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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Reflection Essay: What have I done and learned

Kirjoittanut: Seungyeon Shin - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

The Lean Startup
Eric Ries
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 5 minuuttia.

Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup, says entrepreneurship is everywhere.


A human institution/organization designed to create new products and services under the condition of extreme uncertainty is a startup and anyone who works within the definition of a start-up is an entrepreneur. (Ries 2011, 8-9) The journey in Proakatemia is similar to the definition of a startup, in my opinion, with a lot of self-leadership and self-awareness practices. In this essay, I would like to share with you my reflective thoughts and the experiences that I have had so far.


Over the past 2 years, I have been trying and doing many different things. I joined the sustainable business team in the first year which led me to study more about the sustainability aspects of entrepreneurship but also many struggles and helpless around the topic. I volunteered at the Sprint Innovation Festival of HUBS as an assistant coach, where I learned how to host participants and communicate with coaches, organizers, and participants. I attended the Unfold social entrepreneurship hackathon as a participant and expanded my network, which eventually led me to join an organizing team for Unfold 2. Being a Janitor team manager brought extra money to our team SYNTRE but also gave extra learning on how challenging it is for the community to be cow milk-free. Getting rid of cow milk and replacing it with plant-based milk raised a lot of complaints and questions, and some of it wasn’t what I intended, but I am still happy that I spotted the challenge and tried to make a change as a manager.

Image 1: Joining Sustainable Business team.  Image 2: Participating Unfold . Image 3: Volunteering at Sprint Innovation festival.



I learned how to seek and catch the opportunities, but also how to be honest about my capacity and to others who I am working with. Volunteering experiences in Sprint brought me a chance to be in a HUBS student team as a growth hacker where I could try to practice my value through intuitive workshops with people and learn the importance of marketing and service design. At the same time, I was a board member of the Tampere Entrepreneurship Society as a community leader, which I eventually had to give up due to a lack of time and resources. Looking at my calendar and being realistic about whether I have the time and energy to do it helped me to prioritize and be honest with the other members of the board. I learned catching opportunities is important and exciting, but having too much on my plate isn’t good for others who I work with and for myself either.


Image 4: Tre.es as a board member.  Image 5: Encouraging to ditch cow milk. Image 6: Starting a HUBS growth hacker career


Currently, in addition to being a growth hacker at HUBS, I am the leader of the Sustainable Business team, where we aim to raise awareness about sustainable entrepreneurship in the community, tackle difficulties around the topic, and eventually learn how to do it in our real-life business together. Also, I am a leader of an ESBD project team where we are organizing an innovation festival in the Czech Republic.

 Image 7: ESBD team leader.  Image 8: Sustainable Business Team leader


Let’s go back to what Ries said about the concept of entrepreneurship at the beginning of the essay. I see that what we’re doing in an ESBD team is creating a service under conditions of uncertainty because it’s the first of the festival to be held and we can’t predict the number of participants. Also, many things were uncertain, including communicating with the client, budgeting, and how the event would work, etc. However, the project team has been able to cope with the uncertainty and move forward to deliver the expected outcome to the client and the future participants.


So, what after this?


After having all of these different experiences, there is still one thing I haven’t achieved.  It is to build my dream project and execute it with the right team members. If it has to be done, it should be something related to my roots, being Korean, but also something meaningful and sustainable. It will be an exciting process and simultaneously frustrating at some point, but regardless of how much money we make or the fear of failure, it will be a great learning.


Instead of a “just do it” approach, I would like to use the Lean startup approach.

“Lean isn’t simply about spending less money, or it isn’t just about falling fast and cheap. It is about putting a process, a methodology around the development of a product”. 


The questions should be

“Should this product be built” and “Can we build a sustainable business around the set of products and services? Not “Can this product be built?”


This essay was particularly for me to reflect on what I have done and learned. In the learning environment of Proakatemia, it has frequently happened that I feel lost about what I am learning or even doing here. Listing things up and reflecting has helped me to get some answers for that. I hope this essay can be used as a reminder that show some of my milestones in the future. In the next essay, hope to write deeply about the lean startup method and learn by doing experiences with the dream project idea.




Ries, E. 2011. The lean startup: How today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Business.



Soonie from Entre.

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