I had the complete pleasure of sitting down with Kastytis Kemezys at the recording studio at True Digital Park. Kas, originally from Lithuania, is a Principal and co-Founder at Whatnot Innovation Studio. Whatnot is a Startup Studio that provides corporate venturing tools to organizations across Southeast Asia to enable innovation. Together with these large organizations, Whatnot invests in and builds the next generation of startups.
Kas has always been an entrepreneur and venture builder. He tried ‘corporate life’ for a very short period of time, but realized when he was 19 years old that he just had to build something for himself. Frankly, he was not even sure at first what that was going to be, but he knew he wanted to build his own businesses. So he and a friend started a business called ‘My Drink Beverages’ which they ran for 6 years. It was an incredible learning experience across the board, including learning how to manage teams and how to get an idea to reality. This was venture building for the food space. When I asked Kas if he had any experience in the food business prior to starting this he said, “Well, I used to eat…". Clearly a guy with a great sense of humor. You have to listen to Kas tell his story about importing a drink into Lithuania from Las Vegas called ‘Cocaine Energy Drink‘. You can only begin to imagine the hilarity of trying to import this and get it through customs…
We had a very interesting conversation about the culture of innovation and the stress that surrounds it. Kas was never good at dealing with authority. He always wanted to do things his way first and then learn. Operating this way made it really necessary to get used to the stress of failure, which more often than not is the outcome of trying to build something from scratch. We both agreed that you have to be a bit weird and crazy to enter the world of innovation because you are constantly submitting yourself to failure.
There is so much more in this episode. Listen and enjoy!