TSW #11: Maarika Susi

26 August 2013



For starters, please tell us something about yourself.
I’m passionate about organizing things, trying out new stuff and challenges, communicating with people and dancing.

Could you explain in a couple of sentences what is Garage48 and why one should take part in it.
Garage48 is organizing 48 hour startup hackathons in Eastern-Europe and Africa, with track record of more than 23 events. Garage48 weekend events are a perfect possibility to get yourself involved in entrepreneurship and startups. If you feel that you want to know more about it and even have an idea you want to develop but don’t have enough contacts, then this is definitely a good place to come. Also, if you feel you’d like to challenge yourself, get real hands-on experience in addition to the theory you’ve learned at universities and workshops, then this is an event for you.
We are looking for people with different skills: designers, marketers, project managers, visionary entrepreneurs, back-end developers, front-end developers and mobile developers.

What are the projects and challenges you’re currently involved in?
I’m currently working on several different things. Firstly, I am actively involved in Garage48 events team, trying to get our events in new interesting locations in Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle-East. There will be awesome new things coming up very soon!
I’ve always had other things besides Garage48 on the run as well. Just lately I’ve joined the Shooters team to bring best bar experience in Tallinn and Tartu. It will definitely be an interesting project for me as I’ve always been fascinated in giving a go in nightlife business, both as an event organizer and a marketer.
I’ve been teaching Latin social couple dances (salsa, bachata, bachatango) now for over 4 years. This year, me and my dance partner have joined a new dance school and I’m involved in interesting projects which I’m very much looking forward to. I am also part of one of the best Baltic women salsa groups. This means having quite many rehearsals and shows to be looking forward to in autumn in different European cities - Berlin, Warsaw etc.
So this autumn definitely brings challenges, but also many new experiences and fun while trying to overcome them.

How did you become involved in organizing Garage48 events?
Before Garage48 I worked at Cherry.ee for two years as a sales manager. I joined Cherry team from almost day 1 when the startup begun. So we learned and grew on the go. My last months in Cherry were mostly spent on organizing partnership deals with Lithuanian market. It was a superb experience and one of the best teams to work with.
To be honest, Garage48 came up accidentally. I got a proposal to join Garage48 events team now almost 2 years ago. My main interest was to get a chance to organize international events and to broaden Garage48 brand to new countries, taking focus on Eastern Europe. It is totally in my personality to be organizing stuff and deal with partnerships. I guess this is why I’m still in Garage48.

What is the most memorable situation you have ever come across during the Garage48 events or while organising it?
There are quite many of them. But I guess the most memorable situations are associated with organizing our Belarus event where we had to take different decisions than we usually do. When you are kicked out of the venue and hostel you thought you are going to just one day before the event and you are responsible for bringing a bus-full of people to Minsk… Well, this was kind of tragicomic at times. After such kind of things now everything seems a minor problem.

What are the biggest challenges when organizing such an intense technology event?
The biggest challenge is finding mutual understanding between different nationalities and people. As we organize events in different countries, then I often have to count with local traditions and cultural differences. It is very easy to negotiate and organize events in Estonia where you know how people might react and how Estonian work-ethics are. But it’s a totally different story in other Eastern European countries or for example in Africa. But this is also the most interesting part of my work - I get to know different countries and cultures.
Besides that I guess everything else is already easy once you get your local partners in same mindset with you!

In your opinion, should there be more female entrepreneurs in the start-up field? What kind of effect would it have in future perspective?  
I definitely think there should be more females in startup field. Women in companies widen the scope and bring in different approaches how to see and develop things.
In future perspective I hope we will change the stereotype that women think that IT is not for them and pursue their careers in that field more. Women definitely need to step up and show their great ideas and professionalism in IT field as well.

What would be your encouraging message to newbie female techmakers to give them a heads up?
I would want to encourage them to come and try out. What’s the worst that could happen? You spend an interesting weekend full of new experiences, a lot of networking and fun.
And as said “Passion never fails” - if you have the passion for it, you’ll always strive for the best results. This can be said about all things of course.

What are the top 5 web or mobile apps you can’t live without?
Instagram & Camera+ - I’m a photo freak, I always make photos everywhere I go
Shazam - I tend to forget good songs and their titles, this way I always have them tagged.
Skyscanner - I travel quite much and Skyscanner helps to find good routes with best prices
Evernote - I need constant reminders :)

What or who inspires you?
I don’t have anyone in particular who inspires me but I get inspired by people who have achieved something in their life in doing what they love. Always mix work with pleasure and love what you do!
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