Many times in history, projects, businesses or relationships succeeded not because of someone's excellent skills in management, marketing or creativity but because of a person crazy enough to pursue the goals despite all odds. Yesterday's post was about the process of discovering our own paths and intuitions. Today's story is about persistence.
At the very beginning of our operations, Kristóf got notified about an opportunity in Romania, a non-refundable EU tender with the maximum financial support of 40.000 EUR, which was and still is a huge amount of money for the start of a project. Since both Kristóf and Máté have Romanian citizenship due to them coming from Partium (which was part of Hungary before Trianon), we were eligible to start the application process. As usual, our but also the organizers' initial estimation of how much time and energy an application like this would consume was way off. This is still 2017 November-December. As we started to get deeper and deeper in the process one step after the other, we realized this thing isn't easy nor fast at all.
One thing you ought to know, that any EU or national tender is a crazily tangled process with all the best features of bureaucracy and general confusion. We not only had no idea of how to properly make a tender application (a lot of people actually hire pros to do these things for them, and even then, the success rate is below 10%) but we were still developing both the business and the product concepts of Cogito. After going through every step of the application, writing one-pagers, official documents, business plans, financial plans, rewriting them, renaming all files: final02, finalfinal01 and so on, we were finally there and ready for everything to get settled on. We thought we did everything that was required to be done. This was in 2018 September. We were almost in it for a year at this point, and we still had no idea, whether we'll fit the requirements, and whether we'll get the money or anything at all.
The moment of the final evaluation was very close when Kristóf got a call from the administration of the tender. The headquarter office in Brussels made last-minute requests about the applications and compared to that we had mistakes in our plans. They called so last minute during the application process, that even the administration lady told us it's too late to do anything because one hour won't be enough for us to make those changes on time. Kristóf was sitting on the train without any coverage, me just leaving the office after a long day. I quickly headed back to our office, sat down and together with Kristóf, somehow, I don't really remember any of that 1 hour, we were able to pull the impossible off.
Two weeks later our project was assessed as one of the most promising projects in the program. Of more than 150 ideas we came out in the TOP 10 and were awarded the financial support for Cogito's development. From complete zero knowledge in businesses and startups, this year and a half were one of the biggest rollercoaster-times of our operations. We pulled things like this many times, and we intend to keep doing it to everyone who has any doubt of our capabilities on delivering tasks last minute, under stress, despite the odds. I know the concept of "keep grinding", "just do it" is cheesy for all of us, but it is for a reason. Pushing through the hard times and keeping everything together, when things and you too wish to fall is the most rewarding thing a startupper and the business can achieve. So remember, you might not be the biggest financial mastermind of the century or the Leonardo da Vinci of marketing, but if your grit beats everyone else's genius ideas, you might as well just come out on top despite everyone else saying: You can't make it.
Best, Matt and the Team of Cogito