This week, we interviewed Lukas Macenauer, BA alumnus of AAU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Macenauer has founded several businesses over the past 20 years – and all of them are still active. He is now wrapping up work on an online psychometrics startup called Behavera.com and exploring a new domain of research and innovation funding at the Technological Agency of the Czech Republic.
He never stopped learning after AAU, as he went on to get a Masters degree in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh and worked with innovators in the field of Digital L&D. He now lives in Kladno, Czech Republic and he told us that his biggest accomplishment is, “having global players such as Vodafone, PwC or Novartis use a product based on my original idea”.
First, let’s go back to when you were a student at AAU. What was your favorite class or who was your favorite teacher?
There were so many fantastic classes and lecturers. As far as favorite professors, I have to mention Michael Smith, Zeb Zeman, and Don Fuller at least.
Why did you choose AAU?
My high school math teacher gave me an AAU brochure and said: “I hear your English is better than your math. This might be something for you… “ Also, I visited the admissions offices of some state colleges and was appalled by the attitude of their staff. Talking to Tony Ozuna and his colleagues at the Lázeňská campus was a very different story!
What’s something valuable you learned outside of the classroom at AAU?
In the words of Dr. Dix (from one of his lectures): “One day you’ll have to “leave the cozy, comfortable coffee-shop” – metaphorically speaking.” He was right. It is just super-stressful realizing no-one is waiting out there to give you that position, money, or acknowledgment. There’s no real safety-net.
However, it’s OK. You don’t need any of that in your twenties. You just need to get out of your shell and do more to help others.
If you had the opportunity to give a TED talk, what would you speak about?
The necessity of drawing lines in the sand, defending what is rightfully yours, and letting go of stuff that is not serving you.
Knowing what you know now, what would you advise yourself when you were just graduating from AAU?
Get some Bitcoin! Or, if you fail at that, do what you are doing and don’t sell out!
For fun, if you could invent an app, what would it be and why?
I hate it when I am being asked to “help keep this place tidy” at fast-food chain restaurants. So I’d like to invent an app through which I could directly send a tip to the staff/waiters working there to do it for me, and not feel bad about it.
Tell us something unique about yourself…
After I left the career track of a professional musician (playing bass-guitar), I had a few years’ break. Now I have a great band again.
After I grew tired of running a language school back in 2012, I came back to it again in 2019 and am now enjoying the challenge of keeping it up-and-running during the COVID crisis.
As I was also involved in a startup some time ago which I co-founded and burned out while working on it, I am now having a great time supporting innovators via international European projects.
The lesson from all these ups and downs? You know the song called “Closing Time”, right? No? The chorus goes: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”. It is true. Just take a few deep breaths and try again.