proseed” Entrepreneurs wrote to me with their problems and I shared my advice. A kind of “Agony Aunt” for startups.


My “agony aunt” Column for Proseed


A few weeks ago a trusted friend introduced me to a team of keen programmers and developers from a high school who were working on an App in the area of fashion AI and tech. I’ll often find time to see people in these circumstances even though those who know me will know that fashion is not one of my strengths. This doesn’t matter much – I almost always give the same advice –  which is to get feedback from customers and users think, not me. 

1 2
May 2018
I’m on my way to – the largest IT event in Central Eastern Europe.
The reason ? I’m giving a talk about the challenges startup businesses have with management – and what founders and investors can about it. I’m also looking forward to seeing Peter Cowley, and his son Alan.

The organisers – who give the strong impression of knowing what they are doing – facilitate business speed dating.


I have received *a lot* of requests for meetings.This blog post is primarily for people who want to meet me.

Normally I refer people to  longer articles I have written saying what I want to know before meeting such as this

Questions From a Potential Investor  

and the somewhat passive aggressive “What do you think of my business idea?”  

For  “Infoshare Speed Dating”, this may be overkill – so this is a simplified process.

If you want to meet me about a business idea, please answer the questions below. For non-business meetings, just let me know in a sentence what it is about (I will probably say yes). Here goes:

1. What problem does your business (idea) solve?
2. Have you got any clients (or commitments to buy) for your product/service? If yes, please name 2-3 people who are either clients or have committed to become clients at the price you intend to charge.  If you think there will be thousands, it should be very easy to find 2-3,
3. What are your unit economics? How much more are you planning to charge clients that your cost of delivering whatever it is you business is providing.
4. How much money do you want, at what valuation?
5. Who is in your team?

If you are not able/willing to provide this level of detail, please describe in not more than three sentences compelling reasons to meet.





March 2018 I came across this interview from 2011 and thought I’d repost it.

PMR was a member of  SIPA – the Specialised Information Provider Association back then. Full credit to Ronn Levine for the interview 

What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business? 
I set up a business selling “new students in town, start-up kits” for people who were living away from home for the first time. It didn’t work out, and I later got a job in a consulting company in Cambridge. I knew I wanted my own business.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road. 
No. I think getting out of a full-time job when I stopped running PMR in 2007 was a very good move. It gives me more time for the things I am better at—like getting new things going and handing over to better managers than me.

In brief, describe your business/company? 
I have five businesses. 1) PMR is an 80-person strong B-to-B publications company in retail, life sciences, construction and IT with a focus on Eastern Europe and Russia. We consult and do market research in those sectors across the region. 2) SKK – the largest automatic identification company in Poland; 3) ISL – the leading warehouse automation company in Poland; 4) Unicard – the leading plastic cards company; and 5) – one of the largest Central European translation companies. Run by an American.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business? 
Be good rather than cheap, decentralise decision-making as far as you can provided it’s working, anticipate client needs, create a give-more-get-more culture and fight like a tiger to get the best people.

What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now? 
Hiring the best people we can rather than just looking locally.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011? 
No, just continue to be prepared to act fast on opportunities that arise from having money and growth in a tough market.

What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team? 
Being able to find other industry professionals to compare notes with.

Where did you grow up? 
Oxford, U.K. Dad taught philosophy at Merton College.

What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out? 
Economics Tripos, University of Cambridge. The buzz of giving successful speeches in the debating society.

Are you married? Do you have children? 
I was married, now divorced; have three great children 14, 12, 10 (girl girl boy) who live with me one week in two. One of the reasons I don’t have a full-time job is so I can look after them properly when they are with me.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life? 
I run a number of voluntary projects…TEDx Conferences, and help with Global Entrepreneurship Week teaching kids about enterprise. It’s more rewarding than a hobby and more fun.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend? 
The book would be “The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West” by my brother, Edward Lucas—who is the international editor of The Economist. It’s about those in charge of Russia. Peter Weir’s film, “The Way Back,”gives a glimpse of what people in Central Europe experienced at the hands of Soviet communism.

Additional comments? 
I’m an angel investor. If anyone reading this wants to start a business with SIPA member PMR, go here; if for something else, go via I’m also a Couchsurfer, so if you are passing through Krakow, Poland, invite yourself to stay. I’ll accept if circumstances allow it; if not, at least have a drink or meal.


Richard Lucas

September 2019

This is a list of past and events I have or am going to speak at, host and/or organised.  I welcome invitations. Please read this first.

I speak about entrepreneurship, leadership and business. My talks and hosting are interactive,  participant focussed,  high quality and fun.    I’ve written about this here.

My experience at TED events and as a TEDx Curator have helped me understand what truly high class events and talk feel, look and sounds like.


TEDxKazimierzWomen Krakow, Organising/Hosting 7th December

Pre TEDxWeekendTaipei meetup/All Hands Taiwan/CAMentrepreneurs Info Meeting 31st October, Taiwan, Organising/Hosting details here

CAMentrepreneurs launch 24th October 2019 at Judge Business School, Cambridge (hosting) details here 

Winchester College Alumni Dinner 22nd October London, UK  Speaking

Krakow Enterprise Mondays 21st October, Krakow details here

TED. TEDx, TEDx-ers Info Evening 10th October, Kraków, details here

A Fireside Chat with Marek Jankowski – Poland’s leading business podcaster. Krakow 9th October details here 

Lublin Enterprise Mondays launch 7th October, Lublin  (hosting) details here

TEDxWeekendRoma Pre Event 3rd October,  Rome, hosting. TEDxWeekendRoma attendees only

XXXI L.O im. Roman Ingardena  – Kraków. Entrepreneurship Workshop in Polish for High School students. 27th September

Sabre “Talk ‘n Roll” conference 26th September Krakow – speaking. details here

Past Events

OMGKRK Summer Jam – 23rd August Business Networking Session – hosting  Details here 

Open Coffee Krakow 1st August (hosting)

The Pre-TED Summit Social Gathering Edinburgh, for TEDx-ers participating in the TED Summit. 19th July

TEDxKazimierzSalon plus TEDxKazimierzAdventure: Community Education and Leadership 14-16th June. Hosting.  details here

TEDxTarnow 9th June Speaker details here

Cracow Tech Week – Hosting 23rd May. Fireside Chat with Startup Founders Opportunities And Challenges Of Building A Startup In Krakow.  Details here.

LiGHT – Hosting 13th May Krakow Opera House details   here 

Kraków Enterprise Mondays #24 6th May. Hosting details here

Project Kazimierz Podcast I’ve hosted 86 episodes of this podcast on Innovation and entrepreneurship over the last four years details (and listen)  here.

                              The Project Kazimierz podcast

Open Beer for Entrepreneurs! 30th April Hosting.

TEDxKazimierzLive 27th April – hosting – Kraków.  Details here

Open Coffee Kraków – hosting 25th April: details here

CAMentrepreneurs launch Dubai 17/18th April 2019. Details here

Asbiro – Business Basics, (in Polish) Warsaw 7th April 2019

TEDxKazimierzSalon 27th March 2019 Sport and Society (hosting)

“What, why and how to build a personal brand” Workshop 25th March at  “Start up your Life with SEED” Krakow Technology Park

Webinar: Why is Sales so Hard? with Kimon Fountoukidis & Richard Lucas 14th March, 2019 11:00 EST (17:00 CEST) sign up here  (US$75)

TEDxKazimierzSalon The Art of Entrepreneurship (co hosting) 28th February. 2019

Transcribe-a-thon brought to you by TEDxKazimierz  9th February 2019

OpenCoffeeKRK #180 Thu 8 AM · 7th February 2019

OpenCoffeeKRK #179 Thu 8 AM · 24th January 2019

Volunteer Appreciation TEDxKazimierzAdventure  24th January 2019

OpenCoffeeKRK #178 Thu 8 AM · 10th January 2019

Hosting and Speaking Engagements in 2019
Krakow Enterprise Mondays Xmas Event 17th December TEDxKazimierzWomenKrakow Technology Park  Poland 8th December

Embassy School Krakow Entrepreneurship Course Launch   3rd December 2018

Startup Weekend Krakow. Judge-  2nd December 2018

Edinburgh Business Show, E-Commerce Panel. Edinburgh Scotland 23 Nov 2018

CAMentrepreneurs Event, Speaking and co-hosting Scotland 22nd November 2018

TEDxCapeTown Pre Event 16th November, Cape Town, South Africa

Krakow Enterprise Mondays, University of Agriculture and 5th November

Invested Investor Book launch, Cambridge, UK  18th October

Krakow Enterprise Mondays, University of Economics 15th October

Information meeting about TED, TEDx, TEDxKazimierz with several other  TEDx Organisers 8th October

Inaugural address Politechnika Krakowska Department of Civil Engineering   1st October.

CAMentrepreneurs/Oxbridge Society of Poland Fresher (new student) orientation with the Oxbridge Society of Poland,
the Cambridge University Polish Students Society, and the Oxford University Polish Students Society at Google Campus Warsaw 8th September.

TEDxTarnow – introducing a favourite TED talk 24rd June

TEDxKazimierz Main Event organising/hosting 9th June 2018

Krakow Enterprise Mondays (organising/hosting) in University of Economics 4th June

Light 4.0 in Krakow (hosting a panel) May 23th

Infoshare Gdynia  talk/workshop May 22nd

TEDxKazimierzSalon (organising/co-hosting)  19th May

XIV International MBA Congress in Krakow (panel) 18th May

TEDxKazimierzLive (organising/co-hosting) 28th April

Entrepreneurs Club @JCC Krakow  26th April 

Krakow Enterprise Mondays in the Agricultural University (organising/hosting)  Krakow 23rd April

CAMentrepreneurs New York global Luncheon (speaking, guest) 14th April

TEDFest NYC Pre-event (organising/hosting) 9-10th April

TEDxKazimierzSalon (co-organising) 28th March

TEDxWarsaw Pre Event workshop  on networking 21st March

Krakow Enterprise Mondays (organising/hosting) 12 March

TEDxKazimierzSalon 28th February 2018 

Entrepreneurs Club @JCC Krakow #2   27th February 2018

Spotkanie ASBiRO Kraków z Richardem Lucasem   14th Feb

Startup Weekend Kids Krakow  Jury  4th February

JCC Krakow’s Entrepreneurship Club launch host 30th Jan


PAMI Conference Polish-American Innovation Bridge 2017  host 17-18th November

Zakonu Pijarów High School talk about TED , TEDx and TEDxKazimierz October 26th
Gimnazjum Ziarnko Maku  talk about Wojtek the Soldier Bear, TEDx and enterprise 25th October
Winchester College “Studium” Pluses and minus of going into business Wed 11 Oct
Embassy International School  talk about TED , TEDx and TEDxKazimierz  19 September
TEDxKazimierz events and meet ups since October 2015
CAMentrepreneurs from 12.2016
Krakow Enterprise Mondays 2016-present
Open Coffee Kraków co-host from 2013-present.
Mentor Kraków Wrocław Living Lab February 2017

The Roast of Richard Lucas Kraków Standup Comedy 22nd Jan 2017

Polish Student Societies Leadership Workshop Edinburgh December 2016
Jury at Krakow Smogathon November 2016
Poland 2:0 Summit London October 2016
Workshop for Redlands MBA students in Krakow in October 2016
Community Building Workshop at the TED Summit  Canada June 2016
Pre-TED Summit Event Calgary, Canada co hosted June 2016
Pre-TEDxWarsaw event March 2016 Co-host and organiser
Smart City Panelist, Change Leaders Foundation event, March 2016
Innovators’ Summit #4: Smart City / Smart Living Kraków November 2015

Workshop for Fordham MBA students May 2015
Krakow Innovation Swarm April 2015
Startup Sprint Silver Tsunami April 2014
Innovators’ Summit November 2014
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day November 2014
TechSaturdays Wrocław: October 2014
Startup Sprint E-commerce June 2014

Wojtek the Solider Bear Statue unveiling speech in Park Jordana 18th May 2014
Startup Sprint March 2014
KrakSpot #16 January 2014
Christmas StartUp Mixer December 2013
TEDxKrakówCinema – entrepreneurship December 2013
Robienie interesu życia November 2013
Startup Stage #6 September 2013
Startup Pirates May 2013
BOSS – Festiwal Biznesu April 2013
Startup Stage #3 March 2013
Startup Weekend Krakow February 2013
Entrepreneur from our School November 2011  May 2013

Speaker and Judge at entrepreneurship events at “Gielda Przedsiebiorczosci, ” 2009-2012

TEDxWrocławSalon Speaker
TEDxKraków Speaker October 2010

Global Entrepreneurship Week numerous activities, hosting of School Visits to companies I was involved in 2008
1996 Polish Ministry of Education – business perspectives at Soros Foundation Scholar orientation event I sometimes contribute to events as a panellist and speaker. Based on 30 years experience as an entrepreneur and activist.
Doing Business in Poland event 1995 CBI event in Centre Point, London
Main areas I talk or teach about
entrepreneurship, leadership, investing. Smart cities, technology, startups, Social media, community management, All things TEDx related, Poland, Cambridge (UK)

If you want me to speak at your event, before contacting me, please read this written in someone sarcastic patronising tone of voice.


Richard Lucas

February 2018

I spoke to Harriet  Noble for the Project Kazimierz podcast. I wanted her on the show because I was interested in the cross over between what she does as a job – finding new solutions to the world’s problems,  and what TEDx License Holders do in terms of finding great ideas to put on the TEDx Stage.

Harriet Noble is a radio journalist working for the BBC in London. She started her career on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, where over the course of 7 years she graduated from work experience girl to Duty Editor. At the beginning of 2017 she moved to World Hacks on the BBC World Service, where she presents, reports and produces. She is also developing other radio projects for the BBC.

Harriet Noble

World Hacks is a weekly radio programme, podcast and digital video platform, leading the BBC’s solutions-focused journalism coverage. Harriet’s work has received positive reviews from The Observer, the Radio Times and others, and been chosen for BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Wick. She is particularly interested in stories about mental health, families and women’s rights.

World Hacks on the BBC World Service

My main goal in posting is to draw attention to the podcast and share the lessons learned. I asked about the methodology for  finding topics and she told me they have to tick a number of boxes.  These include

1. Being a solution to a problem
2. being innovative /surprising
3. Something new/not something that has had  extensive coverage in the media already.
4.  There should be reliable evidence that the project works and is effective
5. and they like the back story of the person or people behind the project.
The domain areas she is particularly interested in are cities, women’s issues, and mental health and famly,
They often get ideas for their programme from other people’s conferences.
The traffic data is impressive.  Their videos  get about  30 million views, and the podcast gets around  100,000 downloads on iTunes.  (The BBC is a huge web site with, according to Similarweb, about 689 million visits per month).

BBC web traffic

It’s a great programme, and as an experiment, I’ve set up a Fan Club of the show called the  BBC World Hacks discussion and sharing club . The inspiration is the fan club of another BBC radio show here Digital Planet Listeners .   I interviewed the founders of this show Bill Thompson and Gareth Mitchell here  in another Project Kazimierz podcast.

I set up the  Wojtek – the Soldier Bear – Niedźwiedź Żołnierz  group years ago, which led to my TEDxKrakow talk in 2010

Other links that are relevant if you listen to the show are here

World Hacks BBC World Hacks

Improvising Your Way Out of Anxiety 

People Fixing the World Podcast

Why The World Needs Positive News by  Christian de Boisredon
of Spark News

Why we need Constructive Elements in Journalism | Cathrine Gyldensted at TEDxDresden

February 2018

It’s not often I have a world leader on my podcast, but the latest episode of the Project Kazimierz podcast has the founder of the world’s leading on line squash training site.  I’m really proud of having this story on the show. It’s also quite moving, at least to me.

Here is the interview direct from the website –  and on Stitcher  and iTunes

People seem so baffled, doubtful when I tell them I have been learning squash on-line, from the website he founded  but it is really true.  Salman Khan talked on the TED stage about how is relatives preferred the video to him teaching live for their math lessons – so why not Squash?

One of the nice things  about a successful podcast is you can just approach people doing interesting things and talk to them. So I did. home page

About Squashskills states

“We launched SquashSkills in July 2012 and have been amazed by how well the concept has been received. Over the last 3 years our team of coaches has grown significantly and we’re delighted to say that the site is home to 9 former World Number 1’s, all of whom are here to dispense their knowledge to our members in an effort to helping our members become the best players they can be. The new platform offers features and functionality that we could only dream of at the conception of this project. It offers players of all levels and abilities the opportunity to adopt start training more effectively under the guidance of the World’s best players and coaches. We’ve been delighted by the support we’ve had over the last 3 years and feel we have a real part of a community of squash players who all love the game. We look forward to working with our members on improving the platform for many years to come.”

I record the interviews in Skype and then export them to audio as you can see above. I am going to experiment with this on Youtube as well. This is to test how much traffic Youtube could generate.

What I learned from Jethro and Squash Skills.

He started his business with GBP6000 after an inheritance to get him going.

He is very self-aware. both of his mistakes and character.   Gary Vaynerchuk says that’s a vital skill.

He didn’t make a big deal of what must have been a terrible experience, both physically and mentally.  Listen to the podcast to find out more.

You can improve your sport skills on line.

Get clear understandings with your co-founders  (I kind of knew this already) good to be reminded.

He is pretty chilled out – he was organising a music event for more than 2000 people the day after I talked to him.

I really am gunning for him. There is something moving and emotional about his story.  Due to the dramatic event in Egypt – he will never be better than 84th in the world in Squash. but he can run the best squash training site  in the world-  and he is doing it.

He’s a Dan Pink fan –   recognises the importance of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose Drive by Dan Pink

Good luck Jethro



3rd January 2018
As part of my beginning of year housekeeping I’ve updated my Now page and my About Me.  ‘What’s a “now” page?’ I imagine a number of readers asking. One answer is to go here (that’s passive aggressive Richard speaking).  Another is to visit my Now page on and figure it out. Another is to visit the About on “”.

My Now page on NowNowNow

Another is to visit my “Now” page on here

My “Now” page on

The difference between “Now” and “About” is interesting. For Derek Sivers, whose idea “Now” pages are, and for whose ideas I have a great respect, it’s a time saver. For me, there is a process of “unification”.  It is  easy to give different versions of yourself to different people – not necessarily being dishonest – but just presenting yourself in the best possible light.  I’m not sure what the biggest gaps between my “Now” and my “About” are and will be. They were both written in the last 24 hours. I am going to check up on myself regularly,  look for gaps and try to understand why.

Richard Lucas 13th December 2017

The yearly OMGKRK X-MASSive party is a fixture for the Krakow Startup community.  Our 2017 event is tomorrow 14th December 2017. Details here

This blog post recalls the history of how these huge parties started, and shares some lessons for anyone wanting to organise major events on tiny budgets.


X-MASSive parties built on the existing communities of Hive and MSFBCC.  The smaller Hive Xmas party in 2012 is described here  (with photos here ). This was an experiment I tried with Hive and  MSFBCC to see what was possible.

Hive – founded by Piotr Nedzynski and Ela Madej – was a key part of Kraków’s eco-system’s development and had critical mass even back then. This party was fun – about 100 people came  – and gave a sense of what was possible. A key lesson:

Lesson 1 Work with organisations and people that are well organised and credible.

But it was hard to get the word out. The OMGKRK Facebook Group was small back then (now it has over 5000 people)  and not everyone was on board (or was keen) for larger scale events.

After 2012 I thought there might be room to scale up. I had a plan, partly based on a great TED-ster Derek Sivers’ talk How to Start a Movement.  I knew the event needed followers and momentum –  as Derek Sivers says  “The first follower turns the lone nut into a leader” and I didn’t want to be a lone nut.  A new event – where the participants are part of the product –  requires social engineering.

The plan was simple, and worked so well it is worth sharing. On 23rd November I did a Facebook post suggesting a meeting about organising a repeat party on a much bigger scale.   I tapped my personal network of community leaders and asked them each individually –  in the space of 20 minutes –  to post their support, saying which organisation they represented. The list was :
Marek Przystas Duckie Deck
Adam Filipowski Livetramp
Anthony Carapinha Couchsurfing
Chris Kobylecki Innovation Nest,
Pawel Kontek AIESEC
Marta Ryłko Open Coffee Krakow
Weronika T. Adrian Creative Cracow
Filip Dębowski Hub.raum
Joanna Nowak Startupdigest
David McGirr, Jamie Stokes  Krakow Post
Ola Bienas Colab
Jonathan Ornstein. JCC Krakow

The date was fixed, and everyone in the meeting to greater or lesser degree started promoting it.  This created momentum.

Lesson 2: Create Momementum

Anyone looking at the event with no prior knowledge would see that the representatives of about 3000 people were already on board.  As Derek Sivers says later in the same TED talk, “As more people join in, it become less risky”, and finally, they will be  part of the  “in crowd”  if they hurry –  and left out, if they don’t join in.


Lesson 3. Line up your support before you start.

The event took off like wildfire. 100s of people started signing up. As each milestone of attendees was achieved more buzz was created.


Community members whose first reaction was that “there is no demand for a social event where people are just going to talk to each other” moved to warning me that “events of this size need  a special licence”.  Now it was important to make sure that those who attended enjoyed themselves.

Lesson 4  Ensuring great event experience.

Making sure that those who attend have fun is vital.  I’ve written about making events buzz  extensively elsewhere, and since then done workshops for TED and consulted to other events. and learned a huge amount from my TED and TEDx journey. There are lots of details – but most important was a team of well prepared volunteers to take care of welcoming guests.


X-MASSive volunteers

We also had a  MVE – Minimum viable event – approach.

Lesson 4  Be pragmatic. The best is sometimes the enemy of the good

As more and more organisations joined in our event page began to fill up with logos. Graphic designers were freaking out, but we went ahead anyway.  It was important to see the funny side of small startups with bigger logos than world famous organisations like Google for Entrepreneurs.



The party itself was well documented. There are plenty of photos here and on the event wall.

I am not aware of a post-event appraisal but…. the event has proved sustainable, and is now in it’s 4th year – so I guess that means something. Not everything was perfect. There weren’t enough bar staff and the not everyone agreed about the format.

Giving credit where it was was due was important. I made a slideshare in which I gave the following credits including names  (Ania Filar, Marek Przestaś, Karla Vega) and organisations (with the money they contributed (in złoty) as below

Badges <3 Vocabla

Balloons 400 Presspad

Catering 1000 Growth Republic Untitled Kingdom

Welcome Drinks Colab 700 Google ??

DJ 314 Duckie Deck

Icebreakers <3 Richard Aiesec and Aegee

Photo booth 1500 Innovation Nest

Posters and Graphic design Duckie Deck 584

Prizes ? Google ??

Santa Hats 480 Richard Lucas

Volunteer team. Aiesec and Aegee

web site <3 Aliaksei Kulbei

so the overall costs was less than 4000 zloty  (about US$1000) at the time so, if you see any of these organisations or people, don’t forget to say thanks. If you want to organise a mega event at low budget,  this article gives useful tips, or feel free to get in touch.

Happy X-MASSive 🙂







Richard Lucas
8th November 2017
This blog post is to go with my podcast interview with Russell Hicks – which goes live  today.  There will be the first airing of my new pre-roll,  a new ‘old’ music voice over, and very different content. I was very, very pleased to have Russell on the show and it was a great pleasure to have a long conversation with a comedian whose work I genuinely admire.
So, who is Russell?   Russell Hicks is a successful American Standup Comedian who lives and works mainly in the UK.
I saw him perform at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, and so much enjoyed his shows I tracked him down. I  hope to get him to perform in Poland –  with the support of Krakow Standup Comedy  and Ash Deppeler  who spoke at TEDxKazimierz this year and is the founder of the Krakow Fringe Festival . To make it work will not be easy, but if we pull it off, I’ll be very pleased. We will probably set up a tour with Wrocław, Warsaw, Prague and Berlin, but this is all a year ahead of us now.
If you only do one thing,  enjoy his comedy –  see and listen to his talent here  – after 25 comedians have been booed off the stage,  he manages to bring the baying crowd back- and regain control. More than a million people have enjoyed that Youtube video. There are many more of his videos here    (if you are not into English language Stand Up Comedy, just listen to my interview – interviewing Comedians is an idea I got from Stewart Goldsmith, who was the first Professional Comedian to grace the Project Kazimierz digital stage here). Comedians can be really interesting, even if you don’t like comedy, and usually, (surprise surprise), they are entertaining.
You may well be surprised by what you learn from the podcast. We dive into what Russell knows about Krakow, which leads us to Jaws, not the shark, but the metal toothed giant – from the James Bond films  “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker”.  Jaws had a real (fictional) name Zbigniew Krycsiwiki  – and was from Krakow.  (I’m not sure the author spoke Polish).

Zbigniew Krycsiwiki a.k.a. ‘Jaws    – – from Krakow!!

After his failed basketball career, Krycsiwiki was arrested during the (also fictional) 1972 bread riots – and was so badly beaten by the communist secret police in prison that his jaw was smashed beyond repair. Krycsiwiki then escaped –  and after many  operations – his  jaw was restored using steel components – creating the famous razor-sharp teeth.  As Michael Caine might say – not many people know that.

Russell had no idea that Maus was a controversial film in Poland. Poles were represented as pigs. Maus re-enforces the myth of Polish complicity in the holocaust, which is especially bitter when coming from a German artist. But Russell had no idea.

It was only when Russell was 26 that he realised that he was meant to be a Standup Comedian.  It is a magical thing to happen to anyone, to realise why they exist.  As he he got really good at getting people to laugh,  he discovered  he wasn’t enjoying it . He changed his approach, understanding that the only way to do comedy properly is to make sure you enjoys and believe in your own jokes. This means taking serious risks. As the room realises you are taking risks,  the pay off gets bigger – if it works.  If you listen to his podcasts,  which I recommend Off The Grid Podcast with Russell Hicks. Also check out his short “Art for f**cks  sake”  podcast series.

He does what’s going to make him happy on stage – his natural style  – even if it gets nowhere, and people aren’t laughing, he’s still  happy. The fact that he has a paying audience validates his approach – It he didn’t get paid bookings, this position would not hold water (in my view).  He doesn’t want to tell other people how to live, his approach works for him.   He believes that making concessions to the “comedy  industry” is a trap – people who do that can end up bitter. If comedians are really into well prepared written jokes  – if that is their thing – that’s fine, but you have to be yourself and follow your own art form.
He’s a huge TED fan, and I invited him to TEDxShoreditch (but he didn’t come ? ) As a foreigner in Britain he loves London and Britain and regards the anti immigrant attitude as the last gasp of dying generation, in his view young people are much more liberal, open, and accepting of diversity.
Finally, Russell says he wants to be interviewed by Stewart Goldsmith for the Comedian’s Comedian podcast.

I promised him I’d send Stewart a note, and I’m going to.  I hope it works.
That’s all I want to share, below a a wide range of links that will be useful if you want to follow up on podcast topics. I hope you enjoy listening to this podcast as much as I enjoyed doing the interview.

Links. which may not make sense, unless you listen to the podcast.

If you want to get an insight into the way he thinks start with The Sad Clown Paradigm”

If you want to book him his agent is  Delphine at Beyond Compere.
Bill Burr
Joe Sinclitico – Karate (Stand Up Comedy)
Cal Newport So good they can’t ignore you
How to start movement Derek Sivers


by Richard Lucas  1st November 2017

This post is part of a series to go with the Project Kazimierz podcast. This interview is on line here. 

Asaf Navot is the founder of Home Made in London, a fast growing residential property service which is both cheaper and better than existing services.

Prior to founding his startup Asaf did an MBA at Insead, was a consultant with Bain Private Equity Group and Wilson Perumal, and served in the Israeli Armed Services

My goal is to have a post on my blog here  supporting podcast interviews when I have reflections to share – though  these thoughts are mine, not Asaf’s).

                                                                   Skype interview with Asaf

I don’t post video footage of the interviews but when the internet connection is good enough I prefer to video Skype – using Call Recorder software – as communication is better when you can see each other.So what five insights would I particularly especially like to share from this podcast ?

1 The value of military experience in leadership development. I was so wrong about this in the past. It deserves a separate article in the future.
2. The importance of leadership in any business. I discovered this way too late in my life. If you don’t know anything about leadership in startups, click here or ask me to write another blog post.
3. The importance of unit economics. Asaf talked about this at the British Computer Society Cambentrepreneurs Event in London where I met him. It’s so basic and so important. When you acquire a customer, how much money will you be making. The gap between revenue and costs. What I call chapter one of the “Ladybird Book of Business”
4. The value of operational excellence as a competitive advantage. Harvard Business Review were writing about it here   just a few months ago
 It’s important. Forget the Nintendo, beanbags and frisbee. Get things done fast, efficiently, and as well as possible at the lowest cost without compromising on quality and you will win.


5. He has great insights into interviewing and recruitment. You have to listen to hear them all, but I love he explains why it is important to hear who a candidate believes he or she has inspired or influenced.  His approach to people management, one -on-ones and personal development is very aligned with Manager Tools (also run by ex Military people) of which I am a great fan.

Apart from these five points. Asaf shared a new thought or rather piece of advice with me. If someone tells him they are thinking of starting a business, he says

“If you are thinking of starting a business – don’t”

It’s counter intuitive but powerful. What he means is “You should only really start a business if you are so driven by the idea, you can’t stop yourself.”

In B2B marketing – content is king – an interview with Augustin Kennady of ShipMonk by Richard Lucas

This article ends with “how to” and “what to do” for those who are already sold on the idea. If you want to listen to top professionals Sonal Chokshi from a16z and Camille Ricketts is the Head of Content and Marketing at First Round Capital here not everyone will have the budgets to operate at their level, but the thought they put into their Content strategy and the resources and effort they deploy show how seriously they take it.

A few weeks ago I heard Andrew Warner interviewing The founder of ShipMonk Jan Bednar here in the Mixergy podcast.
If you want to know more about ShipMonk the company, listen to this podcast. The many other entrepreneur interviews on Mixergy are an inspiration for this podcast. Andrew asks his interviewees straight forward business questions about how they started, what problems the product solves, how they got started,, how much money they are making, how they find customers and sell, and gets enough detail to be really useful.

October 2017

I’m doing a workshop at the Winchester College  – the School I attended many years ago  -on the pros and cons of starting a business (compared to a conventional career) and put together a “reading, listening and viewing” list) for the boys.

This list is not complete, but as my father often said “the best is the enemy of the good”. For now it is good enough – a minimum viable list that I would like to share

Mostly free resources for those curious about entrepreneurship


Ashton Kutcher Speech to Teen Choice Awards   He references Steve Jobs, but shares ideas that are more important – namely  – Be really smart, Work hard, Be generous.  If you don’t know about Kutcher’s career outside Hollywood, now is the time to find out.
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by Hugo Dutka

This is not a regular Richard Lucas post – because it wasn’t him who wrote it. My name is Hugo Dutka.   I am a Polish high school student and I like meeting entrepreneurs. Richard suggested I share this story.

To cut a long story short, I was lucky enough to spend my last summer in California. I wanted to meet entrepreneurs in Bay Area, but Polish high school students tend not to know successful business people in  Silicon Valley. Luckily, I knew Richard. So I sent him a short message:

How it all started

Two weeks later I was meeting Will Bunker, a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and the founder of One & Only – one of the first major dating websites in the world. It sold in 1999 for 50 000 000$. Thanks Richard!

One & Only’s home page 25 years ago

Will Bunker today

The plan of the meeting in my mind was as follows:

  1. I will introduce myself.
  2. I will express my interest in meeting millionaires in the area.
  3. I will be introduced to the said millionaires in the area.

The first two points were completed according to the plan, but the third was not. What happened

I met with Will in a coworking space in San Francisco. We talked, I asked for advice, had some great books recommended to me. Then I asked for the introductions.

“So who do you want to meet?” he replied.

“Well, people who could help me start a business” I said.

“What business exactly?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

“I am all for introducing you to someone, but you need to be more specific. What area of business?” Will inquired.

“That I don’t know too.”

So Will recommended me to check out start-up meetups in Bay Area, and sent me links to some of them. That was not exactly what I was hoping for, but you get what you can.

To recap, I met one of the most successful people in the world that day. A person you would read in the news about. A Silicon Valley investor who serious Polish entrepreneurs could brag about knowing. And what did I get out of the meeting?

Book recommendations and a couple of links.

Luckily, there is a lesson in this waste. There are people out there who can help you get to where you want to be. But before they can help you arrive there, you need to know your destination.

If you are approaching a potential mentor, be specific. If you want the guy to figure out your life for you then you are bound to be disappointed. Surprisingly large numbers of people in the start-up world will be happy to make introductions for you, and some of them will do even more than that. However, if you don’t tell them how to help you, they won’t be able to.

To sum up, decide where you want to head before meeting people. This way you won’t waste their time and you will get much more out of your connections. It may sound obvious when you read it, but is not when you make the mistake yourself. Make sure this stays obvious to you from this point on.

Hugo Dutka is a Polish high school student interested in entrepreneurship. He organizes TEDxYouth@Warsaw, is part of the organizing team at TEDxWarsaw, and volunteers at various other TEDx events in Poland. Apart from that, he has been a mobile developer and currently practices machine learning with particular focus on deep learning. If you want to get in touch with him, send him a message at

If you want to know more about Will Bunker he is expertly interviewed here on Andrew Warner’s Mixergy Podcast and here on Project Kazimierz by Richard and Sam


Richard Lucas September 2017


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

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

I also interviewed him for the Project Kazimierz podcast here. I recommend podcasts as a way of both enriching life and enhancing productivity. If podcasts are not part of your life, and you spend time doing things like driving, cooking, commuting or working out when you can’t look at a screen – listening is a great way to stimulate your thoughts and learn new things. I would add the proviso that sometimes it is better to have time to think, so always having podcasts and background noise is not a good idea.

Produktywno?? krok po kroku

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

My approach to life had seemed to be working just fine – at least in career terms – until then. It had got me from school into Cambridge University in the UK, a good job in a consulting company and I had founded a business that was succeeding when I was 24. But this approach was not working any more under the demands of leadership of a successful medium sized enterprise in the mid 1990s in Poland.

I found a book “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management”

and signed up to the course that the author Hyrum Smith’s company Franklin Quest provided.
Years later they merged or bought the company set up by Steven Covey -whose best selling “7 habits” book is well known to this day.

When Piotr Nabielec was asked at the Krakow Enterprise Mondays meeting what people could do to improve their productivity, he gave a simple answer which took me straight back to Hyrum Smith’s book from 20 years ago. He said,
“Think about the most three important things you have to do today”
“Then think about the three most important things you have to do this week”
“Then think about the three the most important things you have to do this month”
“Then think about the three the most important things you have to do this year”
and then do them.
The “10 laws” book is almost exactly the same, only in reverse. Think about your fundamental life goals, write them down. Then make a yearly, monthly, weekly and finally daily plan. When, vitally, you are thinking about the things you need to do today – take into account your longer term goals – resulting in a prioritised daily task list. Do things that are important before those which are urgent. Focus each day on the tasks that really matter.

It’s simple, and powerful.

As I read that book – I had that feeling – not for the first or last time – that if you can get through your education to the world of work – without anyone teaching you how to be productive – there is something badly wrong.

I have had supposedly one of the best educations that the UK used to offer., and yet, no teaching at all on motivation, personally effectiveness, team work, management or leadership. These are vital life skills – if you want to make the most of your talents.

The idea of planning and knowing what you need to get done is not revolutionary, But there are many people who don’t do it at all.
This blog post is not going to be a summary of all the techniques and habits I have learned or I am learning. However, here are a few observations and tips that I will share.
As Hyrum Smith argues, your life is measured in terms of years.

1 Get control of your time – and you get control of your life. When people are stressed they say things like they ‘aren’t managing’ or ’things are out of control’. Getting control reduces stress. Your priorities can (maybe should) include family, relationships and fun. It’s a book for everyone, not workaholics.

2.Having good “to do” list, calendar/diary and email inbox management is vital. Getting things out of your brain/into your calendar means you don’t have do use valuable mental energy remembering things. A way to manage your inbox effectively is by using something like a shared inbox software from ClientFlow. This will make communication a lot easier when it comes to replying to emails and staying in touch with potential clients. Having everything in one place allows for better organisation and productivity. The use of programs that are available online makes it a lot easier to manage any aspect of your business, no matter that industry you find yourself in. From being a restaurant owner, where they use of restaurant operations management systems will come in handy, to owning an E-commerce, where creating a website for your business is essential. With the help of the internet, there is always a way to make managing your business and brand a lot easier than it used to be. Something else that can be effective in productivity is making sure your employees are trained in relevant sectors of their business, From this, as their boss, you’ll then be able to safety issue them with high risk work licenses (if you work in a construction environment) or other form of certificate to acknowledge their productivity and success in their training. This way, if any unfortunate accidents were to happen, at least they will know how to handle it. Anything that helps to boost productivity is always a positive within any business.

3 Setting up an environment that means you can focus, with the minimum of distraction, is vital. Switching off notifications on your phone and laptop really helps.
4. Learning how to run meetings effectively is really important. Golden rules include:
1. A clear agenda and goals defined beforehand,
2. Starting and ending on time
3. Being good at taking not postponing decisions about action items
4. Having a record keeper, and agreeing whose job it is .
5. Communicating who needs to do what by when to all present afterwards.
5. You should set an example. If you don’t answer e-mail, show up on time, you are a hypocrite if you expect it of others.
6. Having good record keeping systems so you know where to store and later find information is important.
Being personally effective is necessary, but not sufficient. If you want to get more done that you can do yourself – you need to know how to lead and manage other people. A brilliant podcast and training resource for this is the American I dearly wish I had known what they teach 30 years ago. The four key activities of all managers are
1. “One on ones”,
2. Feedback
3. Coaching
4. Delegation
If you are an audio person listen to the podcast here By pure chance, their most recent podcasts at the time of writing are about focus and effectiveness.
If you are a video person, check Mark Horstman’s outstanding talk “What you have been taught about management is wrong” at USI. If you are a reader, check Mark Horstman’s book here.

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

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

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

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

Greetings all

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


Project Kazimierz handover episode with Sam Cook

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

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

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

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






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

Request for help

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

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

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