Guaana — courageous, intelligent, agile.

Guaana team sketch via Deekit.

We had a conversation with Marko Russiver, the CEO of Guaana.

Guaana is the first collaboration platform in the world built for scientists.

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What lead you to create Guaana?

Coming up with the idea of Guaana had two sides to it. At first glance it seemed like a moment of epiphany — I woke up and I knew exactly what had to be done. But when I analyzed what was the setting and the stage for it to happen the process ended up a lot more complex than that.

Some background to explain it: I’ve been a designer for 15 years… If you work as a designer you tend to find practices to foster creativity and one of the methodologies is to trust your subconscious mind to do a lot of work for you.

In simple words — first you submerge in to the problem that needs to be solved, you read up everything about it and get yourself up to date with every possible piece of information you can get you hands on.

Then you forget about it and do some random stuff or work on other things. Mysterious amount of time later you have the “aha” moment when your mind presents you with a solution.

I had been analyzing the brand and business side of one science park months before my epiphany. This provided my mind with enough information. So out of old habits my mind presented a solution to me. I hope this makes sense to anyone who is not a creative.

What is the most important team value you have?

My number one priority in Guaana is keeping the team healthy and effective. No traditional recruitment — every member, from developers to business management has joined because of the vision and because they see the value of building bridges between scientists globally.

There are few core values we hold dear. Agility and honesty.

We work fast and smart. We have almost killed the whole design phase of product development; everything goes straight to code and gets tested on the field for example. We have built a culture of celebrated mistakes.

What is your team culture like?

We are united by the most important characteristic when it comes to science — critical thinking. All of us. The 8 ridiculously talented unique little butterflies. Dancing in the air with Curtis Mayfield “Move on up” playing on the background.

What is the funniest thing that has happened?

We were camping with the whole team one weekend in the woods. We were in the middle of nowhere when the darkness came. We only had one flashlight with us and someone put it on the table. Felt like childhood camp.

Suddenly one team member put a white Styrofoam cup on it. Another team member added two to the sides of it. Another one improved the architecture and someone came in and copied the same structure on top of it by removing the bottoms of the cups below. We crowd sourced light that way and the whole camp was lit up thanks to one flashlight and some collaborative thinking. Took us 20 min or so.

Ridiculously talented unique little butterflies, indeed. 🙂

It is, in fact, nearly impossible to pick one single hilarious memory for you. We are constantly laughing our asses off. We challenge you to come and work with us a day or few and proper laughter therapy is guaranteed.

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