Richard Lucas, Chairman, PMR Ltd., Krakow, Poland
What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business?
I set up a business selling “new students in town, start-up kits” for people who were living away from home for the first time. It didn’t work out, and I later got a job in a consulting company in Cambridge. I knew I wanted my own business.
Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
No. I think getting out of a full-time job when I stopped running PMR in 2007 was a very good move. It gives me more time for the things I am better at—like getting new things going and handing over to better managers than me.
In brief, describe your business/company?
I have five businesses. 1) PMR is an 80-person strong B-to-B publications company in retail, life sciences, construction and IT with a focus on Eastern Europe and Russia. We consult and do market research in those sectors across the region. 2) SKK – the largest automatic identification company in Poland; 3) ISL – the leading warehouse automation company in Poland; 4) Unicard – the leading plastic cards company; and 5) Argostranslations.com – one of the largest Central European translation companies. Run by an American.
What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business?
Be good rather than cheap, decentralise decision-making as far as you can provided it’s working, anticipate client needs, create a give-more-get-more culture and fight like a tiger to get the best people.
What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?
Hiring the best people we can rather than just looking locally.
Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?
No, just continue to be prepared to act fast on opportunities that arise from having money and growth in a tough market.
What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team?
Being able to find other industry professionals to compare notes with.
Where did you grow up?
Oxford, U.K. Dad taught philosophy at Merton College.
What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
Economics Tripos, University of Cambridge. The buzz of giving successful speeches in the debating society.
Are you married? Do you have children?
I was married, now divorced; have three great children 14, 12, 10 (girl girl boy) who live with me one week in two. One of the reasons I don’t have a full-time job is so I can look after them properly when they are with me.
What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
I run a number of voluntary projects…TEDx Conferences, and help with Global Entrepreneurship Week teaching kids about enterprise. It’s more rewarding than a hobby and more fun.
Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
The book would be “The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West” by my brother, Edward Lucas—who is the international editor of The Economist. It’s about those in charge of Russia. Peter Weir’s film, “The Way Back,” gives a glimpse of what people in Central Europe experienced at the hands of Soviet communism.
I’m an angel investor. If anyone reading this wants to start a business with SIPA member PMR, go here; if for something else, go via www.richardlucas.com. I’m also a Couchsurfer, so if you are passing through Krakow, Poland, invite yourself to stay. I’ll accept if circumstances allow it; if not, at least have a drink or meal.
Speaking of Europe…
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specialized publishers will be speaking at
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Wednesday to Friday, April 6-8, 2011
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