Programming is like poetry

Andrej Pančík

Like good text, a good program is created by many iterations, and details distinguish quality from gray average.

Silicon Valley is the Mecca of Computer Industry, CERN Nuclear Research and Oxford First Class Education. At all of these places, Andrej Pančík, a graduate of the Faculty of Informatics, has been working or is still working.

Currently thanks to the prestigious accelerator Y Combinator Andrej has started Prizeo, a fundraising platform in the United States. The platform has caught attention with a novel idea of bringing people unusual experiences with world celebrities in exchange for contribution to the operation of charitable organizations.

Did you and your colleagues expect to have such a success with Prizeo at the outset?

I did not start working on the project with a vision of great success, so when it came, it was all the more pleasant. This is a validation of my decision and encourages me to continue. Our journey with Prizeo has just begun, so we have a lot ahead of us. The Y Combinator in Silicon Valley is just a trigger that has allowed us to expand rapidly. The real success will be when we can say in a few years that we have changed the way charitable organizations raise their money.

Y Combinator is the father of all current business accelerators, including the StarCube in Brno. Participation in the accelerator provides start-up technology with start-up money, advice and support. Y Combinator was founded in 2005 and has since launched more than 300 companies, including Dropbox and Posterous.

When can we look forward to Prizeo in the Czech Republic?

We are currently focusing on testing the concept and trying it out in countries where charity and philanthropy play a major role in people's lives. It is mainly the United States and Great Britain. However, even in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, there are trustworthy charitable organizations and mainly people who care about them, will try to bring Prizeo here as soon as possible.

In your CV you have names of reputable schools and institutions you have worked for. In your youth, did you have the ambition to prove something great?

I think it is natural for anyone to want to leave behind some work. All these institutions have offered me interesting projects and the possibility of stimulating cooperation. I was very lucky to have met the people who supported me in my plans and gave me the opportunity to pursue what I enjoyed.

You come from a family of scholars. To what extent was it important for your parents to succeed in the academic environment, and to what extent did the family let you go your own way?

The family has always fully supported me in my studies and out-of-school activities. My parents always cared about my education - they were always willing to advise and direct me when I needed it. Since my childhood, I was fully aware of the importance of education myself, so I chose schools and fields of study myself.

Being able to tell a story well is an essential part of quality teaching and business.

Why did you decide to go to Brno and not applied directly to a foreign university?

I had a lot of references about the quality of the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University. The opportunity to study various subjects across the university and actually shape my study program suited me. I was also impressed by the quality of MU Information System and the possibility of online registration eliminating meaningless waiting in a line.

You have studied at three universities during your studies. How does MU compare?

This is quite difficult to compare. At each of them I studied at a different program and I had different personal and professional goals. All three universities employ teachers who care about their students and do their best to teach them what is needed for life in the field. The use of different strategies is just a consequence of cultural differences and other levels of material security.

How did Masaryk University equip you for the foreign universities?

It has allowed me to study in depth the areas that interest me. Then the perfect teaching of English and a good ratio of theoretical and practical subjects helped me immensely.

During your stay in Brno, as a student, you managed to teach both algorithms at Masaryk University and animation and film at the Brno School of Art and Design. How did you get to teaching at such young age?

Since I lacked a teaching background, I was always supervised by an official supervisor, but unofficially, the lesson was on me. Teaching and didactics in general interest me, so naturally I tried to get more involved in teaching at the university. This interest resulted in my involvement in teaching at the mentioned schools. Both themes are close to my heart and I enjoyed this a lot. I was pleased to convey my enthusiasm to other students.

Did you teach better among IT specialists or bohemian artists?

As I said, in both cases I enjoyed it, but the question is whether I actually taught them something (laughs).

You are an IT specialist who writes poems, which is an oxymoron for a lot of people. How did you get to writing poetry?

I have written short stories and poems since my childhood. Over time, I began to experiment with different forms from essays to haiku. Creating is a good relax for me, where I can break away from my work. Moreover, being able to tell a story well is also an essential part of quality teaching and business. Now I mostly create poetry, mainly because of its spontaneity in creation.

Are there any connections between writing poetry and programming?

They are both creative activities and have many common elements. Like a good text, a good program is created by many iterations, and details distinguishing quality from gray average. Poetry certainly gives a person more freedom and is rarely limited by an assignment. Unless it is a targeted training that I sometimes indulge in.

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