četrtek, 3. december 2015

Mind slavery

I am a man and men especially love logic, thinking and having in-depth discussions about some random "bullshit". That is probably the reason why I’ve always been interested in building new products and thinking about how to make something more efficient. In the past I would often read business books before going to bed, when driving I would listen to podcasts about entrepreneurship and I felt like I was wasting my time if I was doing something not really useful. Somehow I feel that I’ve changed a lot in last few months ...

Recently, I spent about a month in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, famous for its art, meditation, yoga and spiritual places. My primary mission here was to work in the beautiful co-working place Hubud, which is a place where 30-40 people from all over the world are working on their projects and businesses.

Community lunch in Hubud. Photo by Hubud

Since I love new experiences I also joined a drumming class where I noticed how thinking affects my drumming. The teacher told me that if I start thinking, I should stop drumming immediately until I FEEL the rhythm again. "Stop thinking," resonated inside me. It was harder than I thought, even though I have some experience with music. One day after the drumming lessons I met an older guy from Mexico called Fernando, who mentioned that he is on his way to a chanting gathering in a small cave (chanting means singing long "oooooohhmmmmmmm"). I’ve never tried chanting before so I asked him if it were possible that I join him. He said, "Yes, of course," even though I felt that he was a little bit unsure about it - most likely because people who cannot relax enough can easily destroy the beauty of such events.

Meditation cave

In the cave, there were just 6 of us. I was a little bit afraid that I would start laughing because that was probably one of my weirdest experiments so far, but when we started I immediately loved how our voices resonated in small cave. The woman who was leading the gathering later explained that chanting is one of the easiest ways to focus on our inner feelings and stop wondering with our minds - stop thinking. She said that when you stop thinking, you achieve peace of mind. When you are at peace, you are ready to listen to your inner self and other human beings as well. In the following month I tried many meditations and yoga classes and I loved the way I felt afterwards. It was magical, like I was watching the world from another dimension.

I realised that we Western people are constantly under at least some pressure which means we are not at peace at all. Either through the salary at our job or better grades at school, we are encouraged to think, worry and work more, however we still don't feel happy and fulfilled. It is like the West is trying to persuade us to think more and strive towards complexity, unlike the East, which is teaching us to think less and enjoy the beauty of simplicity. Our minds are so full of thoughts, obligations, worries and stress that we are rarely in a peaceful state in which we are capable of building the best relationships with people and get the best out of ourselves. I am grateful to Bali, all the people and the whole universe for giving me such a beautiful lesson in such a magical way.


nedelja, 8. november 2015

About the Smile

Today, I arrived to Virgin beach in Candidasa, Bali, Indonesia. It is a very quiet place and not crowded with many tourists. I love those kinds of places. "I must be a lucky guy to be here", I thought and immediately wanted to stay longer. I asked a waitress in a restaurant if it is possible to simply sleep on the beach and she didn't know what to say. The owner of the place heard me and said it could be done, but he emphasised that there is nobody there at night and there is also no electricity. "That is exactly what I need!" I said. It seemed that he completely understood me. He brought me some candles and showed me a location where I could sleep. Now it is 11pm and here I am, alone like probably never before, under millions of stars, listening to loud surfs, I just finished reading a book and now thinking about what I should write for you.

Reading "The Little Prince" on the beach. Book was a gift from my friend Sandra from Slovenia. 

~ About the Smile ~

I absolutely love the way the Indonesian people smile. Whenever you walk or drive past someone on the street, they look into your eyes and if you are aware enough to create eye contact, they will reward you with a huge and honest smile, coming directly from the heart. You are not able to do anything else than smile back.

People smiling in hindu temple. I stopped here to explore some local culture on my way to the beach. 

I realised that people in the West have a lot of issues with such a simple thing as a smile. We are thinking whether a smile would be weird, whether it is proper to laugh in a certain situation, whether we look good when smiling ... WTF? This is called overthinking. As soon as you start thinking about such a simple thing as a smile, you have already destroyed its greatest meaning. If you want to really smile from your heart, you should not think at all! Just smile. Pure simplicity. It is accepting the present moment just the way it is.

If you cannot smile like this, you probably have a huge issue with accepting reality. You are overthinking everything. You never feel ready to smile since nothing is funny enough for you. You don't have time for your friends since you cannot relax in their company. You never dance, since somebody might be watching you. You are not satisfied with your partner and are hoping for a better one. Same thinking goes on and on with everything in your life. You think that you are surrounded with wrong people, things and wrong situations. You believe that you deserve better and that is why you are obsessed with trying to change others, change the situation, change everything. You expect that change will happened around you, not inside of you. If you are not happy with what you have, you don't deserve more. Your mindset is poor and your life is just a reflection of your thoughts. That is why you are unhappy. Your mindset is hurting you and you are hurting people around you. You better stop it now.

We all fail at some point. Capitalism is trying to convince us that we always want more of everything. When we go to school we are challenged to get better grades. Good was not good enough. After school we always want a better job since we want a higher salary with which we will buy a better car or house. When we watch TV, we are bombarded with ideas about what else we need to be happy or beautiful. The whole system is based on the greedy wish to have more. It starts with material things, but it soon becomes a part of us and our relationships. We have to get this under the control. We can do better.

Start observing your thoughts. Do you sometimes want to complain, criticise or express negativity? Try to replace those thoughts with accepting reality. Accept your partner. Accept your family. Accept your friends. Don't doubt. Life is beautiful. Be FULLY grateful for everything and everyone and smile as much as possible.

Good night! Peace!

I had a wonderful sunrise in the morning. Alone. 

I was playing like a child with those waves. Loved it. 

četrtek, 2. julij 2015

Let's go to Chicago to attend UPW event

I am a big fan of Anthony Robbins, who is probably number one life and business coach. Recently I have heard some amazing stories from my friends about how Anthony's live events transformed their lives and so I pondered: "If my friends say positive things about the event and if Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams think that this is a life-changing event - why wouldn't I try to attend it?". 

I went to his website and saw that the next event is held in Chicago. The idea to go there was a little bit crazy but the more I thought about NOT going there (excuses!) the more I knew I MUST go.

A lot of people who know very little (or nothing) about Anthony's work told me that this must be a brainwashing event. In general, I've always felt a lot of resistance toward any kind of self improvement techniques here in Slovenia. Are we really super-human beings who are never wrong? Do we really not need to read books, listen to advice or sometimes even get some help?

Let's take a look at one of Anthony's teachings about relationship:

Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they're trying to find someone who's going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.

Imagine how improved our lives would be if more people were willing to understand such a simple lesson.

Me, my parents and the whole country invested A LOT of time and money in MY formal education but I was never really impressed by the results. Why? Because that is what everybody does. If I want to stand out and have different results I have to take different actions. Whenever I was strong enough to do things differently and apply my own rules I was astonished about the results. It was never easy but always fun and exciting, many times even inspiring! I am convinced that money spent on the seminar will return back to me somehow. I also  know that the time I have right now will never come back. I have to do it and I have to do it NOW.

I will stay in Chicago for 14 days and here is my bucket list of the things I will do/try there:
  • Attend the Unleash the Power within seminar
  • Travel alone
  • Try couch-surfing
  • Go into Sensory deprivation tank
  • Meet new people
  • Try group meditation
  • Rent a bike
  • Work in coworking office in Chicago
  • Listen to live music
  • Visit one startup company

I've visited many crazy countries with my girlfriend but traveling like this will be something completely new for me. It is true that I am a little anxious about the whole thing, but I am sure that it is going to be epic.

nedelja, 26. april 2015

ULU at Cebit

When we were in the Netherlands, we applied to Code-N startup competition which had its final event at on one of the world's largest and most international computer expos - Cebit. 400 startups from all over the world applied and we were one of the 50 startups which were selected to present their product there.

The event date was soon here ... Since it is not only important what you do and why you do it but also how you do it - we rented a campervan and took 2 guitars with us us so the 12-hour trip from Slovenia to Hannover would not get boring :). Renting a campervan was about 70 EUR/day, price for camping place at Cebit was about 200 EUR for a week and its location was just 100 m from the expo. The alternative was to go to a hotel and pay at least 70 EUR/night per person and drive from the hotel to Cebit every single day for at least 20 min in one direction. More teams should do the same ...

Driving for so long was not a problem at all. In the campervan we had a lot of discussions about our product, about our personal lives, travelling etc. We even wrote and recorded the The ULU song for the team back home. The trip to Hannover was not just a trip but a team building experience!


Immediately when we first entered the Code-N hall we were impressed by how huge it was and it even had some of the most sophisticated and precise robots in it - KUKA robots. Prices for such a machine starts at 500.000 EUR if someone is interested in buying a new toy. 

The Code-N program started on Saturday with the pitches of about 10 preselected startups in front of 200 journalists. Matej, our CTO, definitely gave an awesome presentation on the stage and audience agreed that connected cars are totally hot!

The expo officially opened it's door on Monday. I must admit that I thought there would not be many people interested in the startup scene since Cebit is more or less known as a corporate expo - I thought that from time to time I would be able to write some code or simply go around the Cebit. However, we were talking to potential customers, investors and partners almost all the time, every day of the week. It was incredible to meet people from all around the world interested in our technology. We indeed were a little bit shy in the beginning but after a few pitch repetitions it was totally easy - you just have to accept that "out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens" and then it simply flows - like a river. Even though we were a bunch of engineers and not professional salesmen we were an awesome sales team if you ask me. We were passionately pitching our product in English, German, Russian, Serbian and Slovenian language. 

Every startup booth had a similar experience. I didn't see the whole expo, but from what I saw I think that the Code-N hall was definitely one of the hottest halls with a lot of brilliant people and ideas. At the end of the week we took the picture of exchanged business cards. Pretty cool, huh?

Thanks to the Code-N team for organising such a wonderful event and GFT for making it happen. Having so many entrepreneurs in one place is always a mind-blowing experience. 

četrtek, 12. marec 2015

Maybe I know where your money is!

This time I have to start in Slovenian ...

Če si 28. februarja na Petrol črpalki na Viču v Ljubljani (Tržaška cesta 130) pozabil 20 EUR na bankomatu, ti lahko pomagam, da jih dobiš nazaj! Piši mi na klemen@mice3.it ...

I will continue with the inspiring story because it had occurred in less than half an hour and its lesson really made my day.

sreda, 21. januar 2015

Welcome to the Netherlands

I received a few questions about what I am doing here in the Netherlands, so  I will try to explain it shortly in blog posts with the facts I find interesting.

Our office in High Tech Campus, Eindhoven, Netherlands

A few months ago we (ULU.io team) received an invitation to the Startupbootcamp accelerator in Eindhoven. Startupbootcamp is one of the largest startup support organisations in the world and runs its programs in many countries. They are looking for cool products & teams and then try to help them build growing businesses within a 3 month program. At the end of the program we will have the opportunity to pitch at Demo Day in front of 400+ investors who are there to invest their money into the companies. 70% of the companies inside the program are funded and the average investment is 500.000 EUR.

Walking to Startupbootcamp HighTechXL office space

It might seem like those kind of investments are unreasonable since a lot of startup companies fail - but those which succeed, succeed tremendously. Investors know that if they only invest into a single company, they will most likely lose their money. However if they invest their money wisely, they are very likely to earn a lot of money. 

In the United States venture capitalists invest into less than 1% of newly build businesses and the total investments account for less than 0,2% of GDP (Gross domestic product).  Even though those numbers are small, venture-backed companies generate annual revenues equivalent to 21% of GDB. Yes, this is a 100x increase of the initial investment. I can hardly think of any better investment and that is probably why the United States support the startup ecosystem as much as possible.

Countries which understands those numbers are willing to do anything to build such a profitable ecosystem inside their borders and the Netherlands is doing a very good job here. I hope that we Slovenians can learn something from them and act faster in the future. We should not be ignorant about one of the most profitable types of business (startups).

We are used to blaming our government for everything, but our government is just the mirror of ourselves.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. - George Bernard Shaw