Categories
community building

Newcomer Welcome Clubs

Richard Lucas January 2022

Everywhere in the world, from the smallest village to the largest town needs one or more “Newcomer Welcome Clubs” (NWCs)  – which are both for recent arrivals and those who want to welcome them.

This blog post explains

why NWCs are an idea whose time has come,

what the key features of a local Newcomer Welcome Club are,

what you can do if you want to devote some time and energy to help make this happen in your area.

What are NWCs ? (there is a hint in the name)
While NWCs are obviously organisations whose purpose is to welcome newcomers, a club is more than this. It is both for newcomers and people who want to welcome them.  


The core of an NWC are regular events (once a week, bi-weekly, monthly) where the “event design” is newcomer friendly.

The structure of the regular meeting includes:

  • A welcoming process so that as someone arrives the host/volunteers focus on greeting people and introducing them to others in the room, rather than leaving them to their own devices. People left alone often retreat into their phones, and the first impression a newcomer gets is important.


introductions and icebreakers so that newcomers are put on a level with people who already know most of the other attendees. This addresses the intimidating atmosphere that can be felt if someone new walks into a room where everyone else seems to know each other.

  • regular rotations of the people you speak to, so even if you are trapped with someone you don’t particularly want to talk to it doesn’t last too long.


free form socialising so that after the structured part of the meeting people are free to mingle with the people they most want to meet.

  • Time limited community announcements so that people who have a project or idea they want to share have the opportunity to do so.
  • If people at the meeting have ideas/proposals of special activities or interest groups that they want to suggest as group activities they can, on the basis that they take a leading role in making their suggestion happen.

Gatherings have housekeeping rules and culture that are “shy people” friendly. Regular attendees are primed to look out for people who don’t know anyone, and include them in conversations.

Participants will be encouraged to self-regulate how long they speak for so that if anyone is talking too much, they are a violating the conventions of the gathering.  The “Rule of one minute”.


Why is this idea needed?

The places where communities have traditionally gathered (school, local bar, and church) have declined as the focus of community life in many societies and at the same time the world has become much more mobile, with more people on the move, arriving in places where they don’t have a local network and contacts. There are far more single person households than there used to be. At the same time digital technologies have provided a some sense of connection, often without depth and a commitment to mutual support. 
Many observers note that the number of people reporting that they are lonely and isolated is increasing. The proposition that it is a good thing if there is a club or place where newcomers are made to feel welcome is obviously true.

How did the idea come about ?

I came across the idea of NCW from Wendy Ellyatt who told me about her involvement in “Cheltenham Connect” many decades ago, and how it impacted the town she had moved to.  Wendy and I met through the Village in the City movement, founded by Mark McKergow, which has the wider and similar objective of forming village like communities in cities.

Some readers will be thinking: “surely this idea is not new?” and they will be correct. A few minutes on Google will reveal that there are groups that meet some or all of the functions of a NWC, often with a particular target in mind (new students in a University town, international/expats/couch-surfers in a major city,  women’s groups, scholars arriving at a university). The participants in and types of meeting vary wildly, some more professional like internations, others more focussed of eating, drinking, or partying, others like the Good Karma effect more focussed on mutual support.

Many such meetings lack the “newcomer friendly” event design described above. While some people who go to meet ups are self-confident and can manage without integration activities, we observe again and again the benefits of structure. I do not want to arrogantly say that my ideas are not being implemented well anywhere. I would like to network and collaborate with organisations that have similar goals and values.

A meeting without structure results in newcomers walking into a room where there is a wall of noise, and it’s both very challenging to meet many new people, and as and when you do, you end up spending longer than you want talking to the people you happen to speak to first.


By having structured icebreakers and integration activities we ensure that everyone who attends will meet quite a few new people in the first half of the gathering, and they can choose with whom they follow up in the second.

We say “If an event works for the shy and introverted, bold and confident people will manage just fine”

Following Priya Parker’s ideas in “the Art of Gathering”, we view the lack of rules as creating a power vacuum, in which the wrong type of person (dominant, bullying, arrogant, loud) tends to take over.

Just as a rules based culture or organisation protects the less powerful against the strong, so house keeeping rules and culture, create space for everyone

What have we done already?

In Krakow Poland, my adopted home, we set up the Krakow Newcomers Welcome Club and have had several successful meetings.

In Lisbon Poland where I arrived less than two months ago, we have had four meetups and they are gaining in popularity all the time.

Last week, the acclaimed speaker, author and podcaster Seth Godin gave me an Akimbo “community announcement” promoting my “idea worth spreading” – Listen to my advert (25 seconds in) here

of a global network of “Newcomer Welcome clubs”, working on the TED -> TEDx model, of a central organisation (me), supporting local leaders.

This blog post is the first port of call for people who write to me asking for more information.

I’m applying the “lean startup” methodology to this idea, of testing if there is supply and demand before building an organisation. This is similar to how I interact with startup founders looking for feedback and funding. I tell them “don’t show and tell me about your product and solution, tell me what the clients, users and beneficiaries of your idea have to say”.

We use pilot and launch events as team building exercises by having a volunteer recruitment process and form embedded in the event description.

We use a Facebook group here  Page here and Meetup here to get the word out.

If you want to start a NCW in your community, then get in touch.  Maybe fill in the Lisbon form or just drop me an email.

Categories
community building

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

Richard Lucas
1st March 2021

Introduction

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.

Categories
community building Entrepreneurship Ideas

How to implement successful B2B Content Marketing – and an interview with Augie Kennady of ShipMonk

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

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

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

Read, watch and/or listen – resources for would be entrepreneurs at Winchester College

October 2017

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

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

Mostly free resources for those curious about entrepreneurship

Videos

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

Categories
community building Entrepreneurship Ideas Investing

How to approach a mentor – lessons from a Silicon Valley millionaire

by Hugo Dutka

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

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

How it all started

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

One & Only’s home page 25 years ago

Will Bunker today

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What business exactly?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

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

“That I don’t know too.”

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

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

Book recommendations and a couple of links.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Categories
community building Entrepreneurship

Working on my productivity – 6 tips to get more of the right things done 

Richard Lucas September 2017

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s simple, and powerful.

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

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

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

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

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

3 Setting up an environment that means you can focus, with the minimum of distraction, is vital. Switching off notifications on your phone and laptop really helps. For me, this also means making sure that my office is neat and tidy. If life has taught me anything, it is that I simply cannot work in an untidy office! With this in mind, I have found that regularly decluttering my office has had a huge impact on my productivity. For instance, every few weeks I make sure to box up any loose paperwork and folders into storage. A friend of mine actually recommended that I should get some storage boxes and I am so glad that I took his advice. Without a doubt, if you are struggling to focus, there is a good chance that your office environment might be holding you back. Staying on top of your clutter is therefore vital.
4. Learning how to run meetings effectively is really important. Golden rules include:
1. A clear agenda and goals defined beforehand,
2. Starting and ending on time
3. Being good at taking not postponing decisions about action items
4. Having a record keeper, and agreeing whose job it is .
5. Communicating who needs to do what by when to all present afterwards.
5. You should set an example. If you don’t answer e-mail, show up on time, you are a hypocrite if you expect it of others.
6. Having good record keeping systems so you know where to store and later find information is important.
Being personally effective is necessary, but not sufficient. If you want to get more done that you can do yourself – you need to know how to lead and manage other people. A brilliant podcast and training resource for this is the American Manager-Tools.com I dearly wish I had known what they teach 30 years ago. The four key activities of all managers are
1. “One on ones”,
2. Feedback
3. Coaching
4. Delegation
If you are an audio person listen to the podcast here By pure chance, their most recent podcasts at the time of writing are about focus and effectiveness.
If you are a video person, check Mark Horstman’s outstanding talk “What you have been taught about management is wrong” at USI. If you are a reader, check Mark Horstman’s book here.

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

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

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

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

Categories
community building

Project Kazimierz podcast handover – Kaizen and a New Chapter

Greetings all

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

 

Project Kazimierz handover episode with Sam Cook

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

Categories
community building Entrepreneurship Ideas Investing Public Speaking

11 point plan for a killer startup pitch (it’s not a TEDx talk)

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

Request for help

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

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

Categories
community building

Dear Little Brother … 10 point plan for an unknown sibling

Richard Lucas  January 2017
I saw the below post on Facebook, and thought that my answer might be valuable to more than this FB friend’s little brother, so here is the post and my answer..

Richard

Facebook post asking for advice

 

Dear Little Brother… .

You are lucky to have a big sister who cares about you and your choices. but… it’s your life..
You have to decide for yourself and you should be the judge of your own success..

 
Categories
community building

Kraków – Doliną Krzemową? Krakow Silicon Valley ?

Richard Lucas November 2016

This post is in honour of and in respect to attendees of OMGKRK and All in UJ’s  Startup Academy which launches today.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-12-28-04

The good news is that the Krakow Silicon Valley is real. You just have to look for it.

If you Google “Krakow Silicon Valley” or Kraków Doliną Krzemową You’ll get plenty of hits.

 

When Pawel Płaszczyk came back to Krakow after years abroad he looked for Krakow Silicon Valley and couldn’t find it.

Categories
community building

John Biggs asks “”Honestly how many brits are in Krakow and looking for work?”

November 2016

It’s an honour to be regarded as an authority by Techcrunch’s John Biggs   so rather than just answer in the thread, I am making a blog post. John posted the below in a thread here  by Maciej Serafin who is looking for a native speaker freelancer.

I am an authority on Brits in Krakow...
I am an authority on Brits in Krakow…

Who are the Brits in Kraków?
English teachers….  Kind of obvious.  the local rate $13-17/hour goes quite far here.

People with Polish partners, who prefer it here to where ever they are from

People working for international businesses
Aspire Employment stats
According to Andrew Hallam of Aspire.org.pl – which generated the above slide – about 15% of the staff in the Business Process Outsourcing/Shared Services sector are foreigners which means about 2000, but companies like Cisco have put major research centres here, like their Cyber Warfare/Security/whathaveyou monitoring centre, thanks to the admirable work of the likes of Ramon Tancinco   They are more than 75% foreigner. and have 2000 employees so it adds up.

Academics 
Trustafarians  – like Rastafians but living on trust funds from mummy or whoever..

Adult  Polonia –  people who made their money elsewhere, tried to retire here, but ended up working.

Entrepreneurs  – it’s cheaper to start your business here as an entrepreneur than in major western European countries, Your money goes further.

Freelancer translators –  Your clients can be anywhere

Other freelancers like Jason Sanderson who sound edits  Jason Harbinger’s hit podcast The Art of Charm live in Krakow
Paul Pearson – who does Krakow Startup TV and TEDxKazimierz is a film producer who works locally and internationally.
Many others

Stag Nighters  no comment.  Almost as ashamed of them as of Brexit.

Dodgy Brits with criminal records

In principle you might think you ought to be able to outsource your English language content creation/news gathering to a English language low cost country. I tried  years ago when I was running PMR but wasn’t happy with the results

failed outsourcing attempt

People who get stuck here
They arrive, think it is great, settle in, have a kid or two, get divorced, and then realise they can’t afford to leave

According to Sam Cook of ProjectKazimierz podcast, the “East is the New West”, the land of opportunity. (btw can we interview you for Project Kazimierz John? )

If you mix local and international income., live smart,   – and for sure – content creators can do that  – why not?  you can live better in Kraków than in many places on the same income.

At the same time if you don’t think about what you do, who you work for and how to keep your income higher than your outgoings, you are going to be fucked, possible faster and more nastily here, than in a  high cost country.  You can always vote for some crazy politician who blames immigrants, foreigners and the EU,  promises to make your problems go away…

Brits can come here live and work without a visa – for now. Thanks to Brexit this right is being given up, so if you are reading this in 10-20 years time,  things will be different. There may be British economic refugees here, if we aren’t all fleeing from an even more dangerous neighbour.  A lot of tech businesses will be forced out of the UK by Visa issues, or racism. For sure some of them will end up here in Kraków where they will be welcome no matter what nationality they are.

Brexit Lament

This article reflects my views on Brexit

In the meantime, I would underline that through our thriving Startup Community, and local as well as international investment, (and not just in Kraków), that Poland is very much open for business. Getting working visas is a lot easier than in the UK or USA. The government seems pretty committed to that.  We may have a political problems but they are nothing on the scale that face the UK or maybe the USA, provided we are not invaded in which case all bets are off

Please come to one our Open Coffee Krakow – or Krakow Enterprise Monday events or indeed my the newly launched Cambentrepreneurs first meeting in Edinburgh in two weeks

It doesn’t really matter what nationality you have in my eyes, it’s just about the contribution you make, (and I don;t know how many Brits there are in Kraków)

 

 

 

 

Categories
community building

Help wanted – Media, students, patriots, optimists, risk takers, eco-system members

November 2016

Introduction

I’ve have a lot of meetings recently with a similar agenda

What do I/you do  ? What do I/you want? (unspoken agenda) Do I/you like the idea of doing things  together?

How can we help each other ?

of course, there is the “Get to know, background check, are you/I (?!) creepy, do I risk my reputation by being helpful, making introductions?

helpful_download

 

 

I’m unusually trusting and helpful in my behaviour, even if in the background I have my “is this guy/girl dodgy?/what does he/she really want?” sensors switched on.

Sometimes I fire out invitations and introductions during my meetings, other times I follow up with a letter like this below.

This blog post includes the “copy paste” text I am often writing some versions of to those I just met:

If you want to help – get in touch.  If I can help you, (and you meet my smell tests :-)), and I’ve got the time. I will. Even if I’ve never met you.

Extract of my standard message

Dear <person I’ve just met>

………

You are more than welcome to attend the meetings I am responsible for and make a short 1-2 minute announcement about your project at the meeting.

Open Coffee Krakow 

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-56-58

 

Krakow Enterprise Mondays

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-56-25

 

or the next TEDxKazimierz Monthly Meetup.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-55-33

 

 

If you want to talk for longer, let’s discuss.

Do please promote these events – they are all free of charge-  to your community, and people you think would benefit.   If you want introductions to people in my network please just ask.

You asked how you can help in our mission to change to perception of enterprise for the better, and bring great ideas to global attention.  Thank you (There are many more people who approve passively, rather fewer who actually offer to help).

If you have any media contacts, with optimistic journalists/vloggers/bloggers who are interested in speeding up Poland’s development and growth rate, please introduce me.

Journalists/Media are really important to us in getting to word out to those who don’t realise how important the cause is. Not everyone realises that our national survival depends on making more of our potential. Journalists are also great sources of contacts for potential topics for TEDxKazimierz talks  They tend to have know what ideas are worth spreading . so introduce me to journalists. or contact them suggesting they ought to take an interest and show up.

Students we struggle with the “Thank God it’s Friday” “Shame the Weekend is over” brainwashing that is propagated from multiple sources in Poland –  as if the ideal state of a happy Pole is resting.  To reach students we need contacts with leaders: from Student Associations, be they based on Faculty, Interest, or part of a global organisation like AIESEC. To reach students we also need contact with positive minded academics, both lecturers and in the administration.  The great support we get from AGH is an example that could be emulated by other Careers Offices.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-13-17-47

 

 

Apart from students  – we need entrepreneurs who are patriots and risk takers.  Please introduce me to Entrepreneurs who would be ready to make short presentations and mentor/coach students.    Patriots because  we need people who both care about the country, can set a positive example and realise that unless Poland grows and prospers we are in danger and that we ought to work to make the best of our potential. Risk takers because my projects are new, and they have to trust that working with me will not damage their reputation.

An pro-business eco-system also involves government officials, politicians,  trade and professional associations, training bodies, NGOs, financial institutions, lawyers, accountants, recruiters, consultants and so on. It would be great if they were better represented in our pro enterprise eco-system. If you know the right type of person, please please send them along.    Anyone else you think I ought to know or work with  – just make the introduction.

If you can help with these projects, I will be very appreciative
…..