Mittwoch, 31. Dezember 2008

interview with Andraž Tori of zemanta: part 1/2

inspired by jessica livingston´s highly recommended book, founders at work, interviews with local will become part of the regular start.up blog entries. the interviews will be split up in two parts. while the first will focus on general start.up topics, the second will look deeper into the company in focus.

the first company in line is zemanta. founded by Andraž Tori and Boštjan Špetič, zemata provides an intelligent blog extension which automatically generates context sensitive proposals for pictures, links & tags. their firefox plug in can be downloaded here. a live demo can be tried here. winning seedcamp brought zemanta wide media attention as well as reputable vc funding. the interview took place at this year's web2.0expo berlin with Andraž Tori.

Andraž, tell me about the (three) most exciting things about up your company?
t it was really exciting to see that we had something not many people in the world were doing. the second great thing was winning seedcamp. this was a big achievement, since there are not many in slovenia.
finally it is great to do stuff that usually can only be done in silicon valley. to do something which is really for the whole world and to see that we here in europe are on the same level [as silicon valley]. that is exciting.

what about the most unfortunate things about up?
we did not have any big misfortunes. there were hard bits, like getting calls in the middle of the night, when the service [of zemanta] went down and not getting to sleep all the night fixing stuff.

on the business side there are long negotiations about funding. you are of course not happy with all the conditions you get.
there are times when it is hard and tiresome. it is exciting, but not just fun.

what are your lessons learned until now about technology?
prepare to re-do things. you will create solutions to problems, learn that you misjudged things and rebuild. and you have to listen to other people. the collective intelligence of people is always better then a single mind. one has to be persisted and stubborn, but just in the right amount.

when you hear the words "exit" and "shut down", what comes to your mind?
that's t the life of a start.up.

how do handle private life vs. work?
i put a lot of myself in zemanta, but i enjoy it. you have to observe and listen to yourself. when you are over-investing yourself just step back a little. sometimes you have to push to the maximum, but you can not always work in that mode.

this was the fist part of the interview with Andraž Tori. stay tuned for the 2nd part, where a closer look on zemanta will be taken.

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