community building

The end of Project Kazimierz – and a new podcast is born

Richard Lucas
1st March 2021


I recorded a final episode of the Project Kazimierz podcast on 27th February 2021, in which I thanked the many people interviewed over the years, my co-founder Sam Cook, and producer Adam Zuba, and last but by no means least our listeners. This final episode went live today, and you can listen to it here.

1st March 2021 marks the migration of the Project Kazimierz podcast onto the New Books Network, where it will become The NBN Entrepreneurship and Leadership Channel Podcast.

In this blog post I share some reflections on the journey so far – and why I am carrying on.

Why continue podcasting?  Actions speak louder than words. My big brother Edward, talking about my role as a parent to be, once said “children don’t take nearly as much notice what you say, as they observe what you do”. As in parenting, in life. I am carrying on with the podcast on the New Books Network, so readers of this blog can infer that on balance it is worth the time, energy and money it costs me. Why?

It’s about making my life more interesting, sharing the lessons of my and other people’s experiences with a wider audience on topics which I care deeply about, and about which many people are inexperienced. People who have founded and led organisations are few and far between. There is a lot to learn and share.

I am not putting my motivations in order. They include:
– An excuse to contact people who are doing something interesting and ask if they want to talk.  It’s not only strange to reach out to someone and ask “will you talk to me?”, it is also perfectly reasonable for that person to think “why should I?”.  If they just talk to me, only I, people I later meet will benefit. But if I am podcasting the wider audience may justify the exercises. Just north of 60,000 downloads are not a spectacular number but it’s a lot more than just me. It’s not close to the attention that TEDxKazimierz sometimes shines on its speakers. Michele Hutchison was on both the podcast and my TEDx stage and over 300,000 people viewed her TEDx talk online, on top of the sell out audience on the day.Possibly the person I talk to will find their life enhanced from the sheer joy of talking to me, but it would be arrogant to assume that this will be the case.  Being a podcaster is similar to having a TEDx licence, or I suppose being a journalist.  It’s a job and role that gives not just the right but the obligation to talk to people who have done something interesting or have a worthwhile idea.

Why focus on entrepreneurship and leadership?
because they are fundamentally important and therefore interesting.Entrepreneurship is fundamental to human progress. I explore this in the podcast. Human development and progress are driven forwards by technological progress, competition, capital mobility and the profit motive.  Entrepreneurship is the magical process by which people take advantage of changes or react to them, in order to solve problems or make life better.  For sure, not all entrepreneurial activity is successful –  that is part of the Darwinist evolutionary logic of the market place – only the right combination of idea, luck and execution will make survive and thrive. Many ventures do not. And not all entrepreneurial activity is beneficial for humankind, at multiple levels.

Whether we are considering polluting industries, manipulative advertising to encourage people to buy goods or services they don’t need to impress people they don’t like, pernicious business people who exploit their employees, clients or suppliers, not all entrepreneurship is good.

Not everyone should be an entrepreneur. I remember a conversation with my podcast co-host Kimon Fountoukidis about 20 years ago.  A business in which I had invested and ultimately lost a lot of money was days away from collapse.  Before closing it down we had conversations with all the key employees asking if they wanted to buy it from me and the other shareholders for a symbolic price, with debt write downs – effectively giving it away rather than shutting the doors. The Technical Director – who was not a shareholder – in response to this offer commented “Thank you, but I decided a while ago, I wanted a regular job, and not to have to worry about work when I go home in the evening”. I relayed this story to Kimon and we said, almost in unison, “which just goes to show that he is smarter than either of us”.  Entrepreneurship is not for everyone.

However, entrepreneurship is so important to social, political, cultural and economic development that it is worth understanding it, (even if by so doing our listeners only re-enforce a conviction that it is not for them). Entrepreneurs shape the way institutions and society evolve and develop. And as listeners will discover entrepreneurs are not all the same, even though they often have characteristics in common.

Listeners will also discover that some entrepreneurs we interview describe themselves as “accidental entrepreneurs”. They were not looking for their opportunity, it just somehow happened, and through being ready to take a risk, they changed not only their own life and fortunes but that of many others.  Maybe that will happen to some of our listeners?

The other focus of the podcast is leadership.  Getting a new organisation started, and running it, as every entrepreneur must, requires leadership. Leadership, the ability to get a group of people to work willingly towards a common purpose, requires a hard to define mix of characteristics, competences, and experience. In our podcast we want to get dig around to get our guests’ insights into this topic.

Why the New Books Network?

I was introduced to Marshall Poe who founded it by an TEDxKazimierz Speaker Brooke Allen back in 2016/17 but I only got to know Marshall in 2020. NBN is similar to TEDx, with which I am deeply familiar, in that it rests of the shoulders of volunteer hosts who care deeply about the topics of their channel.

Many NBN Channel Hosts had their own podcasts prior to migrating to NBN. The reason they migrate onto NBN is because it is easier than DIY production and by so doing they reach a wider audience. NBN has been averaging over 49,000 downloads a day since the beginning of 2021. Most of them (unlike me) are academics, and as my late father JR Lucas said, “most academics write books to be read , not rich”.

We have fantastic guests and episodes already “in the can” so head over to the New Books Network to sign up to make sure you don’t miss an episode, or subscribe at our Youtube Channel.

If you follow our Social Media channels Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook you will get to see great promo teaser videos for each episode by Magdalena Fountoukidis. Also thanks to Magdalena Błyskosz of Open Coffee High School who is taking care of the promotion.

Below are links that reference some of the topics in the podcast if not this blog post.