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Jakub Havrlant, CEO of the Rockaway group, visited the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University in Brno on Wednesday, 29 March. He spent nearly two hours in discussion with students there. Event was organized by Business Academy.
“I would like to present to you the seven roles in which I have found myself in my life and career. I want to show you that none of them is easy, that each has its own rules and advantages as well as limitations and a person must put 100% into them,” Havrlant said to start his talk. “For me, it is of key importance to be authentic in these roles, to not pretend anything, but to sincerely strive to give the maximum or even more.”
“I started out as a start-up founder, which is quite painful in principle – at that time, there was only a minimum number of VC funds that could advise and assist, so we had to immerse ourselves and focus that much more. I learned to bear great risk and responsibility.”
“After leaving Bezrealitky.cz, I began working as an angel investor. Thanks to that role, I got a clear view of the main criteria according to which I select investments: the market and HR. Why invest in something where there is a predefined ceiling? The team is the most important aspect; when not everyone is putting everything they’ve got into it, then I don’t get into it.”
“I was also an employee. In retrospect, that was a valuable experience for me – I saw from the inside how corporations work and I still use that today.”
“Passion is the key thing for me in everything that I do, even in activities outside of work. Some people may have a passion for classical music, for example. Me? I’m an athlete. I love sports where there isn’t room in my head for anything else. Business demands the same 100% level of focus. Sport gives you discipline, teaches you to push the envelope, gives you mental and physical toughness, which is also needed elsewhere.”
Jakub Havrlant & Ondřej Prášek (Business Academy)
“I am now also a founder and CEO. When you build something of your own, you fulfil your dreams, but the bigger you are, the bigger your responsibility – not just for yourself, but for your investors, your team and everyone around you. Not disappointing the people around you is a fundamental part of the CEO’s role that doesn’t get talked about much.”
“In order for you to start doing business, you have to come up with something more – thus it could be said that I’m an idea maker. Obviously, the vision is the foundation, but you have to think about those component projects with which you will build it up in the end. That is also one of my main personal motivations: it is one of the things that pushes me forward.”
“I don’t like to talk about my private life and today will be no different. I only want to tell you that it is necessary to maintain some kind of balance between your professional life and your personal life. One won’t work without the other. You can’t live only for your work, even if you love it. For me, the time spent with my wife and daughter is what I draw strength from when I need it.”
The talk was followed by a Q&A session lasting over an hour.
To the question of “whether you somehow support those who are just starting out (young entrepreneurs, students) and giving something back to society,” Havrlant replied by mentioning Rockaway Academy and the ceaseless effort to seek out capable young people.
“In what would you invest 50k as a 22-year-old student? You don’t need to be specific; I’m thinking education, travel, business or maybe a nice suit.”
“Definitely in experiencing new things, perhaps connected with education, maybe an internship. Absolutely not in material things,” Havrlant said, concluding the discussion.