My name is Martin and Patrik Vácal (hereinafter Páťa:D) is by my side in the SocialReaders project. SocialReaders is an online community of readers sharing books, ideas and experiences offline, where students add books vy themselves so they can choose books they would never find in the library. We are both high school students, but mainly we are involved in the local aspiring business community, through events such as Startup Weekend or hackathons, where we like to present our interests. Patrik cares about technical details, I deal more with financial and business concepts. We have been working on the SocialReaders Project together with a bunch of great programmers and the helping hand of SIT Port for more than a year.
More information on socialreaders.cz.
1. How did you get into what you want to do in business?
Martin: Alongside SocialReaders, I focus on finance – investments, so I read a lot of professional books, unfortunately these books are either not available in libraries or very expensive in bookstores. At the same time, I wanted to expand my network, especially through books, because I spend most of my time reading. That’s why I thought of the shared library as a great way to educate.
Patrik: I met Martin at the Startup Weekend in Pilsen. When he contacted me later, I really liked the project. I am not really into books, but when I’m excited about any, it’s usually hard to find in the library. I would also like to expand my network. That’s why I joined Martin and we are now building SocialReaders together.
2. What was your biggest fear at the beginning, what was the hardest part of starting a business?
Martin: Just a few businesses are lined up. What I see as the biggest barrier is that the position of a functional startup is a matter of trial and error. When I started, I was ashamed to ask, to make mistakes, but that’s the most important thing we have to do if we want to do business. Neither Jobs nor Gates knew how to build a company step by step, they had to try everything possible and stick to what seemed to work. So the hardest part of doing business is creating a functional structure.
Patrik: That no one will want it. We are in the 21st century and I had the impression that almost no one reads books anymore. As we embarked on the project, I found out that a lot of people from my area actually read. From my point of view the hardest thing was to find the right technologies at the start, and somehow put together the foundation to build it.
3. The biggest fuckup?
Together: Lost teacher… We agreed with an unnamed high school to cooperate on web-design, which we had been waiting for months, unfortunately the cooperation did not work out.
4. The best feeling I had when…?
Martin: I have the best feeling every time someone new comes to our team, because for every smart head, the startup has a chance to succeed. Of course, I like to meet more and more enterprising people with whom I can work with not only on SocialReaders.
Patrik: When it damn started working!
5. What are your business plans for the future, what is your goal?
Martin: I don’t have business plans, it’s more of an adventure, I never know what will jump out at me, but I’m still trying new and new things. Talking about SocialReaders, we would like to launch our first version for users so that we can learn a little more.
Patrik: I would like to create amazing things, it doesn’t have to be business. I am dreaming of going abroad to study IT. Then I will see what the opportunities bring.