Yiannis Politis: 'In Limassol, we are not really that open to new ideas...'

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Yiannis is the proof that you do not need to spend your half your life to figure out where you are going. At just 24, he is a proof that Limassol is a place for young people to make their way into the world. After studying law, one would expect that he would go for a job that is generally considered a reasonable choice for making a living. But, turning his back to this future, he proved that the key to his success (and happiness, since these two can only be a combo, apparently), was lying somewhere no one would have thought it would.

A 23 he saw his first book published, becoming a best seller and quotes of his posted in massive social media accounts (to exaggerate, one could call him Limassol's Coelho). He is clear about it, though: he is no writer! He hasn’t even read an entire book before, no matter how many times he tried. After all, all of his essays at school were the result of memorizing texts written by others.

Writing came in his life along with social media, when he was studying in Essex, UK. His book “Collector of moments” was first written on his mobile phone and his first readers were his Facebook friends and Instagram followers. He was a fan of short texts posted online (the well-known Greek Quotes) and so he started writing in this style, posting his own thoughts. “These thoughts became a book, mostly because people were asking for it”, Yiannis Politis explains, even though he never (not even now) wanted to be named a writer.

A new-generation writer, but not exactly...

How did you feel when you first saw how popular were these posts on social media?
It sure is nice to know that people share your point of view. It felt like I was not alone. I did not really need to feel accepted, but it is nice to know that you are. This encouraged me to keep writing.

So, was the entire book written on Facebook posts?
No. At some point there were people that were bothered by my posts, people who thought that I should have some qualifications to be able to write – this is a common thing both in Greece and Cyprus, to have people who need to put a label on you. To avoid this, I decided to write in my own blog so that the entire post would not appear on Facebook, but people could read it in the blog. My first blog post had 12.000 views, while my profile only had 1.500 friends. Then I realized that, even if someone doesn’t like what you do, they are still going to read it.

Yianni's book has become a favorite for thousands, among which well-known people from the Greek and Cypriot show business.

Do you think that anyone could write what you do?
Yes, I think that anyone can write. Of course, I haven’t quite figured out what makes my writing so popular. Maybe it is the fact that I write until my pen stops and I am done. I only edit my text for language mistakes and then I leave it as it is. I won’t fix anything or review my text. I believe that it should go out as it first came to me. I write in a simple manner, without much detail, without comas, but with plenty of full stops. Maybe this is what makes people feel so familiar to my content. After all, my largest piece is up to 2 pages.

When I realized that the blog did not help people to access my posts, I started writing on Instagram. It was summer and a popular account on Instagram – Greek Quotes – posted 4 of my quotes. As soon as this happened I had a notification on my account and then I had 1.000 new followers.

I think we do not appreciate the place we live in, which is a little bit of paradise. I think that only after you have appreciated something, you can experience it to the fullest. 

How did Greek Quotes find your posts?
I was using their hashtags all the time. I did have basic Instagram knowledge and I used it.

Where do your followers come from?
They are both from Greece and Cyprus, but also from every place where Greek speakers live. Of course, most of them are from Limassol, where all of my family and friends are. Limassol has been a major push, for sure.

"Limassol is a little paradise"

Yiannis grew up in Limassol and, one way or another, this city has always been a source of inspiration to him. He was found in the middle of the internet break through, so he spent his childhood exploring the hoods on his bike with friends, but as a teenager he had the good fortune to become a social media native. Still, he considers Limassol, his place, one of his greatest privileges.

Why do you feel so bonded with Limassol?
We live in a tiny diamond, which is constantly growing and evolving. I was always appreciative of this, ever since my dad would take me for a walk at the seaside park or the municipal garden and the old town. This would always fill me with joy and anticipation.

What do you remember as a teenager in Limassol?
After we got a bit older, our hung outs were mainly the cafes at Makarios Avenue or the shops at Enaerios area and the clubs at the seaside. Many of these are not there now. Entertainment options in Limassol have changed for the best, in my opinion. The venues one finds today are similar to the previous one, but much upgraded.

Do you miss something from back then in Limassol?
Maybe the only thing missing is the fact that the people in each venue were of similar age groups. This is not the deal right now: almost every place has people of any age. Back then, you wouldn’t see 18-year-olds and 45-year-olds in the same place. It doesn’t bother me, but I remember liking this when I was younger, knowing that I would find people that made me feel familiar when going out.

People from abroad really appreciate the old town. It is something they haven’t seen anywhere else and they do not have them in their homeland.

After a certain age I was working my summers as a PR at clubs like Breeze and Dolce, since I am really outgoing. Thus, nightlife has been part of me every day experiences.

Is Limassol lacking something in comparison to Ayia Napa, for example, which is known for its entertainment?
I don’t think so. Every place has a reason for one to choose it. Limassol’s entertainment is more stylish, the options offered are more diverse and nightlife has a better structure. The people choosing Ayia Napa to have fun are completely different than the ones choosing Limassol. If I had to compare, I would say that Limassol’s nightlife image is closer to Nicosia’s, rather than Ayia Napa’s.

Is flirting a part of Limassol’s entertainment?
This is always a thing in Limassol. I think that flirting has something to do with the city’s vibe in general. People grow up to be more outgoing in Limassol, humor is present in their daily routine and they are friendlier in their contact. 

The use of the Municipal Market could bring the old town back to life. We could have a traditional Cypriot market all year round in there, an excuse for people to visit and shop.

Is there something that changed within the past 10 years that you feel happy about?
Many options for doing things in Limassol are now available. The construction of the Marina and the reconstruction of the Old Port, all of these new buildings brought a new life to the seaside area and the old town. This make me happy, because this area was gradually fading away. Old Limassol, with the restored buildings, should remain like this and get better exposure.

Is there something you don’t like in the change you see?
I think that new developments should be controlled somehow, so that the old town remains intact. There should be a proper structure in the city, with a certain character in each area. I want people who come to Limassol to be able to see both the new and the old version of the city, the narrow alleys at the historical center, and the new buildings a bit far from that.

In fact, I had a guest recently from the USA and I noticed that people from abroad really appreciate the old town. It is something they haven’t seen anywhere else, they do not have them in their homeland and they are really impressed with it.

What would you like to see different in the city?
I think that the area from Saripolou Square to Aneksartisias street is not as vibrant as it deserves to be. It is a beautiful area, closely connected with the old town, but since other areas have become the latest commercial areas is the city, this one is a bit left behind. I think that with some changes, such as the use of the Municipal Market, it could come back to life. If we brought all the local producers in it, we could have a traditional Cypriot market all year round in there. Even if it wasn’t a daily thing, this market would be an excuse for people to get in touch with the city center, again.  

What do you like in this area?
This place had both a hint of the present and the past, too, along with the access to the seaside. I like to walk there. I don’t agree with the view that you need to park your car right outside your destination. If you live abroad for a while, you change your habits. I did catch myself looking for the closest possible parking place, but I don’t mind parking farther and walk towards the old town.

Do you know anything about the history of this place that you love to explore?
I don’t know much about history in general. I appreciate what I experience in the present mostly.

Wouldn’t you like to know more about the past of the spots where you have coffee or drinks now?
Well, in that case, yes, I would be intrigued. I do see several black and white photos online, from Limassol’s past, with a completely different image at the seaside, and I think to myself that it was always nice. A black and white photo of my city always catches my eye, but I would make the effort to investigate and research about the past.

We are rather narrow-minded when new ideas come along. If there is an established belief, people in Limassol would not easily move away from it.

Which other places (apart from the old town that you already mentioned) should someone visit in Limassol?
Ancient monuments at Kourion and Amathus are a must. The tourist area in Yermasoyia should also be a destination, for people to feel that kind of vibe, too. Of course, Limassol’s village are also a great destination. We were in Lofou recently, where the president of the community is a rather young man. There are a lot in stake in this, since any miss may shake people’s trust in young people in general. 

Do you find Limassol’s promotion adequate?
Limassol is being adequately promoted, but I think that the same places are mainly exposed in pictures, over and over again. There are small alleys with typical, old houses, which should also be showcased. Even a house that could be rather neglected, might project a beautiful image with its blooming pots in the front. These images are regularly found among my personal posts on social media.

There are also beautiful parks is various areas, but they are not particularly known. I found parks like these at Agios Athanasios, Ypsonas and Polemidia. The walkways leading to the seaside are also amazing. Maybe, the seaside is what concern’s tourists the most, but locals sure needs other things, too, which may be yet to be discovered and appreciated.

We don’t appreciate what we have?
I think we do not appreciate the place we live in, which is a little bit of paradise. I think that only after you have appreciated something, you can experience it to the fullest. The seaside is beautiful, but so is the rest of Limassol, as well as the villages a bit outside of Limassol, or the ones on Troodos mountains.

Which Limassol villages are your top choices?
I personally love Lofou a lot, but I also like Alassa, Kyperounda and Omodos. I love the paved alleys and the green colors, which I really miss in the city. It is expected, though, for Limassol to have fewer green areas, with all the urban development.

Would you like more green areas in the city?
Ye I would. Since there are some green areas already, like the seaside park, I think that this view should also be present in other areas in the city, especially in the main roads.

Is the sea the city’s greatest advantage?
Sure it is. This is the place to calm, think, relax with the sound of the waves. The seaside park, the Old Port are a favorite destination for these moments. The endless blue give you a sense of freedom, you can think without any distractions when you look at it.

Do you think that there is an area that is now marginalized, while it shouldn’t?
Yes, the shipyard could become something beautiful, if someone paid attention to it. This area has been so forgotten, that it doesn’t even look like Limassol anymore. There could be a shopping mall there, for example, or it could be turned into a business hub for companies in Limassol.

I think that it is a good thing for someone to get experience from abroad, but then they should return home to give back with all the knowledge and achievements they have. 

Are the people in Limassol open to new things?
People in Limassol get very passionate about anything they do or believe. At same time we are rather narrow-minded when new ideas come along. If there is an established belief, people in Limassol would not easily move away from it. I see that in every age a lot. This is kind of a contradiction to the fact that we are very sociable and outgoing. But I feel like we should also be more open in general. In a city that changes so rapidly, people will have to change, too.

What bothers you in Limassol’s people?
I don’t like that they don’t look for different things in their routine. For example, there are certain places where most people will go out to, but no one looks for something new to explore, while the city has so many different options. You need to try things, even if you do not choose them in the end.

Is this the reason most people won’t explore the countryside either?
Of course. But if someone gets into it once, will immediately spot the advantages. Apart from leaving your routine behind, at the countryside you also find fresh air, natural beauties and genuine, Cypriot hospitality by kind, smiling people. After all, the countryside is barely 20 – 30 minutes from the city.

Do you think that Limassol can help with that?
Sure it can. I find All About Limassol to be the most complete guide if you wish to discover Limassol. I would like to see an All About Limassol for all of the cities in Cyprus. It covers everything one needs to know about the city and this makes it really special, so I wish it keeps growing, after creating such a great starting point. I think that All About Limassol should have had been around long time ago, and this is why its role is much appreciated now.

From a social media persona, a young entrepreneur in Limassol…

Can Limassol provide opportunities to young people?
In general, I think that Limassol does provide opportunities for young people to do a lot. Personally, after my studies in the UK, I chose to go to the USA, where I worked in event productions. This had nothing to do with my academic orientation, but it was something I enjoyed a lot, I was sociable and I had some experience in it. Also, even though I am not particularly organized as a person, I like to have things organized at work. I did an internship for 6 months and then I had to leave, because I did not manage to get a visa.

Would you like to live abroad?
I think that it is a good thing for someone to get experience from abroad, but then they should return home to give back with all the knowledge and achievements they have. All these experiences and knowledge can help for the development in a sector in our place. 

Didn’t you want to do something with the law?
No, I knew that from early on, so I didn’t even sit on my exams for practicing the law. When I was doing my internship I started organizing a group for the Limassol carnival, which turned out to be one of the largest groups in 2016. I enjoyed the process and I was glad to be part of something so big and impressive for Limassol, using all of the things I had learned until then. Later on I collaborated with Heart Cyprus as a Marketing Manager and since last April I have my own Marketing Agency.

If you have the confidence and you are clear towards the others and you know exactly who you are and what you do, no one will underestimate you.

Had you considered the marketing sector before?
No, never. During the third or second year of my studies I started thinking what I want to do with my life. There is a gap in career counseling in the school system. We end up choosing studies that we have no idea what will they turn us into and as a result we lose 2 – 3 years to discover what we really like.

Young people need more help to choose their career?
Yes, they do. School should incorporate weekly classes, even if it would be an extra hour in the schedule, to have a more meaningful approach to the nature of each profession and choose more wisely.

Can’t a young person help themselves without waiting for the educational system to change?
Anyone can do all kinds of things now. Social media are part of our life and through them, young people can do a lot. They can also find information and promote their work, doing something they love. The most important part is that they are willing to take risks, to jump into something they enjoy, even if it wasn’t the subject of their degree, for example. We don’t always have to follow the usual path. 

Risk is something missing from the Cypriot mentality. A family needs to encourage that and allow a young person to try things, until you decide. My parents were worried, yes, but allowed me to go for it. After all, when you have a degree, there is always a backup. But there are so many things out there!

What would you advise a kid graduating from school now?
I would say that someone needs to keep searching and trying things. There are many opportunities for someone that keeps searching. It may not be obvious from the very beginning, but they can always get a job to be independent and keep looking. Especially this year, Limassol had experienced so much growth that I see new vacancies opening daily.

Are there obstacles for a young person in a new beginning?
Sure it’s not the easiest thing. If you have trouble or even if you fail, doesn’t mean that you have to give up. Life is not all about roses.

Is age a problem, because someone might not take you seriously?
If you have the confidence and you are clear towards the others and you know exactly who you are and what you do, no one will underestimate you. You have the power to prove wrong those you don’t take you seriously because of your age.

Limassol is an advantage itself. Through the city’s images, you promote the location and its environment and that is very helpful.

Did Limassol help you in this effort of yours?
Sure it did. Maybe things would be better in Nicosia, since most companies are based there, but Limassol is already becoming a business and commercial hub. Thus, Limassol is an ideal location especially for young people to work and live. Limassol can give you the green light to make your way into the world.

Did you have anyone supporting you when you started?
Usually, young people in Cyprus have a family’s support, but I did not. My family could not help me financially. So, I felt like I had to prove to myself that I can make it.

Does Limassol inspire you?
Yes, a lot of my ideas come from what I experience in Limassol. I always want to look on the bright side of life, even if everyone has their times of trouble at some point. I think that we can learn something every time. For example, my parents divorced when I was very little, but this made me more mature. Other than that, I did not have any problems in my life. I did not allow hardships to be an issue.

If I don’t feel ready to publish something, if I am not sure that I have something better than the first one on my hands, I won’t go for it. It would sell either way, but it wouldn’t feel right to me. 

Is the CUT helping the city’s youth?
Sure it does! I did not go to the CUT, but friends of mine did, especially in hospitality studies, and I know that as soon as they graduated they were able to get a job. This means that the education provided has a good level and they can enter the work force immediately.

What are your goals for the future?
I want to push away the label of the writer, because I am not one. I don’t want to create a brand name around myself either. My goal is to make my company, Keyholders, a brand name.

So there won’t be another book?
There may be, or there may be not. I do write still and I will always do this. Some of these are posted online, others are kept for myself. And for a book that some will want to read so bad that they will be willing to buy it. If I don’t feel ready to publish something, if I am not sure that I have something better than the first one on my hands, I won’t go for it. It would sell either way, but it wouldn’t feel right to me. 

The old town is a favorite destination for young Yiannis, who sees in the picturesque alleys, a beauty that needs to be preserved, while Limassol keeps growing.

But now, you are on your first attempts in marketing.
Yes, basically Keyholders is an advertising agency emphasizing in social media, which is something I know very well. We undertake the promotion of companies through social media accounts, with daily posts, with attractive content and messages, choosing the right image and time to present something, as well as the right audience for paid ads. We create imaged, through photos and video, that have something more to say.

Promoting a company means that you promote Limassol, too?
Yes. After all, the package we offer includes promotion through large accounts I manage on Instagram (such as Inner Cyprus), as well as accounts we collaborate with (such as Visit Limassol or Cyprus Tourism Official), which generally promote images of Limassol or Cyprus. Thus, a company is related to the location, which is usually Limassol.

How can images from Limassol help the company’s promotion?
Limassol is an advantage itself. Through the city’s images, you promote the location and its environment and that is very helpful.

I find All About Limassol to be the most complete guide if you wish to discover Limassol. I would like to see an All About Limassol for all of the cities in Cyprus. 

Is it an advantage to have personal experience with social media?
Yes. Basically, to be able to work in this field, you need to prove that you can do the job, by presenting the work you have done for some companies and, if you are good, then your name will go around. Apart from that, the fact that some people know me through social media, is a proof that I can do for a company, what I did for me. Your work and content is what will keep you in the foreground.

You are spontaneous in your personal social media. Do you do the same for the companies, too?
Yes, in a way I do. When I write for a client, what I think makes me smile. You always follow some guidelines, but I convince my clients to go with a more spontaneous style, to present a more familiar image, in order to approach people.

Do you feel famous?
Not really. People may have recognized me in the street, sure, but it is not so common. The book was read by some well-known people from the Greek and Cypriot show business, like Maria Bekatorou, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Sophie Paschali, Nicolas Ioannides, Maria Kortzia and other. But if you are grounded, you don’t let this affect you.

Is your success connected with how well-known you are?
Yes, it is, bit I don’t count my success like that. Being known makes me realize that I did something people like. It is something that come natural through my presence in social media as an influencer.

If you want to see what Yiannis is up to, you can check him out on Facebook as Yiannis Politis and on Instagram as @yiannispolitis. 

Yiannis doesn’t lose his mile. Hardships are part of the adventure called life and he prefers to go through everything with an optimistic attitude. After all, he sees opportunities to learn, to source information, experience and inspiration everywhere around him. If he keeps writing, while turning towards other entrepreneurial plans, it’s because of his creative needs, it’s a way and a reason for the mind to always remain in orbit.

After all, in a city in which he recognizes a potential of growth and progress, those who keep moving are the ones that will follow its upward route. As for the danger of “derailment”, it might be the only thing that doesn’t worry him, as long as his feet step steadily on the ground, and his mind clears up, every time he turns his eyes to rest on Limassol’s blue horizon.

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