TEDx - my passport to eudaimonia (happiness+)


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Onic V. Palandjian, a seasoned Venture Capitalist with 19 years of professional experience in Europe and the USA, explains why after a successful career abroad he decided to return to Greece. He makes the point that there are more reasons to stay in Greece and discover happiness there, but to leave.

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  • Ayearago I wenttoBeijing China and this stranger helped me fight heavy traffic to go to a meeting on time.After admiring the Chinese culture and achievements I returned to my hotel room…
  • …and experienced the lowest point in Greek history for me!I felt emotional,embarrassed and truly sad by Greece and its crisis. It was May 5, 2010 and 3 bank employees were dead, due to the riotsA lot is wrong in Greece, we all agree; and there is even more pessimism and cynicism A lot of my friends are considering leaving the country!
  • Have you thought of leaving Greece?Please raise your hands!
  • As you may have guessed from my name that I am not originally Greek, I am of Armenian decent, but as my family is here for 90 years I feel very Greek.When I turned 18 I went to Boston to study and work. I spent 13 years abroad working in 4 countries and travelling to 38 more.Some where exotic, like the former Soviet were I met people whose dream was to travel to the US and the UK, the acropolis and the islands.That’s when it hit me, I can travel freely, but choose to live at challenging countries where people have very little opportunity and serious survival issues. Why, because I thought I would find what I had back home and more opportunity. I took things for granted!
  • I used to take the Greek sun for granted until I experienced London Weather, beautiful for some, useful for others, depressing for me!I hear it’s getting better due to global warming, but this wasn’t the case when I was there.
  • I used to take Greek tomatoes for granted until I experienced tomatoes in Russia. They were imported, round, fake and tasteless! There’s worse, places I visited like Turkmenistan where even basic food like diary products and vegetables where a luxury.In this part of the world, a fish is called fresh even if it was caught 10 days before and served cold from a refrigerator.
  • I used to take friends and family for granted until I felt like a number, a stranger among strangers in NYCI used to like drinking beer socially, until I experienced the obsession of my classmates in BostonThis culture of alcohol being too important both in the former USSR and the US was something so unusual and weird for me that magnified my feeling of being homesick!
  • Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t complaining about everything, quite the contrary!I was lucky to experience the .com boom in London and our startup was honored to have one of the most high profile and distinguished members of the GR Diaspora, Nicholas Negroponte, as an investor, advisor. The Diaspora is very important when you’re abroad and you can count on it.
  • But although the dot com dream was happening, every Friday night I had an urge to be home. And home was Athens, not London.I MISSED MY FAMILY I missed my close and dear FRIENDS so even before we sold the company, I decided to return. It was 2001
  • …and so I joined a small software startup company based in Athens.The team was small; the 2 founders and 10 very talented people with a dream. Common sense says tech startups flourish in Silicon Valley; Why on earth create an IT startup in Greece? How could it become successful?Well, Velti is now a company of 500 employees that expands fast.
  • It’s listed in NASDAQ and AIM and it is valued at $600 million. That’s big, even for US standards!It owes its success to its outward thinking team of bright and efficient Greeks!The team – very much like me – has studied and worked abroad and could have stayed in the US, but I guess, we all prefer to live here.
  • So this was a super successful investment for our fund and it helped preserve the work of 1300 families in Kozani.Right now during this crisis, half a million Greeks are working on agriculture and it is one of the few sectors that enjoys a healthy employment growth. Agriculture is closely lined to environmental issues and environmental issues are close to my heart!
  • What you see here are used tyres that sit on various locations around Greece for years and will never decompose.We realized this is a business opportunity and the time is ripe to help-solve environmental time-bombs like this.
  • So we invested in Tyres Herco, astate-of-the-art plant that uses the most modern German technology available. This factory became in 2010 the most effective tyre recycling plant in SE Europe.It recycled 1 M tyres.
  • Just imagine the quantity. If we laid each tyre side by side, it would cover the 500 KM from here to Athens. And that’s just the tyres of 2010.;You have to imagine the satisfaction and sense of achievement every time I visit our plant. Waste comes in and containers full of useful material leave. It’s a fantastic feeling, especially for a person involved from the very beginning, when this was just an idea.
  • But I knew it not all about our career. I researched what Greece offers and makes me truly happy
  • Please close your eyes and picture the first positive image that comes to mind for Greece.'Comeon. Everyonecloseyoureyes.' <pause> 'What'sthe first positivething...' <pausetoletthemthink> 'Would anyoneliketosharetheirpicture?‘
  • I am no magician, but it falls under these categories.Some are more important than others, but these are the basic pieces of the puzzle for happiness
  • My picture is an aerial photo I took last summer from Elafonissos. For me it’s not just the beach, It’s the awakening of all 5 senses.I used to take these for granted but I don’t anymore, as I couldn’t find them all in another country.
  • Even more impressive for me is the diversity. My favorite sport is skiing. Did you know that Greece has 18 ski resorts? If I left this auditorium,I could be on the slopes in approx. 1 hr.
  • This is my daughter Maida, picking tomatoes from an open air market near our house. Notice the tomatoes that my daughter is picking. These are real and tasty!Jamie Oliver, the 2010 TED prize winner wished:”to educate every child about food”. We do that in Greece, it is part of the culture!We enjoy our healthy Mediterranean food not only to satisfy our appetite, but also our hunger for friendship and conversation
  • The most important reason for the well being of millions is their family. The typical Greek family gives unconditional love and sacrifices a lot to educate and support its youth. This results to 2.3% of the labor force have Masters and PhDs.We reciprocate for all they have done for us. We give our love and support to our parents when they need it most! It’s no coincidence that you cannot find many retirement homes in Greece. I like this! and plan to do the same to my kids…Here’s a bonus the cost!
  • Take London and Athens for example. Bothshare European infrastructure and location, freedom, Free healthcare, Free schools. But the cost of living is 2.5 times more for a single Greek in London
  • the cost is 2.8 times more for a family to relocate to London
  • Here’s anotherexample.A family living in Greece can enjoy a great weekend at the cost of a UK family just to go to and from the airport.In Greece you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy the little things that make us all happy.
  • I realized that Greece’s lifestyle helps in my pursuit of eudemonia.Eudaimonia is more than happiness. For Aristotle it is exercising virtue as well as health, wealth, belonging, benefiting others, thriving and exercising excellence.
  • I want you to visualize why Greece makes me happier than the other countries I lived in.I even dare to ask you to create your own list and you’ll be surprised if you count all that is really important
  • To those who still consider leaving, I can assure you that you will be thinking of thepositives of Greece everyday which will make you homesick.
  • Lastly, may I introduce my son, Artin. I often confess to him that we, adults, don’t have all the answers and have made big mistakes. This particular morning we went for a reforestation. I explained how we are restoring a mistake! It does not mater who made it. We will fix it, not simply forget about it or blame someone! It’s the same for Greece and its future.Artin’sname means resurrection (Anastassis). Although his name means that it is his job to resurrect the country, it is my wish that I do my best to help start the process. If I fail, Artin and his generation might abandon it too. Our kids eudemonia is in our hands right now!
  • TEDx - my passport to eudaimonia (happiness+)

    1. 1. @Onic2000 #Happiness+<br />Onic Palandjian TEDx presentation<br />
    2. 2.
    3. 3.
    4. 4. How many have thought of leaving Greece?<br />
    5. 5.
    6. 6.
    7. 7.
    8. 8.
    9. 9.
    10. 10.
    11. 11.
    12. 12. 2006<br />2007<br />2008<br />2009<br />2010<br />700<br />600<br />500<br />400<br />300<br />200<br />100<br />
    13. 13. 13<br />
    14. 14. 14<br />
    15. 15.
    16. 16. 16<br />
    17. 17.
    18. 18. Athens<br />
    19. 19.
    20. 20.
    21. 21. My happiness +<br />
    22. 22. Quality of Life Index<br />very low QOL<br />
    23. 23. UN Human Development Index<br />
    24. 24. Suicide Rates<br />18.3<br />per 100,000<br />17.0<br />15.1<br />11.6<br />11.4<br />11.1<br />10.2<br />9.2<br />3.0<br />
    25. 25. Close your eyes <br />
    26. 26. health<br />culture<br />food <br />friends<br />activities<br />weather<br />family<br />career<br />Spiritual development<br />
    27. 27. fish<br />crickets<br />snorkeling<br />sand<br />friends<br />sea<br />tranquility<br />
    28. 28.
    29. 29.
    30. 30.
    31. 31. London:Athens<br />2.5<br />
    32. 32. London:Athens<br />2.8<br />
    33. 33. Weekend<br />Away<br />Boat to Poros€28<br />Room for two nights €90<br />Dinner Souvlaki€28<br />Swim, Tavli, Beach €0<br />Taverna€64<br />Snorkeling, Siesta €0<br /> = €240<br />= to and fromthe UK airport<br />
    34. 34. =<br />happiness<br />+<br />
    35. 35. Spiritual<br />health<br />culture<br />food <br />friends<br />=<br />activities<br />weather<br />happiness<br />living cost<br />career<br />+<br />family<br />