Innovation, Solutions, and Effectiveness

Business Partners, the influential magazine of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, has published an article discussing Greece, Startups and Transifex. I was invited to write a column.

Business Partners presents the voices of six young entrepreneurs who are rising above the status quo to take control of their professional careers, with all the difficulties this involves, and experience life from a different vantage point. And they offer insights into shifts—of beliefs, of values, of perspectives—that, at this time of upheaval and despair, will move Greece forward.

Here's my take on the topic.

Innovation, Solutions, and Effectiveness

Being an entrepreneur and a pattern recognition geek, I am very often tempted to compare Greece’s challenges with those of a startup.

Startups are businesses at their extremes. One day you’re the king of the world at the top of the mountain, invincible against your competition. The next day you’re in the valley, wondering how on earth you’ll survive the imminent and inevitable end of your world. And while entrepreneurs often have optimism engraved in their DNA to be able to survive (and thrive), a startup’s roller-coaster life, and a negative ecosystem, can drain it out from you.

I’m often asked what were the biggest challenges I faced in founding Transifex. Expected answers, such as bureaucracy and taxation, are always areas a country can improve on. But the biggest challenge for me was a different one: To keep looking at things positively. To keep believing that change is possible and you’re a part of it. If I had a magic wand, I’d switch the negativity being pushed by the media before a good night’s sleep, or by the grocery store owner before a good morning, with constructive criticism with realistic propositions and a thumbs-up with a smile.

Empowerment will prove to be an important element of Greece’s fight for survival. From entrepreneurs to employees, from citizens to ministers and the prime minister himself, everybody needs to feel empowered to fight for a better tomorrow. Citizens need to feel empowered to be part of the change and fight to bring new value the next day. This cultural change requires many years to improve, but that’s no reason not to start working on it today.

Greece is challenged today to innovate itself out of its doom, whirlpool. In any system which brought itself to such a bad state, innovation, or improving its own parameters, is a necessary element for escape. And while lots of people are busy with inventing solutions, some few are busy in innovating new solutions, that is, ones which will be effective in improving the current state in a significant way. These people are smarter than the ones which brought the system to the current state. Let’s identify them, remove all their obstacles and provide them with all the necessary tools to do great things.

Effectiveness is key. Both optimized systems, as well as ones which have been broken for decades, which represents the case of Greece, require hard work to fix. When resources such as budget and time are limited, being effective is key for success. The right solutions should be brought to the table today and ways to get them implemented soon should be found.

Full article at: