Find out how Valentinos Tzekas, the Founder of Near-Share your story can light up your own dreams in 3 minutes!

Interview to Antonis Spyridakis

1.Hello, Valentinos it’s my pleasure to host you at GR Millennial Makers. Could you tell us a few words about your background and your application?

Valentinos Tzekas, 19 years old Millennial Maker of Near

Thanks Anthony for this great initiative! I’m Valentinus Tzekas, 19, a freshman at the University of Macedonia in the applied informatics department and founder of Near! The idea of ​​Near got introduced last summer! As my friends and I were traveling by train to the sea, along with hundreds, we all came up against the same dilemma. We could not decide to what beach bar to go! So, we tried to make phone calls, send messages and look frantically for check ‘ins on Facebook, to see which people/friends were in each bar, in order to make the best decision, based on our mood of the moment!

It seemed rather impossible to make up our minds and come to a common decision therefore, we kept losing precious time! It was right then, when I thought that we could have all of this information directly on our phones, in order to make the best choice without wasting any time. After the first 3 months of the official operation of the application, Near had overcome any competitor in Greece and abroad surpassing 5.000 daily active users!

In May, after the successful participation at SXSW in Texas, the Near app got acquired and became part of a very promising Startup, with a talented team behind it, Pinticks!

2. You started coding at the age of 12. What intrigued you to start?

From a really young age I had a great interest towards IT and entrepreneurship! Around 12 I began to discover the logic behind programming! Later, at the beginning of high school through hacking, I began to learn even more with friends! It was really fun, all day and all night we were trying to bypass security protocols and understand the structure of each web app! The power that can have one through a computer is like magic! The power of creation, freedom but also to provoke feelings!

3. You are a Maker, developed an application from scratch. What challenges did you face and how did you jump the “barriers”?

Find the full story of @WhosNearBy here

The early days of development were really challenging! I had to create a prototype and design the whole UI/UX carefully! I wanted everything to have a purpose, colors, shapes, images! I was reading a lot of articles and tutorials out of the best designers out there! Also, I bought the ‘old-school’ book, “Logos and Trademarks of the World”! I was learning something new every day, It was great! Sleeping at 3 a.m. and waking up at 8 a.m. for more than 5 months so I can seize every minute! It’s a great journey! The adrenaline rush when you’re launching is simply just priceless! Persistence (and pizza) is the key!

4. In your opinion, coding skills are necessary to a Millennial nowadays?

Programming will be exactly like ‘I know how to read!’, in less than 15 years! By learning to code you can do everything! Build a staff robot-slave and in general, improve dramatically your life! The limit is your imagination!

5. How could your experience light up the dreams of those Millennials who do have any support/doubts?

The most important thing is that nothing is impossible.. Whether you are in Greece of 2016 or in a third world country! Create your own paths! The second most important is connections! There really a lot of people out there waiting to meet you!

6. Could you share with us two of your favorite quotes? Which and why do they motivate you?

I live hand by hand with this quote: “You never know if the next person you meet will change your life!” So, start meeting people, chat with them, don’t be afraid to share your feelings! In the end those you help, will help you back for sure!

The next quote is by my favorite dude in the whole community, Guy Kawasaki! I was lucky enough to met him at Austin and my favorite quote is: “Evangelism is all about selling a dream.”

Guy is the first Evangelist when he started at Apple, years ago! Brand Evangelist is the perfect job for me because you sell your passion, your dream! No barries, no shitty emotionless marketing stuff!

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