OPIN­ION: AN­DRE LUIS

Tro­jan Horse was a Uni­corn founder An­dre Luis talks tak­ing risks and mak­ing big de­ci­sions

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The THU founder talks tak­ing risks in your ca­reer

Tak­ing THU to Malta meant more than merely chang­ing the lo­ca­tion of the event. We could no longer count on ev­ery­thing we had de­vel­oped and achieved dur­ing the last five years, like lo­cal part­ner­ships and in­fra­struc­tures. We knew we would have to start from scratch. We knew it would be hard and ex­pen­sive. So why did we do it any­way? We still get this ques­tion a lot, and we’re hon­estly not sur­prised, be­cause who in their right mind would go back to the start and face all the is­sues we had al­ready strug­gled with in the be­gin­ning? Well, we be­lieve that a lit­tle insanity can be good as long as you keep your feet on the ground and are aware of all the risks. I knew that if we wanted to keep in­no­vat­ing and bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to the com­mu­nity, we would have to change. We have a lot of peo­ple in the Tribe who are still try­ing to find who they are as cre­atives and where they want to be in this in­dus­try. How can we in­spire them and be a safe place for them if we don’t show confidence in step­ping out of the com­fort zone? We want to show ev­ery­one that it’s okay to do things dif­fer­ently and choose a path most peo­ple would not even con­sider.

Be­fore we made the big de­ci­sion, we listed ev­ery pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive as­pect of this choice and took the time to re­ally un­der­stand the im­pact it would have. There was one thing that sur­passed ev­ery neg­a­tive point: the fact that Malta was bring­ing some­thing unique to this com­mu­nity of dig­i­tal en­ter­tain­ment cre­ators. More than a dreamy is­land where we could have a non-cor­po­rate en­vi­ron­ment as we did in Tróia, this is a place that will al­low the Tribe to in­ter­act and cre­ate mean­ing­ful bonds, both in the pro­fes­sional and the per­sonal fields. We be­lieve this en­vi­ron­ment to be the rea­son for our suc­cess. Bring­ing the best speak­ers and com­pa­nies is es­sen­tial, but cre­at­ing an experience that pro­motes a spe­cial con­nec­tion be­tween all par­tic­i­pants is what makes THU ex­tra­or­di­nary.

Dur­ing the last six years of mak­ing THU hap­pen de­spite all odds, I’ve had the chance to learn a lot about the in­dus­try and ob­serve the peo­ple in it closely, es­pe­cially young tal­ents. One of the things I’ve learned is that most peo­ple don’t know how the in­dus­try works and don’t have the best mind­set when try­ing to start a ca­reer. Young artists think they have all the an­swers, but at this point they usu­ally don’t re­ally un­der­stand this in­dus­try and ev­ery­thing it rep­re­sents: the awe­some part and the bad side.

Pablo Pi­casso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” and that’s true. You can’t change things with­out having the whole pic­ture, and right now young artists don’t re­alise they are prob­a­bly still stuck in their own per­spec­tive. It’s easy to com­plain in­stead of chang­ing, but if you protest and never fight things will stay the same.

Artists and cre­ators choose to be a part of this in­dus­try, and only the ones who have passion and the right mind­set can suc­ceed. Some­times all they have to do is ask the right ques­tions and be hon­est with them­selves: What do I need to get more free­lance jobs? How can I get re­cruited by the com­pa­nies I want to work with? Is the com­pany where I cur­rently work right for me? Am I grow­ing as a per­son and as an artist? It’s up to us to face the truth and un­der­stand what we need to do to ful­fil our goals.

Don’t get blind­sided by the suc­cess, recog­ni­tion or money you think oth­ers have. It’s time to stop see­ing the dig­i­tal en­ter­tain­ment world with rose-coloured lenses and ap­proach it strate­gi­cally. You are not your port­fo­lio, and it’s not al­ways about tal­ent: so­cial skills, the abil­ity to work un­der pres­sure and a lit­tle hu­mil­ity can go a long way.

Change is al­ways the an­swer. We need to change our­selves be­fore we ac­tu­ally change the mar­ket, and most of the time the an­swer is in front of us, but we pre­fer to com­plain than to face re­al­ity. Would it be eas­ier for us to stay in Por­tu­gal? Yes. But we de­cided to face our fears and cre­ate what the mar­ket needs right now: a new plat­form for cre­ators from all over the world. •

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