ROCKAWAY INSIDER with Lukáš Janoušek (CEO Campiri)
The successful founder of tech companies joined forces with Rockaway thanks to his on-line camper van sharing platform. When he’s talking about his business, one thing is immediately clear: Campiri CEO Lukáš Janoušek doesn’t think up projects just to make a profit, but above all so they make people happy and make real sense. “And so they make the world at least a bit better place,” he says in his interview for Rockaway Insider.
One learns from one’s mistakes. What mistake taught you the most, and what, specifically?
I often used to be frustrated when I would be communicating with someone and that person didn’t understand me at all or wasn’t doing what I wanted. Then I absolved an authentic leadership programme at Atair, where I realized that there are various people with various personalities, and what seems absolutely clear and motivating to me can be very unclear and demotivating for someone else. It’s not good to be frustrated by such variety, but on the contrary to be fascinated by it and to learn to work with it. I use it to this day – both in my personal life and in relationships.
What inspiring book influenced you most, and should we read it?
One of the books I read, which led to the founding of Campiri, was Zero to One. Its author, Peter Thiel, talks about finding your “niche”, where you want to be the best and where you want to be number one, so you don’t have any competition in it. He explains that competition is bad, because it leads to margin reductions, making the entire sector a zero-sum game. It’s better to do something nobody else is doing, and to it the best. To build a market and become a dominant player on it.
If I were to name another book, it would be Why We Sleep. It’s fascinating how huge the influence of sleep is on our life, performance, and mood, and now little we know about it; it’s not something that’s taught anywhere, and the importance of sleep is highly underrated. When we start sleeping better it of course also has a huge effect on our business – the person working on it should have energy, be balanced and satisfied. Then he’s prepared to deal with pitfalls and obstacles.
Which of your skills do you work on because you consider it to be the most important in the future?
Communication. It’s an extremely important thing. I think that my strong point is the ability to present things, but of course there’s always room for improvement and development.
What was your best investment in life?
I consider every investment in my business to be the best one, because it taught me something and moved me ahead in some way. Be it naive beginnings or more advanced phases like Campiri. I don’t decide to do something just because it’ll be financially successful. My goal is also to create something that will make people happy and improve the world at least a bit.
And there’s one important phase of my life that was very significant for me and that then led to everything else: In 2004 I was 21 and the Czech Republic had just joined the EU. Back then I borrowed some money from my mother, bought a plane ticket to Dublin, and had enough for a month’s accommodations. I went with the intent of finding a job over the summer, and I thought that it’ll be fine, as I’d taken English at school. Upon my arrival I found out that nobody was waiting for me with open arms, and that I didn’t understand Irish English at all (laughter). Plus there were lots of other foreigners and it was extremely hard to find a job. Every day I went from restaurant to restaurant, from shop to shop, handing out resumes, and for six weeks all I heard was “no”. I was ready to give up, but then I suddenly succeeded in finding two jobs in one day – in a warehouse and a jeweller’s shop. In a few months I managed to earn enough to pay off the loan from my parents plus a bit more. But what was important was than I was there completely by myself and that it had worked out. It gave me a huge dose of self-confidence, and since then I’ve had the mindset that nothing is impossible and that everything can be done.
How can one stay calm when the company is having a crisis?
Over the years I’ve learned how important it is to communicate openly, both with employees and with investors, so they understand what’s going on and why. That I see the situation, am working on it, and have a plan to address it. Open communication also includes constructive feedback, both from me and to me. There, one above all needs humility, an open mind, and to suppress the ego.
I’m quite good at absorbing stress and not passing it on. I’m capable of behaving calmly and rationally, I’m not the type that gets emotional and short-tempered. I then compensate it with various activities, be it sports, meditation, walking the dog, spending time with my family, or in the garden. The fact that I’m a contemplative type also helps me. [I like] being alone and organizing my thoughts, getting up early in the morning, and when something occurs to me, to think about it. Knowing what I’m getting involved in and with what, what I can expect, what the possible future scenarios are, having things thought out in advance and avoiding getting into a position where I’m reacting as things happen.
What is the number-one rule that you follow every day at work?
To keep promises and agreements and do everything I can to that end. And if I can’t, I try communicate so that the other party knows about it.
What life hack helps you most in your work?
Once again: the number-one thing is my sleep. Then there’s another x other activities that help me. Several times a week I get up early and go exercise. I don’t like going to the gym very much, but I’ve got various kettle bells at home, I use elements of yoga, I stretch, I exercise using my own weight.
I’ve got my own ritual that I like: I like long mornings and I’m not the type that starts working at 7 a.m. I take as much as three hours in the morning to make time for myself, prepare my family breakfast, take care of the dog. I basically relax so that I have enough energy for the rest of the day ahead. A cold shower also gets me going in the morning, and I also take various nootropics, food supplements, and vitamins that help my concentration and memory functions.
And there’s one more thing, but since my daughter was born one I haven’t been completely thorough about – intermittent fasting. I used to eat at 4 or 5 p.m. at the latest, and then nothing until breakfast the next day. That’s a big hack for how to feel good.
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