Viktorija describes herself as 20 something years old rebel who moved to Estonia from Lithuania. After couple of years in university she decided to leave and move to another country to see what will happen. So far she does not regret any of her decision.
We met up on an untypically warm and rainy February night in an upcoming hipster neighborhood in Tallinn. Had a cup of tea and a lively discussion about start-ups, start-up culture in Estonia and how Vik has made her way into all of this.
What do you do exactly?
I study in Estonian Business School and as well I work in Shipitwise as a marketing manager. I am a growth hacker. The start-up is very new and fresh and is in a developing stage. My goal is to make the start-up grow.
So, I must ask, why start-up?
After finishing my AIESEC experience, everything was circulation around start-ups and everything seemed very sexy about it and I did not see myself getting into a corporate world. Start-ups are very flexible, they have a different work flow then traditional companies, start-ups are very global, and as a non-Estonian speaker that environment suited me very well.
I recommend being part of a start-up because of an idea and mission, because it is different, because it is interesting, and there is a lot of room for personal growth. Start up is an experiment, and I would recommend it for a young person likes a bit of chaos. You learn everyday something new, you become stress resistant, and you become faster learner. I find people to be bit different in start-ups: They are more open minded and it seems to me that Estonian start-ups in general are more culturally diverse, more tolerant, more collaborative then other companies, which makes it very unique place where to work. I feel like if I were to sit in my office just for the whole day, I would learn a lot just by being there. So it is a place full of energy, ideas and learning and sometimes it seems like the room is about to explode because the room cannot contain all of it. But start-up is also about actions. You have the confidence to do it because you have people around who will guide you, mentor you, give advice, and you get the sense that you are not doing it on your own.
Well, is your typical work day sexy then?
Yes, it is actually. I would not say that I wake up and feel sexy, it is not about that.But every day it feels like I am doing something that is actually needed and it feels like I am learning at the same time. At the end of day I feel like I gave something that I have and took from it as well. Everyday ends with a win-win situation. It is a very sexy job.
How has your time in AIESEC contributed to your current career?
So when I joined AIESEC 3,5 years ago I started very randomly: I was a member, a project manager, I was part of Human Resources, then I found myself being on communications team, which turned out into marketing team and at that point I knew little about marketing or communications. But I decided to put effort into it, I was learning about the topic, I studied a lot. And I discovered that I really liked it. I was drawn to it because it is not stable. The world of marketing and communications is constantly changing, you need to learn all the time and know what is happening in the field. It is like computer software that needs to be constantly updated. When I moved to Estonia, I got a position in AIESEC National Board as a Vice president of Marketing and I thought that I was going to share my knowledge, experience, working on what I know but I learned a freaking a lot during that year.
When it comes to recruiting, what do you think start-ups need?
It is hard to say start-ups in general, every start-up has their own needs, own directions, but for what I personally see is that, especially young start-ups, they need to recruit a dynamic team because in the beginning it is all about the team, and if the team cannot work together, the start-up cannot move forward. I still don’t know what magic they do in Shipitwise, but the team is insanely great. Like really.
What might Estonian start-ups look like in the near future?
I believe in the next couple of years we will probably see more virtual reality on the market, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, because this is what has become sexy right now and will attract young people.