Me, Stanley Mácha

In Eastcubator we try to give eastside what seems to be missing, but we always try to also nudge it slightly our way, just to keep ourselves up ’n alive. Since I started the whole initiative to make the new web with new blog, make the blog “cool”,” authentic” and “worth reading” – I will be the first one to contribute.

The best idea I came up with was to build it of short articles from all the members we actually managed to gather starting with some “about me” from each one of them. Over time we will introduce ourselves in the “Eastsiders” section of this blog and you will get a better picture of our real potential as a community.

You might actually happen to read about someone with skills and background that can help your business, school paper or if nothing else you will find someone who is good at making coffee (not me, I don’t like coffee).

Let’s start with my background

We should keep this brief so I won’t go into all of my history. To summarize the less relevant stuff, let’s do it in a list and if someone wants to know more, we can have a private conversation about it.

  • I studied at high school focused on informatics and entrepreneurship – good one
  • I danced competitively for almost 10 years – tough lessons
  • I studied architecture at faculty of arts – I got disappointed by our school system and left after getting a bachelor degree, since then I focus strongly on design.

We all have that one friend

I have always been good at drawing, but most of my life I drew for myself. Luckily at high school I had a friend that was earning money from coding in times when we others have been interested in games, movies and girls (it probably even evolved in that order). Sometimes he needed some nice looking stuff, which I was supposed to be good at, so I got my first web design job when I was like 17 or 18 years old – I hope there is no evidence of what I created back then.

concept art
One of my concept illustrations

Because of the invetion called “internet” my friend was able to show me how much I sucked comparing to designers in the world. So I decided to leave brushing in GIMP and I started experimenting with vectors in Adobe Illustrator – it changed everything. I still love pencil and markers, but vectors are vectors. Those were the very beginnings of my designer life.

Freelance – everything bad is good for something (hopefully)

Through the first years I had only a few chances to get some money for designs in Košice, but I kept creating just for myself and my above mentioned friend helped me to create a profile at oDesk, so I could do INTERNATIONAL jobs …. for 10 dollars a piece. It was fun first days but then it became quite a burden because there were tons of designers in one place and you had to put up a good fight for even a small opportunity. BUT I got a rated profile and a portfolio that I could show around Košice and it got me in loop a little bit.

In fact I got TONS of small jobs and by “small” I mean small ideas with small management for even smaller money. I had a year when I created almost 100 web designs for money you would get 3-4 webdesigns from other designers. Our developer wasn’t that much concerned about the differences between photoshop designs and html outputs so I decided to also learn to code frontends myself. And so I learned HTML, CSS and jQuery. I am not a pro but medium should be fair guess. The Eastcubator landing page is one quick evening work and should be a good proof that I know a trick or two.

vagasky
One of the many websites I designed and coded myself.

After few years of doing low cost jobs around my home city I got contacted via oDesk by an israeli company named Senexx. It was an experience that revealed, how badly managed my customers in Košice really are. With this israeli company, the deadlines were clear, workflow well managed, communication professional and the payment was instant. That taught me I need to change the stance in Košice. And I got a little better in negotiating with customers. 

Based on my works for Senexx I was to join another project called Rating Widget and later his younger brother Freemius. Today I work on them remotely as a lead designer.

So things got better, but I was still stuck in the task-to-task and occasionally job-to-job cycle and I kept designing and designing until I got invited to the first local hackathon (again by that very same annoying high school friend of mine).

Return to civilization 

Yes, that would be the title fitting that day of hackathon. Before that I literally spent like two years closed in my apartment working on designs, videos, coding and calculating how many days before the end of the month will I have to eat water.

hackathon
Košice’s first hackathon in original Eastcubator

Short after the first one, the second hackathon was thrown. This time by guys from Slovakia’s educational project called AZU. They didn’t look like much from my point of view, but they allowed me to bitch about the hackathon organizing and gave me a chance to do it better. I just didn’t think that hackathon was 10 guys sitting in one space facebooking and chatting all day.

My attempts didn’t really work out as I imagined, but AZU guys have seen what I was going for and that was very important, because those were the people that decided to reopen the closed startup hub called Eastcubator and somehow (I don’t remember how) I ended up helping them out.

Eastcubator – my second home today

They needed to help with reconstructions – that’s when I first came in the future spaces of Eastcubator. Later they needed help with some designs of identity and interior, so I lended my hand there too. Then someone needed to pay for those ideas of mine of course, so I did. They also  needed members right? So I have become the one member they had for months (besides founders)… Today they need a new chairman aaaaaand here I report for duty! 🙂

This might sound like bragging, but the important message here is that the AZU guys have made Eastcubator the place where you can do anything from the position of a volunteer or a member – you only need to bitch about it and make it happen for any cost.

Since I joined Eastcubator I have exprienced a lot. I have worked on and partly consulted several startups, got to know people who do big stuff in Košice and all over Slovakia and my image of what works and what doesn’t gets better and better thanks to that.

Most importantly I got access to a lot wider range of entrepreneurs and projects that appreciated my design skills. I was honored to get my hands on the Eastcubator branding ( there is a new one I will document in special blog post), overall designs for Startup Weekend Košice and Žilina and a lot of hard-workers in need to see their own projects in a little bit different light to spark up.

I trash a lot of my works for not being as good as I would like them to be, but here are some survivors:

My favorite local projects are Croptech and Emomime, but I had a chance to look into some designs for guys from The Spot, like BeeSafe or Bank Innovator. There is a lot more I can show in later posts and all thanks to our hub. If you need anything, you can meet me there anytime and  we can take a look into your projects too.

In fact, here I am sitting in our Open Space right now… It’s 3:55 AM and I am working on this post. I hope I’m gonna chairman the shit out of this place.

Wish me luck.

For last 10 years I've been working as a remote full-stack designer skilled equally in both printed and digital designs. Besides regular design jobs I spend lot of time developing complex concepts and architectures with focus on visual contribution. Most of my time I devote to Eastcubator, where you can meet me anytime - just ping me beforehand :)

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