THE GREAT RETURN

Blog: Slovakia needs the next big thing, says bookstore CEO

Michal Mesko of Martinus was inspired to create a global product after gaining an international perspective in London.

Michal MeskoMichal Mesko(Source: Zuzana Burdanova)

You may be a huge success in Bratislava, but nobody knows you in London

In a span of a short flight, you move to a capital city that is twice as big as your home country, and you realize that there is a zillion times bigger market out there. Acquiring a more international perspective is important. It brings you back down to reality but also shows you where you have room to grow.

Living abroad, I came into contact with many people

It’s not that I got to know them really well per se but rather that I discovered there are many different kinds of people with different perspectives and views of the world. You learn how to accept those different from you as an equal part of society. What changed me was the level of society they had achieved; this was reflected in the level of their service.

Read also:Slovak migrant shares the stories of other migrants to understand her own

In the last 25 years, the pace of innovation has been so fast for us

The next step is for Slovakia to make a contribution to world class innovation. But maybe that is what comes with experience from abroad, where you stop looking at things just in terms of your local market and start to view things in terms of the whole world.

So you create a product for the world

I think international experience is what countries like ours are still lacking in many ways. When people go abroad, gain experience, come back, and utilize it at home, it is one of the best things they can do for their country.

Change is not something you realize when doing things daily

It just something that sorts of creeps up on you, like learning how to be self-sufficient. This gives you the realization – that in fact – you can make it.

Read also:Blog: Slovak filmmaker: It's not about the money, but patriotism

I can do it on my own

Just by learning how to stand on your own two feet. I think this cannot happen so much when you are still home, because you are still a two or three hour car ride from your mother.

We are a small country, so we have to source information from abroad

Because there are not enough articles about IT, start-ups, or new technologies in the Slovak language. Plus, we have to deal with translation.

I need to know the information the same second it’s made available in the US

My generation thinks globally, in many ways equal to our counterparts in the rest of the world. We feel entitled to the same instant access to information. There is no more reason to experience delays.

I am proud to be from Slovakia

This is the biggest difference between us and our parents. When they went abroad, if they were lucky enough to do so under communism, the world seemed so different. But times have changed. The new iPhone comes out and we can have it Slovakia the next week.

There are no more barriers

The biggest contribution Slovakia can make to the world is creating the next big thing – a product or service that people all around the world can use and benefit from.

This testimony was originally published in Zuzana Palovic’s book, The Great Return. You can learn more about the book as well as Palovic’s own journey as a Slovak migrant that later returned to Slovakia at http://thegreatreturn.eu/.

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