Alex Budak

I empower changemakers to create new futures for their communities.

I'm a fan of passport stamps, roadtrips, California burritos, good deeds and great leadership.

Today is my Swediversary — one year ago, on March 8th, I arrived here in my new home of Stockholm. It’s been a challenging, but ultimately wonderful year. A year of being a hipster in Södermalm and an explorer in the archipelago. A year of $5 protein bars and $12 beers. A year of lots and lots and lots of fika. A year of ridiculously efficient transportation, clean public restrooms and absolutely gorgeous nature. A year of missing friends, family and Californian sun. A year of Swedes doing their best to scare me about how terrible the month of November is and a year of me trying to explain to incredulous Swedes how much I miss good Mexican food. A year of new traditions in All Saints day and Lucia, and a year of buying way more food in tubes than I ever thought possible. A year of more order, queues and calm, and a year of figuring out all kinds of new, unwritten, social norms. A year of not talking to a single person on the metro. A year where deer run outside my window, where an amazing swim is 3 minutes away yet a buzzing neighborhood with guys with crazy beards is just a 10 minute walk away. A year of expanding my knowledge of Swedish beyond the words yelled at me during crossfit. A year with a new job, filled with gratitude to be able to help build the social entrepreneurship ecosystem here. A year of new sites to see, taste and photograph. A year filled with new. I’m so thankful to friends here, especially Sandboxers for being so welcoming. And mostly I’m thankful to my Swedish valentine, Rebecca, the best partner in new Swedish adventures I could ever imagine.

4 months ago

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My Favorite DC Photos: #4
It’s hard to believe that after nearly 4.5 years in DC, I only have 10 days left in the District before I move to Stockholm! DC is where I first fell in love with Photography, so to mark my last 10 days here I’ll be sharing a favorite photo each day as a bit of a countdown.  Check out all ten photos here.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “nice kites, bro.”  I do like this photo in and of itself, but really it’s a favorite photo because it was taken during one of my first dates with my girlfriend (aka the girl waiting for me in Stockholm).  

1 year ago

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1 year ago

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1 year ago

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A brand new passport: blank pages waiting to be filled with adventures.  

1 year ago

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Four Things I Learned Doing Good Company Ventures this Summer

For the last ten weeks I’ve been honored to represent StartSomeGood as one of twelve social ventures selected to be part of the 2012 Good Company Ventures program. Every Thursday and Friday we’d gather in a vibrant co-working space in Philadelphia to discuss what it takes to create and sustain a successful venture. The companies ranged from a venture revolutionizing remittance payments in Latin America through mobile phones to a venture making laundry delivery more eco-friendly.

In-between lots of busses and trains from Washington, DC to Philadelphia, and stays on friends’ couches and strangers’ AirBnBs, I learned a number of really important business lessons. As I reflect back on my summer in the City of Brotherly Love, here are my four biggest takeaways:

  1. Start with the basics. Often as social entrepreneurs we get so enraptured with the big-vision that we forget the most core building blocks of our ventures. Who are the customers? Who are the buyers? Are they the same? They might be — but they might be vastly different. Can you clearly articulate the value you are providing? It’s crucial to not jump ahead before ensuring that you have a really solid grasp on the basics.
  2. Good design matters. To say that I saw a lot of powerpoint presentations this summer would be like saying that Philly cheesesteaks can be a tad greasy. Each venture would create a presentation every week summarizing how the previous week’s lessons applied to their company. That, plus lots of guest speakers, meant that there was lots and lots of slide-clicking. When you see that many presentations you start to really appreciate great design — simple graphics, key text, and a great flow. Good design is hard, but it’s an investment worth making for your audience.
  3. Dream big. Start small. To create the type of impact in the world that all of us seek to have, we all have to be audacious dreamers. But just as a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so too does the ability to create a positive dent in the world. An overarching theme of Good Company was to be sure that we were taking on a sizable challenge worth our time, but also that we had a thoughtful and realistic way to get going. The “go-to-market” strategy as it were, is crucial to prove to investors and customers alike that while you may want to go from “A to Z,” you know that you first must get to “B.”
  4. You’re always selling. It’s easy to feel a step or two removed from traditional business when you’re simultaneously focusing on your social impact — but remember you are never not selling. Especially if you are the founder of your organization, every interaction you have is selling your venture in some way — whether it’s to a potential investor, a potential customer, a potential partner, or even a potential supporter. You may even have designated roles for a sales team, but every member of your team plays a role in selling your organization and as the leader of the organization you need to model that.

Thanks to Good Company Ventures for your advice, lessons and guidance this summer. If you’ll be in the Philadelphia area, be sure to come check out the Good Company Ventures’ pitch day (date in October, TBD, but check here for updates) to hear all twelve of us tell our stories.

Cross-posted on the StartSomeGood Blog

1 year ago

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A walk in Boston

1 year ago

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The StartSomeGood team at our G+ Hangout meeting.  Scuba divers and pirates galore! 

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Culinary Flashmob last week in Philadelphia (taken with Instagram).

1 year ago

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Waxholm bound | Stockholm

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