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 Lucas February 2015

update – May 19th 2015

Podcasts are live. both off the website and in iTunes.

Project Kazimierz in iTunes

Project Kazimierz podcasts in iTunes

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.

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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:

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?

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


If you don’t know who Pawe 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 Pawe 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 Pawe 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. 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… From what I’ve heard from friends Niche Edits can be an effective part of any SEO campaign to develop a healthy backlink profile. Having those kinds of competitive edges is what business is all about when it comes to success. This is especially true in the legal sector where competition is fierce. Looking for an SEO agency that specialises in dealing with law firms? Check out Gladiator Law Marketing online to find out more.
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 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 and 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 Kurasi?ski 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. Krzysztof Sobieszek and I are both strategists and we meet during conferences, I love to hear he has 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, 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 he 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, especially with sites like where they can get deals that they couldn’t get on the highstreet. 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 Rafa? 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.

Richard Lucas’s January 2019 update


I definitely want to add Callpage, led by Ross Knap from Krakow to the list.  Vivid-Q (based in Cambridge and London), has Aleksandra Pedraszewska is a co founder and squeaks in. led by Michal Mojzesz already had a mention, but they are now funded, and they continue to be a very high potential Polish Startup.  Reality Games led by Zbigniew Woźnowski has rapidly growing revenue and has been pouring money into products that could be make 2019 a year of incredible success.

Other new arrivals include  Autenti  electronic signatures, Contellio – Infographics on demand – early stage, restaurant e-commerce and social marketing, and Posbistro (funded and doing well).  Sinterit SLS 3D printing. Dr Omnibus Applied Behavior Analysis tool, BEIT Quantum Computing startup, headed by ex Googlers and brainy academics and Eventory Event management

A great year for Krakow 🙂

For detailed and informed commentary about the Krakow eco system check  Bartosz Józefowski’s (KTP) annual review  here . For Krakow Startups check out the much improved OMGKRK database . OMGKRK Foundation is functioning very well under Paul Kulon’s leadership. I’m pleased to support it and be an Ambassador.

If you feel you should be on this list, please fill in the form here 

Nomination form 

To be considered you must have clients who can be verified, unless there is something very unusual about your startup (like for example BEIT where the founders are have great reputations and I know them personally) 

This blog post started when my friend 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).

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  (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 are places where local communities find out what is going on, For example OMGKRK’s Facebook page, and the #OMGKRK hashtag for the community.  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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No longer at Google for Entrepreneurs – we are on Kraków beautiful diplomatic street – Stolarska
Early morning on Stolarska
A busy  Open Coffee Kraków this morning in Ambasada Krakowian.  If I made mistakes or left you out apologies.. a blogger volunteer would be welcome. I explained the rules and idea (more detail here) everyone gets 1-2 minutes: where you present in English or Polish who you are,  where you are from, what you are doing, what you want, how we can help you and what you can offer. English preferred, Polish OK. We welcome foreigners in Kraków,  have a historical role as a trading centre, and are against nationalist, xenophobic trends West and especially East of Poland). We were honoured to have a French citizen with us today, and feel solidarity with all  lovers of freedom today.
Solidarity with France

Sympathy for France

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

Richard Lucas November 4th 2014


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

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

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Richard Lucas 3rd November 2014

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

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

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

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26 announcements and projects  

by Richard Lucas


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

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

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

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

4 and also looking for exciting projects for our IT team see it.xtech.pl

William Shaw told us about his English language psychotherapy and relatoinship councilling practice and his free workshop  here

Richard Lucas told about as a great place for NGOs and volunteers to host events and..

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

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

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

10 Bogusia Luka works for Uniwersytet Dzieci (the Children’s University) and is looking for schools to use their new products

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

Marzena is looking for experienced project managers to partner with/ she runs projects for

12 Marta Ryłko Open Coffee Krakow founder – talked about the career testing platform, and  13 Brainly closed a US$9 mln investment round  and is hiring.

13 Tomasz Ozon Embedded SW Developer Hardware and software engineer looking for projects to join to. involved in this Tram Simulator

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

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

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

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

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

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

19 Kamil Łopata talk about new special offers from co working space includign low cost high speed translation from and the

20 Monday evening viewing events they are hosting, and

21 Colab Open Coffee meetings

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

23 Konrad Głowacki is building a low cost  SLS 3d printer.

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

25 Darek talked about the Smart Med community of people who are into medical technology he is building

26 Anna Godek-Biniasz New Media Manager at Zetha Media has new mobile projects and wants to help Polish startups enter the UK market via  their website

by Richard Lucas



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam Martin -  of Everyone can Code.

Adam Martin – of Everyone can Code.

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Davenport talked about his recruitment platform

Pawel Jaworski   is looking to develop an App for scientific conferences

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

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

Carl Heimdal   – – baby e-commerce

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

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

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

Richard Lucas October 2014


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


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

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

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 21.31.19

Łukasz on the TEDxWarsawSalon event page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much

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

Łukasz’s answers in Polish follow below

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. What did you find most challenging in given talks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14  Which are your favourite TED talks and why ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Richard Lucas

16th October 2014 at Google for Entrepreneurs Kraków

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Łukasz Siatka one of our hero host volunteers told us about and 4

Samuel Cook told us about his  Digital Publishing Company and other company can help with podcasts

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

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

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

Fred Cox, CFA Brazilian, complicated background..  is with spends half his time in Krakow, told him about the iBeacon possibilities

10  Bart Czarnecki CEO at StagingMate Ltd. Winter is just around the corner… cannot focus on work… is looking for foreigners with garden centres to give input into

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

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

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

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

15 Przemyslaw Stanisz Co-founder and managing director at, Co-founder at NorthStarConsulting Pitch! 2 – effective sales training session

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

17 Fred Murumaa CEO at Snowangel Specializing in passive income systems Looking for funding for a Taxi Hailing  App

18 Kamil Łopata running COLAB & KrakSpot told us about forthcoming event 22nd October with  Piotr Wilam and Kamil Stanuch

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

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

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

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

by Richard Lucas

October 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In conclusion

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

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

meeting starting

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

or “rejects are valuable”

rejected images

Richard Lucas September 2014


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

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


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

Łukasz Krasoń at TEDxWarsaw Salon

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

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

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

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

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

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

At one level it is possible that it feels  “high status”and cool to curate an event that is so popular that people cannot get in. However, the reasons that events are so over-subscribed is partially because of the power of the TED brand. Handling the over-subscription/reject issue well should be regarded as a challenge and responsibility.

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

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

Draft Proposed TEDx  Rejection Letter


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TED talk, Pizza and discussion at Penn State University

TED talk, Pizza and discussion at Penn State University

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

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

You can organise an information meeting about TED and TEDx in your place of work or study showing talks about TED like  June Cohen’s here     The statistics are a bit out of date but the TED is even more popular now than it was back then. Showing such talks is a great idea if you are considering applying for a licence. If you show this talk that must be played at every TEDx then you just might end up forming a group to apply to do your own TEDx!!

We appreciate that watching a video telling you how great it is being at a TEDx is  may be a bit frustrating, given you haven’t got a place to ours.

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

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

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

on behalf of your local TEDx team

curator or a named team member.

first name. second name

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

Richard Lucas

I came across LEMARQUE CAMPBELL when I saw his TEDxtalk at TEDxGrandBahama. As someone who is interested both in the TED Prize Global Witness campaign and transparency in different contexts, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about him, and requested an interview.

You can see his TEDx talk here  and his biographical details are available here on the TEDxGrandbahama web site  and are as follows: Lemarque Campbell is a Bahamian international human rights lawyer. He is currently based in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, where he works for Transparency International (TI). Lemarque joined TI Georgia in January 2013, where he provides legal opinions on public policy issues and specializes in international and comparative law, human rights law and property rights violations. Originally from Freeport, Grand Bahama, Lemarque holds a BA in Sociology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Diplomacy, as well as an MA in Law. Lemarque was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales, Lincoln’s Inn. Additionally, he has lived, studied and worked in the US, Canada, Saint Lucia, Thailand, Malta, and England.

1 Please introduce yourself. You have lived and worked in so many places. Why? What led you to move around, and what bought you back to the Bahamas for a TEDx? How did they get to invite you and why did you agree to speak.

I’m originally from an island in the Bahamas called Grand Bahama, with a population of less than 75,000 individuals. I left the Bahamas at the age of 15, in order to complete my secondary education in the United States, an idea that I had suggested to my parents. I wasn’t obliged to leave, but from that age I had developed the passion to experience and explore the world – maybe this came about from growing up on such a small island, where I felt that options were limited. I always feel most alive being immersed in diverse societies. Even though I’ve been living abroad for 14 years now, I still stay connected with current events at home. In April of this year, I wrote an op-ed titled, The lack of transparency in the Bahamas: An affront to democracy. I found it very fitting to write on such a topic because of the number of high political corruption allegations that were and continue to flood the front pages of Bahamian newspapers; also, I currently work for Transparency International Georgia, which has provided me with an invaluable experience in anti corruption reforms.  This op-ed was subsequently published by one of the leading Bahamian online news sources and caught the eye of many Bahamians, including local civil activists. I was then invited by the curators for TEDxGrandBahama to give a talk on the topic of anti corruption. I was very excited to return to the island I had left so many years ago and give a talk about something I’m very passionate about.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 08.53.55

2 How was your speech received? What feedback did you get about its impact? 

The speech was well received. Later, many individuals in the local community approached me with questions about the various anticorruption reforms, and questions on how we could effectively pressure our government to make the necessary changes. This experience has solidified an idea that I had contemplated for quite some time – there’s a great need for a Transparency International chapter to be established in the Bahamas.

3 What is your connection with and view of and TEDx? Do you remember the first TED talk you saw. What ones are your favourite?

I must say, that prior to giving my TEDx talk, I didn’t watch many TEDx talks. But now, after being a part of the event, I watch TED talks on a weekly basis.  I find it to be such a great forum to get ideas across, especially ideas that have the potential of challenging individuals to think outside of the box. My favourite talk has to be the short and practical talk by Joe Smith on How to use a paper towel:

4 How did you get involved in TI? What are your responsibilities? Why Georgia?

About two years ago I had completed my qualifications as a Barrister in England. I wanted to gain international work experience in the area of Public Law, but hadn’t yet developed a focus on corruption. After sending out applications to all corners of the world, I finally narrowed it downed to the TI position in Georgia. I was quite fascinated with the thought of living in a region of the world that most people don’t know much about. Moreover, Georgia is a country that has gone through so many political changes in the past 11 years. Through the political will and an active civil society, Georgia has become one of the world’s leading countries in implementing anticorruption reforms. In 2003, Georgia was ranked 124 out of 133 countries and territories on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI). As a result of an active civil society, along with the political changes in the country after the 2003 Rose Revolution, the country currently holds spot 55 out of 177 in the most recent CPI. It is even perceived as less corrupt than some major developed western countries. Currently, I provide legal opinions on public policy issues – more specifically, on recommendations for various anticorruption reforms that TI makes to the Georgian government. I base my opinions on international law and best practices.

5 Who are your heroes, role models people who inspire you?

Gandhi would definitely top the list, for his principles and practices in nonviolent civil disobedience.

6 What particular issues topics do you want to draw attention to in your work for TI?

Currently, I’m involved in the court monitoring project, where we monitor and provide an analysis on administrative court cases across Georgia. TI Georgia has been producing analytical reports on administrative courts since 2012, and has observed an improved trend in the administration of justice and judicial independence in Georgia. Our first monitoring period came at a time when no organization monitored and reported on the administrative courts’ activities. There was a complete lack of judicial independence, which resulted in governmental parties being entirely successful in over 85% of administrative cases monitored by our team across the country. Today, this percentage has significantly decreased, with the governmental parties being entirely successful in only 53% of cases. Through our efforts in monitoring the courts, we’ve also witnessed improvements in other areas, such as the ways in which the judges handle cases and use their powers.

7 TI is perceived as focusing on governments. Sometimes international and aid organisations, NGOs, foundations and companies are less than transparent in providing information about their funding and expenditure. What can TI do to help improve standards of transparency in these areas?

As TI Georgia uses in-depth analysis and targeted advocacy to promote accountability and transparency in Georgia, it’s only fitting that the organization leads by setting an example through ensuring financial transparency in order to maintain its high credibility.   Through internal regulations, such as a procurement policy and annual independent financial audits, we ensure that integrity is at the heart of all financial decisions. Additionally, we disclose all the information about our financing through the ‘Our Funding’ section of our website which provides the full list of our donors and the exact amounts that we have received from them, as well as all private donations above EUR 1,000. We have also made it our policy not to accept donations above EUR 50 if they come from anonymous sources.

8 Some argue that there is some tension between ideas of privacy and ending government surveillance and transparency?  Do you agree? Should people companies and governments have the right to privacy and if so under what circumstances?

Definitely, people should have their right to privacy upheld. This is an area in which I am currently working on, which is a pressing issue in Georgia at the moment, where the government has complete control over black boxes installed at telecommunication companies.TI Georgia, along with other local NGOs have a campaign, that seeks to push for regulation in government surveillance activities, entitled, “This affects you too”. Senior members from our staff are on a committee, comprised of politicians and other civil society organizations, which provides the Georgian government with recommendations for reforms in this area.There needs to be a transparent process in which governments are only allowed to monitor communications between citizens on a legal basis of proportionality and necessity. This should not be carried out arbitrarily.

9 Who are your and TI’s most powerful allies in the campaign to improve accountability and transparency.   

TI Georgia not only collaborates with other civil society and international organizations, but also various governmental agencies. It’s not always about criticizing the government, but also working along with the various government agencies in supporting their efforts for accountability and transparency.

10 Where is your career taking you? What would you like to be doing in 5 or 10 years from now?

With the experiences I have obtained from living abroad for the past 14 years, I would like to return to the Bahamas soon and aid in the country’s development. Initially, I would like to establish a TI Bahamas chapter, pushing for the necessary anticorruption reforms. Most people think of the Bahamas as a paradise; however, being such a small country, where everyone is connected, generates a high level of corruption, which is currently stagnating our national development.

11 When you get old looking back, what would you regard as a successful outcome from your life’s work?

A successful outcome for me would be to have a positive impact on the overall development of the Bahamas. Where I can say that I’ve actually made a difference in my own community.

Richard Lucas  comments

It’s interesting how well Georgia has done in its fight against corruption. It shows what  can be done. Hong Kong had a similar campaign 30-40 years ago.  It’s exemplary that TI is so open about its funding – a lesson for NGOs, Foundations,  Think Tanks, non-profits and research bodies the world over.

by Richard Lucas

September 2014



Esmeralda Gonzalez wrote an article in the Krakow Post about how volunteering in Krakow changed her life for the better. Many years ago I went on a SCI/IVS workcamp in communist Czechoslovakia. I have always thought that being active, contributing, working, doing something useful is often more fun and rewarding than relaxing, chilling out and doing nothing which is so often promoted as a route to happiness. So her headline really appealed to me.   I approached her asking for an interview because I wanted to draw attention to the benefits of volunteering in general also find out more about her story and situation here in Krakow.


Please introduce yourself.  What stage in your life are you at,  what are you doing here in Krakow?

I am a journalist and  I currently work as an intern in Krakow Post. I started on June and my Leonardo internship will finish in December. I also work for a company in Krakow, I am an agent of Customer Service in Spanish for an airline since December 2013.

When did you first think of working abroad as a volunteer ?

In September 2011, when a friend from college told me that she was going to do an EVS in Amsterdam. She explained me the project and it sounds so amazing that I started to research information and thinking about doing it. In January 2012 I started to search projects seriously and I was sure I wanted to go.


How was your idea of coming here  received by your family, and friends?

My family and friends always supported me. I was very happy and excited with the experience, so they were glad for me too.

you say EVS is not so well known. I agree, I heard about it for the first time from your article. For the benefit of those who didn’t read the original article please describe what EVS is and how to get involved . and give links so that readers can check out whole programme and also find the partners through whom they must  apply.

European Voluntary Service is a programme supported by the European Union Commission, framed in Erasmus+, for people aged between 17 and 30 who want to be a volunteer in a foreign country in the UE.  There is short and long term projects, mine was 9 months.

It covers all your costs (food, accomodation, insurance, 90% travel costs, pocket money)

To volunteer, you need to find a sending organisation in the country where you live (in my case, Spain) and a hosting organisation where the project will take place.  Volunteers work for a maximum of six hours per day, five days per week. It was my hosting organization, but it is also a sending organization for Polish people who want to go abroad as EVS. In the European Youth Portal you can find more info about the program and the organizations

You wrote about the challenge of finding a partner who wanted you as a volunteer. What advice would you give to someone who wants to improve their chances of being accepted as a volunteer.

Write a nice motivation letter where you explain your reasons to be a volunteer and what makes you special for the project. You should describe yourself and your experience (not only about work or studies) and how you will help or support the project. Organizations likes people with initiative and a lot of new ideas to share.

What local support is available to the EVS volunteers in Krakow, do you have a local or national co-ordinator who helps you deal with the challenges of life in a new country. How do you get to know about other EVS volunteers in Krakow. How do you find out what is going in Krakow  – are you networked with local volunteer support organisations like those here

There is a National Polish Agency which organize training courses (one in the beginning and another in the middle of the project) where you can meet volunteers in Poland and you can express your opinion and ask for help.

My hosting organization, STRIM, is in contact with other associations which has EVS volunteers, such as Internationaler Bund. We organized International Volunteers Day Party together and I met other EVS-er in Krakow.

What have been the biggest challenges for you and the others here in Krakow?

Obviously, the Polish language and the weather. The language is very different than Spanish and it was a challenge to understand people in shops, etc. The weather is also different and I needed a lot of time to get used to the cold and the snow.

What particular issues topics  do you want to draw attention to in your work for EVS and Strim ?

In the office, I had several tasks although the most important is organizing events and meetings for the other volunteers and helping them when they need something from the office. I organized some cultural meetings to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine and different museums in Krakow, a film session to watch Schindler’s List movie, and one of the most great parties: International Volunteer Day. For this day, we made a performance show with juggling, a theatre play about cultural shock , we sang a volunteerism song created by one of the volunteers, we danced a Polish song and we prepared international food.

Furthermore, I helped to organize a theatre club for 10 EVS volunteers called Legendary Krakow. In April was the premiere of the play theatre for children (in English and Polish) about Krakow legends. Also, in December I organized with some Italian people Migrant’s Day, a meeting to talk about migration in Poland, with international music and with a big talk where migrants from Italy, Georgia, France, Spain and Bulgaria told us their experience working in Krakow. I was the mediator of the talk (I asked them in a stage) and, then, I made a video about the event. In fact, I made many videos since I am working in the office (You can watch them in the section Photo/ Video)!



On the other hand, I organized my own project, a contest to promote Spanish language and multiculturalism! In my contest, there were two categories: a photography contest and a short story contest in Spanish for native speakers and for students. Both had the same topic, International cultural experiences. We celebrated the Awards Ceremony in Rajska Library and it was amazing!

Are there any things about the programme you would like to change? what are they?

We had to collect food receipts (fakturas and paragons) every month to show how much money we spent in food and drinks. It was very tiring work because if you spend more than 10 zl, you had to ask for an invoice (faktura) and it was very hard when I did not speak the language!!

What have you not yet done in Krakow. (or Poland) that you want to do before you leave

I have never been in Mazurek and I would like to visit all regions in Poland.

If people volunteer more for the experience, making friends and  fun, than worrying about how useful and valuable their job is: is that a problem?

Volunteering is good a thing, no matter the reason that you have had to do it. For me it is not a problem if someone decides to do it for the experience or meeting new people.

What sort of training, preparation and orientation did you get to make the most of your time here  ?

I had some preparation training in my sending organization, AIPC Pandora, in Madrid. In total, there were 4 meetings about multicultural environment, Europe history, the private insurance that we had in EVS and other issues. I also had 2 trainings in Poland, one in Warsaw and second one in Torun.

What are you most proud and happy about so far from your experience in Krakow ?

I am proud of all what I did in STRIM office. I organized a lot of events and I was very happy with the people that I met.

What do you see as your future choices after you finish your EVS experience. Might you stay go home or do EVS somewhere else? What impact has EVS had on your ideas of what you can do with your life? What would you like to be doing in 5 or 10 years from now if things went exactly as you wanted.

I did my EVS one year ago (from October 2012 until June 2013) so I don’t know how to answer these questions. When I finished my EVS I decided that I wanted to come back to Krakow after the summer to work and I did it. 🙂 EVS is a program that you can do only once. It is not possible to do more than 1 project (you can stay at maximum of 1 year) EVS changed my life and my way of thinking in so many ways. I am more open-minded and I growed up a lot. It is impossible to describe how much I gained thanks to this experience. In 5-10 years I would like to live in Spain, Madrid, with my family and friends. I would love to work as a journalist in my home country and I think that this time abroad can help me to get it, because I am learning a lot, improving my language skills and I am sure it will be very positive.

What can you tell us about your experiences here that are interesting/fun and has nothing to do with your EVS

It was very fun thanks to the people that I met, from different countries and cultures. It is very nice to live in such a different place. In the beginning, everything surprises you. I think everybody should live abroad for a while to understand how it feels. I


So you know all the EVS volunteers in Krakow ?

i know that Strim organization will host 20 new volunteers in October, but they are not here now. I don’t know about other associations

I’m going to  organise some kind of event – like a thank you and also PR – event where we get all the EVS-er together get them to say what they are doing in one minute, and introduce them to other organisations in Krakow. Of course we will invite you 🙂

Later added

These events really  happened –

The Krakow Volunteer Appreciation Event and Afterparty

with great support from Regionalne Centrum Wolontariatu w Krakowie and the Jewish Community Centre

International Volunteer Event  )
core volunteer appreciation team :-)

core volunteer appreciation team 🙂

and more are planned. follow the Krakow Volunteers Facebook group here

Thank you for your time, and contribution to  making Krakow a better city to live in


If you want to know who is sending and receiving volunteers in Krakow go here

on the left side of the page, you can search the organizations by country and city. For example, if you put Poland and Krakow the below 23 results appear

EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-83
  •  Receiving
 Children; Education through sport and outdoor activities
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-7
  •  Sending
  •  Coordinating
 Anti-discrimination; Education through sport and outdoor activities
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-168
  •  Sending
  •  Receiving
  •  Coordinating
 European awareness; Media and communication/Youth information
EVS accredited
No: 2011-PL-249
  •  Sending
  •  Coordinating
 European awareness; Youth policies
EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-98
  •  Receiving
 European awareness; Children
EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-31
  •  Receiving
 Environment; Children
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-86
  •  Receiving
 Art and culture; Education through sport and outdoor activities
EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-50
  •  Receiving
 Disability; Education through sport and outdoor activities
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-223
  •  Sending
 Education through sport and outdoor activities; Environment
EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-30
  •  Sending
  •  Coordinating
 Development cooperation; Media and communication/Youth information
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-61
  •  Receiving
 Disability; Children
EVS accredited
No: 2011-PL-320
  •  Sending
  •  Receiving
  •  Coordinating
 Disability; Health
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-80
  •  Receiving
 Art and culture; Disability
EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-69
  •  Receiving
 European awareness; Children
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-81
  •  Receiving
 Art and culture; Environment
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-15
  •  Receiving
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-54
  •  Receiving
 Disability; Children
EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-182
  •  Sending
  •  Coordinating
 European awareness; Art and culture
EVS accredited
No: 2011-PL-254
  •  Receiving
 Disability; Youth policies
EVS accredited
No: 2011-PL-250
  •  Receiving
 Youth leisure; Children

 Szkola Podstawowa nr 24 w Krakowie

EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-124
  •  Receiving
  •  Coordinating
 Art and culture; Children
EVS accredited
No: 2013-PL-83
  •  Receiving
 European awareness; Art and culture
EVS accredited
No: 2012-PL-32
  •  Receiving
 Children; Disability

I wrote this in 2008. Now I am preparing for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 I  decided to republish it. Not much has changed other than that I am older.

Richard Lucas, September 2014


A contribution to Global Entrepreneurship Week  for YPO members, and other company considering hosting a visit of school children and wondering how to make the most out of it 

Richard Lucas  July 2008


School visits to companies can be highly educational, or boring and a waste of time. When pupils (and maybe a teacher, and teaching assistants) visit a company, they are typically in an unfamiliar environment.  When pupils visit museums, castles, zoos etc, they are going to places that are designed to deal with visitors, including children. Companies are seldom “set up” to deal with school visits.  Visitors to companies are usually business partners: suppliers, clients or candidates for work. Both sides are out of their comfort zone. It’s likely to be unpredictable. School visits to companies are usually a rare occurrence. There are few set patterns and plenty of scope to take the initiative. This is as much of an opportunity as a danger, and this article is aimed at helping raise the chances of a successful outcome, based on 20 years of experience of school business links.


As with any project, it is worth asking simple questions about the objectives. The better they are defined the more likely it is that the visit will be a success. This article is not the place to define your objectives but here are some that we have focused on in projects I have been responsible for.

  • Role models/motivation. If the organization/company being visited is being staffed or run by ex pupils of the school, there is clear potential for the children to understand that this could be them in a few years. School children often take a former pupil’s advice more seriously than either teachers or their parents.
  • to show what a working environment looks like. For most of the children this was the first time in a completely new environment 
  • to show a business as a place where adults are friendly and open minded/ This can be necessary to challenge negative stereotypes of business people being greedy and unpleasant. This is not to say that all business people are admirable but clearly companies that are able and willing to host a school visit are likely to be more public spirited and interested in their local community than average. Giving school children direct experience of business people, is a good way of challenging stereotypes.
  • to have the children as active participants not just observers during the viist. This is an obvious education point, that pupils will remember more if they have something to do.
  • that the children to learn about commerce and then company. Depending on the age and education of the children
  • Gender roles. If some of the managers in the company are female or in non typical gender roles,  it is worth making sure that the pupils get to see this.
  • to  demonstrate that it is “never too early” to get children into the workplace, and to challenge Theory X  thinking , promoting Mcgregorian Theory Y, that work can be satisfying fun and rewarding, when properly organised.

So, if you are a schools pupil, director, teacher or parent how can you find a company to visit?

There are many ways, and no one “right” approach. Essentially let as many people know that you have this goal as possible, and watch the offers roll in. Ask the pupils if they have any ideas, An announcement in the school newsletter, on the school web page, a survey of the parents of the class you are responsible for, a note to the Parent Teachers’ Association, contacting local organizations that might be able to help such as: the local chamber of commerce, Junior Achievement, Young Enterprise or Global Entrepreneurship Week. The general rule of communication “face to face is better than phone, phone is better than e-mail”. Assuming that this yields more than one offer, then it is important to review logistics (how are you going to get there and back, time out of school, permission from school authorities and parents), and the suitability of the type of company for the children. Issues of cost have to considered both in terms of getting there and back and also what is being given up from normal classroom activities.

Having at least one teacher who is prepared to go beyond their normal responsibilities is important. Schools always have some experience of organizing trips and visits. The same issues apply, and there will be some teachers with experience.

Compulsory or voluntary?

This issue needs to be addressed. My experience is that it is much better to work with a smaller group of school pupils who want to visit rather than a group who have been told that they “have” to come. It is very difficult to do workshops and events requiring participation if the children are not motivated, and it is not motivating for the company have to deal with kids who do not care about what is going on.

In the case of Poland’s Global Entrepreneurship Week project, if a company has decided to host visits, I would recommend that for the time that they are opening their doors they should be ready to have volunteers from more than one school who have chosen to be there.

Pre visit preparation 

Once a company has been identified, there are simple steps that both school and company can take.

For the school 

The school teacher should invite a staff member of the company to talk to the class (and possibly other classes) about what the company does, and how it makes its product/services (and profits – if it is a commercial organisation), or pays for itself (if not funded by clients). The company should send the most impressive person it can find, and this is a powerful way of getting the children interested in company

The children should go onto the company web site. This is an example of using the internet to gather information, and learning by doing in a practical context. A teacher can help steer the children to looking for simple Who? What? and how? type questions that the pupils have to answer.

Discuss what to expect. Making clear that a company is a working organization and that the children need to be both respectful and co-operative. This is one of the reasons I favour voluntary visits.

Pre visit preparation by the company

There needs to be at least one member of staff to co-ordinate the visit, agree with management what is going to happe, plan things with the school, and inform to the rest of the company. That member of staff should be a volunteer, and request for other volunteers to help them. If this is the case, then it is important to communicate about how undisruptive this is for the company.  It is not that easy for people to take ‘time off normal work.  Schools and volunteers should not assume that overworked staff working to tight deadlines can do too much (even if they want to). Most professional companies face the same issues.

A visit by the teacher to the company before the visit with school children itself is desirable if possible, both to review the premises and agree the activities planned for the visit. A “walk round” is a good idea as teachers will note things that members of company staff might not see (dangerous stairs, access to toilets) and staff might be aware of issues that are note visible to teachers.

Accountability/responsibility – Both school and company should make clear who is responsible for what happens during the day.

Get the big picture and the details clear

It isn’t complicated but needs to be thought through.   Are meeting rooms, and a projector reserved?. What is going to happen,  when, in what order?

Welcoming arrangements. The receptionists area were prepared for a influx of school pupils.  We put up notices on the front door and the meeting room to make them feel welcome.

Company presentation  The way the company presents itself to normal partners may not be suitable. Basic information – what do we do, how do we make our money, what our our revenues, how wide are the salary ranges, how to get a job, will probably be of interest to some people.

Tour of the premises Make a tour as un-disruptive as possible. In each room the children visited one person was prepared to talk for 1-2 minutes about what happened in that room. We split the children into two groups so that it wasn’t too many in one room at one time.

Use of Video short breaks use funny, or thought provoking business related clips from Youtube, TED or Videojug   can be very helpful

Games and workshops

These can work if pupils are committed.  Breaking them into up into teams who have think of “reasons to come to our school” is a good marketing exercise, which encourages discussion about what features and benefits a school has and develops communication skills both within the team and in front of the rest of the group

Departure/End of visit We took various photos during the visit, and ended with photos in front of the company front door which is a natural and suitable end


Figure 1 What are the best features of our school ? 16 year old Polish school pupils in a workshop, as part of Polish Enterprise Day

Figure 1 What are the best features of our school ? 16 year old Polish school pupils in a workshop, as part of Polish Enterprise Day


Doing a survey (Annex 2) of what the parents of the children do, and whether a visit either by parents to school or school to parent company would be possible.



Figure 2 Farewell photo and back to school

Figure 2 Farewell photo and back to school

For staff team building a short meeting afterwards to thank those involved is a good idea for team building

Other Considerations

Post visit

Put photos of the children on a company web site so that they can go back to the web site and see themselves there

post visit  homework project where school children are discussing their visit and what they learned

Communication and appreciation. a thank you card or letter is important.  Pupils need to understand the fact that those who choose to host a visit are making an commitment that deserves to be appreciated

Annex 1  Post visit summary thank you letter from School Teacher to PMR

First of all, I would like to thank everybody involved in organising the Nursery visit at PMR. Trips like that, where the kids meet and interact with other people as well as learn about different places are not only a great experience for that age group, but also they meet a lot of the educational objectives for all learning areas in the British curriculum for 3 and 4 year olds (Knowledge and Understanding of the World, Communication, Language and Literacy, Mathematical Development, Creative Development, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development).

Let me list just a couple of them:

– Finding out about past and present events in their own life and in those of others;

– Identifying the use of everyday technology;

– Sustaining attentive listening and responding to what they hear and see by relevant comments, questions and actions;

– Capturing experience using various materials, tools, imaginative- and role-play, movement, etc.;

– Forming good relationships with peers and adults;

– Developing confidence to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a group of people;

– Understanding that there are codes of behaviour for groups of people;

It worth mentioning that the educational benefits as the ones above, are meant to be ‘hidden’ and delivered to the kids in activities taking various, but as attractive as possible a form and I am sure we have achieved that!

Thank you again on behalf of the kids and myself.



Annex 2 Parent Survey used by children in this project

Dear Parents,

Next week the Nursery children will start learning about grown-ups, the places they work at, their jobs, occupations, etc. In relation to this, we would like to find out what their Parents do jobwise.

Together with Year 5 we have prepared a short questionnaire, which you will find below. Please fill it in or help your child to complete it and bring it back to school on Monday 5th May 2008.

Of course the survey is not obligatory we would, however, greatly appreciate your cooperation.

Also, if anyone would be interested in coming to school and talking about her/his job to the kids, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Should you have any questions, please ask.

Thank you!

Nursery and Year 5 Teachers


The child’s name:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mum’s occupation:……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


Would it be possible for the children to visit above company/organisation?   Yes/No

Dad’s occupation:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Would it be possible for the children to visit above company/organisation?   Yes/No

Richard Lucas September 2014


I talked to two schools in Krakow today about them getting involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week this year.   Both seem positive, and while preparing materials about the project and movement, I came across this article I wrote  in 2008 for the Winchester College Alumni Magazine (they never published it but that’s another story).  Winchester College is one of the oldest and most famous schools in the UK I attended many years ago,  and has a reputation for being elite and elitist (a topic I’m happy to discuss with anyone who is interested).  (Since then in 2014 with another old boy – Ed Neale – we are setting up an Winchester College Entrepreneurs Society – Wintrepreneurs.  .  (Here are photos of a possibly the youngest ever school visit to a company in Poland). Clearly the article is targeted at alumni  (OWs) and “Win Coll” refers of course to Winchester College, but I still stand by every word I wrote

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW)  is  “an initiative to promote the entrepreneurial aspirations of young people everywhere.”  In 2008 5 million people took part in 13,000 events in 77 countries. 

It has grown from the British idea of an “Enterprise Week” to encourage young people to  acquire the confidence, skills and ambition to be more enterprising over the last four years.  In the words of Gordon Brown ““Together we can encourage young people to realize and unlock their talents…to bridge the gap between what we are, and what we have it in ourselves to become”

Poland (where I’ve lived since 1991) participated in GEW for the first time in 2008 where I was on the Honorary Committee.  I had had no experience of GEW, but have been involved in school business links since 1989 and welcomed the chance to get involved on a wider scale than simply hosting school visits to companies to which I am connected or visiting schools and universities to give talks and conduct workshops.  This article is to explain the goals and justification,  why it is important and most importantly is a call to action to encourage other OWs to get involved..

Why bother ?

It might seem to some that encouraging young people to take the initiative, be active, dynamic and enterprising is so obviously worthwhile that this question doesn’t need answering.  

I don’t agree for several reasons

1 Not everyone thinks that introducing school children to the world of business is a good idea. An Israeli American head of an NGO in Cracow commented “so guys like you who are busy raping the planet are now trying to brainwash the next generation” when I asked him if he could host a school visit as part of the GEW.  Although half in jest, underlying this reaction is a widespread “anti-business” culture that has deep roots. Clearly not all business is good for all stakeholders. From my perspective this creates a bigger need for positive examples of good business practice to promote themselves to young people.

  1. Although it’s obvious to me, having spent most of my adult life in countries who suffered much from socialist ideology, not everyone understands the importance of individual initiative in human progress.  It’s important for those who are active members of society to take up a leadership role and be available to challenge stereotypes through direct contact with children. Stefan Theil of Newsweek has extensively researched anti-business attitudes in many countries’ school textbooks, and it is not uncommon for big corporations to be portrayed as automatically bad. Especially now, in the midst of a severe economic downturn,  those who believe in free markets, private property, personal responsibility and individual freedom,  need to get “out there” and be seen and heard.
  2. Apart from the long term benefits in terms of wealth and employment creation that greater levels of initiative leads to,  there are wider social benefits of active citizenship. If children see that they too can make a difference to their own lives and to the community in which they live through their own efforts, by meeting people who have done precisely that, then “making a difference” ceases to be an idealistic slogan, and instead becomes an achievable goal.  Beyond the “social good” it can be fun and is certainly challenging. Giving a talk (in Polish)  to 200 Polish school 8-12 year olds at 8 am about why self employment is a career choice they should consider is one of the more stressful things I did last autumn and I don’t regret it. It’s good to push yourself.
  3. In the context of supporting GEW in Poland, I’ve met and worked with business and political leaders operating at a much higher level than I do in my day to day life. It is a way to extend your range of contacts, if you care about this sort of thing.

Entrepreneurship is at the heart of human progress and is not a politically divisive issue. Jesse Norman, of Policy Exchange, has just published Compassionate Economics,  in which he argues that entrepreneurship is “imagination, the ability to spot or conceive opportunities, and a willingness to take risks”.  He correctly sees that an enterprising approach is something just as needed in the public or non profit sector as in private enterprise. Gordon Brown’s strong support for Global Enterprise Week shows that enterprise is not a monopoly of conservatives.  It’s possible to be sceptical,  even cynical about human motivations in many cases, and still see that this type of project as an exception and more than worth committing to.

Can and should you help Winchester?

Do Wykehamists need encouragement to be enterprising and to take the initiative in their own lives?  Some might think we are privileged enough, but others would say that with  privilege comes the responsibility to put talents to good use, and how better to do this than such a project. My experience of “enterprise education” at Win Coll certainly makes me willing to help others. In 1982/83 at an “industry day” I remember  an executive from Magnet  – a company making Portakabin type temporary buildings –  telling us “you are probably too young to know what you are going to do, but I suppose that you imagine that if you were in business you would be managers.” This made sense, the 50 or so 14-15 year olds in the room nodded to ourselves. “So here’s a management problem. You are in charge of an ice cream factory (a few frowns, “was he patronising us?”)  its 3 AM you are working flat out, the night shift is in full swing, business is going well, and 300 litres of ice cream a minute is being pumped through a steel tube over your head. There is a loud bang, the tube splits and frozen ice cream starts spraying in all directions. You are in charge, so what are you going to do ?” there was a silence as  we pondered the problem, then he said “don’t wait too long or you are going to drown in ice cream. “  At this moment I realised that there were some skills in business that we were not being taught, and that action orientated decision taking appealed to me as a feature of any job I wanted to do.  I would probably have gone into business anyway, but this talk made a difference and inspired me.

What can you do to help  ?

First a self assessment.  Are you in any way a role model for younger members of society? Can they learn something from your experience? Ask your friends, family and colleagues for confirmation or to challenge your first thoughts. If the answer is yes, then the only barrier is your willingness to get involved. Even if the answer is no, you can use your position in the organisations you are connected to so as to encourage others to get involved.

I attended an excellent one week course at Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School  (CfEL) in June 2008, and was very impressed by the both the calibre and commitment of senior business people from the local community to the programme as volunteers. I asked Dr Shailendra Vyakarnam  – the CfEL’s Director – for guidelines.  In his view it is vital that volunteers from the business community should share the basic values of the Centre, namely:

That entrepreneurship can be taught

That a positive attitude is vital, would be entrepreneurs should be supported and encouraged

That outside volunteers speakers should work to the curriculum (not about how clever and successful they are, but about a topic (team building, marketing, finance, technology, (whatever))

As he told me those who believe that entrepreneurs and leaders are “born not made” are not much use to an organisation devoted to teaching those skills

Contacting David Baldwin (address removed as he has retired) if you or the organisation you work for can help with Win Coll Careers, either hosting visits or returning to Win Coll to as part of the careers’ days initiative

Make sure that enterprise education support is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility agenda of the organisation you work for. Ask other members of staff via your internal company systems whether they are ready to volunteer to help schools in the communities your company has a presence and approach local schools directly. Staff are often willing to do more for schools either they attended or their children currently attend.

Get back in contact with Universities you attended to offer help in giving talks, hosting visits . being a judge on a panel for student enterprise competitions, I did this, and also was able to help in the Careers centre. maybe you can do something similar. Here I was interviewed by  Cambridge University Careers Service.

Look for other alumni associations connected to places you have studied and worked in Linkedin, Facebook, etc. The most active people are usually the founders, or contribute to forums, and discussions.

If you have children in school now but not at Win Coll, contact parents and alumni asking for volunteers for a careers day or for companies to host visits

Think about things that are you were not taught in schools and university that you think are important to get on and be successful in life that you could share with the next generation. It never takes more than 15 minutes on Google to get up to speed with what others have said and written about any topic under the sun. Finding the ideas, and materials to support a workshop or talking is never hard these days.

GEW is a great mobilizing  tool for those who want to make things happen in their local community. You don’t need to wait until November 2009 to do something, use GEW as an excuse to approach people to see if they are interested. Apart from visiting the global web site to find out what has been going on in the country you live in,  I am more than willing to share my experience as far as time allows with anyone who asks.


Introduction (and why the Chinese?) 
This post is a translated Interview with Yan- a professional journalist and editor, amateur fashion blogger in China.
With Marlena and Krzysztof Achinger we have launched a blog about European fashion for Chinese speakers.  Our main blog is here 

Marlena and Krzysztof are also the founders of  Bohan  Bohan Online is a free Chinese-Polish and Polish-Chinese dictionary.

Special thanks  to Yan for giving the interview  and Marlena for doing the translation – (Chinese into English) how many people do you know who can do that?) 

Interview with Yan- professional journalist and editor, amateur fashion blogger ( 

Please, introduce yourself in a few words.

My name is Yan and I come from Guangzhou in China. I am a journalist and an editor. I am also an amateur fashion blogger.

How did you start your adventure with blogging?

In September, 2008 I set up my fashion blog. Earlier I followed some foreign fashion bloggers and thought that I would like to find some way to show my own style and inspirations as well. Some place where I could express myself.

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What do your family and friends think about your blogging?

My family is very supportive, especially my mum who likes my mix of style. Very often she shares her opinion and suggestions with me. My friends also encourage me.  They are very happy to help me with taking pictures and creating new dressups.


What has been your biggest achievement so far?


I have never been very diligent student, but I was lucky enough to become a journalist and editor just after I graduated. Some people think that I am not professional journalist and I got my job in the fashion industry only because I was very lucky. But I think that I have been working very hard to seize the opportunity to express myself.


What was your biggest failure? And what have you learnt?


When I was still in the high school, my whole class failed an exam. Then my mother attended parents meeting only to find out about my failed exam. It was the first time my mom was very disappointed. That evening she called my dad to tell him about it. Then I felt like I made them very upset.  Since then I have decided not to disappoint my parents anymore.


What was the most surprising thing in your life?

14 years ago, my husband had a crush on me, 3 years ago we fell in love and now we have been married for over a year.  I think that the fate brings people around us.  I haven’t kept in touch with my husband for over 10 years, but then we fell in love with each other.  I think this is the most surprising thing in my entire life.


What are your biggest challenges?


My biggest challenges is lack of time. During the week I work as an editor and in the weekends the most time consuming things are related to my blog and fashion: I participate in fashion shows, take pictures for my blog, create new dressups, etc.  Every night I go to sleep thinking that this day was definitely too short.


In what way are your ambitions similar to people of your age,  and in what way different?

In fact, my ambitions are not that different from the ambitions of people in my age. Since I got married, I have appreciated stability. Earlier only two things were important to me: working and writing my blog. Now my life is divided into three parts: work, blog and my husband. Maybe I am not so worried about the money matter compared to people in my age. I think there’s always some way to earn money. If I do it in a right way, I will never have to worry about work and money.


Where do you find inspirations for your dressups?


I don’t have any particular source of my inspiration. But the most inspiration for my dressups I find in microblogs, magazines, people met on the street and even my friends.


Where do you think we can find the most interesting style?

Definitely in Sweden. In the past few years, I paid particular attention to the Scandinavian design, especially Stockholm.  Many of my favorite brands are from Scandinavia. Moreover, on the streets of Stockholm you can spot many Swedish girls with great ideas for their dressups.


Is fashion meant only for wealthy people?

Fashion is the way to express yourself. In China, there was a girl called Wang Shouying. Her family was rather poor and she couldn’t afford to buy branded clothes. That’s why she started using stuff found at home to create her own dressups, clothes, hats etc. Many people were laughing at her because of that, but I think this kind of imagination gives people the power which can’t be ignored.


In which direction does the Chinese fashion follow?

I very rarely follow fashion. I think people should create fashion, not follow it.


Who are your role models on Chinese internet? And why?

When it comes to China, I particularly like Zhou Xun. She is also rather short and her dressups are very feminine and stylish.


Which foreign blogs do you follow?

Too many to mention all of them. I don’t have favorite group of blogs I follow. I follow blogs which present great ideas and nice pictures.


Over 2 billion people have watched Psy’s Gangnam Style which is a backlash against popular culture in Korea. Will there be a Chinese Psy?

Haha, I think it will be difficult to find a Chinese Psy. Psy comes from a very wealthy family and he had opportunity to study in Berklee College of Music in the United States. His “Gangnam style” is very nuanced and using auto-irony he shows how it is necessary to have a great knowledge to express life’s reflections in the funny way.


What do you think about American and European fashion?  Do you have your favorite western designers?

American fashion follows the needs of the market, therefore designs are rather useful. Whereas, European designers have artistic souls and their designs are very ornamental. I particularly like European designers like Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons and Christophe Lemaire.


What do you think about Baltic amber and style based on it?

I don’t know much about this style but I would love to find out more.


In that case, what polish designers should do to succeed in the Chinese fashion market?

In order to succeed in China, you have to understand and use marketing tools. In fact, Western countries can easily  reach Chinese clients. The best way is to co-operate with fashion bloggers. Moreover, organizing fashion shows can help to promote the brand and style.


Where will you be in a few years time if things go well?

I will be on the stage of my life where both me and my husband can succeed.



Marlena: 请简单介绍一下你自己。

Yan: 我是Yan,来自中国广州,职业是记者和编辑,业余是时尚博主。
































他们正是创造潮流的人,美国设计师很会考虑市场需求,因此他们的设计都很实穿;欧洲设计师大多带点艺术感,还有建筑感,观赏性更强。我比较喜欢的欧洲设计师有Ann Demeulemeester、Raf Simons、Christophe Lemaire等。