Coworking life is bringing people together

Operating from a coworking space brings many changes to your professional and everyday life. Poulcheria Tzova, an architect who resides at Stone Soup for almost 3 years now, shares her perspective.ask-a-stonesouper


According to Poulcheria, the thing she enjoys the most is that she gets motivated to keep on working even the days she feels the least like it. The way she describes this impact on her productivity resembles the effect of the population of a school of fish

In nature it is common to encounter groups of fishes who are staying together for social reasons and swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner. In a similar way, a dynamic coworking environment motivates one to be committed and keep on fighting their own battles so that they won’t stay behind but they will follow the destination of the larger group that is forward.

 

“On days where I feel tired or disappointed, I enter this space full of people and see them overcome difficulties no matter what they face. Along with them, I find the strength and courage to continue too.”

Giving and taking


Poulcheria’s favourite part of the day is when the magical little exchanges among the members of the coworking community happen. They occur either consciously or unconsciously but that is irrelevant because they are very impactful either way.
“I love it when I am asked for advice. I feel useful offering to others and at the same time I feel as I am returning the favor because I am also receiving so many things from them, even if they don’t realise it.

Tips for the new generation

 

As an experienced professional Poulcheria gives value to the workspace itself. When we asked her what would be her piece of advice for the new generation of architects, she responded;

“It is said that in order to become an architect you have to own the three O’s;

detail-driven 1. Observation
 2. Observation

      and

 3. Observation

This is one of the most essential qualities you need to own in order to succeed in every task you undertake. No matter what the workspace of your choice is, try to build a pleasant working base, but never forget how important is for our profession to be responsible, serious and detail-driven.”

Are innovators born or made?

The entire western world talks about innovation. It’s the key for the development of western economies, and it’s a one-way street. All of the engineering and math-oriented work passes through globalization to overseas engineers. It combines low operational cost with high productivity. However, in the case of innovation it is really complex. Actually, there is no consensus on how innovation works.

Numerous products such as book or pieces of art are made each year, but how many of them actually obtain an exceptional place in the market? Engineering plus creativity gives birth to innovation. It’s not a coincidence that great innovators were not just engineers or scientists; they were also artists in their own fields, in their own community.

One-inch

It is true that innovative minds can be taught, to some extent; but not the regular way. Arts and  Humanities is that one-inch that makes the difference. Is it possible to imagine Mac OS without art? However, markets are not always in favour of the best technology. Mac Os is vastly superior than Windows OS in many aspects, but the latter dominates the markets. Believing  that every product or skill deserves the share that it takes is a big fallacy. It may be true when talking about low-level service and measurable skills, but it’s not about innovation. It’s almost trivial to give credits on to someone or something that is already established.Any wise analyst can see all the critical points that made the difference of that one-inch and claim “I knew it, I knew it, I saw it!”. Bullshit! Nobody takes into consideration the billions of products that never surfaced because of flawed timing, funding or many, many other reasons that we may find afterwards.

Start wherever you are!

In the real world with real considerations and a well-structured market, skills and abilities will be expressed and rewarded somehow. But that could be anywhere! What they say? ‘History is repeated!’ Nonsense! Just nonsense! Every path is unique and, the dots can only be connected by looking backwards. All innovative newbies are fighting for a ticket in a theatre where the performance is never, ever repeated. The roles are changing upon the stage and the script is nothing more than trash.

The best way of learning is by doing..

A YouTube founder once said: I am not impressed by our success, we planned it! Hah They planned it! They planned to receive in a couple of years a bunch of millions. When Google came to light, its founders  wanted to sell their idea but nobody wanted to buy it! They couldn’t see any commercial value in a multi-billion-dollar business idea that changed the flow of information in the whole world! Who really knows? Trial and error was the most effective method that has ever existed, and it still might be.

The point is that the harder you work, the luckier you get. Perseverance can make the difference. The vast majority of inventors, innovators, and scientists  around you – they are not as charismatic or talented as you think – they are persistent.

Give it a shot!

Credits for the article go to: Antonis Vatousios
Find the original article here 

Ferryhopper: Enabling you to hop on any island you want!

Over the next few days, we will be focusing on stories of startup companies that inspire. These are stories of teams who have set up their operations in Greece and have managed to scale up quickly.

It may not be easy to start a business, especially when it deals with new processes or technologies. Moreover, with so many successful examples coming from countries abroad, it can be discouraging always reading about companies thousands of miles away. However, the good news is that such stories are occurring right here in Athens too, and we would like to share one with you.

Today we will introduce you to the story of Ferryhopper; one successful business which was founded right here in Athens, Greece.

Ferryhopper is a platform which allows travelers to find and purchase tickets from over 30 different ferry operators. Founded in 2016 by Christos Spatharakis, Vasileios Lahanas, Panagiotis Sarafis, and Aiden Short, the company has managed to sell over 200,000 tickets to over 160 destinations on its platform. At the forefront of the growing trend of the digitalization of travel services, the company seeks to revolutionize the way people travel by ferry.

How It All Started

Ferryhopper currently operates from Stone Soup’s office space, and we are very excited to have them here with us and to get to know the team better. To understand how the team have achieved their successes, we had a conversation with Vasiliki, their marketing manager.

 

“It started out with four guys. Two of them were electrical engineers from NTUA, in Athens and they later met again in CERN during an internship.”

The four founders were avid travelers who they found themselves constantly frustrated by the difficulties of travelling between islands in Greece. The team created Ferryhopper with the goal of developing a single platform that would streamline the island hopping process. They consolidated all of the ferry operators and developed an algorithm which allowed travelers to choose routes between islands, even if they were not directly connected. With an emphasis on providing great customer service and user experience, Ferryhopper allowed travelers to book tickets directly on the platform with no service fees.

As Christos explains, when entering a mature market filled with established players, without having prior experience or market experts amongst your team it is essential to focus on creating a solid product that solves an actual problem. What is also important is to find the right people for your team who are willing to explore solutions and experiment with novel ideas. In Ferryhopper’s case, once the platform was launched, they received more demand that what they projected – quickly validating their value propositions and paving the way towards receiving funding.

Securing Investments

As Ferryhopper scaled up over the years, the team began pitching their company to various investors. They received a 30,000 euro award from the Stelios foundation, and more recently, they raised 600,000 euros through a funding round including Metavallon and easyGroup in 2018.

“Our procedure was to create a pitch deck, and approach some possible investors. It was time consuming because we wanted to create a very strong pitch and we wanted the investors to understand exactly what our product was about.”

Although the company faced challenges during the pitching process, it ultimately paid off as they were able to negotiate an amount and secure the final investment from Metavallon – an investment which will allow the company to further bolster its tech infrastructure and support its international expansion.

Advice for pitching

For many companies, particularly younger startups, pitching to investors can be a daunting endeavor. As demonstrated by Ferryhopper, this is a very involved process can take a long time, so it is extremely important to persevere and keep the end goal in mind. To help businesses who are interested in securing their own investments, Vasiliki also shares another tip:

“The perfect tip would be to meet people who could consult you, give you real-time advice, and provide feedback on your pitch decks. We have many incubators here in Athens, and a lot of people who have done this themselves and successfully received investments. You need to have somebody with experience that you can turn to.”

At Stone Soup, we offer such business advice. You may opt in for the Open Office Hours. They are one-on-one sessions with experts in different fields. The sessions are free of charge and are open to all. Our objective is to share the knowledge beyond our walls and to strengthen the Digital Creative ecosystem in Athens.

What’s Next?

As for what’s down the line for Ferryhopper, the company wants to continue adding new features to its platform, and expanding its presence both at home and abroad.

“What we have in mind is an expansion towards the mediterranean this summer. Not only Greece, but Italy, Spain, and more.”

What are you waiting for? Hop on to Ferryhopper’s website now to plan your summer vacation in the Mediterranean today. You never know, you might just get inspired to build something new!

 

Starting a new summer internship with Stone Soup in Athens!

My name is Alex Huang, and I am a 21-year-old student from Toronto, Canada. I wanted to gain marketing experience and improve my leadership skills, so naturally I turned to my local AIESEC office where I was connected with a Digital Marketing internship at Stone Soup.

My Role

As the Digital Marketing Intern, I will be working on increasing the company’s online presence and managing its social media channels. Stone Soup’s vibrant, friendly, and community focused culture appealed to me from the start, and I look forward to working with the professionals at Stone Soup and around the local community!

Traveling Abroad

This is my first time in Greece, so I am excited to travel around the country and explore its various destinations. Coming from Canada, I am greatly appreciating the weather so far, and as someone who has been interested in photography for most of his life – I am very excited to begin capturing the beauty of this country with my camera.

Being able to travel and gain professional experience during university has always been a personal dream of mine, and I look forward to making the most of my summer here in Athens!

Join AIESEC

AIESEC is a non-profit organization which promotes youth leadership by facilitating internationals exchange opportunities to young people across the world.