7 min read

Atlas of Complexity

Atlas of Complexity
Photo by kub liz on Unsplash
Lithuania Tech Weekly #134
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We love receiving your comments. One last week was a reaction to our statement that some talent is likely locked at Vinted (and others) until listing or another exit. Reader believes opportunities are limited right now:

[Edited]: The early options that matter have already matured and there are just not enough high growth early stage startups that a) are not a scam b) build products that make sense. Vinted, Teso, Kilo, and others are just able to outcompete early stage startups with their late-venture powered salaries. Anyone with a desire to switch jobs would have to join companies that are just building add-ons or are scamming people. Show me a company that is in early enough stage and has a big potential upside? [...]

Here is how we suggest doing tech job search in Lithuania. Now open for paid members to read and provide feedback. Will make it public later.

Pick a startup - find a job [draft]
Startup scene in Lithuania - weekly newsletter

work in progress

Tukas EV HR Bank

rounds and capital

building blocs

The sky is the limit for Vilnius, but let's work on improving the current ecosystem and all service providers catering tech? Select which vendors are just not up to speed.

French magazine Society after visiting LT


What should you do if you're young and ambitious but don't know what to work on? What you should not do is drift along passively, assuming the problem will solve itself. You need to take action. But there is no systematic procedure you can follow. When you read biographies of people who've done great work, it's remarkable how much luck is involved. They discover what to work on as a result of a chance meeting, or by reading a book they happen to pick up. So you need to make yourself a big target for luck, and the way to do that is to be curious. Try lots of things, meet lots of people, read lots of books, ask lots of questions. [5]

When in doubt, optimize for interestingness. Fields change as you learn more about them. What mathematicians do, for example, is very different from what you do in high school math classes. So you need to give different types of work a chance to show you what they're like. But a field should become increasingly interesting as you learn more about it. If it doesn't, it's probably not for you. - Paul Graham, How to Do Great Work

founder's guide

further insights

Group brainstorming generates fewer ideas than individuals working alone
Constraints increase creativity
Kids are not more creative than adults


There are many pleasures in life, but very few rank close to a podcast with Ricardo Hausmann, a professor and director of the Growth Lab at Harvard University. We are big fans of the economic complexity model, which explains which countries and why get wealthy - essentially because they can produce more complex goods and services, and a broader set of them. Talk dives into:

  • How can countries acquire and disperse knowledge - learn how to produce new things? The concept of jumping into "adjacent possible" industries
  • Why it is easier to upgrade the economy from garments production, instead of coffee bean production?
  • "We have this cheap resource, it is abundant (coal, wood, etc) this is our competitive advantage" - a common pitfall of industrial strategy lobbied by industrialists. N0t the right approach - see how Finland went from having many trees to building Nokia.
  • You may have experienced occasional frustration in LT, that "we are lacking focus, we just need to pick a niche and double down on it". While this is perfectly correct on the firm level, actually diversification is a huge advantage at the national level - you can synthesise skills, knowledge, and production methods, and jump into new, more value-add fields.
  • Our big export growth pillars have been IT (somewhat complex) and Transport (unfortunately, low ranking as economic activity).
  • The economic complexity model is pretty accurate to predict the next 10 years of development, and here Lithuania ranks #30 (a little higher than GDP per capital levels, #34) meaning it should display moderate growth of 3.7% for the next decade. We reap what we sow, folks.
  • Now go play Tradle - try to guess a country by looking at what it exports. Send us a screenshot if you manage to guess something exotic quickly, look we struggled with Indonesia there!

three questions, previously