Are Entrepreneurs the Beauty Queens of the 21st century?

This was a subject of discussion in my head (yes, I tend to discuss a lot with myself) for a long time now. Why does it feel these days that being an Entrepreneur is much like being a Beauty Queen?

If you are a Beauty Queen, i.e. Miss World, you represent your country (and your sponsors) at least for a year, touring around, making charitable appearances, taking pictures with children in Africa, wearing dresses specially designed for you and seeing others falling of jealousy – “Wow, how lucky she is to be that beautiful, wish I was in her place”.

Entrepreneurs, likewise, have to be always fresh and smiley, kissing and hugging every customer they achieve, being BFF with investors, not mentioning the staff they hire (everyone now is ready to be ditched by a ‘cooler’ startup). They are on a mission to represent their company and convince everyone else that is a game-changer, well designed, not burning too much money and always ready to pivot. And, at the end of the first investment, you get comments like: “Oh, those nerds, lucky bustards!”

This is a very narrow picture of Beauty Queens and Entrepreneurs but you get the feeling that there is something similar to them, right?

The most clear point to me is – they both are ‘working’ to change the world. One standing on the stage with a perfect smile, promising to bring peace to the world and be a good ambassador, spread love and joy, etc. The other trying to convince the world that his / her product is not about doing business or making money – it’s about changing the world, disrupting and innovating.

Also, both of them are called extremely lucky, not evening mentioning the effort they had to put in to simply become professionals, or skilled enough to out-win others. Beauty Queens don’t wake up one morning thinking: “Oh, I think tomorrow I should become Miss America” (agree, this is very arguable 🙂 ). Lucky entrepreneurs are exactly the same – they don’t just have a great idea, they work hard with their brain & use cognitive approach to discover those ideas in their well-trained unconsciousness.

But one point shreds my theory into pieces. If you become a Beauty Queen you will be certain to receive a crown and wear it for a year for everyone to know – there she comes. If you happen not to bring peace to the world, no one will ever express hard feelings at you, especially after you give the crown to next lady in the queue. Safe choice.

If you are an entrepreneur, it is very likely, that scoring an investment or making a hard-sale will not take uncertainty away and you will continue working like a horse because when the press bubble dives-down you will have to worry about the next pivot, salaries to pay and competitors emerging every day on all parts of the world. Not that safe.

When little, I was dreaming to become a Beauty Queen and making the world a better place. My Mum always laughed at my silly talks. These days, when already being an adult, safe choices do not interest me that much anymore. That is why I chose to become an entrepreneur and make the world a better place, that is the only thing I’m certain about.

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinions, Startup

Infographic: iOS App Designer Guide to Developer Love

Wow wow wow – it’s my first infographic (that finally went live) and it was a great pleasure & challenge at the same time for the Lemon Labs team to make it happen. We’re ranking 151st on out of 1700 – how cool is that?

But the main idea behing this infographic is to give more attention to the app design as well as improve collaboration between designers and developers, as so often, these days, they don’t sit in one room or even haven’t met each other face to face. We celebrate collaboration!

Thanks to MediaPark team for the drawings.

Browse more data visualizations.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Why should you create products for startups and small businesses

Decantralisation is the new way bright minds are shifting towards. It is not big companies any more making biggest innovation and your diploma is not necessarily deciding your future either. You can be whoever you want in exchange of how hard you try and how good you are at something. It applies so heavily to any digital related industry, that freelance or working groups (small companies) with startups leading are becoming the driving force of the changemaker economy.

What’s in it for you? If you are looking for a new grand idea or a new market to build tools for – you should be aiming at creative technologists, strong individuals and celebrated team players. You should solve their problems. Now!

What are those problems?

  • Time management. Interruptions are all over the place, starting from your own mind, ending on your phone. Yes, there are tools to manage your time and collect data. But the data is not smart. It doesn’t lead to any conclusion, learning or improvement. After 6 months or even quicker, you forget mistakes or wins you’ve made, so you can’t escape or repeat them.
  • Money management. Working online puts you to the global market. But the global market doesn’t have it’s own taxes, rules for self-employed or small companies, it doesn’t support them – it’s too clunky (there are rules & regulations for corporations thought, no matter how meaningless they are). What about a single tax system for professionals? Why couldn’t countries, that I have provided services for – maybe 6 or 7 a year – just split taxes evenly?
  • Network management. I find LinkedIn recommendations dull. Yes, they are easy to do. Yes, they are official. But – OMG – they’re so old school. How do I know if the person is a great UX designer when looking at recommendation? How do I compare them all? Maybe we could gamify your professionalism and people, who you worked for, could rank you – or that is a bit too open. There should be away to make it reasonable and fun.

These are only three problems lying on top of my head. I love to see people solving those problems, i.e. a young Lithuanian entrepreneur just solved (7 weeks ago) a biggest problem all advertisers, creatives and other idea hunters had – where to constantly find and share ideas. I mean in a professional way. He made IdeaPeople – a place where you can share ideas easily and scroll through hundreds of others. What a great source for moodboards!

Am working with my team now at Lemon Labs thinking of what problems we have and what we can solve for those similar to us, the changemakers, the autonomous teams and self-thought experts, every day inventors and for people simply having loads of ideas.

So what are you going to create?

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinions, Startup

How a non-coder feels?

If you are into startups, you’ll often here, that success doesn’t come over night & that building products is a hell-lot of hard work. I don’t question that. The thing that worries me is that hard work is often understood as long lines of code and endless experiments with design. Especially now, when we all know, that execution matters more than the idea itself.

I don’t code. Nor I design. And no again, I’m not a grand business women OR so called marketer (whatever that means), thinking ROI’s and CPA’s. So is there a place for me in a startup / technology scene? Maybe I would better be at safe job creating meaningless presentations and documents?

Let’s try it this way. What can I do?

  • I can produce content, both visual and written (good or bad is up to you)
  • I do carry buckets of optimism and do work a lot to get myself and those around motivated appropriately (does watching TED videos count as productive work?)
  • I write & scrap my own strategies and ideas without a smirk (if they don’t seem right after the first 5min euphoria)
  • I love risk and adventures, disruptions and the Act Local: Think Global approach (it’s becoming such a norm)
  • I love organising team’s get togethers and making sure we’re heading the way we intented initially (vision, vision, vision)
  • I care about how and where the products are presented & what they mean to the final consumer (maybe even too much)
  • I do dream new ways of surprising people and telling most compelling stories (or I spend all day worrying about it and trying to find a solution to a yet non-existing problem)

So who am I? My title at Lemon Labs says Ideator, a very glossy buzz word I’ve picked from the now-trending in Silicon Valley. I’m not cool enough to be there but taking the title is quite easy. Others would call themselves Creative Technologists (all hale Apple), Catalysts, Visionaires, Innovators, etc.

No matter what it says, I do work really hard. Very often I also get stuck in proccesses, beaurocracies and idea fights, I do create lines and piles of often unuseful emails, lines of text, ideas and long lists. And I’m the one who clients love OR hate, because they can address all the joys and craps of the working together process.

Do you have the same problem? Do you feel that technology / startup scene is forgetting the content producers, speakers, visionaries and focusing on those who deliver (even if they do not deliver things that matter?). Share your pain!

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinions, Startup

Pirmasis lietuviškas darbinis ‘blynas’: Kelionė 2012 aplikacija

Lai trenkia kalbos žaibai ir perkūnai, žodis ‘aplikacija’ vis dar parankesnis kalbant apie mobiliąsias programėles, ir išvis, turėtų būti ‘apsai’, su mažais kompromisais. Po itin nereikšmingo išsiliejimo, sukim kalbą prie reikalų, kurie daro pirmadienius smagesniais ir padeda nekreipti dėmesio į tuos saulę pridengiančius Vilnius debesis. Pakalbėkim apie darbą.

Apie kritimus / pakilimus / juokus / jausmus grįžtant parašysiu jau greit, kai viskas susisloksniuos ir galima bus jau faktus vardinti. O kad neištiktų rašinių sausra, pristatau pirmąjį projektą, prie kurio paleidimo prisidėjau tik grįžusi (prisijungiau prie itin talentingų aplikacijų kūrėjų ‘Lemon Labs‘, bus dar garo iš šito team’o, trust me).

Nuotykių ieškotojai

Mano nuotykiai nė ištolo neprilygsta Vytaro Radzevičiaus ir Martyno Starkaus potyriams keliaujant pačiais netikėčiausiais pasaulio maršrutais. Kai jie dar kartą nusprendė vykti į Pietų Ameriką, pagalvojau, kad jų laidų ir darbo dėka didelės dalies lietuvaičių žemėlapis bent šiek tiek prasiplėtė, įgavo naujų krypčių ir kultūrinių atspalvių. Už tai žemai lenkiu jiems galvą. Dar smagiau pasidarė sužinojus, kad prie šios sklaidos teks (truputuko truputuką) su komanda prisidėti ir man, kuriant Kelionė 2012 aplikaciją. Parsisiųsk ją čia iPhone ar Android.

Kelionė 2012

Pati aplikacija tai būdas stebėti Vytaro, Martyno ir jų komandos įspūdžius ir nutikimus, matuoti likusį maršrutą, realiuoju laiku klausytis su jais muzikos, skaityti eilinį ‘bairį’ ar palikti palinkėjimą, o gal net draugišką patarimą Svečių Knygoje. Gi keliautojai ne kartą prisipažino, kad be gerbėjų toli nevažiuotų, atrodo šią kelionę tai pajautė ir Snaigė, kuri ‘pakilo’ dar vienam įspūdingam žygiui per kalnus, lygumas, upes ir visokius kitokius mums retai matomus reljefus.

Tad kol jie smaginasi ir pramogauja ‘kokos’ ir lamų kraštuose, eikit ir palinkėkit jiem sėkmės; net neabejoju, kad vieną dieną besiruošdami į savo gyvenimo kelionę su džiaugsmų vartysite jų užrašus su patarimais, įvertinimais ir realijom, kurių nė viena turizmo agentūra (deja) nedrįstų išsakyti. O ir TV laidos teks laukti iki rugpjūčio – tada jūs ir patys festivaliuose, paplūdimiuose ar kaime pas bobutę tūnosite.

Ir patikėkit, Martynas su Vytaru viską skaito, tai negailėkit ‘Laikų’ ir gerų žodžių.

Geros savaitės 😉


Filed under Uncategorized

Don’t be afraid to get bored & innovate

‘It turns out we’re always bored’ – says Jonah Lehrer at his short interview with Blake Eskin, the .com editor of one of my favourite magazines, The New Yorker. Jonah is releasing a book and wrote a piece for the magazine about why brainstorming doesn’t work. You can listen to the intro and mini discussion here.

I’m a massive supporter of random conversations, unplanned brainstorms, open-minded team work but I do appreciate my time alone. Working in total silence is a bliss, when you can fully concentrate and here yourself. But that is the exciting bit.

What about those moments when you get bored? When you can’t think of something productive to do? When ideas stop coming and start leaving? What do you do?

Personally, I start to panic – wastage of time drives me mad. I grab my laptop, my phone, a book, make myself a tea or just wonder around the house. This panic leads into more panic. You can browse on the internet as much as you like but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll be doomed and waste even more time.

Recently I’ve read a document called ‘Digital trends forecast 2012’ by ESOMAR where they introduce the concept of smart boredom which means that all the moments you should actually be bored such as standing on train platform, standing in the queue or traffic jam, etc. are now being filled with extensive digital experiences. Thanks, iPhone.

On one hand, we should say – that is extremely amazing – as it leads into ongoing productivity, less wasted time and continuous innovation. But actually, does it? When looking back at all the startup ideas, article ideas, connection ideas or most of the ideas that come into my head did arrive in few situations.

One – my personal favourite – was a simple conversation with a random person, friend, conversation about passions, not only problems. For example, my friend, who’s a chief, met another guy, who’s a chef as well, at our friends dinner party. They both where a bit dizzy and talked lot’s of high level stuff. But they also shared the same passion – good cooking. And guess what – in few months they are moving to Vilnius (one is a foreigner) and opening a restaurant together.

Second – less favourite but still very good – is complete boredom. When you feel so bored you can scream. If you get to this situation, don’t try to escape it. Dive even deeper. Get bored so much that your mind gets a shock and awakes itself for invention and creation.

When idea comes, go out and speak to someone about it. You never know who will help you make it happen.


Filed under Opinions, Startup

Joining the lean startup movement

Lean Startup is the new movement, theory, school of thought, learning model, mantra, trend to follow for those in startup world. At least it started from pains suffered when the founder worked on a startup launch and after 9 months of hard core coding found out that.. no one gives a damn about it.

Following the buzz and after reading some articles and watching few talks, I was convinced it’s worth finding more. And that is where the reason for living in London strikes – everyone is dropping by at some point. So did the hero of Lean Startup, Eric Ries. Accidentally, via one of the usually useless newsletters, I discovered that Eric was doing a free public lecture at London School of Economics, bless them for the great series they have. You can check them out here.

As evidence above shows, I managed not to only to visit a crowded talk at the LSE, with a great setup and atmosphere but I managed to run into Eric himself, who was waiting on the halway. Have to admit, I really felt like a 16 year old seeing my beloved singer (just for a second). The next second I felt the endless possibilities of connected world and a strong push to work even harder to rock the startup world while changing the world via collaborative effort, so thanks to Eric for the inspiration!

Now I’m waiting for the book to arrive, you can expect a review soon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Startup

Tas saldus žodis laisvė

Ta vakarą man buvo ketveri su trupučiu ir svarbiausias, o tiksliau ryškiausias išlikęs vaizdas, buvo kaimynų virtuvių languose degančios žvakės. Pamenu tą man kaip vaikui nebūdinga rimtį, tylą namuose, pokalbiuose. Tėvai neparodė nerimo, o skleidė susikaupimą. Kaip kokia senolė susigraudinu kas kart prisiminusi tą vienintelį vis dar išlikusį prisiminimą, kuriame susipina tiek kartų, įvykių, pasikeitimų. Atrodo, kad net būdama ketverių jaučiau to įvykio svarbą.

Aš labai vertinu savo ir kitų laisvę, nes ją suprantą tik ne iš kelmo spirti žmogeliai, prisiemantys atsakomybę už tai, kas yra ir ką veikia. Itin pritariu Andriaus Mamontovo išreikštai minčiai, kad “dabar atėjo laikas patvirtinti darbais, kad mes verti tos laisvės, kurią gavome, kad mokame ja naudotis, ją įvertinti”. Kaip sako draugų tarpe naudojamas juokas, Tymūras neateis ir nesutvarkys (atsiprašau, kad juokinu tik kelis, bet esmė aiški).

Tokią gražią dieną, kasmet primenančią, iš kur mūsų ragai dygsta, siūlau santūriai pagalvoti kas ir kaip, nes tik švarioje galvoje gali gimti kuriantis, o ne niokojantys sprendimai. Sausio tryliktosios nereikia švęsti, tačiau džiaugtis, kad turime tokį ryškų atspirties tašką, privalu.

Kad jau visa dalinasi dainom, tai man tą žvakių nušviestą naktį jaukumą kūrė daina apie Kalėdas (‘aš noriu, kad tu man uždegtum žvakutę mano širdies’).

Smagaus penktadienio.

Leave a comment

Filed under Opinions

The going home experiment

My love affair with London will last forever. But all real and romantic feelings are left in Vilnius, Lithuania, were I’m setting to come back in a few month to continue my projects, get some new challenges and write more!!!

The topic of emmigration is a sensitive one in Lithuania so when I wrote ablog post for a well-behaved economics online outlet, received a tone of messages, recommendations and, as always, loads of negativity. But who cares, I have a positive virus, that spreads around, will keep it going.

In case you’re interested, check the article here. Translator will be needed.

Hopefully the editor will be interested in hearing more. Otherwise Volume 2 will be coming up here.

If you want to ask me on a date before March, please do, otherwise, I’ll see you in Lithuania 😉

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Steve Jobs – the challenge

No matter how skeptical you are (don’t think it’s healthy), arguing that Steve Jobs is a person who catalyses changes, radical changes, inspiring changes would be difficult. If I had an hour with Steve in a room, I wouldn’t ask any questions to challenge him, I would like him to challenge me & ask inconvenient questions, the ones that need to be answered.

When I spotted the cover of Wired’s July cover with a headline ’37 lessons you can learn from Steve Jobs’ thought that time for unconvient questions is up.
Wired positioned the article as a Steve Jobs MBA, though I never understood the fool meaning of this expensive letter combination. And it is worth reading – great story line & an inspiring figure. When going through the ‘MBA’ process I thought I will write down potential questions for the exam – my challenge hour with Steve Jobs. These are more rethoric questions in forms of unforgetable qoutes or summarising statements.
  • ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’ – classics;
  • Interpret future with imagination;
  • Think about ergonomics of your work, even emotional ones;
  • Keep promises;
  • Be open – best meetings happen by accident;
  • Add value everywhere, improve;
  • Don’t fight the nature, embrace it;
  • Be smart with UX, both externally and internally;
  • Believe in others;
  • Key message is key, end of discussion;
  • Inform, educate & entertain;
  • Don’t follow others assumptions;
  • Help audience to make choices;
  • Create surprizes;
It will take you 5 minutes to read this, 7 minutes to digest & all life to implement. It’s not about ticking these points with right answers, it’s being honest to yourself. As Steve Jobs says: ‘Being the richest man in the cemetry doesn’t matter to me’. Does it matter to you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized