Before his first visit to Lithuania, the entrepreneur that was recognized by the Financial Times as of Europe’s Top 50 technology entrepreneurs (2015) agreed to talk with DELFI about his lesson from many years in the startup world.
“I am very excited and looking forward to visiting Lithuania. It will be a new experience. I have been to Estonia but never have visited Lithuania yet. I have some Lithuanian friends that live in London. I have already visited 30-40 countries in the world so each time I go to a new country it is a good opportunity to learn”, says he.
- You have many years of experience working with startups. Did you figure out when is it the best time to exit with a product?
- It is a difficult question because the future is always uncertain. With a growing company, you always hope that you gonna achieve more but I think it is a combination of when the time is right for a business as well when it is a good time in a market. The right cycle of a product, market, finding a buyer that wants to buy. It is not a single right answer, unfortunately.
I think that the right time to exit a product when it has proven itself in the market, it is in a competing stage and has quality and excitement about the product. I think the wrong time to exit is when it is in the middle of a mission. Middle of a growth phase. When there is a clear goal that a team is focused on.
- What is the main lesson you have already learned from your experience so far?
- I think the main thing what I understood is that many people see an entrepreneur life as a glamorous job or life but the reality is that it is a lot of hard work. It requires persistence, it requires self-belief. It needs stamina. You need to be able to handle rejection all the time.
Unfortunately, the reality for every entrepreneur that I have ever spoken to is that being an entrepreneur you are given a choice, you make a decision if you are prepared for that and you accept that it is an amazing journey and can have amazing rewards. But there is no such thing like a lucky entrepreneur where everything comes easy and things just happen. It does not work this way.
- Is it more important to believe in your business by yourself or have that belief about your product from others?
- I think the most important thing you need to believe in your idea and you have to be able to build that belief in others. So it is about communicating a vision and passion, printing a picture of the future and when others start believing you back as well.
- What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from that?
- I did a venture as a cooperative entrepreneur but that product and service never succeeded in the market. The reason I do not consider it as a failure is that I learned so much about what takes to build a successful business and where can things go wrong.
The thing I learned was that you try hard and even if you have a good concept sometimes it takes ingredients that just do not come together and I had a really good team, we really tried our best but we never managed to get attraction and sometimes you just have to say I cannot do it. This is not working this time. I am gonna do something quite different or try again but you cannot keep beating your head against the wall when it is not working.
- When we talk about technologies startups or entrepreneurs we usually focus on good things that technologies bring to us. Do you see any negative impact?
- Unfortunately, I think it is about the data we generate, personal information which is either in the wide world or can be controlled by third parties. That is a concern.
Another thing is a dependency on technology and behaviors which either become habits or become just a waste of time or keeps us away from friends and family. And we might not even be aware of that. I think over time we get more educated about that and more able to control our destinies.
- What other problems may appear in the future related to technologies?
- I think there will be some challenges as technology and particularly artificial intelligence increases. I think what happens is that we rely less on our intelligence and become more dependent on software and computers without actually knowing where it is leading to. We should continuously assess and reassess, understand and safeguard ourselves. It is a challenge that does not stand still. It keeps changing and I doubt it gonna go back any time soon.
- Do you think that technologies are part of our lives or just a helper?
- For most of us, it is already part of our life whether we like it or not. For communicating with other people if they are using Whatsapp we need to learn new technologies. If you need to do banking online it does not matter if you like an app or not you need to use it.
- Some people say that technologies are changing faster than our brains or body can adapt. Do you agree with that?
- I think we are able to adapt. Younger people are more able to adapt because they used to learn. They are used to come across new ideas. I think when one gets older it takes more of an effort. But we have to learn to make an effort because technology does not stand still and overwise we stay behind. But I also would say we need to learn intelligence and not accept something new just because it is new. We need to ask what are benefits but also what risks and costs are.