Three young people who turned their lives around in Serbia

Around 100 young people gathered at the Madlenianum Theatre on 7th November at a TEDx Conference eager to hear the answer to the question – how to stay in Serbia and become successful


Ana“When you start your own business, your emotions will run wild. However, the central feeling is that of freedom of doing what you love. Your future job could have revealed itself back when you were a child or when you were playing your favourite childhood game. For me it was drawing and doodling” – said Ana Babic, the brainchild behind the Skrabac brand.

After graduating from the university, the most difficult question to answer was – “What next?”

“I worked in different jobs only because I needed the money but I also felt this huge enthusiasm for starting something new by myself. However, everything was at a standstill partly because the jobs I did were killing my motivation. I always carried a drawing book with all my drawing in it, but I did not see a novel idea in them. Thankfully, my boyfriend did because we often undermine our little hobbies and rituals that could hide brilliant ideas”, Babic talks about her career path.

Idea alone, regardless of how good it is, is no sufficient enough to succeed. A lot of work is required too.

“As I was starting my business, I was also learning and, for me, every moment was a creative challenge. Details are important because people recognize them as a fruit of your labour. This requires a full commitment. You should be even more motivated to prove that you can really do it and that you really believe in your passion. This is the idea that will live with you all the time – you are going to wake up with it and go to bed with it. Sometimes, you are even going to dream about it. If your idea does not bring you joy, than it is not a good idea for you personally. The simplest of answers contain fantastic information so ask questions. Money should not be the main driving force. It comes at a later stage. Talk to different people since one of them will prove to be the right one. Fixate on one idea only and fight for it”, Ana advises.


“For some we were a group of football fans, and for some hooligans. The years I spent on FC Rad’s stadium left me with great memories. They were life lessons which I apply in my work today – from how a team functions to how to be a good leader. Still, the most important thing I learned on those stadium stands was that a small team with a focused vision and good leaders can very quickly become successful and even rightfully compete with bigger ‘players’ who have a longer history and a more famous name”, says Dragan Tomic, the former fan of FC Rad and today general manager of General Manager of Microsoft Development Center in Serbia. Dragan

Dragan moved to the U.S. after the crazy period spent cheering for his favourite football club and started a new career.

“I got a permanent job at Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond where the best engineers in the world are also stationed. I worked there until 2006 when I decided to go back to Serbia and work for Microsoft’s branch here. At first, we did not get a proper system support from Redmond because, at that time, Americans saw Serbia as this small and undeveloped country while my decision was thought to be utterly stupid. What they did not see was our team, the energy and the vision that led us to position ourselves on Microsoft’s internal map and wider in the space of only a few years. Soon enough, our team was doing a much better job than some teams in Redmond, and our results caused a real stir”, Tomic proudly says.

Tomic disagrees with the people who claim that working in Serbia is very difficult.

“I think this is the beginning of the golden age for Serbia. The future generation will think of this time as the turning point when things finally started turning better for our country. Currently, there are around 50,000 people in Serbia working in IT and other export-orientated industries in which the global competitors have established on meritocracy and where arrogance is not welcome. Leadership and readiness to initiate are valued, while the love of learning is developed”, Tomic concludes.


The three things that brought a major change in the life of a successful journalist Marko Mudrinic were the American scholarship for a high school in Colorado, the family tragedy at the very beginning of his career, and the offer to become a partner in Netokracija (Netocracy) in Serbia.

Marko“In the United States, I was a part of a completely different system. The year I spent there was also a year of a lot of soul-searching because I came to the realization that I love to write and I that I wanted to become a journalist. When I returned to Zemun, I also realized that I no longer fit into my old environment because, as I was dreaming about my long-term goals, most of my peers were thinking of what to do during recess”, Mudrinic explains.

When he finally got an opportunity to become a journalist, his mother died.

“I threw myself into work and that’s what helped me to live through that period. I earned enough money on my first job to pay for my studies”, he says.

At the end of this difficult road success awaited Marko – he was offered to become a partner and co-founder of Netokracija in Serbia.

“That was one of those moments when you ask yourself if you could actually do it. Your professional responsibility also makes it hard to say no to an offer to become number one in something. Still, the biggest progress happens when you step out of your comfort zone. It is important to understand what your passion and your dreams are and fully immerse yourself in them. You have work on them. If you don’t challenge yourself to do things the way you think they should be done, even if others disagree, you are going to remain where you are”, Mudrinic adds.

(Blic, 07.11.2016)

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