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Starting Up: Brain Gain Romania

There's this tumblr blog making a buzz in startup circles. It's written by the co-founder of an unnamed startup that's about to meet its demise. It was started a a month ago, so we're somewhere at the conclusion of this dramatic affair. It's actually not any more dramatic than what hundreds of other startups are going through right now, but the real talking point is over the honesty with which the blog's author is describing his plight. To juxtapose a bit, one commentator said, "when CEOs talk about their startups, the future is always so bright that we have to wear shades." This is why getting a live feed of the sinking ship is viral worthy.

Why do I bring it up? Simple, I'm starting something too. It's modest but the dream is big. I want to help create a country we're all proud to be living in. If we had a country full of people who faced challenges head on with a positive attitude,  a country of people willing to take big risks for what they believe in, people willing to take charge and lead by example, then the situation would be vastly different in Romania.

I'd love to see the change every other Romanian is waiting for come overnight, but that's not going to happen. We're going to need a couple of generations who subscribe to a different type of parenting, education, and social experience. The only channel for change that can speed up this process comes in the form of Romanians who've been brought up differently. Elsewhere.

These Romanians don't have any particular deference for authority because they believe in collaboration rather than subordination. They embrace change because they see it as a catalyst for progress. They have lots of ideas because their education and experience has always encouraged them to find their own way of doing the right thing instead of pursuing 'the correct way' to do something right. They have energy, enthusiasm, and a positive outlook on life. These are ideal citizens.

I'm not the best example of all of the above. But that's okay, I don't want to be the smartest guy in the room. I just want to help bring that guy (or gal) back home.

Do you want to come back to Romania? Do you want to hire somebody crazy enough to want to come back to Romania?

Here is where you join the movement and connect to opportunities that could be waiting just around the corner: Brain Gain Romania. <-- Clicky

This is the group's description:
This group aims to connect Romanians who live or have studied abroad with local HR professionals and entrepreneurs. The goal is to help Romanians who want to come back home connect to the right people and the right opportunities.

I know it sounds like I'm making it easy on myself by saying this, but my definition of success is simple; One return. I know if one person is able to make the right connections to facilitate their repatriation, we're going to start growing exponentially. And from there, we're all going to start wearing shades.
                                                                  Take your pick


  1. Matt,
    To bring people back “home” you’ve got to offer them something. Needless to say there is not much to offer, not yet although things might gradually improve. Take it with a grain of salt, thing incremental improvements is perhaps the right term.
    Most likely I’m on my way of becoming an old fart, increasingly sclerotic and unwilling to uproot myself and move to the old unpredictable territory I left almost 20 years ago. But … I can offer project based jobs for whoever wants to get back to the old country. It’s not much; it might be a drop in a bucket however I see it as a plus and not a minus. I’m all for giving people hope but I strongly believe in giving them something to do.
    Give me a shout whenever an opportunity might present itself. You’ve got my contact info.

    1. That's just the idea, Rares. What a group like this offers is an opportunity for people to meet on common ground. I'm not suggesting anybody come here with the intent to settle without laying some groundwork. Hopefully this group helps that process along and allows Romanians in the diaspora to make the right connections.

  2. Lol Matt, group duly joined and introduced. I'm not sure that the above line - 'Do you want to hire somebody crazy enough to want to come back to Romania?' - is that encouraging to potential employers (outside of Romanian mental hospitals)! I think if you want to create a country that everybody can be proud of, it starts with some good old-fashioned selling (i.e. lie, lie and lie some more). At the very least, it will leave us prospective immigrants with a bit more hope :P

    1. Too much of an inside joke maybe. I was referring to the typical reaction many people here have when they hear somebody's come back after living in the land of milk and honey.

  3. I'm not Romanian, but I'm coming anyway. I've been to Cluj and seen first hand what it has to offer. That's why I'm moving my family and (at least part of) my business there this month. I can certainly understand not wanting to come back to the place you left twenty years ago. I don't want to go back to the place that I left twenty years ago (long story). The truth is, though, neither of those two places exist any more. For me, that long story is over now, and I'm on my way through a new long (and much better) story. For Romania, I realized when I visited for the first time that 1989 wasn't all that long ago after all, and that there is a lot of room for improvement. At the same time, I saw so many brilliant people pushing boundaries, starting things, and creating that improvement. I can't think of a more exciting place to be, or a more exciting time to be there. I'm not Romanian, but I will be part of the Brain Gain.

    1. This is very good to hear, Michael. It's always been my long-term goal to build the group as an 'in' for anybody who's considering moving to Romania. I'm sure we will benefit from your brain and enthusiasm. Would love to hear more from you whenever you get here.

  4. I totally subscribe to what north of 60. I have returned to Romania after living 7 years abroad. I thought trading Bucharest (where I hail form) for Cluj ( historically considered to be more advanced) might make a difference. Maybe in some regards, Cluj tramps Bucharest but (and take my word for it) not enough to make much of a difference.
    My educated advice to anybody how might be interested:DONT COME (RETURN ,for that mater) TO ROMANIA(CLUJ IS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME THING).
    Matt is an enthused young man who is either clutching at straws or works for the local administration

    1. I appreciate an objective discussion and differing opinions, especially from somebody who's actually come back and has a different story from mine. I guess that's the point of my blog though, isn't it? To tell *my* story and provide *my* opinion on things as *I* see them.
      Is Romania the place for just about anyone? No.
      Have I only written positive posts about living here? No.
      Are there still plenty of problems, particularly when it comes to bureaucracy and services? Yes.

      Having lived abroad, you should know the expression "Rome was not built in a day". Romania is not the same country it was five years ago and it certainly isn't what it was 25 years ago. Five years from now it will have changed further still. I'm optimistic it will be for the better. And that's the difference between us.

      You think you can come here and expect that everyone will greet you with a smile and a click of the heels because you lived abroad for seven years? Clearly, it's not been long enough, there are already too many Romanians like you in this country.


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