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Observatory at #46

Writing a newsletter on Lithuanian startups for more than a year. It's fun times.
Observatory at #46
Vilnius University Astronomical Observatory

Reflections writing a weekly newsletter on Lithuania's tech for almost a year. 46 times (including today).

Where does this name come from?

The Philomaths, or Philomath Society (Polish: Filomaci or Towarzystwo Filomatów; from the Greek φιλομαθεῖς "lovers of knowledge"), was a secret student organization that existed from 1817 to 1823 at the Imperial University of Vilnius (Wiki). We really like the "lover of knowledge" meaning = thought this letter should provide with more insight into all things tech, and help founders build easier / faster. All of you - learning, reading, asking questions - you are considered tech philomaths, too (our view)

Who are you?

There is a bit of privilege not to be known by everyone. It makes it easier to start (the first letter was sent to maybe 30 people), and we find it fun to observe and not restrict opinions too much. Hope that makes letters a bit more crisp and to the point. I guess in small ecosystems there is always a danger of too much correctness - everyone is either a friend or relative, or employer. Slipping slope to conformity.

What do you understand at all - about startups?

Some, obviously working our way through Dunning–Kruger effect. On a serious note, we have had our hands on a technology startup, as well as experience in broader economic development. We have launched, raised, failed, built products and sold them, so there's always a bit of empathy for the founders and entrepreneurs - the builders.

Why did you decide to publish a newsletter?

Teaching is a very effective way of learning, as you know. So that was one reason - to find a method and reflect technology space, learn why, turn dots into patterns. Another reason is probably the frustration with the lack of good reporting on startups and venture in Lithuania (not to mention content in English. We can't really get too far with our precious Lithuanian given that we need to push startups out to the world, and they need global talent) Third, it became clear to us that we live in remarkable times in LT. We are going through overwhelming technological breakthrough(s). It is clear that this impact will be lasting, and very significant for our economy. A unique moment in history when we can shift Lithuania from being efficiency-driven to innovation-driven. We can now build our companies, brands and products at scale, and create tens of thousands (possibly hundreds) of middle-class jobs. So we thought - maybe we can help.

You must have a good CRM to track all.

Should, but we don't. Good reference points are unicorns.lt and crowdsourced funding database here. But the problem has been having too many ideas, not too few. You can help by offering your perspective and explaining.

Who reads these emails?

Mostly entrepreneurs, founders, most VCs and many angels. Experienced operators. About 700 people now. We are very pleased with the audience - sharp, curious, and top performers in Lithuania. Readers are an inspiration to keep going. Most discover TP themselves (word of mouth).

What is your process of writing the letter?

It is fairly simple. We use Notion to capture some links and ideas through the week - somewhat following second brain concept. You may notice that the landing page/website is built on Notion (with Super.so), too. Then it would be Thursday night or early Friday morning when this has to get converted into an email (using Mailerlite). Then click send (and find spelling mistakes 5 secs after that).

[Update 2021 - moved to Ghost.org]

We learned the trick with the newsletters - never skip an issue.

What concerns you most (about Lithuanian startups)?

Very poor understanding of tech / startups / venture among the general public. Underestimation of the opportunity across the board (government, talents, investors)

Are you building a media company or something?

That was not intended. So far it is still a hobby, with very limited hours available in a given week. Fun hours though.

+ Recent interview with Tesonet

5 Questions With the Editor of Tech Philomaths | We are Tesonet
Founder of Tech Philomaths shares the story behind the best tech newsletter in the Baltics, growth-stage startups to watch, VC’s, and founders.