Ten things I learned by age 25 and appreciate dearly

Young enough to know I can. Old enough to know I should’t. Stupid enough to do it anyway.

Abilities are developed. You can learn and grow them yourself by doing things.

What people think of as “talent” does not help much outside an accelerated initial learning. Mastering any skill requires hard work, discipline and motivation. There is no such thing as innate abilities – we work really hard to master skills and crafts that are important for creating things of meaning.

I love making people happy.

Listen to what others care for, express gratitude towards those that do good and show genuine empathy. Expect nothing in return – if everybody would be doing this the world would be a better place.

What you think you know is actually your perception created from limited experiences and it is probably stopping you from creating something genuinely great.

There is beautify in looking at things you do not understand with an open mind instead of dismissing them as wrong. Many things do not make sense right away, but if given some time and openness to understanding where they come from one can learn new thinking patterns and ideas. People are rarely wrong – it is usually the receiving party rushing to conclusions too early based on insufficient context.

Focusing ones philanthropic efforts on education of others makes for the greatest positive impact.

This is something I rarely talk about, but one of the projects I am most proud of is an education initiative I sparked and I am funding. I’m both proud and grateful for the opportunity of providing hundreds of students every year with the education I wished I have received when making my first steps in the information technology business.

Time is not money. One can recoup or make more money, but time is lost once wasted. Spend yours carefully.

Account for more than short term and potential long term financial incentives when choosing where to invest time. It is easy to make money, but more difficult to make them from things that you love and that make you wake up with a big smile and tremendous excitement every day.

Common sense is more important than formal education and much harder to obtain.

I look as common sense as the instinctive ability to make good decisions in random situations. Good instinct comes with observing patterns and repeatably making good decisions. For many people this is hard to obtain, especially when formal education is so guided and structured.

Love and happiness are pretty much the same thing and tend to come and go together.

If you do not understand this yet I suggest you find a bottle of good red wine and discuss it with your someone special. :)

Surround yourself with people you want to have very long term relationships with.

The people I am closest with, personally and professionally, are people I want to have close and create with in the long future. Trust and understanding are built over time and there is always a deep personal connection first that enables such continuity.

Being physically active pays off more than the time you invest in it.

On top of good health and sleep, improved work productivity and good posture I always enjoyed using sports as inspiration and motivation for breaking personal limits. Over the course of the last couple years I went from having modest physical strength to bench pressing more than my body weight, gain twenty kilos in lean mass only to drop most for better triathlon form. The human body is just incredible machine and most of us fail to explore it to its full potential.

If it feels good you should probably do it. Sometimes making mistakes feels better than living with regrets.

Stop worrying and start living. Worst thing that can happen is that you are back from where you started, with more experienced and possibly some proper battle scars. This sounds better to me than constantly asking myself what could have happened if.

Today I turn 25. I am happy, healthy and working with inspiring people on ideas I care deeply for. I am building my most recent company from London, which is in many ways a good step forward. I am deeply grateful towards everybody who is helping me follow my dreams. Thank you for such a beautiful beginning.

The nicest birthday present you can make me is sharing this article with your friends.

How to make your startup a global venture in three easy steps

I’ve been invited to give a presentation on networking and entrepreneurship in three cities in Romania (Bucharest, Timisoara and Cluj).

Main points of the presentation was that for Romania to grow more successful global startups we first need to grow a solid entrepreneurial ecosystem, formed of people who have the network and the money to help others succeed and grow at a rapid pace. The other thing necessary to grow an ecosystem is to strong network of connections in all major entrepreneurship hubs (San Francisco/Silicon Valley, New York, London, etc.)

Direct links to the networks/communities in the slideshow are:

The Ultimate Guide to Working Remotely: Part 5/5

Fifth and latest post in The Ultimate Guide to Working Remotely: The Series.

Connecting remotely at a personal level

Working remotely is not working alone

Not being present in a physical work environment does not allow a member of the team to stop communicating actively with his colleagues. On the contrary one must ensure that all others know what he’s working on at all times, provides consistent status updates and helps the project manager track his or her progress.

Frequent video calls between team members

Video calls are closer to a physical interaction than emails or simple voice calls. Using video adds a personal touch and helps at better understanding each other. One on one video calls are possible via Skype and for more participants solutions like Dimdim or WebEx can be used. At least the weekly team meeting must have video, as well as most of the one on one Skype calls.

Meeting at the beginning of the project in person

While not possible for all teams, meeting at the beginning in person offers a boost hard to replicate otherwise. It is easier to agree on responsibilities and see each other’s communication and work style in such an environment, but it can as well take place later in the project. Many distributed teams meet in person at least once a year for this reasons.

All meetings are well documented with clear agenda and meeting notes

While a remote meeting has less human interaction this can be overcome by better managing the meeting process. Setting the agenda and sending back and forth some emails to clarify what is to be discussed will help set the focus better when the actual meeting takes place. A team member, taking the role of the meeting facilitator, will keep meeting notes and will ensure the agenda is followed and the meeting stays on time.