E006 From Assistant Professorship to Deep Tech Startups. Peter Lewinski on PhDs in Financial Market
June 14th 2020
Dr. Peter Lewinski is a University of Oxford graduate with Postdoc/Assistant Professor in economics from the top business schools, with hundreds of citations and 8 years of experience in AI. He is a recipient of Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship for his PhD at the University of Amsterdam. After his PhD, he worked as ING Bank director of the Credit Risk Modeling department and London Mayfair Fintech associate. Currently, he works as a management team member in four Amsterdam deep tech startups, driving sales/business development (earlier: R&D). In this webinar, Peter told us about his unusual journey from his Master’s studies at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, to where he is now – management teams of four deep tech startups at a time.
Why did he quit his position as an Assistant Professor in a prestigious business school? Why did he choose to take a loan in a bank to do yet another Master’s program after quitting his Assistant Professorship position? Why did he choose to work under the radar and not promote himself on the media? What is the only thing that you cannot buy with money? In this webinar, he told us all this, and much more! Peter’s contact information:
The episode was recorded on June 14th, 2020. This material represents the speaker’s personal views and not the views of their employer(s).
0:10 Natalia: My pleasure to welcome Peter Levinski today. And welcome Peter, and thank you for accepting our invitation. Peter is a PhD in consumer behaviour obtained from the University of Amsterdam.
And after that he had, he developed a very successful career in the industry. And I think it’s good to now give the floor to Peter, so he can tell us the story and tell us why he chose this subject for his PhD. And what is he doing right now? And how to be successful in the industry. So thank you, Peter. And please, please introduce yourself.
0:50 Peter: Yes, thank you Natalia for the nice introduction. And also, thank you very much for having me here. Yes, I picked customer behavior. Because we are discussed this a little bit before the webinar, I have this little bit of entrepreneurial spirit, sort of, for example, Natalia, so I thought that studying consumer behavior marketing will give you a good understanding of how the businesses work.
So before that, I studied psychology. But when I started my PhD at the University of Amsterdam, at the same time, I also started to study law, a five-year degree online, to focus on two aspects. One is the commercial side and another one, which is very important if you are a researcher or technologist, or the privacy aspects. So when I was doing one customer behavior research, I also was doing my law degree in those two areas, and after graduating, from PhD here, I went on the typical academic career.
So I went for a postdoc in Switzerland, in the Department of Economics, where I continue my line of research, but then being there, and this is how I’m moved by 100%. The industry there and ING Bank wrote to me if I would like to interview for a position in Poland when I started interviewing Can I can do that in a second how it went in the bank. But I think what they liked, were those two aspects. So I’ll take a couple of different backgrounds in education. But it’s also important, I think, is that during my PhD, I also was working at the same time in, in a firm in a computer vision Foreign Ministry now.
So it helps when you are doing a PhD, that you are getting maybe some extra internships, or if you even can you some people can work, and so does our so called industrial in the industrial PhDs. And that was kind of my PhD, thanks to the Marie Curie actions. So what they did the Marie Curie funding, I think it’s an important point we take up already.
So what nice thing there was that I could, there was support for sponsored, sponsored by the European Commission, and the money went to the firm, so they were paying my salary. While I had the dual appointment, a second appointment at the University of Amsterdam, when I was not paid by the university, they were just reimbursing the costs.
So thanks to this, I had a full-time contract in the firm. And I was doing my PhD there. So then, when I was applying to ING, I already had formally three years of full-time experience in a firm in computer vision, data science, research, R&D, and that’s something was banks are and were interested in. And then with the education, it was quite an easy, easier sell to jump the board 100% to two industries.
So that’s, that’s one of my takeaways. Until 2017. Since the start of my studies, I have always been studying and working at the same time. So if you can kind of combine those two, maybe not, at least at some degree, then it’s much easier to understand what the industry side is and how you can jump the ships if you want to. And if it is something for you.
4:19 Natalia: If I can, if I can have a remark. I think it’s also depending on what you study, because I’m not sure if in every PhD you can do that because, like at least, I think Jacob will agree with me here.
At least in neuroscience in human neural imaging, PhD programs, PhD students often take much, even much more than 40 hours per week to do their job. So sometimes it’s like 60 or 70 hours is working around the clock. So I cannot for myself like I cannot imagine that I could still have a side job in that circumstances. So this is really, this is very dependent on what you do.
5:04 Peter: That’s a common counterargument, which I had many times. But there’s a smaller counterargument to this. That actually, you can speed up your thesis, if you work in the industry, which values r&d and research. That’s what happened to me. I was publishing papers, many of them, and much more than the average in the requirement and the average of people who are doing PhD at the University of Amsterdam, thanks to the support from the firm.
And to the funding. So for example, I had many assistants, I had six interns, who are helping me with my studies and their co-authors on the papers. The firm sponsored a lot of things, including like, software, and visits and whatnot.
And okay, that’s my case. Exactly as simple as it seems. This is the key under synergy. But I also know many people, for example, in the UK, in Oxford, they’re doing their PhD in neuroscience, too. And they work in places like, because like Samsung, or Facebook, or Microsoft, maybe not immediately, but later in the career, I also know people, for example, flow from the law, who advise, European Central Bank or whatnot.
The advisors have consulting jobs. So I think the key is really to have this conversation. If you can do this for example, Facebook approached me after the PhD, but what they are interested in is that you publish under the name. And we are actually, the co-authors on a paper when one of our co-authors is publishing in Google. So if you can start genuine bit area, then you are in the firm, but you do what you are supposed to do for a PhD?
6:54 Natalia: That sounds amazing. That’s I didn’t think about it this way. So that’s, that’s great. So did you now, tell us everything that happened up to this point? Or there’s still something to the story, right, because now, you’re, you’re, you have a really interesting combination of jobs. So I would like to also hear more about how did you arrive for this?
7:16 Peter: So about this combination, of, of industry and academia. So until 2017, I was doing both pretty much. So when I went to Switzerland for a postdoc, I didn’t resign from my computer vision firm. But they negotiated that I can work for them one day a week. I was going to continue doing my postdoc, and continue working on R&D, again, within the firm.
So and then I could publish this. That was pretty amazing under double affiliation, and then I got hired by ING in Poland. So I moved, before I was living in the Netherlands, in other countries, and from Switzerland, I moved to Poland. Because I also just was curious to see how it works, how it’s to work in my native country. But then what happened, I didn’t want to resign from academia yet.
I applied for an open position of the assistant professorship in Kozminski. University. And that I got this position as a full-time, tenure track professor in a very good business school. Because I told them, I did it in the past. I told them, like, look, I’m going to maintain my full-time position ING, and I’m going to work for you full time. But it’s not like I’m just doing this out of whim, or if it’s not realistic, I have like, I did that abroad in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
And they were like we’ll look. We can try. I had to negotiate with the ING a special waiver that they will find with this. They said, you can do with no problem. And then I went on doing that, publishing and teaching. Of course, again, everything is about the negotiation because I started teaching cloud in Kozminski, I think is like 150 or 160 hours per year, I don’t remember anymore.
But when you’re a yard, you can everything is up for negotiation. So for example, in that university, you had so-called Special research status, which meant that if you publish enough of high impact papers, you could have a lowered digit locked, which was one course per semester, which was not that much.
And I want to teach anyway, because, it’s a good option. Then if you want to advance as an associate professor of law professor, you need to also have this teaching law and you should have taught at least so many courses.
9:37 Natalia: And can I ask you, when you talk about the full-time position, a full position, is that a full-time position?
9:43 Peter: Yes, of course. It’s a full-time position on the paper.
9:46 Natalia: Posts but that means that you work 40 hours here and 40 hours there is how it’s arranged?
9:52 Peter: Yes. Yes. At that time, I was working even more I had a 40-hour contract with ING. I had a 40-hour contract with the business school. And I also worked eight hours here in the Netherlands online of course, remotely.
10:09 Natalia: How’s it possible? I mean, I mean, I know you. So I know that you will handle this. I just I was just curious because at least from what I know, here in the Netherlands, this is probably not legal, because there are…
10:23 Peter: Oh, it’s legal, it is legal, you just don’t get the discount on the tax. So where you only can have favorable tax treatment if you have only one job. Okay, I was not doing this from the perspective of the Netherlands. So here, I never had two full-time contracts. But from what I investigated is possible. Because I work right now. Like, I don’t have four full-time.
For example, my current situation is that I have I work for startups. But I have only one full-time contract from one of them. And I have different types of contracts for the remaining ones. Because I, I manage them through the management position. So just a contractual contract, which is not an employment contract for those firms.
11:14 Natalia: This is amazing. So tell us: what happened in Kozminski? Was that something that you intended to do as your next career step in your academic career? And because now you’re not working there anymore?
11:29 Peter: Yes, exactly. So I just, wanted to do what I had been doing for many, many years back then. So as you actually how, how you and I, we met, we met, working in a research lab. So this was like, work, of course, it was unpaid. It was unpaid. It was research. But you were doing, your studies and extra, extra work in the lab. So, and we met liking what, like in 2010. So, in 2017, it was just a continuation of that added you, where you are working and studying something or being in academia, at the same time.
So what I wanted back then was just to maintain this link. And another big insight, I think, is that I had a lot I still have, and I had a lot of papers in the pipeline. So I wanted to polish them. And there is some nice affiliation. So it’s really good to have an academic affiliation for, just publishing your papers from, from the past. That’s what often happens. For example, during my PhD, I published lots of papers, but not all of them.
So that’s one. And of course, you need the academic infrastructure and the university infrastructure to have it published, access to the database and whatnot. Another one I wanted to do at this special degree in Poland, the Doctor of Science, which is Dr. Habito, Vani, habilitation. is also opens up to you a lot of, things, for example, I wouldn’t get it in economics, which means that you can be on the, without any exams and certificates, you can be on the board of public companies. That’s the benefit of it. And it is important is also a big plus is having this and the third one was to keep the paths open. To continue in academia.
So what happened when I was in Kozminski, I also interviewed for a tenure track position in mastery business. School. And I got a position there a five-year contract, but I didn’t accept it.
13:42 Natalia: Oh? So why didn’t you accept them?
13:45 Peter: Because that was also something which I didn’t like, was that they? Were they? So the story is the following. In when I was working in ING in Poland, I was making much more money than a tenure track professor would in maths, maths is like, his top business school, in the FT rank is his top 25. And of course, in the Netherlands, you have the cow agreements. So you have the salary scales, which are the same for everyone. And they advertise the position as that you will, your salary will be between 3500 and 4800 So you can see the big spread between 3500 and 4800 Euro, so I thought, looking at my salary, I will get a big cut anyway, so I was like guys, if you want me you should pay me there 4800.
And after all the interviews and everything, they were like, Oh, we’re making an offer and we give you 3500 I was like, This is what I made when I was this is what I was paid when I was Marie Curie. That’s what Marie Curie get paid as a PhD 3500 I was like, you want me to pay? You want to pay me what I was paid four years ago when I started doing a PhD. Like, catered like, why did you advertise in for 4800?
This is what I would accept. Like, but this is what you can get after being five years with us. So what’s the maximum you can receive now? Oh, it’s 3700. How can I, of course, excuse myself to not appear, greedy or whatever I just said I didn’t understand the process. But I think it was false advertising.
15:28 Natalia: I mean, there is a lot of different strategies to attract good candidates to job interviews. So that’s, I guess, just one of them just put the spread like it to like large numbers so that it sounds like lavish salary. But it’s not. So I’m sorry that you had that experience. But actually, I would like to ask you, what do you think about this common opinion.
So it’s very, very often and I hear that from many sources that this, this popular opinion that the best exit point from academia is like, right after your PhD, because if you stay for longer, that you always stay intending to become a full professor and just spend your life in academia, so so that it’s good to either decide after your PhD, if you want to go for an academic career and just spend a lifetime doing that, or, at that point, you should forget about academia and switch to industry, because these additional years spent in academia don’t give you an edge for the employer. So what do you think about this opinion?
16:35 Peter: It depends on the job. Look, if you apply to Facebook, and they see you the postdoc, this is like, Okay, wow, sweet. You are some professor nice look, if you go to Facebook, go to R&D teams, which many even from your field, I think, from natural sciences, neuroscience, human imaging, they love people like this because, a lot of about analyzing images, and not like Facebook, it’s about Facebook, they need to know, they need people who know how to analyze the image to your is about what’s inside the brain.
But in the end, it’s, you have the data skills to do this. So imagine you get to go out for interviews like this, and you get it, you get on the team, and people look at you, and all of your colleagues have PhD, but you have a postdoc and ask them, professor do you think and then you applied for a leadership position, do you think you will have an easier time leading them or more difficult time, and you will have a higher probability of getting this job or lower, of course, higher, because your team, you will have like a small lab within Samsung, could Facebook or Google, and people around you like your three or four colleagues in this specific team.
We also have PhDs, but you will have a positive and as a professor, so, you have more module you have more swag, you have more persuasion power, because you see more, maybe you have no, they will just be easier for you definitely to, to progress within the firm. And also to progress, you need to be in a leadership position, you should have walked the walk. And think about, the other way around. Imagine the leader, it’s only a PhD, and you have all those academic credentials. And maybe they are good at managing the people. But will you take, your view on some technical aspects? Of course, you will, because, you’re just, you need everyone’s input, but you will have this slight feeling that, maybe I need to be more.
18:36 Natalia: That’s true, although I think that it depends on the type of industry and the type of people because there are also industry positions where, and I see it often at large corporations that are structured in this, like, archaic way. So like General Electric, all these big corporations that were created like 100 or 50 years ago, and they still work in a very conservative way. And, and in those corporations, it’s often the case that your boss is less educated than you are.
19:06 Peter: Define, look, in ING it was exactly what you say It didn’t matter what kind of education you had. If you had the masters, for example, I was in the credit risk modeling. So everyone there was after mathematics or computer science, but only to Master’s degree and if you had a PhD, or further, it was considered a huge hindrance. But not because of the degree because of the way you fought and spoke. You spoke in too many academic mathematical formulas, which no one cared about, why should he be practical and fast? So it was people who disliked people, yes, in ING for example. No one had a PhD. And people only a couple of people with PhD was in my department, credit risk modeling which is super mathematical. And even there, if you had a PhD, you will often hear that you are too academic.
19:55 Natalia: That’s it’s true that also every company is a bit different than the have their own culture. So, it’s also hard to generalize. So even to like every single industry, because at the end of the day, like the same background that is valued at one place might be like, No, actually, I also hear that a lot that, for instance, if you go work in a company as a PhD, then you have to also be very careful about how you approach other people because, in our PhDs, they often have this tendency that if they get a problem to solve, then they just sit down and solve it and just sit there until it’s solved.
So they forget about the whole world, and they just, get on the bunker smokes to solve the problem and, and for other people around sometimes not worth seeing if you skip lunch every day for a week because you just indulge in your problem. And that’s often interpreted as being ignorant or being just arrogant also that you will not just hang out with people who without a PhD, which is not true, it’s just the reason it’s different. But it’s also something that PhDs who go to their first job in the industry have to mind that they have to actively push themselves to, to, like, break the working pattern, and then also socialize, because otherwise he’s not positively seen the pose.
21:21 Peter: Look, my advice to this is, from your perspective, do 10% of what you’re used to doing in academia. So if you go the first half a year, if you go to a firm, and it’s not like the R&D department, or everyone has a PhD, so if no one around you has a PhD, give and an output of 10% of what you’re used to. And instead, listen and see what others are doing, and what is output is expected. And then after one year, you can see, you increase this number of your output, and then you become two or three times more efficient, usually, then then, people around you, but if you produce it 100%, you will produce 90% of which is which are things which are not useful to the firm at all. And that’s a big problem.
Because it will be too complex and not adequate. If you want to bring a product to the market, customers don’t care about the things which PhD people care about instead of working this 90% More algorithm behind the product. What’s important for a customer is that you can click those buttons very easily. And if you produce too much, you just bother your product team with too many things, which are nothing to say, and no one is going to pay for this.
22:48 Natalia: Very, very good advice. So can we now proceed to, the rest of your story up to this point? And just because I’m very curious how we put your current positions, and why you decided to, to actually come to Amsterdam and work here again.
23:07 Peter: So what I like, again, about this journey, so I was in ING, I had a tenure track position as a professorship in a business school a very good one. I had me I was a deputy director in credit risk modeling. I had like 10 allies, working with me. And then what happened was the following. So after that, I went to Oxford, for a master’s degree, after having a PhD postdoc and being an assistant professor.
Wise does. And because, let’s go back a bit. So when I, when I was hired by ING, I got hired by ING with a promise that if I do well, for two years, I will be promoted to the director, the head of the department. And this after two years, for many reasons didn’t happen, which I thought was not an objective measure, but I’m okay, fine. Maybe not too good for this. So I can wait a bit more. And I but I also was very disappointed in this.
So I started applying to top business schools to improve my profile, and I got accepted in Oxford. So then I told this to ING and they were like, it didn’t work out. But look, if you stay with us for one year, for one more year, we will pay for this. I said, Okay, let’s do that. So the boss of my boss, I waited for two pounds, he went to the CEO, and CEO said, Oh, we are not paying for the business schools anymore. But if Peter wants to do a data science degree at Stanford or MIT, we will pay for this up to 55000 euros. I said, it costs twice more.
I said, Okay. Let’s do that. But because of the previous thing which you told me about that, I’m going to get promoted The director didn’t work out. And he said in the paper, so could you put this on the paper? And they were like, oh, no, we don’t put such things on the paper. I was like, okay, sorry, guys. I read you once that is done, I’m going to believe you. So, I resigned, and I went for the Master’s studies in Oxford, to just I will tell you, why, why in a second. But also in Kozminski, it was distinct, we’re not going to well, to be honest, I found out a lot of things, which I didn’t like. And I just realized that we, at least for now, Poland, isn’t for me, it’s a different culture like, the Netherlands, it’s not transparent. It’s what matters, there is loyalty, some kind of by party politics.
So, of course, is present everywhere I lived in Switzerland, in the Netherlands, he also QC those things, but there it is, it’s like five or 10 times more, so I’m like, okay, sorry, I will just go out from here. And the best option was this option. And I also did that. So this was, this was the pull for the push factors. This is what was pushing me, but it was pulling me from a top business school, top university is is to see, what’s the standard there. I had I did coursework, summers courses, or just degrees, like I counted, like in a different place, or 10, different universities, but I never was in the top one or top two. And I can tell you that it’s worth it, I paid for it for myself. It’s very, very expensive.
So I took big loans, again, because for my previous studies, for my master’s in Erasmus, I also took loans. So this time, I took like, 6000 Euro, to cover the master degree and the living costs, and it was just amazing. If you study in ivy league or Oxbridge, it’s a different thing. And even if you have a PhD and postdoc, and whatever, from really good universities, the master degree in a different field, because I started there mastering one finance teaches you a lot. Every day.
27:00 Natalia: Then I would like to congratulate you on this brave move, then, because I think it’s like really out of the comfort zone to be around 30 quite established already. And just leave it though and get a loan. So could reduce your sort of assets under zero, just to invest in yourself at this point. Like this is great. So please continue. And the story.
27:25 Peter: So and what was super surprising and sad so I did that. And I wanted to because I was in the bank. So before that, I was in technology within the bank, I also was within technology. But I wanted to finance. So while I was in Oxford, I was interviewing for finance jobs, like in hedge funds, investment banking, private equity. But basically, I didn’t fit there at all, like this PhD and academic background was a huge hindrance. My age, because it’s for people who are 22 years old 23, 24. And a bit of not the right background in general.
So I didn’t get it. And it was super disappointing, because if you would think that you studied law and finance in Oxford, that this kind of financial career would be super easy. In the city, in London, which is, before they left European Union and still are, the financial center is like New York or Singapore. So I didn’t get anything. No job, even though I interviewed for like, for example, Deloitte, McKinsey, within financial plus technological services. And, but I got a job, somewhere associated in FinTech in London in my for my first like a no fancy zone where all the hedge funds work. So I did and it was my field, it was, finance, plastic, it was credit risk modeling. The startup, I spent two months, unfortunately, and I was and this was the moment when I was moving from my middle office, back office, jobs to the front office.
So there I was trying to sell their solution in there, actually, because it was a venture, capital-backed startup. So it wasn’t really about selling the product, but selling like trying to get pilots, to be piloted in big institutions in the big financial institutions. That for two months, but then I got a nice offer here from Amsterdam, to come back to the firm, which I started for the management position, and not at the level of the computer vision firm, but the entire holding, which is about AI and deep tech. So I’m working at the holding level in the four, we have there four different startups. One is computer vision, as I mentioned, the other one is data science, web mining, and variation on a computer vision, which is a SaaS platform.
29:44 Natalia: Amazing. And actually, I have to ask you now this question, as it just came to my mind just a second ago. So when you were telling about your story, I, I was just wondering, what type of people were you meeting on the way? So did you have some personal mentors? Or maybe? How do you? And what are your criteria to choose people? So how many people do you want to work with? And what do you value in people?
30:16 Peter: Very good question. So to be honest, I didn’t give it this too much thought, unfortunately, I don’t have mentors, I will make all the decisions. By myself. I asked people, I try to seek mentors, and obviously, I asked their opinion and feedback. But at least the mentors who have a stake in you that perhaps aren’t good, and the rest of people, don’t understand your context. So I think if you have a typical path, people can resonate with you like, super typical but if I look at my CV, it’s just spaghetti. So it’s very difficult that people resonate with this, and there isn’t, it’s the ask for advice, but it’s not digested digestible.
Some things people don’t want to tell you, it’s an unspoken, kind of think which you have to figure out yourself. Because those things are sound ugly, when people tell you, like, and they go about our liberal Western kind of standards, for example, that with enough effort, you can do whatever that’s just doesn’t happen. That’s about the matter. So, unfortunately, I’m looking for a mentor. I very nice.
31:42 Natalia: Extremely, I have to tell you one thing. So I asked this question to a lot of people who I think are good navigators. So they can navigate themselves in the job market relatively well, or very well, like you. And, surprisingly, often I get this response. So vast majority, actually complaints about lack of mentors, but like, when you think about it, that it might be so what is the cause? And what is the effect?
So it may be that on one hand, we like to believe that mentors are useful, but on the other hand, this is like giving it’s like leaving on the, breathing Ain’t so you always have someone to, get input from but were, whereas if you if you’re on your own, you have to learn by trial and error, and maybe this by, like, and you have to get to know yourself well. And maybe, in the long run, it pays off to be on your own sometimes.
32:36 Peter: Yes, I mean, that’s a very good point. So, mentors, the guy would like to have a mentor. But I don’t know, it didn’t work out, too well.
32:49 Natalia: I can tell you like, what works for me is look looking out for similar people. So they’re also like, quite independent, and just pure coach in a way or just be friends and just exchange experience.
33:05 Peter: Many people like this, I have the sounding board, people, I have this. Now, if I have peers. Now I have peers. mentors. Unfortunately, not too much.
33:19 Natalia: Let’s quickly jump to the question from Jacob. So Jacob is asking, are some forms of outreach considered billable hours? Have you ever done any outreach that was paid?
33:32 Peter: No, in academia?
33:38 Natalia: I think it was a general question, but okay. I also think that’s very hard to make money on it. And the next question is, could you rephrase a key experience? Can you?
33:54 Peter: The blue sky liberar isn’t it? I mean, look, for example, you would imagine that when you are coming in with a lot of experience, and you have jobs, which requires zero years of experience, you would have a much better chance than the wild is the other way around. You have to be fresh and without contamination of knowledge to get the most coveted positions. It’s Like breeding dogs and puppies, if you haven’t been bred in the proper way, from the moment you were more or less born, you have no chance in jobs like private equity or investment banking.
Maybe a bit in we didn’t the consulting, that’s why there’s more there. But the things which I like most high paid if your parents don’t set you up on this, or for some reason, you end up in Oxford as the first-year undergrad, and you figure out on your own that the Oxford Union is the most important place to be, then you have no choice. I mean, if you are not like, from high school, going to Oxford, and knowing that from the first day like Boris Johnson, that you should be involved in Oxford Union, then you already almost lost, there’s a reasonable probability that you will ever end up working for a cool hedge fund.
The constraints are the whole I mean, you should go to the I mean, of course, there are cases of people who are what are your chances then zero commas, zero 1%, instead of like 10%, or 15%. If you didn’t, for example, in the UK, you have to go to the right High School. And then like, 15 of you go to Oxford, you already have friends pre-established network, you hang out with them, all of you apply to the Oxford Union, and you just continue hanging out there.
35:48 Natalia: So now, I would like to ask you the cheesy question, which is how you see yourself in the future, so in like, five to 10 years? Because like, you have very interesting stories so far. So is it that you have a plan in the long run? Or it’s always unfolding, like a river flying?
36:05 Peter: Look, I mean, I think what is I would like to be more entrepreneurial in the next 10 years, but what I think is overvalued is that you start your firm, when you’re very young. You can do this, but I think the learning from the market will, the young people get millions and millions or billions of dollars to build startups who just care about the growth and not the sustainable revenues.
And then we all see what happens. We know as we work in, but of course, there are amazing ventures, which will be like that, but I know that’s I think that’s overvalued. And if you want to have a Dharma firm, which is lagging, socially responsible, and sustainable, I think it’s really important that you learn, and you work in corporations and startups and as much experience genetic experience in a different expense you can get. So this is what I’m doing, I’m working across different places, I work across different places. And I’m just learning to, hopefully to chaffing, like in 10 years might be my kind of own firm.
37:18 Natalia: Actually, I have something to add, because I recently found some statistics on like, I have to have to find it somewhere again, because…
37:25 Peter: I know they like the most successful startups are by the founders for like 44.
37:30 Natalia: Yes, [Crosstalk] So for those who didn’t hear about this, like there was some statistics on the bank, this nest that you have to be like 20-year-old dropouts to start a successful company because actually, the relationship between the age of the founders and the success rate of the company was linearly growing. It was time and there was like a maximum was attacking 50, 60. So it’s really like that, that you don’t lose. In a long perspective, you might also save yourself from a lot of problems if you’re waiting with the company.
38:07 Peter: To start something which you have, which I think it was started with, with a good amount of savings. But look, this age is I think, I think it’s a really cute obsession, I was part of it. When I was in Oxford, I wanted to be Forbes 30 under 30. No, I looked at my CV, I’m like, Whoa, I should get for this for the other foot.
And I investigated this, and I have quite a few people who did it. And they’re amazing, of course. But what happens like Filippo for with 30, under 30. Look at the enterprises. There’s nothing there. It’s just smoke and mirrors. The other amazing statements of those TVs are when you poke for the smoke, there is nothing there is just everything is a PR and the best thing about Forbes for Forbes for the underfunded is the best chance that you get it. First of all, there are not only 30 of them, but 600 per year in the United States, and then you have national ones for the countries like…
39:04 Natalia: Different categories. So it’s 30 under 30, but 20 different categories.
39:11 Peter: Exactly, the first of all, in Ward one there are 600. Then you have local ones. So like countries like Poland or the Czech Republic, you run out of people after a couple of years. So getting goods it’s not a big deal. And second of all, again, what I mentioned and what Jacob was asking about, you have to do Part of it because if you want to be selected people who how the process works, you are recommended by people who got it. So it’s not the more recommendations you get, the higher chance is that you get it. And then, of course, some of them are nice ventures and everything. But it’s like within academia the forest for the other 30 to 40, for example, look at this, Aren’t you too old, even though it’s under 30? Because they need to have like, nicely distributed think when you have 22, 25 and 28.
So, I was like, Oh, my God, these people are starting entrepreneurs, they have, this the newest technology, cutting edge and whatnot. And then you go to Kawika Chamber of Commerce. And, the friends are either not registered, or have zero revenues. Now, investors, for example, I work now in a startup, and I can sell huge contracts on AI and deep tech. And I know that many of those Forbes 31st on the list are not able to do this.
40:39 Natalia: That’s only actually my first thought was the same. So sounds like academia indeed. I think, I also I knew about it, but I knew that I’m not a person that is going to get it. So I never really thought about it. But actually, the question I would have for you is, so what do you consider your biggest success so far?
41:03 Peter: What, finishing my PhD in, I know, it’s a different field than yours. But I finished my PhD in super fast. Speed. So the average to get a PhD in, in the Netherlands, and don’t take it personally or anything, because, I know they are taking a bit longer, whatever. But your thesis is, like, much longer than mine. So so doesn’t matter. But I’m just comparing two genetic statistics.
So it takes 5.5 years, on average, to finish a PhD, and I had this goal, to finish my PhD. Before I at age 25, which I did and from a really good university, of course, I didn’t want so like at least Qs, ranking, really high on some from university in Poland, for example, those PhDs are just most of them are, not PhDs, and also finished in super, super-fast, but like three times the normal output. So I published during my PhD, like 10 papers, while the normal ones like free, and you just need one, to get the ticket to go for the promotion.
So that was another, that’s my biggest success. Also, in a sense that when I came to the Netherlands, this was difficult. I said, Look, I did my five-year degree in Poland, in halftime two years and a half. So I did 309, ECTS. In two years and nine months. There were times when in one semester, I was getting like 100, ECTS. And what I got like kind of positively Mal, was like people in the Netherlands saying, Oh, but this is possible only in Poland. Like some kind of third-world country, I was like, yes.
Let me prove you wrong in your own country. No, and this is, this is what I feel. It’s just, I did it for fun as a challenge. I didn’t, of course, that it to anyone, this is what I was thinking, just to see what is humanly possible, in terms of going crazy about, academia and what’s needed to graduate, which are the publications.
43:13 Natalia: That’s another amazing thing that that you didn’t even know about you. So like, so how much time did you spend during a PhD?
43:20 Peter: All the time, all the time. So, as I said, 60 weeks per week, but that’s not that doesn’t the key, the key is that you need to find support if you want to achieve this. So I already had a lot of experience doing my master’s and bachelor’s degrees. In this soil, he had lots of experience. And then I, the moment I got the Marie Curie grant, which was I think, 250,000 euros I don’t remember anymore.
And I get a high salary. I get, go to all the conferences in the world. I get so many people who can support me, I was in the firm who helped me publish the papers on the technology, then it’s really and then you put the 60, 70 hours per week and then it’s possible. So it’s not only about your effort, how much you put it, because you can put a lot of effort in vain, but was the structure around?
44:13 Natalia: We have a question from Jacob again. I always hear the problem with the disconnectedness of human enterprise today, is like we still have to say A person’s back to collaborate. This way information and communication are digitized and global. Our roots are tribal, but our reach is much more.
44:37 Peter: I think that two points of this I mean, you can have huge success being tribal, but then you have to choose to be in the best lab, it’s not enough that you’re in Oxford, you have to be in the best lap like for example, now, with the COVID vaccine, all the countries are financing dogs for research on the COVID vaccine. The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, United States, everyone is putting orders from there to a group perhaps of people who is like 20 people and there are one or two professors who are they, the people about, so that’s, that’s being tribal and you can be super successful.
Another one is, which you also mentioned is the, which is much more, and you can be successful, successful if you have a huge reach, and you can then avoid being no tribal and be and view the huge communities, or whatnot, and just be successful. But I think then, in this big, which is just much more hassle you can be pretty much accidentally successful by being tribal, because you’re just part of the right small research group. And you are not exceptional, you are just there. But I think if you have wanted to have a huge reach, then your person must be something about you.
45:45 Natalia: And can I ask you, Peter, if you still planning to come back to academia one day, because so correctly, your assistant professorship was your last contract so far?
45:56 Peter: Yes, I think that’s what I that’s the takeaway, I mean, I don’t like this thing like, go from industry to academia. Why you can, you can plan laugh, as he wants, you can do both at the same time, and you can always have your options open. So I, it could be that I will come I mean, it’s just not, I have not mentored, but I have inspirations from a lot of people. So for example, the family tree collaborates, not lose the founder, Lucas, not lose this PhD, open his phone very successful. Based on the software, he made, no one was interested in his research in the 1980s, but increased software for tracking human behavior, and sorry, tracking animal behavior.
And then while there he was, very successfully commercially firm, but then he also published a lot on this. And then just last year, in October, he got a specially appointed Professor position in Bronwyn University for which his firm is paying one day a week. I also, interviewed for KPMG. And they’re one partner. It’s a partner in KPMG.
And he’s also a professor in data science, and he has the knowledge kids research teachers, but you can combine it, whatever you where you want it. And I’m also now not, for example, think about having affiliations like research fellowships, in good universities, just write them hey because I also know people who do this.
And they’re just the be publishing maybe did some sometimes and whatnot, going full time to academia, I don’t know yet. But what I like is having your options open. And having this maybe one or 2,3,4 percent of extra just maintaining your relationships, publishing Kebede always getting involved in this and that also, in your work, even I’m in sales, I’m very interested in R&D parts. So then I can always talk about something scientific.
48:05 Natalia: Very interesting. I’m just listening to you, I’m just trying to figure out like, if if you’re more of a researcher, or if you’re actually more of an entrepreneur and very hard to classify for me, so, how do you see yourself is it that you are both of the time are you really, like research serves some purpose for your entrepreneurial career or maybe the other way around? Like, how do you see this?
48:29 Peter: Look, I think, I think you have to be entrepreneurial to be good in research. So, I was told friends that I, when I was going for PhD, was that I want to do PhD because this is the only thing which you cannot buy with money. A lot one of the things, of course, love and things like this but so when Jacob was asking about this blue sky liberalism, this is like the antithesis of it.
I mean, here you can you can put a lot of effort I mean, you can see a lot of people who have money, they made money on things which are like bad for the environment. But for other people, it’s just and have they inherited the money but they think that you have huge control over his, his, his academia, in principle, when you go there, you think that it’s the super-objective?
But then we started, and then you put your entrepreneurial spirit too, to work on that, on that site to get, for example, published objectively. Of course, with time you discover that this is not that objective and transparent. And then you ask yourself, should I put my entrepreneur spirit too gossip and be part of the clique and the tribe and do weird things to get published. Because this could be constantly that entrepreneurial, but in a bad way.
So I think it’s a mix and say, I always think about the things in terms of spectrum. And it’s not like you’re on a spectrum from zero to 10, always at seven. But it changes, during the years, and during the moms and maybe during the day.
50:10 Natalia: I also think that successful researchers often have this entrepreneurial thinking, maybe not in the way you just described, but maybe differently. So when they choose projects, they often think ahead about the like, commercial potential, the project. So it’s always good to also see the project a bit like a business project.
So how many potential customers how many people are potentially interested in reading this? And with whom can I do it? Like, do I have good collaborations that will, function. And in what is the time to market how much time it will take me and how much effort and I think people who like, Wait, these factors before they get down to the project do best?
50:55 Peter: Yes. This is, this is a very important point. Because you can do this in a good way. In a nice way. This was to describe and it’s I think it feels good. But then you can do it in the wrong way. Which feels like, you shouldn’t be doing this. I think what on like, maybe what, people are very innocent when they come to academia, they underestimate, or they don’t like too much the first part, I think it’s really good to think, in terms of time to market, how many potential clients people who are willing to go to read this research, are there going to be and things like this button in a good way, you will do this and sell yourself for your salt, for example.
51:40 Natalia: Yes, I understand. Okay, so maybe even more. Like, I mean, I still trying to drill into like, what are you planning to do next? Because…
51:52 Peter: Look for the next very good. I just want to say, my firm, I am doing crazy, amazing things there. I have a huge impact on the firm, I’m sending cool technology, AI, which is happening in lots of places, I do a lot of interesting various projects. And it’s just, very good for me, for my development. So definitely, in the future. Doing it, because, this firm is, it was a firm. So it’s a fascinating story.
So it’s an AI firm, I’d like to say that because of this reason, one of the main reasons is that, that like the true deep tech AI firm, which started was founded in 1990. And the founder started before, and we have, like, physical paper, where he writes about neural networks in like, 87 so we’re, as one of the oldest AI firms in Europe, maybe in the world. But we are not the best and that’s what I would like to change. So it’s an amazing legacy. But I would like to work on that. So there is like this, some kind of nice history behind it’s all done wisely. But now, there’s this challenge, and I have a mandate to make it successful.
53:08 Natalia: Great and what about like distant future? Like, really? I mean, the Do you ever like, think about like, 20 years from now? Like course, where do you want to go?
53:16 Peter: Yes. Look, yes, I would like to have. What do you mean, like, like, in what terms?
53:21 Natalia: In any terms? Like, can you see any elements of your life in 20 years?
53:30 Peter: I think, I think I will stay in another lens. On this, I think, big changes in Poland, for example. But the Netherlands is just amazing. I lived in so many countries that the Netherlands is the best in my opinion. So, here, trying to ingrain me more into the society, taking on more positions, just being around I am, for example, in the committee of Oxford and Cambridge in the Netherlands.
They’re doing some nice work. They’re participating all the time in different kinds of fields. And also in the startup in the local startup scene. I’m not doing that much but I’m just hanging out to learn more. I’m always up for publishing and finishing my papers. For something 20 years, I would like to do this what I mentioned about those couple of people, I know being one, a professor at the University, really nice. And just work in technology and I think Tech has a big potential to change the world. So my like really 20 years plan, it would be nice to take like AI and technology and try to use it to make life more sustainable and prevent climate change.
So I’m really, I’m not doing this now. And maybe I should, but I’m not I just, I’m just learning and maybe like, in 10 years, I would like to take this knowledge, and like use data science or whatever it is, tech, in general, just to make sure that we survive in a good quality of life.
54:52 Natalia: Interesting.
54:56 Peter: And, of course, I mean, this is on the professional level, on the personal level, I think the pension system, that’s something it’s like, like a lot, it’s like a bit of a lottery, you have, like 50% of chances is going to be there. So I’m now looking into diversification into investments very carefully and very slowly. So I’m not going into bitcoins and whatnot. Even though I own Bitcoin, I bought Bitcoin at the end of 2009. But like real estate, passive funds, just to build up this, I’m also our maxing out my corporate pension. So I’m paying as much additional as I can. So just get to make sure that you have enough of those have. You are retired.
55:44 Natalia: Now, that sounds very interesting. I don’t want to get into bitcoin right now. But congratulations. I mean, the end of 2009. That sounds like a great deal. So great. There is a question from Jacob, that is on a different topic, which is about networking. So the hustle is the issue. How do you manage more than 200 relationships?
56:06 Peter: So people basically don’t know. And that’s all the relationships are very superficial. And I think it’s okay to be fine with this. For example, in Oxford, I had so many relationships, and I want a deeper relationship, but no one is up to it. If you are in places like this, no one really, the problem is that people always think that in the next room, or the next meeting, there is something better than in this room. It’s like in Davos, you go, that’s what I’ve never been to Davos, but my friends were and I just want to read in the newspaper, like you always feel that there is a better meeting or like a better person to talk to.
And so I think not. So there is what, I’m not an expert on this. So I don’t know. But if I was going in this direction, I would read this. I read this blog, and I’d write like a blog post by Tim Ferriss, about 1000 true fans. And I think he is there great tips on how to how to do this and why and how it’s work. And I think when you start looking at 200, this is what you’re starting looking into, you’re not looking into relationships, but into raving fans who will promote your content.
57:26 Natalia: That’s a lot of interesting information. And actually, I also have a question about your, your networking. So they also have some ways of promoting yourself. I mean, because like today, I think we live in this era that your presence online sort of defines you as a professional and in some ways, so that in different industries, maybe that the strategy is a bit different.
So in some industries, like your LinkedIn profile and activities, the most important to promote yourself in certain areas is what gives you the edge, it’s like being a medium author and having a following there. And there are or maybe a personal website, or personal blog and personal following. So do you like do you appear in the public space in some way or other at the moment? You’re like, under the radar, just doing your job and not thinking?
58:22 Peter: I think I’m under the radar doing my job. I think it goes back to be. I mean, I think it’s a full-time job, to promote yourself. And then, unfortunately, what happens is that it’s very often superficial. Unless the content that you’re creating should be, promoted and should be doing outreach. So if you’re doing building a new venture, maybe that’s what you should be doing. I always so far joined established places and how we get work, things to do is through word of mouth. So just people knowing you. So I don’t have to do this right now too much in the future. If I had, I don’t know how I would do it.
And if it will be necessary, that’s what I think that’s why I want to first beard like, this reputation for 1520 years, is that people send me messages saying, Hey, can you do this for me? Instead of me saying, hey, I can do this? Who wants that as a different approach? It’s true yes. So I have passive in our presence online. So I have LinkedIn. And I worked hard on this to have. So basically, what is important you have this word of mouth. So people try to come come to you to get projects. But they don’t know you. You were recommended, but you want to see that you are the real deal. So this matters. Not everyone likes this and agrees with this. I just least, very strong things on my CV. And so then when they look me up, it’s like, okay, this guy can execute this, I can pay this guy, half a million to do this. So they know that I’m not a BS, but I will get things done for you. And the thing is my business card. And then, I have my Instagram. So I post there sometimes, different things, but it’s more for France or, and the rest.
1:00:24 Natalia: Let see oh, this is a big thing for me also, because I think that a lot of people who are interesting and doing really interesting projects and something like truly innovative are often under the radar. So it’s really, in the public space. It’s kind of correlates with the content amount of publicity.
1:00:48 Peter: And look, this was a big problem for me, because I thought this is the other way around. So for the people who are in space, they’re the best, and they’re like doing the cool things. But this is so it’s so counterintuitive, I spent during my Marie Curie because we have so much money in conferences and whatnot. After all, and also, oh my god, people are there they’re speaking, they’re the real deal. These are the people you should be, you should be hanging out with them.
And then you do it for many years as I did, and you’re like, Okay, I’m missing something. I’m missing something. I’m missing something. Is this not the right place? So what I do, I go to Oxford, and then again, the same, suffocation that happens? Other things about, presence and whatnot, and networking when you don’t have I think no, never mind, it’s about a different topic. Never mind, let’s, skip.
1:01:42 Natalia: I wanted to say that actually, I agree that this is also paying because it just steals your creativity onto producing these snippets of information. And actually, this is the first thing that I will outsource when I have funds for it. So definitely, like hire someone who is like my representative on social media and post the content there, because I don’t think it’s worth to redo it by yourself in the long run. So I agree with this nice study, we share this opinion because I know a lot of really smart people and creative people who kind of sell there, like, creative, productive time on like, just glued to Twitter and look to Facebook. And this is so sad as well. They could spend this time so much better. And I mean, I don’t have anything against social media, but I think indeed the amount of time you have to put in to get I think.
1:02:38 Peter: I tried it, I try at the beginning because so long, yes. And it just not giving effect. And I can see that in for startups. When you do it for others, we put very nice posts. And no one reads them. And we never get slides from there. I think we get credentials, we get social proof that we know about the things but it’s very rare that we just get someone saying, Oh, you’ve written this post. Would you like to do a contract for me for 200k?
1:03:01 Natalia: Where my observation, like from writing my blog, also is that the amount of people who read it regularly is not high but they’re usually the right people. So it also depends on what you aim for. Because if you aim for sometimes, like I now make a lot of interesting new contacts because people who are I reach out to possibly participate in the webinar, they also often check out my blog, and they’re like, we have a lot in common, I want to do this. And so there are like a lot of non-material gains from it. But, I mean, if, if I wanted to monetize this blog, I couldn’t really because it’s not in terms of like absolute numbers is nowhere near than the levels you have to be at.
So for me, it’s not for quantities for quality. So people who talk to me about what they read than they would like to discuss are usually people who I want to hang out with. So actually, the rice people are kind of attracted by this content. And so I’m very happy about that. But indeed, like if you want to become a persona, because I cannot say these are real. I mean, I think this is, if you want to go like public on Twitter or any other social media, you have to develop some persona, right. So if you want to become one of those, then probably, this is indeed a full-time job. And actually, I can tell you how I approached this. So for me, I have a business plan for my company for this year, and like this is a year of production. So I’m graduating from PhD producing some new content writing a second book, writing some content that will be done, creating, like, converted into products and learning how to commercialize my activities, etc. So this year is a year of production. And then next year will be a year of promotion.
So then I produce much less regularly. But then I spend much more attention on how to spread the message and how to attract more people to the infrastructure built. So I agree, it’s not possible to do it at the same time. So for me, I kind of took this attitude that I have to do it in this like fashion that I kind of interchange between two states of mind. And it’s either that I’m in the production state or state, or I’m in the sales, salesmanship state and they never come together.
1:05:36 Peter: Yes, this is, for example, very close to what we have planned for the scaling up of our company there were three stages. One was to get the financing, or under the order, which is done. The second one is to prepare the floor for this promotion. So first, you have to set up all the content has to be written down, the procedures have to be there. And then you can start promoting this and trying to sell more because we’re scaling up. And even. And it’s important also because if you want to involve other people who know if you want to hire them, you have to hire them for half, which is already in order.
01:06:12 Natalia: So I have I think two more questions. And if there are no more questions for you, then we’ll be wrapping up soon. So my first question would be, do you have any regrets? Like, is there anything that you would do differently? If you just look back at anything from the level of your undergraduate studies or graduate studies and a new career later? Like what do you what would you tell yourself of the very beginning? So what would you have infinitely?
1:06:48 Peter: I wouldn’t pick up studying psychology, I would study computer science or physics or economics. Because then if you want to be real badass in tech, you need physics, math, like, computer science with all the same articles, which I have, or nothing finance, like just to be to have a shot at the, at the financial board. So I think I studied psychology because, for many reasons, I thought it was like a step before economics but it’s not. So, I would do that differently. It turns out India in the end quite no, because you can always study more things. But for example, my brain is not all, I have enough motivation to do things like you can do with math, for example.
1:07:38 Natalia: I was studying psychology because I needed a break between studying mathematics and physics on my breaks were reading lectures from psychology. Vacation time. So but these are slides also it was just this picnickers picnic atmosphere. Very different from the other faculties I was studying out. So I understand but I understand I mean, some studies like Master studies especially like these days, in Poland and many other countries like it’s so easy to become a master the habit that master degree doesn’t give you an edge on the job market anymore and money like majors, they don’t really prepare you for any like industry positions that well and they don’t give any, any edge by themselves. So I think psychology is like that as well.
And, surprisingly, I have to tell you now 10 years after I graduated, like it kind of starts becoming useful because actually what I do in a company right now, I’m also working on aptitude tests, and it’s psychometrics more than anything. And that was exactly what I was studying as a master’s student. So after like, many, many years spending neuroscience now I have to open my textbooks that I was studying 10 years ago, and like, remind myself how to construct the test and how to standardize it. And it’s like, travel back in time. 10 years back. So you never know, when it comes useful. Maybe one day, you discover that this is this was made a good choice because all of a sudden comes out useful.
1:09:12 Peter: Look, sorry, I agree. I got this amazing job in ING, because people in the credit report, I think we’re fed up with people who know maths and in computer science, but they have nothing, they don’t know anything about the customer behavior. And their psychology, and I had this really good profiler, they could understand both. And that’s why I got hired because it was a new person who’s like, oh, then about psychometrics, and economics. After all, I did my psychology with a focus on economics. So this game is super useful. I think looking at the bucket could be something else, what I think you can study whatever, classics, history, psychology, but if you do it like in Oxbridge, like Oxford or Cambridge, it’s, so that’s maybe another record that I didn’t, high school, I didn’t go really for any super high grades in a SATS or the living exam.
We were, you would have a shot at those top universities. I just didn’t know what is it now I know what is it? And wow, it’s a game-changer. If you can start being 19 years old in Oxbridge is it just not even if you go back there and you will master it? Maybe PhD, something similar, but it’s still not the thing, it’s just I mean, doing undergrad, it’s, this is the thing, I think this is the thing, but you have to be someone has to tell you.
So you have to be born into the right network, or you just need to be, I don’t know, one of those people, as we have in Poland, for example. Or just for some reason find out about it, they’re not from they’re from little villages, which is a very good finger, I’m just saying. And, and someone comes with representation about this, or that, which in my time wasn’t there and just inspires you. You can apply this, like, you also have a chance, you should never realize after, doesn’t tell you when you’re like 17, 16 or 15.
1:11:00 Natalia: Actually, we were also growing in times when the internet was also not as popular yet. And we just didn’t have as much information. Now you can find everything online, so you can do your research. In your high school.
1:11:14 Peter: Exactly, and that was, but also, Poland’s us economically, and socially got so much better. I mean, back in tech, when I was, doing my bachelor’s degrees itself, if you pause were starting can offer now it is crazy,
1:11:27 Natalia: Through the receiving some association of Polish people in Oxford that I know.
1:11:32 Peter: That one, they be they’ve been, I was a committee member there, too. This is 50. So they’ve been for a long time, but just look up things like IV Foundation, Poland, I’m a mentor there too. I mean, they’re doing an amazing job. And everything is online.
1:11:55 Natalia: I see that I agree. A lot changed in Poland. For the better after all.
1:12:02 Peter: There are the conferences the conference in the UK the pollen summit two zero, or the conference organizing the LSE and whatnot. I mean, like, wow, it’s like 500 Paul’s course I think the UK in the top universities, students, this hub, this trend happened like five, six years ago.
1:12:18 Natalia: I also…
1:12:21 Peter: Regret is also being born in the wrong time.
1:12:26 Natalia: On the job market, you have to always like you cannot have those types of regrets because this is something you cannot change. Like, you can only compare against people who had kind of the same opportunities and just one you can only compare to that and not to people who had, who started 10 years later because it’s just incomparable. I like to look at I also don’t think I have mentors of the moment, but I, but I like to create myself some role models, so look up people who are exactly objectively like, and not privileged, but somehow they found their way to become successful, whatever that means. And just concentrate on the like for that is possible and not there.
So I have like one more question that I often ask people, which is, I think, interestingly, every single time I’m getting a different answer To the question, so that’s also why it’s worth asking it. So the question is, what is your relationship with your job? So, do you feel like you and your job is one entirety? And you were like inseparable your job? Or is it your job? How do you see like, Is your job and you one entity?
1:13:44 Peter: So in my mind, it is objectivity is not? So I like that to be. But I learned that this is not the right way. So it’s not so I want to, but it’s not. And it shouldn’t be. So I sacrificed a lot, personally for my job. Then, I think objectively, still, but I think it’s still not the level at which I would like to have.
But I just learned not to give a 100 percent, because, for many reasons, that’s bad. And the bad reasons are the following. First of all, you put your colleagues in the wrong light. Because if you are producing 100%, and they’re producing 100%, then it’s like we don’t like you here because you’re, just working too much.
So sorry, go home. And just also too much stress. I think, in the long term, it is just for you have too much of a problem. Now. In the past, I was noticeable when I was doing my PhD that was like 300% or more than 500%. And I had really big issues, like, for the number for writing so much. And using the keyboard and mouse, my finger was moving like this by itself. In the last stages of PhD, that’s crazy. Like, it’s huge pains here. With my in my legs. I mean, at the age of 25 that’s unheard of.
When I was working in energy, I had so much stress that I felt like all the time, I’m having a heart attack, because I got this strong like, like, someone was grabbing your heart like this. I was like, Whoa, oh, my God. So now I’m working on working with the heart. So, I would like to go back this will be like really preferable, but I know that I’m not strong enough for this. I’m just getting older, whatever. So I’m trying to not equate both. So, the answer is no, but I would like to have it to do it, but I can’t.
1:15:44 Natalia: Thank you. That’s another really interesting answer to the question. So if there are no further questions, then I think we can thank Peter, for this amazingly interesting webinar today. Thank you for all the information very insightful. I wish you all the best. I mean, I also I don’t know what to issue precisely because I think I would just I’m very curious what you do next. I think that’s, that’s a very polished thing. Also to say like that you both. That’s what we used to wish each other.
And so I wish you a lot of health. And I would like to see more in the public space. I think it’s a pity I but I see your points and see what why you’re reluctant to go public with your, with your present. I can see why. But I…
1:16:38 Peter: I think I wait about that they think is you need to be it’s when you’re, for me going public, what I would have to do, I would like to run more, most of my messages and writings that are quite, I think strong and controversial, I would have to run it for our management team, but it doesn’t reflect in any way badly on the common thing which we are doing. So another thing, which I don’t want to put energy yet into, because I don’t see a huge ROI on this yet.
But I don’t, I don’t see needed. So I figure if you have a lot of independence. And if you’re your boss, like you are, I think they’ll have to get screened through for others. So you can just write what you think of and I like your post because it’s what you do. But one of the reasons is because you don’t have anyone.
1:17:23 Natalia: Yes, I know that’s like the lack of editor is the best part of it. That’s why I chose to self-publish on Amazon because, like, I get torsions when someone is reading my text and edits it, and then tells me what I have to do to be published. And every single time I have this reaction, Who are you? And so the self-publishing books is like the only way to get away. Publishers are also quite territorial. And they also make a lot of comments before they publish a book. So actually, I chose going wild, completely and without any supervision. And that works for me. But I see your points.
1:18:06 Peter: Look, I don’t have a problem with people editing my stuff, like even 50% It’s not a big deal. For me, it’s a hassle of it, a lot of back and forth and this kind of polar politics model in writing where you have to, it’s not it’s okay, I like it. I like it, but it just takes so much. So I’m using this border policy model of the Netherlands where you have to come to a common consensus on other things, and it takes already a lot of time.
So if I started doing this on the things that I want to write, for example, now, I was thinking to write in Dutch for definitional a lot, because they’re really good, interesting thing to do. But then you have to consult with a couple of people at least, and then it’s like writing a paper. For me, that would be the case. So the half of the half is not so much the edits, but the cost, in comparison to other things. So the opportunity cost.
1:18:54 Natalia: Indeed.
1:18:56 Peter: I would say we’ve seen a couple of years why not?
1:19:00 Natalia: I want to see where you going next, and how your career continues to unfold. Like I know, like, again, like I, as I said before, it’s a pity that you have to know where to look when you want to find valuable people. But I’m lucky because I already kind of Matthew before this whole machine started. At the Master’s level, so I’m very happy about it. And good luck with your career, and I hope to hear from you in the future and see you maybe for verse 40, under 40. Who knows? Who knows?
1:19:40 Peter: Maybe that’s what that is the things which I cared about before. Now, I just tried to replicate the objective content of the success of being conceptualist and not being on the list, it’s like, I can the past, I wanted to be, for example, in the partner in the Big Four or partner in a bank, the management board. But what I decided to do to replicate the same things, which they’re doing in terms of complexity, now, I’m just looking at something which is, let’s say, successful, some kind of recognition, and I don’t want that recognition about, I just want the content of that level.
1:20:16 Natalia: It’s also there is a big difference between making a real impact on this world, like in any way, and being recognized for it, like people who make a real impact, they’re often not the same people who are in the spotlight. You can, if that’s your objective, then you don’t need to ever be in the spotlight in fact.
1:20:35 Peter: Look, for example, now, at the academia. I mean, I would have, personally, my respect for a person who is not a professor is not in academia, but his publishing, and who has like 100, public publications versus a professor who is not doing that. And is the teaching, for example, in some whatever, okay, he chose that. But on the research level, you don’t need to be a professor, you don’t need to look at the PhD. Like, for example, imagine that there is a person who has four publications, but doesn’t have a PhD.
I think this person perhaps if the first author is perhaps, better PhD, there must be this. And it’s so this is the theory of the closed shop. That. So, I used to think like this about hands-on things like that anymore. So this, it’s nice to have, I think the most important thing is to try to replicate the content of those recognitions. And if you get recognized, amazing, so, so good.
1:21:34 Natalia: I mean, then I wish you that, of course, and very nice to talk to you. But I think the dusk is falling. So moving towards the closure. Thank you so much and have a nice evening and thank you so much for your participation and your input. Have a great evening.
1:21:57 Peter: You too. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.
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Please cite as:
Bielczyk, N. (2020, June 14th). E006 From Assistant Professorship to Deep Tech Startups. Peter Lewinski on PhDs in Financial Market? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/career-development-strategies-e006-from-assistant-professorship-to-deep-tech-startups-peter-lewinski-on-phds-in-financial-market/
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