So Eastsiders, some time ago we decided to make first few steps in lending a hand to very questionable and vague functioning of politics in our country. The event has passed and it’s time for another little push. This article needs to be a little longer to be comprehensive enough, so advice for the impatient ones: go over headlines and read, what you like. You ca get back to the rest later.
Most of what happened came out from my own initiative and since my colleagues are pretty busy, this article is also compose by me alone. I will put it all in first person (just so I don’t put my words in someone elses mouth – anyone can add something of his own later in comments – that’s why they are enabled here).
FAQ: Why does Eastcubator even touch the politics?
We are a community of entrepreneurs, startupists, mentors, investors – every problem is a challenge. In last few weeks I was unable to open facebook without seeing, that it is flooded with negativa posts about politics – clear evidence, that large portion of population can see a problem in the same area. If that is not something innovators should react to, then I don’t know what is.
It wasn’t what we expected
First of all we found out, how politicans see poeple. They had one month to accept invitation and prepare for the event. Most of them didn’t make much of it – it’s fine, we understand that, we are busy too. What’s worse, is that the little time they had for it, they rather devoted to make moves on us instead of talking directly to us. Either they shared something with us from above, somethin we shouldn’t even dig into, or they just tried to get to us backdoor.
Second problem was, that I didn’t pull it all through myself. I designed the whole event to go for something, but I had to run around technical stuff and I couldn’t pay eough attention to details in presentations, so I couldn’t give my own clear feedback right there. That was supposed to be different. I was supposed to lead the feedbacks too, so you could join the concept and make more pressure in constructive way. Instead, the responsibility fell down to your heads – sorry eastsiders, my bad, next time it will be something else.
The third point that surprised me a little bit, was that people somehow become passive, when it comes to politics. This event gave us very little instead of original plan. Despite that, many people were leaving satisfied, some even picked their “lesser evil” in comparison to others. I don’t think this is necessary, in fact I think it’s totally wrong. It’s like you got 5 totally bad projects and just for the sake of it you would give one of them investment of half a million – no chance. Let’s look at that from a different perspective.
We were in disadvantage, let’s fix that
Presenters had one month to get ready, you had to react right on the spot and give thoughful feedback. I will compensate that now.
As I mentioned before, I have to fix, what I couldn’t do right on the event itself. We had 5 presentes, they came to our event with our house rules and they maintained clear approach to us – that needs clear feedback. I will give separate space to each of them, though any feedback as applicable to the other four.
Okay, let’s roll – very own spotlight for each of the presenters:
Right after your arrival, and your asap departure, we sensed that you are not exaclty willing to be there, or that you don’t have time for it (luckily you left the brochures). The invitation was addressed to whole your part, anyone could have come, no one was forced to. Event was supposed to be in mutual interest. It might sound like a weird point to you, but people can see that and everything counts.
Another problem is your image of people. From your performance I gathered that you strongly believe in your solutions, but talking to people and explaining, so people can understand and be able to appreciate your qualities, is a waste of time for you.
Few days after the event I talked to different people from around Eastcubator, regardless to their presence or absence on the event. My previous point was confirmed in full range. From what I have heard, they feel, you might be good in your field, but what they see as a problem, is that you are unwilling to discuss it. I felt that this is all 5 minutes to midnight for you and that if we won’t give you, what you need right now, the world will end.
If you are good at something, you should be able and of course willing to explain it to anyone. Or at least the ones obviously capable of reactions. Even much more complicated fields can give a large space to allow ordinary people improve the solutions built by professionals. You are in politics – you couldn’t choose more public field, so the open collaboration is probably a huge must. If you come to us with complete solution, we are not supposed to touch, so we can just applaud and let you leave in glory – not gonna happen. You can be as good as it comes at what you do, but without good communication and solid crowdsourcing you will take your genious with you to the grave and your solutions will never see the light of the day.
BTW don’t refer or insult SMER, Regardless to whom we are talking about, it is low – the only thing you prove is that you are not able to play without that very card.
The structure of your presentation was pretty correct, that was fine. You took advantage of your slides though, to read your points from them – instead you use them to display the numbers you have been throwing at us, so we could see them, or even check if they are right. During your six minutes you talk about how sick you are and that you will tell us more in 10 minutes that are devoted to feedbacks – rather talk to the point, with metadata you are just wasting the little time you have.
When we published the information, that you will represent KDH, few people reacted with something like “Aaaaaah, he will talk about the family business again, he always talks only about that” – and so you did. We defined the topics using keywords “entrepreneurship”, “innovation support”, “tax system”, etc… I think it was clear that we want to talk about functioning of business and it’s products. You avoided these and you rather pulled in some kind of social problem with family breakdowns.
Successes and fails of people, you presented your problem to, are not reflection of how they pulled their nephew, brother or sister into their business. If a family member has skills to fulfill the responsibilties of a team member, he becomes one. Choosing the team member to business should not be influenced by social relationships. Most of us have probably come across businesses, small or large, that were based right on family relationships – it wasn’t exaclty positive, right the opposite.
As much as the business success, not even the trust among people is necessarily reflected or defined by blood bonds – that is a fact. Regardless to what you want to believe, family and business are still two things.
You should spend time among people, you are presenting to and maybe gather a newer picture of how we function, what we do and how you can support us. Look at how society shapes itself and try to understand why. Not everything is a reflection of parilament’s decision, some things are simply a liberate logical choice of people themselves. You pulled out something you consider “verified” but you based it on you trips to abroad and some history (during the reign of “Mečiar”, etc…) For us, this stuff is irrelevant – the attention is paid to individuals, to what is going here, today and tomorrow.
In the assignement we sent to you, I clearly explained, that there might be a lot bigger problems around then those about entrepreneurship, but on that very evening we wanted to talk about our topics anyway. Healthcare, teacher strikes, corruption and others big problem would surely wait for those 16 minutes.
Of course there is a connection between corruption and conditions for doing business, but it is so general adn solution is so large, that it is probably not a topic you should start with. If you want to convince us, that your initiative is worth of our support, time and maybe money, you need to come up with a problem, you can solve. Then we will join you. We are all aware of the huge problems of corruption, wars, global warming, etc… but we also know that we have to grow up a little bit to fight those. In theory we can discuss anything, but execution requires “bottoms up” approach.
Another point is that you probably overestimate Lucia Žitňanska. You mentioned her few times as an answer to questions about your solution, for example as “communication channel”. We respect people with exact references, skills, successes, something you can quantify or event better – something we could have come across ourselves. Unfortunately, Miss Žitňanská is just another politician for us and I don’t know what was the reaction expected from us, when you mentioned her name, but it surely didn’t happen.
Overally I would say that you act kind of inaccessible. If you are better than us, we will admit it after having a chance to work with you – there is no other reasonable way to do it anyway. You have been pretty sure about what you have come to say to us – how things are and that’s it. You repeated that you are “concrete” and “frank” but it all sounded like “I’m not willing to talk about that”. For example a solution that starts with “If I were a minister of finance…” will not get you far with us.
When #Sieť informed us that Martin Vician will represent them, some of the eastsiders reacted with that they know the name. Martin later introduced himself as and angel investor of Mentegram and founder of bySquare. So we said to ourselves that it might become interesting, when someone who touched startup scene will take political presentation – better chances to successful event, right?
We expected you to be more reasonable. Instead of talking to us like one of us, you tried to leverage your experience with startupists to think up something we will eat as bait.
When we spotted the title “Happy Startup”, we smiled, but it was just a beginning to what came next. With your HackerHouse in Sillicon Valley you did not solve any of the problems in our own country, in fact you tried to hand us the luxury paid by the country that can’t really afford it. We want to solve problems, not become the reason for their growth.
In the end we discussed the fact, that instead of displaying your team members, you showed us logos of slovensko.digital, the Spot, even the Eastcubator. Your defense was that you wanted to express the joy from the future collaboration. We explained, where is the problem with that but the point is that you should know what the slides in startup presentations are about. Despite that you could’t resist the temptation to throw us an “offer to collaborate” somewhere, where were supposed to show your own responsibility.
If I was to summarize your presentation, it was something, that was once explained to me as “populism”.
Michal’s presentation was a case where feedback is need because of both him and the audience. Here the quite shaky event totally fell apart. Younger individuals from the audience had trouble understanding the problem (and it was presented to us during the first 5 of total 6 minutes) and the older ones hated the younger ones for burrying the kind old Mr. academic.
You presented a possible project. It probably won’t make it as a startup, as you named it (“startup” has it’s own definition too), but it is a project with its own portion of importance. The assignment was to pull out something of OĽaNO’s pre-election campaign, something that answers to problems with entrepreneursip in Slovakia. A professional in any field should understand that, so as much as we blame other presenters for failing here, we have to blame you too.
There is not much lese to say here – you went your own way and you didn’t create a space for any other topic. This way you are more likely creating repulsion against yourself and the topic you presented – it will just make it harder for you. I will try to create a space for you later, in different conditions with different terms, because what you present is not a bullshit, but you just do it kind of wrong.
Here I would like to blame the OĽaNO party itslef. You had on month to respond to our invitation, just like the others. You responded on the day of event. Once again – if you are not interested, don’t bother.
Let’s summarize it all:
Personally, I don’t pay attention to politics at all and I have met all of the presenters for the first time on our event. Some poeple could attack me here for judging something I am not expert in. Bullshit! It is not about the politics at all, this is all about the communication among people. I will put it like this – to any of these presenters I would not entrust the presentation of any of my (small) projects to people, because it could end up just like with presentations of their own projects. Think about it.
We tried to prove that politicians can think like fair people, able to re-evaluate, aware of the fact that when I enter a room with 100 people, there is a big chance that maybe half of them will have better reactions to the very same field I make my living on. We proved that politicians are used to only tell people stuff, but they are not able to consider people maybe even better than them, listen to them and learn from them. Maybe it is because we are younger or because we are not displayed on billboards – whatever. Each one of us represents certain potential and ignoring people generally is a huge mistake.
Some of the presentes even expressed, that they had an option to choose a topic, they know we would be more interested, but everyone talks about them (actually nobody did after all) so they decided to talk about something else. WTF? Once again we have to deal with some kind of reverse psychology before we get to the point. You try to think for the people too much, rather try to think with them.
Just to make it clear – I will assign new Eastside Feedback. We are not doing it as a leisure activity though, so I will change the assignment to fix some bugs from the last time. The parties will have another opportunity to try communicating with people. This time I will set much tighter conditions, and we will see what happens.
Last but no least, I would like to thank the eastsiders for the first round. We will see each other on the upgraded edition. This time let’s do it after elections.
All the best.