In Leo Tolstoy’s great, and epic, novel Anna Karenina, he starts off his tome by stating: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” For Croatians, there’s a lot of history in quoting a Russian like Tolstoy.
And if you ask any Croatian what it’s like to be in a world that coined the term, Balkanization, they each will tell you some version of the truth: that there is always something broken, and you can either sit around on your butt and experience it, or set to work to fix it.
For seven-time startup founder Jereslav Bobic, a BizSpark entrepreneur in Zagreb, Croatia, there is always a little bit of the sting in his words, because he feels that not enough Croatians — and really, not a lot of entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern Europe — have what it takes to keep moving, work with hunger, and iterate. We sat down for espresso in an outdoor cafe in Veradzin, Croatia, and talked of many things — from Nikola Tesla, to Anna Karenina, identity and the lack of privacy, but what I got on tape was him saying that all startups are like “broken families.” They have unique problems that are each their own, and they are setting out to fix problems that only they can fix.
Here’s the clip: