Joanna Grzelak-Piaskowska
Co-Founder and COO of BookLikes

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: History, society, new media and technologies.

Even if you fail, so what?

I’ve always found the internet to be an interesting social phenomenon and wanted to see if I could create something that would really appeal to people who use it. My husband, Dawid, and I are both book lovers, and we weren’t able to find a nice solution to share book recensions online. In 2011, we decided to build the platform we both wanted to use. We called it the “Facebook for Book Readers.” Since then, BookLikes has changed quite a bit (it is now a platform for book bloggers). Our platform is highly influential in the book blogging community. The change in our company was accompanied by our more global approach and US launch.

I think the most important aspect of building your own company is to stay persistent in the face of adversity, which will definitely be present. Often it’s in the form of a momentary lack of liquidity. Always be prepared for that, and don’t be afraid of failing. Even if you fail, so what? In every failure there is a lesson: you must get up and start something new again.

Joanna Grzelak-Piaskowska, 34, is a graduate of Polish philology and law. She holds a PhD in Linguistics and is a professor of Communication and Linguistics at the University of Poznan, Poland. She co-founded the largest Polish service for promotions and sales,, and the global award-winning service for book readers, BookLikes. After selling to Bauer Media Group in 2015 and BookLikes in 2016, Joanna with her husband are already working on something new.

This article was published in ‘the Hundert Vol. 8 – Female Startup Founders Europe’, May 2016.