OPINION: ANDRE LUIS
Trojan Horse was a Unicorn founder Andre Luis talks taking risks and making big decisions
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. •