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Vytenis Pakėnas of isLucid: “It’s important to empower your team”

isLucid is a super exciting product together with the team we are building now. isLucid enables people within conference calls to capture verbally arranged details with the help of transcription and instantly create action items — tasks, meeting minutes items, etc. Within already existing project management tools. We bring transparency, enable people to be more effective within […]

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isLucid is a super exciting product together with the team we are building now. isLucid enables people within conference calls to capture verbally arranged details with the help of transcription and instantly create action items — tasks, meeting minutes items, etc. Within already existing project management tools. We bring transparency, enable people to be more effective within their communication, and most important — let people focus on the conversation instead of taking tasks (and losing focus from active listening, discussion and fully understanding another party).

To do that we connect the best Machine Learning practices with the modern interface. Now we operate on Microsoft Teams environment and have plans to introduce our product to more widely accepted video conferencing tools. All activities and functionalities are targeted to help end-users have better clarity on commitments made during the conference call and the potential impact of those.


The telephone totally revolutionized the way we could communicate with people all over the world. But then came email and took it to the next level. And then came text messaging. And then came video calls. And so on…What’s next? What’s just around the corner?

In this interview series, called ‘The Future Of Communication Technology’ we are interviewing leaders of tech or telecom companies who are helping to develop emerging communication technologies and the next generation of how we communicate and connect with each other.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vytenis Pakėnas.

Vytenis Pakėnas, during his 15 years in the IT industry, was helping companies from Start-Ups to Enterprises in Europe to benefit from various processes of digitalization and transformation. With his latest venture, Vytenis focuses on communication, speech, and AI technologies to improve productivity within remote teams and help manage expectations among the stakeholders. Vytenis is always willing to share his knowledge on IT best practices, which can be introduced to the more “standard” businesses and innovation brought by advancing tech.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

For as long as I remember, I loved to create stuff — Lego buildings, paper planes with metal engines that could never lift off no matter the number of batteries I was adding (laughing), or the first small computer programs on Turbo Pascal. It was easy for me to decide to stay in the IT industry. Especially due to my family’s support and the opportunity to take risks, explore and find myself.

Professional career started in the PM role, and quickly I grew to a PO position where I was responsible for multiple product development. Bridging IT and non-IT people was always my thing. Soon with my colleague from NGO, we started a new company that grew to the biggest marketplace of handmade items in Lithuania. With a terrible business model. A really terrible one. ☺

These lessons quickly enabled us to create an IT company providing web development services. We helped shape ideas and build digital products for offline businesses, bringing new product development for various clients, including corporates like Tele2, Bonnier Publications Group, and more. Due to our small and ambitious team, a need to work remotely, adapt, take the best practices, improve, sell and repeat the process was always here. We had multiple iterations of Digital Transformation inside. We helped a lot of businesses to get change and finally our company was acquired.

After some reflection, I understood what I want to do — to bring clear, easy to understand — lucid communication to remote teams. That’s how my new venture — Lucid Agreements and its first product isLucid was born. With COVID-19, 90% of our communication became fully digital. This transformation brought us the opportunity to help capture every detail we share for the task we create. Many standard businesses are now playing and adopting Agile principles and Tools, mainly used in IT before. IsLucid on MS Teams captures what was said (transcribes), helps identify action items, and creates those as tasks in existing PM tools. Also generates meeting minutes.

Now 99% of my time goes to listen to the client’s needs actively and shaping the product, so in this time of “forced digital transformation” businesses and people would benefit the most. At the same moment transforming our own company too.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

There were so many things that happened that it is super hard to choose one. But let’s get back in time to 2006. I was raised in a middle-class family in Central Europe, Lithuania. Was on my last year in high school before going to university and plaid already for a few years text-based online strategy game NukeZone. These days gaming was not cool and was considered a waste of time. Yet I enjoyed it a lot.

A clan member shared a job ad — the biggest telco provider in Lithuania was looking for a news administrator. It was a summertime position I applied for and was invited for an interview. Not sure if any part of my experience playing online strategy and doing personal small web projects appeared relevant to them, or if they had no other candidates. But I got the job. So that’s me — sleeping in the house my family was building back then to secure it from potential theft, then walking at 5–6 AM to home to get in front of my computer and making decisions about what site visitors will read (mostly accepting all, lol).

Another passion I had was electronic music. One of the icons back in the days was doing a gig in Lithuania. And brave underqualified me asked my supervisors if I can present myself to gig organizers as a news reporter. It took some time and that’s me — a 19 years old boy who was doing simple HTML and enjoyed online games sitting in front of the superstar DJ — DJ Tiesto. I will not pretend I was the smartest reporter in the audience. I wasn’t even a real reporter. But then I understood one thing which followed me throughout my professional career.

I must take chances and only by doing this, I can advance my career at a fast pace. These changes will require time, energy, effort, sacrifices of other things. And will reward from time to time greatly. Only if the chance is taken. And till this day I occasionally find time to listen to the good old Trance. ☺

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The graveyards are full of people the world could not do without”. This quote is like an onion with lots of layers. It sends a message about personal health, about priorities in personal life. It also indicates the need for processes and joint motivators (values, mission, purpose) to keep people moving. It shows that we need to react quickly as we never know when the end will come. Finally, it is a reminder to seek meaning in everything you do. Because it can be the last thing you did…

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Recognizing people is important and a thing I could do more. Without recognition, they cannot know what a big part of your life they do. I want to recognize all the support provided to me by my family. I know seeing a husband, a father not enough at home is hard. And this personal time debt I have to the family could kill all the activities I am doing. Yet I am really thankful for the space provided by my wife and my son who accept that father loves “doing programmatic robots”.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Sharing knowledge and empowering others is the biggest contribution I can think of doing myself these days. To do that, I participate in the Woman Go Tech project which encourages women to explore opportunities within the Tech community. Within the mentorship program, it brings me a chance to dedicate some of the time to help others jumping into digital life.

I also like helping people develop themselves in early career life. People development is not a widely recognized activity, especially in the business world, yet it is super rewarding. Dedicating time, bringing opportunities, encouraging people to take on those, and later on, following up on their careers — it really inspires me. And, hopefully, this little contribution makes the world a better place.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about the cutting edge communication tech that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

isLucid is a super exciting product together with the team we are building now. isLucid enables people within conference calls to capture verbally arranged details with the help of transcription and instantly create action items — tasks, meeting minutes items, etc. Within already existing project management tools. We bring transparency, enable people to be more effective within their communication, and most important — let people focus on the conversation instead of taking tasks (and losing focus from active listening, discussion and fully understanding another party).

To do that we connect the best Machine Learning practices with the modern interface. Now we operate on Microsoft Teams environment and have plans to introduce our product to more widely accepted video conferencing tools. All activities and functionalities are targeted to help end-users have better clarity on commitments made during the conference call and the potential impact of those.

How do you think this might change the world?

It is already changing. From our users, we hear that isLucid is already changing some of the habits for remote teams. Now, when 90% of the communication happens over digital channels, we bring peace of mind for capturing notes. Users are delighted and less stressed during the conversation if they forgot to note something and after the conversation, if a task was successfully delegated.

Our long-term vision wraps around the idea that people with the assistance of AI will be capable of making evidence-based decisions on the go. We believe that there is not always enough time to analyze all the environment and make smart decisions as long as we don’t get needed assistance. AI brings this capacity to analyze information, context and helps to make better decisions and do follow-ups on those.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

With the increased usage of videoconferencing and no physical presence, identity theft will be a big thing. In not regulated environments (think of joining a conversation with a random email) deepfakes create a threat of almost any kind of misuse of data, decisions made and more dangerous activities involved. Can you imagine somebody pretending to be you in a call with your client? Using your voice, your phrase is rendered to tell that your company has changed its bank account and from today invoice should be paid to an account, operated by hackers? I not only can but already know how it could be done.

Another sensitive topic is the ethics of AI. When you think about it — it’s just a set of rules which were learned based on the user’s input. It involves all the pre-justice, all stereotypes we have. Also, it affects the decisions we are making. There is always a threat that we will have a huge gap in terms of gender, social background, bias in the company, and so on. To close this gap it will be even harder as AI might not get any kind of feedback about the experiments, about the impact of those. And how could it, if even ourselves we do not reflect much? These are hard questions on which industry should focus now (and some of the companies are focusing). Without answers to the questions, we will have improved life due to better statistics. Not the groundbreaking environment change for the good. ☺

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

Before doing DoneDeal Today (an early version of isLucid) I owned a development house that was acquired. Before, during, and after the acquisition with my co-founder of that company we were discussing what could have led to the better outcome. And we identified the main problem — following up on verbally made agreements and all the details that were decided. The tipping point was my understanding that there is a technology for voice to text which I use daily. Just I never used it in my business environment as it was too hard to use. Once I understood technology is here, it took many months to “make friends with it” so it could solve this simple pain point I had — capturing important details and ensuring that those are not lost. This was the AHA! Moment.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Sales and communication. To spread our technology, we need to communicate with our potential users — to explain why they need our technology, how life will be easier with our technology and what are the benefits. To do that, we communicate via social media channels, via mail, and also articles help us to spread the message to an even wider audience. In addition, our sales team is doing a wonderful job which yet we need to scale.

Will to automate. There are many “old school” businesses that think that they don’t need any advanced technologies. They just like things the way they are. We need to help these businesses understand the benefits and opportunities brought with COVID-19 and educate them. We are already doing some of these activities and plans to expand on those.

The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course, is how we work and how we communicate in our work. How do you think your innovation might be able to address the new needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic?

With COVID-19, we face a real lockdown. It means that we are forced to have full digital communication. With this online communication, there comes a lot of challenges. For example, if you are using online communication tools like MS Teams and you’re having an online team meeting, it is hard to concentrate on the topic being discussed because you also have to take notes. Manual note-taking, clarifications on tasks, spending time on creating warp-up emails could be a real headache. With isLucid, you forget about that — you can only focus on what matters the most — communication.

Another change coming into play is us understanding that we don’t need as much traveling as we needed before. A business meeting? A project kick-off? Challenges in the middle of it? All now is handled online. With tools enabling to work effectively, with methodologies transformed and applied to the current environment (who remembers bringing an assistant to the meeting to take notes?), with AI supporting decision-making process isLucid helps to be more effective and therefore have less stress within the online-first environment.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  • Investors love good news, and they can handle bad news, but they will not tolerate surprises. It’s critical to communicate early and with transparency on what is expected, especially if it is bad news.
  • Finding qualified and professional people is hard. If you’ve ever tried hiring new employees, then you probably know how hard it is to find high-quality candidates. If you want to hire the people you need who will do the quality of work you desire, you may need to change how you approach the recruiting process.
  • Research is cheap and it is a great way to start. You’re not going to succeed at business without doing market research. How else are you going to find out if there will be any kind of demand for your idea, who will want to buy it, the size of the market not to mention how you’re positioned relative to competitors?
  • It’s not only about the money. If you’re starting your new project just for money, most likely that it will fail or you’ll be unmotivated for the rest of the time. Money is great and it comes as an additional resource but you should also focus on other things — the value you bring to the stakeholders: final customers, your team, and all the people you can serve.
  • It’s important to empower your team. Many organizations have been trying to shift from a model of authoritarian leadership to a model of worker empowerment. Empowerment is an active process. It involves coaching or teaching team members to self-serve, to become adaptive, to make decisions, and to use less of their managers’ time on things that really don’t require their managers’ attention.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Read a sci-fi book and brainstorm how it could become reality. Really, there are so many inspiring ideas already shared by the novelists. If we could just join our efforts, the great ideas put on the paper would come to reality faster. And except for travel faster than light, I cannot think of many things we, as a society, are not capable of creating now.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can find us (isLucid) on social media (FB, LinkedIn, Twitter) to follow what we have done, get some tips and hear new things about project management, work efficiency, and communication. Also, they can subscribe to our website www.islucid.com to stay in touch and get valuable information. Last but not least check our applications in Microsoft Appsource.

To reach me out personally just ping me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.


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