This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke to Michal Lovecky, CEO and Creative Director for Cyan Planet
Name: Michal Lovecky
Role: CEO / Creative Director
Company: Cyan Planet
Top Tip: Persist. And always ask questions!
Quick Fire Questions
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I’m still not sure if I am pursuing a career in marine conservation! The ocean is my passion and a place where I feel whole. Every time I free dive, I feel like I belong underwater. I am deeply in love with the ocean. For me, it is the place where all the magic happens. After saving a green sea turtle stuck in a shipwreck, I realized that I can bring similar transcendental experiences to people through my work, to spark behavioural change in support of marine conservation. I can’t think of a better way to share my passion for the ocean with everyone than virtual reality and other immersive media, such as augmented reality or 360° video
2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?
Well, I work. I always give 26 hours a day, 8 days a week, to the project I’m working on. As much as I believe in working smarter, not harder, there is always that part where you just have to work and push through because nobody else will do it for you. And for me, it isn’t really about achieving a career goal or, well, not achieving one. I really value the journey and the experience.
Of course, I was always open to learning new things. Over time, you accumulate many skills to utilize for whichever task or challenge you encounter. After I finished my Master’s studies, I learned about real estate, finance, business development, 360° video capturing & editing, management, immersive technologies, XR design & storytelling, coding, marine ecology & conservation (to name a few). Now, I’m leading international and interdisciplinary teams and looking into combining digital marine species preservation with blockchain technology. There are too many exciting things to not learn about them
3. How did you obtain your current position?
I created it! Before I founded Cyan Planet, I created two other companies that were doing well until I saved that turtle, which flipped my world upside down and led to the creation of Cyan Planet
4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
The creativity and freedom, the opportunity to make a difference and meet so many amazing people from XR, art and marine conservation fields.
Before the years of social distancing, I enjoyed meeting all the amazing people from the XR scene, working with them on various projects, and feeling family-like vibes throughout the industry. When I started building Cyan Planet’s impact network last year, I met many passionate people from the marine conservation field. And I really can’t wait to have the opportunity to meet everyone in person
5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Every time I see people enjoying and engaging with my virtual reality experiences. Be it joy or fear, smiles or tears. That emotion, it really moves me and means the world to me. Then I feel that I made a difference. Because I know I succeeded and shared my passion for the ocean, connected them with the magic, and helped them understand the importance of protecting it
6. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Oh, so many things! I would probably push myself much earlier to explore the world, to meet awesome people, and to create something cool with them.
Also, I should have bought more Bitcoin
7. Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Coral and fish species identification! Just to clarify, I studied business administration. Then, right after my Master’s studies, I built an immersive media studio and several years later, I found myself diving in the Red Sea with a 360° camera, trying to figure out how best to move along a transect to assess coral reef ecology
8. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Persist. And always ask questions! If there is nobody in the room to explain it to you, and you are not the one who should know the answer, start seriously questioning what you and/or the team are doing
9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Well, my team nicknamed me Mr. Orca (the one nickname I know about). I admire these emblematic cetaceans, and if I had to choose to become one, team orca for the win, for obvious reasons.
However, I find squids and octopuses absolutely fascinating. There is so much mystery and things to discover! From biomimicry and RNA editing to the deep sea, they have mastered some skills! If I pursued a career in marine biology, I would want to do my research on them. You know, Monday & Tuesday freediving with octopuses and on Wednesday & Thursday operating ROV, exploring the deep sea, and waking up the Kraken
10. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Definitely the moment when we (Ninja and I) found the turtle. While freediving in the waters of Fernando de Noronha National Park in Brazil, I discovered a green sea turtle hiding under a part of a wreck. I was able to get very close to it, and still, it didn’t move. After a short discussion, if we should do something, I gently pushed it out, and it immediately swam up to the water’s surface to breathe.
Even though it was just a brief moment, it had a lifelong impact on me, making me realize that every little action can immediately influence the life or death of other living beings
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