I’m an entrepreneur, with long background in Media and IT currently pending beteween Spain and France without any money. Born 1964 in Tallinn, Estonia, my career has been taken me to New York, US, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, India, etc. My primary activities have been:
1. During the Soviet occupation era in Estonia, on the side of my computer studies at the Science Academy, I ran a pirate radio station and underground recording studio to produce and promote artists that were not endorsed by the communistic regime. The KGB could not trace the station, as we used high-rise buildings as antennas.
2. Over the period of Estonian liberation and reconstruction in 1989-1998, I built up and managed one of the first private software companies in Estonia, which successfully developed and delivered over a hundred IT systems for banks, telecoms operators, insurance companies and subsidiaries of international companies establishing their operations in the Baltic States. In addition to management and business development, I was the main architect of financial investment software algorithms supporting all kind of investments processes, matrix balance based analytical accounting software application and most flexible HR and Payroll application. Some of the company’s successes were: an award into finalists in 1995 World Championship of Programming; sustaining a local market leadership in database software (as a Gupta / Centura SQLBase distributor) against Microsoft and Oracle for 7 years.
3. Some solutions which I programmed and currently very proud of are flexible Interest Calculation algorithm calculating payment schedules, balances and accounting period earning for any of the investment type and most flexible payroll calculation algorithm where I never found any country where it didn’t fit by local rules. Both of them was implemented as one main and some update SQL statements which I wrote within a weeks.
4. As an instigator of internet technologies since early 90’s, I was involved in the development of early versions of the Netscape browser and search algorithms for Inktomi. Developing pioneering web marketing strategies and technologies, I started an b2b e-commerce operation in 1996 which was soon getting over 3000 unique visitors and 600 requests for evaluation copies per month from all over the world, including large multinational companies and even the White House.
5. Between 1998-2002, in partnership with Gupta Technologies, I built new joint sales channels in Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia and India for Gupta 4GL technology and my applications. To finance international growth, I pitched my business to several VCss.
Those kind of activities I was able to finance making a good return from NASDAQ, cashing out total $68K from my original $2K investment.
However, after September 11th, the situation suddenly changed and accessing funding became practically impossible. Being at the same time hit by unexpected business risks (several successive burglaries) as well as some family issues, I finally decided to close down the company in early 2002.
6. Deciding to go back to my roots in music and media, 2002-2003 I tried to launch an Independent Music Label, signing up artists in the UK and US. Even though I managed to produce several records and get plenty of positive media attention and festival gigs for the bands in Estonia, some broadcasted live by the National TV we failed to make any money from record sales as everyone just downloaded the tracks free on MP3.
7. In 2003-2004, moving from the Estonian capital to the second-largest city Tarto, I prepared several business plans and negotiated a number of art and media projects. These included a new type of automated TV channel, where classified ads sent in by premium SMS message were batched to run as a news bar in music video shows; I also initiated and negotiated EU funding for several cultural exchange projects. However, I soon found all projects stalled by small-town corruption and bureaucracy. But things turned worse – I soon lost all my business and personal assets being burgled and robbed 3 times. Trying to get help from the police, I got instead beaten up by cops – and making a complaint to local politicians received a clear statement that I should leave Estonia rather than demand that the crimes should be registered even if they are not solved. So, without any money, I hitch-hiked to Spain and lived in caves there over six months.
8. I finally settled in the UK in 2005, initially coming to help some of my friends here with their business plans and Internet marketing efforts, and to study film production. The first project to offer has been ready since 2005 offering from less than 500K budget 2-3M return. However, I wasn’t able to find right partners and use my skills properly there so I left to Northern Ireland.
9. And finally when I was in Belfast, Northern Ireland I told to BBC: “Over my death body you have right to destroy professionalism and if necessary I will become a suicide bomber and destroy BBC as well”. And BBC was so happy that finally after eight years of unsuccessful search in Arab countries, they have finally succeeded to find a terrorist living in Northern Ireland, so they sent SWAT team to arrest me. Twelve fully armed guys tried to get in to my small bedsit, took my computer and destroyed it. First they promised ten years in prison on which I was happy about to take. But this was a wrong hope even I demanded it nearly a year. Some totally corrupted judge out me to the glass box like a pope and didn’t let me to read my speech.
10. The incompetence in UK has gone too far. When I tried to help Pauli Visuri to get his Team Messenger product to the market, I made a decent Internet Marketing plan for it. He never probably read it, spending several months and thousands of pounds to create a simple five page website, then starting to buy Google Adwords in eBuddy site for the product that needed Windows .Net with special bug fixes to be installed and then considered “It didn’t made me any sales”? But he still didn’t wanted to listen me how we could get good Google rankings, 20-30 targeted visitors per day with around 2% customer accusation rate with I was offering to do commission basis. Instead he wants to spit on Google by putting his website under a password for several months maybe hoping that making some cosmetic changes and releasing site again will help him to get better Google rankings? Now he just has less than one visitor per day without many sales. I would have done much better.
11. As being a follower of mobile market nearly ten years, when Apple comes with iPhone and iStore for applications to the market, I immediately noticed my opportunity again. But my problem was and still is that I do not have necessary hardware and no resources to buy it. After hitchhiking around since 2008, I participated several mobile developers events and to my surprise, I didn’t saw any competition to my programming and marketing skills. I could so much better than those guys whose apps are doing millions of downloads.
12. When I made a decent offer to MomoLondon guys that get me a computer: I will fix your bugs and then I could write down some my app ideas as well, so we both can win. They have problems even to get their apps qualified to iStore because of quality problems while I never had such kind of issues. But some idiot sent me an answer that he have a MacBook but probably I have no skills to use it anyway… damn man, I built my own Z80 based computer same time with Steve Jobs and Wozniak!!!
13. And why I have to get to UK to fix your bugs and write code for you. I was there, its too expensive to live and you have so little work for me that I had to spent all my remaining resources just to be there. Why I cant write you a code in Spain where still are affordable prices, lets buy some small sailing boat where I can stay and do the work. We can get those below 5000 EUR in October/November and sell it in April/May for 12,000 EUR. So we can make profits anyway regardless what our apps are doing.
Actually being seen so much Brits, I got a clear picture about this nation. There is no business culture there. When I first noticed that Brits doesnt have a cock, I wrote about this issue. And tom my surprise “The Economist” wrote as well that most common reason UK technology startups have failed have been their managers small cocks. Actually I have another term to British businessmen: “Apes in Armanis”. Obviously I have no reason to go back there anymore but I feel sorry about my lost decade there.
14. At the end of 2011, I had to get back to my country Estonia because some idiots robbed my backbag with documents. So, I made my offer to stay there, write iphone applications and produce some media to iStore. I showed them, for what kind of algorithms I could apply patents and what kind of competitions and cash awards I could won with my apps. I got a answer that “businesses that doesn’t have balance sheets, permanent employees and no fixed costs are too risky”. Sure, I challenced thats kind of decision in court but the court decision was more absurdic. Court decided that because I haven’t presented all documents properly (because their email server refused to accept so big market research analysis, I sent them links), they had right to refuse my business plan. So obvioulsy I can’t pay more than 50% of my income to Estonia as taxes.
15. Meanwhile I finally got the old used MacBook, wrote two simple iOS apps for the market and tested my Object Recognition algorithms which performed extremely well but wasn’t able to get anything to the market with the lack of cash to pay for the artwork and Apple Developers fee. I wrote them for iOS6, then converted to iOS7 and now finally tested them with iOS 8 as well until this MacBook screen went black. Trying to make any decent work for Brits ended up again as a disaster so I’m again in the position three years ago. I have come to conclusion, that my “object recognition” algorithms could be better to use to make autonomious drones than some fashion related iOS app.
16. Thanks to my family and friends, I have now new MacBook and this model is much better than previous one sent by Brit. So, I’m happy with it. However, as Apple Corporation doesn’t accept my apps to their distribution, I’m stuck to write books and book reviews. And of course, I continue my protests against such kind of corporations who are destroyning basic business values.