Name: Jan Škapa
Country: Czech Republic
Occupation: IT Director
Company: Students For Liberty, MainTask
Quote: If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
What’s your perfect holiday:
I enjoy swimming in the warm ocean as well as snowboarding on an icy glacier. There is no single perfect holiday for me.
What’s your dream country to visit:
I think countries are not only about the places but mostly about the people. I like the nature of the Irish, and the beautiful natural landscapes of their countryside as well.
The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski
Before I joined ESFL, I was an everyday university student in Brno, CZ. I had just finished high school, moved into a different city and had started working on more website projects. I was fascinated by the ideas of liberty though, but I was pretty lonely before I got to know more people who would share my passion.
Already at high school, I read a Matt Ridley’s book. Then at some point, I followed a link on Twitter that some web professional shared, linking to a Mises.cz article. I read the article, started reading more books, following more international resources and started learning economics and philosophy.
It was in Prague during the 2016 European Students For Liberty Conference (ESFLC), one of the largest events that we ever pulled off in Europe. I was extremely honored to be the one leading this project to see it to fruition. Thanks to the ESFL team, it ended up being an extremely successful conference with wonderful feedback from attendees, and I was incredibly excited to see the organization come to life at that moment.
As you could have guessed, it is the conferences. Especially the continent-wide ones, as the ESFLC, or now LibertyCon. I think they really bring the best speakers together with a fascinating mix of students and young professionals. They are a great moment to stop and discuss ideas that matter.
Not much. I do not follow politics, as I do not see it as a way to change society. I think politics is only good for showing us how precious and fragile liberty is – it can be taken away in a blink of an eye, and sadly it is happening every day in every country.
When I was leaving ESFL to refocus on IT, the team has prepared a goodbye for me that I was not expecting at all. It was great to see that my work was appreciated and that it had made a difference in the organization; that I had been able to steer the ship in the right direction.
I always wanted to work with computers, and indeed it came true. It was my favorite childhood pastime that has transformed into an instrument for making a living. I do not think I had any other aspirations, I just always enjoyed computers and electronics.
If I had to choose, then probably Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. Woz for his ingenious computer skills and Jobs for his incredible forward, out-of-the-box thinking. Depending on a day, I would like to be more like the one or the other.
I do not want to see work as something painful that needs to be done. I try to find joy in the things that I do, and I try to be good at them. Even though it is clear to me that I have limitations in my knowledge, I try to focus on the road instead of the goal to make sure I enjoy every minute of it.
Battlestar Galactica is the best sci-fi series of all times. That is clear.
I started reading up about nutrition a lot recently, and I can recommend The Case Against Sugar. Whatever you read though, keep in mind the saying: “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” Read a lot. Feed your brain. But do not forget that you are not separate from your body, and knowing something about what you put into it is going to pay off in the long term.
A future where we will no longer need Students For Liberty, the same way we do not need Students For Abolition of Slavery anymore.
First, be humble and keep an open mind. Second, try to learn to switch to a growth mindset instead of a fixed one. Third, do not give up, because the results take time to show up.