Steve Vranakis: Google’s Greek Executive

Steve VranakisSteve Vranakis was born in Canada but he is originally from Chania, Crete. He is the executive creative director at Google Creative Lab in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He currently lives in the U.K. but spends most of his time abroad, traveling and working around the world.

His parents emigrated from Crete to Canada with no money or proper education in order to find a job and create a better future for them and their family. They were working a lot to support their family, so Vranakis was inspired by them to work hard and succeed.

After having worked in various companies, he started working as an executive creative director at Google three years ago.

“I’m working at least 12 hours per day. I’m always on the move. Most of my time I’m in a plane traveling or working. My parents did the same when I was a child and I soon realized that if you want to succeed, you need to work hard,” Vranakis said.

Vranakis also collaborates with organizations such as Reload Greece or Greeks in the U.K., which promote Greek entrepreneurship and start-up companies abroad and support them in order to succeed. As he believes, Greece can be very successful in the technological sector but needs proper guidance and support.

“It’s very difficult to start a company in Greece and to find sufficient funding. If you live in Silicon Valley in the U.S., you can launch plenty of unsuccessful business ideas, fail all of them and still get a job in a big company. In Greece, you may go to jail for one bad idea and your future will be destroyed forever — that’s the problem,” he added.

Despite the fact that he wasn’t born or raised in Greece and that he currently he lives abroad, Vranakis is still connected with his Greek side. He speaks fondly of  his village in Crete — Sfakia — and he feels like a Greek because of his father. As Vranakis recalled, his father once told him, “Yes, you are Greek, but from a very special region — Crete. People in Crete respect each other and also respect the island that they live in. You won’t find this characteristic in many regions so you need to appreciate it and never forget from where you came from.”