K’Sup Vol 1.1 (17.07.2013)
Hello readers, welcome to the first edition of K’Sup. My goal is to provide you an English language based blog on the events as well as highlight some of the enterprises who are trying to get their spot on the map. My goal is to archive the on-going activities at the same time do some trend-spotting. I hope you will find K’sup both informative and inspirational. The name K’Sup is a combination of K for Krakow and S for start and UP and Krakow. ‘Sup is colloquial for what’s up in American slang.
Ok, a little background information on me. My name is Paul Chen and I am an American who has been living in Krakow for the past year. I am currently teaching Scientific and Technical English at AGH. I originally got involved in the start-up community through my attendance of TedxKrakow in 2012 and a chance meeting with Richard Lucas. Mr. Lucas is a business angel here in Poland who is involved with many start-ups. I started attending the Open-Coffee meetings where I met many ambitious self-starters. I think that this is the very beginning of something very interesting and someone should archive it. Poland has a lot of potiential and there is a whole generation wishing to make a change .
Last night at the Stage was Summer Swarm which was organized by the Hive53 community. It was the fifth meeting of „the Swarm” series. Good thing for me that the presentations were done in English. The goal of these events is to try to educate and inspire young entrepreneurs by hosting talks of professionals who have been successful in their field or to let some start-up make their pitch. And last night we had both.
The first presenters were Kasia Bojanowska and Joanna Socha of Unerdwear. Kasia was a designer and Joanna was an architect who decided to pair up and start a clothing line making boxers for nerds and the fashionable. Unerdwear as you might have figured out was a rearrangement of the letters from the word underwear. They will be launching an e-shop soon. During their presentation they reflected on some important lessons from their journey in producing their products. Among those are:
- Be pro-active cut out the middle man
- Always ask questions, people are generally happy to help you
- Some sectors of the Polish economy haven’t made the jump to the 21st century yet, so you will need to call them and make appointments.
- Collect and keep your ideas for a rainy day
- And...ask what is the added value.
In the next weeks they are off to New York City to get some more ideas and inspirations.
The second presenter was Krzysztof Gonciarz . He is a graduate of Department of Cultural Studies at the Jagiellonian University. He is currently an internet content producer for websites like Youtube. He has had a string of successful vlogs (video-blogs) on Youtube since 2007. His vlogs currently has over 10 million views. He initially started with talking about video games but then something strange happened. He posted a prank known as Gimbus, which is the Polish insult for a silly school boy, and it went viral. It featured a guy simply doing silly things. It was the subject of many memes and got more views than his more serious videos. So he rolled with it and became a Polish Youtube star. Not too long ago he developed another character called Kaciarz, which means a fraudster in Polish. This time it featured an assertive businessman giving advice to people of how to be awesome in life and make money. It went viral, this time it went viral among the coporate class. He is currently in the process of talks with a major Polish telecom. He advised us to:
· Be an influencer
· Reinventing yourself is a key way to remain relevant.
· Use your customer/viewer feedback as a way to improve your business/vlogs.
· Involve your viewers or customers by asking questions
· Don’t stay in your comfort zone for too long
· And ... don’t take yourself too seriously.
After each presentation, there was a short Q & A session. And at the end of the event, participants had a chance to network and discuss matters further with the presenters. I felt that this Swarm was very interesting and many lessons were learned. Keep your eye on this space for an announcement of the next Swarm. Next time I will be covering the Open Coffee event at Google on Rynek Glowny this Thursday.