In September 2015 I have decided I have to move on with my life. In October and November 2015 I took the planes of my life. I went to graceful Moscow, Budapest, Barcelona, Ljubljana, London and Brussels and I have talked to all the inspiring people I knew and they all supported with my idea to get started my own venture and they all gave me the inner power to launch my company: Civic Tech Amsterdam.
Starting from December I am working between London and Amsterdam, have four wonderful start ups to make them grow, I am involved in the Open Data Institute as startup mentor in London, have offices both in London and Amsterdam, meeting the most fantastic geeks and entrepreneurs around me. Working for the World Bank on a innovation mapping book till 2017. Have invitations to speak on many prestigious worldwide smart city conferences. And I love it. I need a team. Little sleep during these days.
Not a moment I have doubted about my own startup. I enjoy every split of it and maybe the first time in my life I really do follow my heart. I am working with passionate urbanists, thinkers, rebellion minds, not one is boring, they are part time artists (many of them either making films, playing jazz guitar next to coding). During my journey in this autumn and also before I have united this true hearted group of innovators, evangelists, real risk takers and the best DJ, architect but also the best joke maker for sure too (Drew Hemment!). I have decided I will move stones even to be able to do joint projects , start ups with these people.
The spontaneous, lucid minds of these people I want to connect back to city halls, NGO’s, national governments that are robust, rigid and slow moving as mammoths. That intrigues me a lot. City halls are based on unnecessary hierarchies, rituals and rules but also invisible friend politics and alliances with big ’preferred’ vendors/tech providers. With Civic Tech I would like to make an opening to ‘civic intelligence’ and nourishing a layer of fast moving minds that will craft the best technologies where alone cities could not even dream of With Civic Tech I am negotiating with more cities (Helsinki, London, Budapest, Istanbul) to launch partner incubators where we solve city problems with the best mobile apps, open data platforms and installing the IT networks, testing citizen wearables etc. Each day I am working with my civic tech colleges worldwide that make my heart so hard beating to scout, rescue computer science talents, to make start ups and give back the intelligence to cities and public organizations.
And I do need colleagues but no hierarchy, my only selection criteria is you must be co-fanatic to join and must have divers talents like a Renaissance man. Now you can ask two legitimate questions.
How did i make it happen?
I was fighting for intelligence blindly. I have travelled penniless but with open mind and open heart. I have made unexpected connections. I took all the invitations I got and prepared meetings carefully even though subjects were unknown at the first sight. I undertook moderations, sessions in Russian, French spoken panels with simultaneous translations. Worked often till 3 am. Missed flights. And now i keep focus maybe the very first time in my life. I focus on talent, on inspiring start ups that deserve the learnings from my journeys. I focus on my love for great cities and start ups, technology and not more. Day & night. As poetry.