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Learning how to learn: the key to staying up-to-date

TechChill is approaching quickly and we cannot wait to see new ideas come to life through making connections, exchanging experiences, and hearing about how our role models came to where they are today. To help you get inspired, we will be publishing a series of mini-interviews with wonderful women who have successfully entered the start-up ecosystem and are here to thrive and help others do the same.

We have the honor to introduce you to Marina Petrakova. She is VREACH foundress & CEO and Digital Health Cluster board member. VREACH is the first innovative VR-based tool helping healthcare professionals to conduct rehabilitation easily, fast, and engagingly for kids.

We can learn a lot from Marina. She has astonishing accomplishments in the field. So we were very excited when she agreed to share her knowledge with us in the interview.

What are some of the key skills or qualities that you think are essential for success as an entrepreneur?

“Intuition, competence, empathy, ability to switch between tasks (cognitive flexibility) and ability to work really a lot - strong nerve system.”

With working a lot - how do you balance your personal life with the demands of running a startup?

Marina starts her reply by singing a lyric from Rag'n'Bone Man’s song Human “I’m only human after all”.

“I believe the startup is not the thing that determines my life. Whether it’s a company or a startup, I hire it to learn some skills and get life experience, not the opposite. A startup needs me to grow, and I need a startup to fulfill my life in a big sense. The thing I do in a startup is much more than me and my personality, and I always remember it,- as well as I remember that having a rest is also my job, - equal, to doing startup tasks. In my opinion - "balancing" is not about the startup founder's life concept. I really like the idea of when being the founder of a company, you actually don’t need to do everything or many things. Still, in the best traditions of the product mindset, just the opposite,- you need to understand what you definitely don’t need to do and don’t do it, or almost never do it. So in my case, the balance is rather a good intuition - a conscious choice to adhere to some kind of strategy, to be flexible and quickly change strategies if there is such a need, and to be empathic towards myself, towards the ecosystem, towards our product and our customers.

Motivation is a big thing we talk about nowadays. How do you not lose focus on what you are doing when facing setbacks? I think that motivation is always something that corresponds to your inner conscious or unconscious needs. I also think that needs can change, and it is not always possible to track in time that they have changed. My reality is that I focus not only on the result - after all, you always cannot fully know what it will be - I focus on the processes, on what is happening here and now. This is my motivation, which does not break and does not disappear if something does not go according to plan or does not work out at all.

Any lessons you can share in your entrepreneur journey that may help our readers in their experience?

“If something is happening, then there is someone who is benefiting from it. If we say simple - if there is some kind of problem which can be solved with an innovative solution/tech product - firstly it is worth understanding who currently benefits from not solving this problem.”

We all know how fast the technology world is. Can you conclude this conversation by telling us how you stay up-to-date on industry trends and new technologies that could impact your business?

I read a lot, and almost compulsively educate myself, as I am extremely curious and tend to be interested in many things that sometimes are not related to my direct specialization. I always read and educate myself from completely different sources and in different languages - because by comparing some phenomena and patterns in different ecosystems, you begin to understand some general trends and connections.

I think that it is very important not only to learn something learning how to learn. To learn quickly to process a large amount of information and develop analytical thinking in new areas - these things always help to stay up-to-date.

I think we can find a lot of good tips in this talk on how to be successful in founding a business. Let's keep our eyes and ears open and jump on opportunities that help us to learn, meet new people, and improve our skills.

Thank you Riga TechGirls

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