“You have a solution for everything” he said. We were sitting in my office, tinkering around a project that was so screwed it seemed impossible it will be ever finished. A never ending agony of the project manager, project owner, developer, designer – everyone. It was one of those projects that you don’t know why they managed to survive this long, why it was not already dumped and used as an example of what not to do.
During my tenure at Core Incubator I’ve seen more than 100 ideas pitching for funding. Out of those 100 ideas 10 were worth listening and 1 was worth investing in. These numbers are enough of a reason to give up playing in the early-stage VC field. So let’s be honest about all of that and agree that the “startup scene” in SE Europe should go back to school.
Fear of failure is a common emotion when stepping into entrepreneurship. A lot of very good talks share the mantra of embracing failure not as failure alone but as a completely natural part of the learning curve. By failing we learn how not to do things. But there is a big problem in this process. More often than not we fail without having a clue why we failed.
My first job ever, although I wasn’t paid for it, was to play music at a local radio station in my home town. It was a short career that pivoted to producing commercials, but it left such a profound mark on me that I still wish I could go back and make it a permanent job. I never wandered into DJ land or any kind of live performances. The studio, the airwaves and me. That is still my dream job.
One of the first challenges we faced at Core Incubator was improving the entrepreneurial climate in Croatia and neighboring countries where we are active. There are a couple of ways to achieve that, one of them is providing more funds to the earliest stage startups. The second is educating potential entrepreneurs about running a business and developing their ideas into clear business visions. The third one is building a quality infrastructure.
I have an idea. I’ll prepare a pitch for my new startup, create some cool slides and make up an entire story around it. Then I’ll go to every startup event and get into “pitch battles”. I’ll even win one of them. Then I’ll answer media questions and the media will push my story forward and build some hype. In the end, I’ll maybe even build the goddamn thing.
There are two responses when somebody tells you “You’re doing it wrong”. The first one is “Damn” and the second is “Fu*k you”. The first one is lame while the second one is cool. The first one is a sure bet while the second one is a gamble. Either way, that reaction tells you more about yourself than anything else.
In late 2009 a good friend of mine (@HamedBangoura) and I exchanged ideas in a Skype chat. We used to do these kind of talks a lot back then, when we both were at our most productive stage, full of ideas and plans, but without the required capital to fund any of them. One of the ideas was to create an “Angel Incubator” in Zagreb, Croatia. That was in 2009. This month we launched that incubator and named it Core Incubator.
My first steps into programming were tinkering with ASP and Access (later replaced with MSSQL), and for many many years I’ve played only on the Microsoft playground. Although I never upgraded to .NET as a programmer, I kept working in Microsoft environments and remained skeptical about anything that was on the other side of the fence, just like a typical MS fanboy would.