You know…We never know who we really are until we are put under the spotlight. I have to admit; I have attended various conferences, seminars and made numerous presentations but one thing always get scared whenever I’m being judged. In a very short while, I will let you know why I’m always scared of being judged and what the legendary myth buster, Jamie Hyneman asked me that made me think once again about my invention.
Back in April, I was in my office working when I received an email from a good friend of mine. That day began just like every other day. Unknowingly to me, it is the start of a chain of events to follow, one of which will change my life. I read the message; it was an invitation to participate in the well-established innovations challenge in Ukraine. This was really very exciting for me. Out of almost 300 startups that applied for this challenge, I was among the very few that were selected.
What made this so special is that I’m among the 10 finalists to present their invention to best minds from Ukraine and other countries. Of course, to qualify for the prize money, I have to be ready to be judged by excellent judges carefully selected from different backgrounds. On learning about this, I felt something in me. It is a feeling so familiar that I recognized it almost immediately. I have felt it once, and that was when I was growing up in an orphanage home in Ukraine…… It was that intense fear of being judged by others.
Through my time at the orphanage, what gave me the confidence to believe in myself were my many talents. At the age of 9, I was already a seamstress, I learned how to knit and do crochet for my dolls. I learned how to do basket weaving.
I can also could sing very well. In fact, I was one of a handful of people at the orphanage who could actually sing very well. I may not look like it now, but at the time, I could actually write beautiful poems. Although I’ve lost interest in writing poems now, I can never lose my interest in inventions.
I made my first invention while at the orphanage. At that age, I was amazed and fascinated by the wonder called electricity. I start experimenting with electricity and I have to say, I got shocked so many times. But that didn’t deter me; I was convinced that if I persist, I can make something out of pieces of objects other boys played with. My first attempt at invention led to shutting down of power in the entire building at the orphanage. Of course, I got punished severely for that.
I was judged by other boys for using the time for leisure to work on my inventions. I was judged for trying to invent things. Needless to say, I was judged for being different. In some cases, my talents seem like a curse. I wasn’t thinking like other boys that only want to play; I was more interested in trying to invent things and using my talents to make some money for myself.
Despite my numerous talents and my quest to make myself useful at such young age, I was constantly being judged. Somehow, I just wished I can make it all go away but that was one of the lessons I learned early in life – You must be judged, no matter who you are. As far as we live, we can never escape being judged.
Once again, I was about to be judged by excellent unassuming judges. What made the Vernadsky Challenge so special was that it attracted “over 230 applications from startups in various tech fields, ranging from IoT devices to orbital satellites launchers. The competition also covered a wide geography. Participating startups were not exclusively limited to Ukraine. At least 10% of all projects came from other countries, such as the USA, Israel, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and India. Such a diverse group of startups required the squad of experts to carefully examine each submission and select the top 10 to present at the finals. The selection committee consisted of 45 scholars from leading Ukrainian universities and 20 executives from companies that support Association Noosphere.” See more details here: https://noosphereglobal.com/jamie-hyneman-joins-max-polyakov-as-judge-at-vernadsky-challenge-2017/
Out of 230 applications, only 10 of us were selected. This means I have to put off my fear of being judged and give my best to judges who have a popular myth buster, Jamie Hyneman, as one of the judges at the event. Jamie is an interesting man; he is very talented and spoke very good Russian too!! Standing before these judges, I could feel the chills in my body. My fear wasn’t because I doubted CloviFi or the impact it will have in the assistive tech. It was partly because I resented being judged and also because other participants in the events included those that have been in the technology field for some time and they understand technology in all its aspects better than the others. But I had a way to present my plan how to commercialize my idea and not just focusing on the technical aspects of it.
I knew I have an uphill task of convincing the judges that CloviFi is indeed very special and is going to help a lot of people with hearing loss problem. At this point, I have no choice than to swallow my fear, put myself together and concentrated on giving my very best pitch to the judges. Thankfully, the features of CloviFi spoke for itself.
I simply explained to the judges what CloviFi device is: “CloviFi is the World’s Smartest Wireless (Wi-Fi) HD Audio Transmitter that streams HiFi audio directly to any headphones/speakers for multiple users at the same time. No expensive hardware infrastructure is needed—even for enterprise B2B. Users simply plug the device into their TV, then set up the Wi-Fi connection, and start listening. Everyone in a room can listen to different audio streams at their preferred volume levels without distracting others.“
As I speak, I could feel from their stare that they were genuinely interested and fascinated by my invention. This gave me the courage to continue. Jamie, in particular, was really interested in understanding what my device does and how it can help people with hearing loss. He even asked me some interesting questions that led me to think once again about my invention and how it will help people with hearing loss (you can view his question and my answer here: https://youtu.be/fO9R-8DjZ84?t=4m35s). Nonetheless, I was confident throughout my presentation, not because I’m the best public speaker, but because I have confidence in what I’ve created. I know CloviFi has huge potential and it can really help a lot of people when it finally hit the market.
I concluded my presentation and joined others in waiting for the results. The waiting was very intense. At 4 am, the result came out.
Guess what? Despite the participation of great companies with multi-million investors, my company “CloviTek” was announced in the 3rd place. This was indeed a great experience for me. I was so glad that the Jamie and other judges could see into the potentials of CloviFi.
The endorsement of CloviFi by the best judges at Vernadsky Challenge in Ukraine shows that CloviFi is going to improve lives of people at home and in public areas. The potential is so huge and I’m glad that these excellent judges were able to see that. And since that day the company’s mission became the following statement: “CloviTek’s mission is to help people around the world maximize health and quality of life through the latest technologies at a uniquely low cost.”
I’m glad that CloviFi is starting this journey with you on board. We are going to touch lives and change the world. If you are still on the fence, I beckon you to join us today. We are on the right track and fully confident that this is going to be a huge success. The dream for CloviFi didn’t start today. But today, I’m most confident that together, with your support, we can make this campaign a big success!
Founder of Clovitek