SW: Can you please tell us what exactly are you doing for a living?
SK: For the last few years, I have been developing and selling a digital product with my team, WordPress themes, and last year we started developing a global clothing brand.
SW: How do you manage to run your own business? Who is your support?
SK: My support is my team and people around me who share my vision.
SW: What advice would you give to someone who has an idea for starting a business?
SK: People shouldn’t keep their ideas to themselves, they shouldn’t hide it from the others with a fear that someone will copy their idea. Ideas can not be copied that easily because there are a lot of things that stand behind an idea. If they share their ideas with the others – friends, mentors, the idea can only become better if it’s worth developing. If it isn’t worth developing, talking to someone about the idea will save you precious time in developing, and later failing.
SW: How important is teamwork for a business success?
SK: Teamwork is one of the most important factors in running a successful business. The team is the force that can push the idea until the end, and also to shut it down even though the idea could have been developed into something much bigger. It is important to have clear goals, clear positions and clear tasks for every team member to be able to reach goals.
SW: What was your biggest challenge so far?
SK: The biggest challenge so far was building a team that I can trust. Everything else is written somewhere and can be learned from somebody else’s experience, positive and negative. In case that it isn’t written, you can test it really quickly. But, building a team takes years.
SW: How do you see yourself a few years from now?
SK: I see myself at the same place, with the same people, but with a lot of new knowledge which I will acquire when I start some new ideas from my list.
SW: What would you recommend to participants of Startup Weekend in Novi Sad?
SK: I recommend to all the participants to explore the mentors who will work with them. Find out who they are, what are their best skills, with what they can help you. Prepare questions for each of them and don’t afraid to ask those questions when you meet your mentors.
SW: Thank you very much Siniša for your time.
Branislava is CEO and co/founder of a well-known company Infostud. She became an entrepreneur when she was only 20 years old. By education, she is a Communicology specialist. She won numerous awards for her work and some of the most important are: “Žena zmaj” award for female entrepreneurship, best 30 entrepreneurs under 30 in Serbia, her name appeared in a book “50 successful business women in Serbia” in 2009, “Elle Style Award” in 2012, and others.
SW: Dear Branislava, for a start, please tell us something about you and your job.
BGS: My job is to make sure that Infostud group is growing and developing – inside, by supporting our existing businesses, and out – by creating opportunities to expand on some other areas. While doing that, my focus is on the team. I want to make sure that we have a happy, strong and motivated team who provides excellent results and has financial stability. To be able to achieve all of this and to be content, my primary job is to balance between my business ambitions, my personal development, and my family.
SW: You became an entrepreneur when you were only 20 years old. Can you describe your beginnings?
BGS: The beginning was quite a spontaneous. I never thought that it was something special. We just started to work, and we have devoted ourselves to the idea. It all came naturally. I was aware that I am just a kid, without any relevant experience, which was something that is quite visible when you are 20, and you want to sell something to the Dean of the Faculty. But, our youth didn’t stop us from moving forward and getting experience on the go. First moment when I realized that we are building a company was the moment when we first hired someone and moved to the real office and started introducing some organization in our work.
SW: Is it difficult to be a female entrepreneur in Serbia?
BGS: I believe that it is the same as being a male entrepreneur in Serbia. In my opinion, the difference can be significant only when a female entrepreneur wants to start a family. She needs to take some time off for her maternity leave and later she needs to take care of her children (which is a problem only if she don’t have proper support from her partner). This is why I believe that it is crucial to promote the idea of shared family care and even shared maternity leave (this is a general practice in Scandinavia, so why we wouldn’t try it, too).
SW: What is your advice to all women who want to be successful in business? How should they fight for their place in the business world?
BGS: First, they need to decide that they want to be successful in the business world, and then they should devote themselves to that idea. I think that there is no need to analyze whether your gender is advantage or disadvantage, but to focus on things that matter and do a good job. Everything else that I would say are classical career development advice.
SW: You won many awards for your work. How all of these awards affected your career?
BGS: These are all lovely awards and a great addition to good results that makes me feel good and that I am proud of Infostud and our team. Awards help because they give you a confirmation that things you do make sense and they also help you to become recognized. Awards can be helpful in early stages of career and business.
SW: What do you think about an event such as Startup Weekend?
BGS: I am very glad that such events exist because they encourage building a new entrepreneurial mentality in Serbia. Such events also help people believe that it is possible to start your own business. Without such a lean approach to testing a business model, it is not possible to rebuild our economy. Small and medium companies are quite significant to our economy renewal, and ICT is one of the beacons in this field.
SW: What is your advice to all young people who wants to start their business? What is a key to success, in your opinion?
BGS: Different things are key factors in various stages of business development. In the beginning, founders are the key. Their ability to launch the idea to the market and to work on it while there are no financial results. After that stage, the key is an ability to build a strong and successful team that you can rely on. As your business grows the key is to create a healthy organizational structure (opposed to a startup where you don’t need a structure to be successful). Finally, the key is to recognize the moment you’re in, to be flexible and to prepare for the next stage of development which may require the different approach to the business.
Goran Stojanović is an associate professor at the Faculty of Technical Sciences (FTS), University of Novi Sad (UNS). He received a BSc degree from the FTS-UNS in 1996, an MSc degree from the FTS-UNS in 2003, and a PhD degree from the FTS-UNS in 2005, all in electrical engineering. He is an author or co-author of 130 scientific papers, including 35 articles in leading international peer-reviewed journals (with impact factors). He is an author of two books: ”Materials in Electrical Engineering”, and “Nanoelectronics and application of nanomaterials”. He was a member of Jury at the Competition for the Best Technological Innovation. He also has experience in coordination of the whole consortium or team from the FTN-UNS in several international projects. Goran Stojanović excels in teaching activities, where he received the highest scores for his work (he got 9.8 grade on students pool for the best teacher). Because of that, on the FTN day in 2008 (18th May) he won the award for best professor assessed by students.
SW: What is your job and what do you do? Tell us briefly about yourself and your career.
GS: I graduated from the Faculty of Technical Sciences, at Department of Electrical Engineering and all my life I wanted to work as a teacher. That wish becomes truth, and I started my professional career at the Department of Electronics on FTN, first as a scholar of the Ministry of Science and Technological Development and then I went through all academic levels until I became a professor on October 21st, 2015. At the Department of Electronics, I teach several courses such as Introduction to Electronics, Medical Electronics, Electrical Materials, Nanotechnology, Organic Electronic. In the field of science, my field of research are sensors realized on a flexible basis (such as foil). And in the third branch of my interests are writing, implementation and management of international projects. In this segment I had a lot of success in FP7, and we continue in the H2020.
SW: You graduated in 1996, 2005 you become a docent and 2010 you became an Associate Professor in the scientific field of electronics. How difficult was that path for you?
GS: When someone loves his job, nothing is too difficult. Sometimes it is hard, it requires a lot of sacrifices, but it isn’t that difficult when a person has a vision and giving whole self in what he does and what he believes in.
SW: In 2007, you won the award “Zoran Djindjić” for the best young research scientists. How the award affected your career?
GS: That is the most beautiful and the most memorable event in my entire career. It was a crown of all previous efforts. I think I will always remember that moment when I went on stage and received the award from Ružica Djindjić, the wife of the man who I appreciate a lot. From that point on I was even more motivated and agile for work. As a result, I started coordinating international projects that are worth a few million dollars.
SW: What do you think about the event such as Startup Weekend?
GS: From the point of last year’s experience as a jury member, I must say that there are few events that carry so much good and positive energy and inventive spirit. I fully support this manifestation of youth, enthusiasm, and creativity.
SW: If you would have an entrepreneurial idea that you want to launch, would Startup Weekend be a place where you could present that idea?
GS: Of course. If I would have an idea, this event and good teams that you can meet here would truly be an inspiration for me.
SW: What is your advice for all young people who want to start their own business? What do you think, what is the key to success?
GS: The key to success is believing in what you are doing, and then focus and persistence. There is no giving up when it is difficult and when you don’t see the light. The goal is near and what follows at the end of that road is worth of all sacrifices.
We had an amazing opportunity to talk to Nikola Arežina, one of the mentors at Startup Weekend in Novi Sad. He shared some advice based on his experience. He was talking about Fruškać, what inspires him and what motivates him to move forward. Here is what he had to say.
SW: You have been doing graphic and web design for quite a long time, and this year you combined your love for technology, nature and design to create a web portal called Fruškać. How did you come up with that idea?
NA: I have been working in a design studio in Belgrade for a long time and at one point I decided to do outsourcing so that I can move away from a city bustle. I found my source of energy near Fruška gora. After a long time, I have finally found peace and the perfect place to rest. At the same time, I started to make some quite good results with my business. After a while, I came up with the idea to research and take notes of Fruška gora with my friends. It resulted in a creation of www.fruskac.net web portal, in late April this year, after nearly three years of work on the project. We have made some great results with our web portal – we are raising awareness and gathering community interested in Fruška gora, or Fruškać.
SW: From your experience, how long does it take from the moment the idea was born to the realization of the project?
NA: It depends on how big your project is, what type of a project it is, what you want to achieve and what you expect as an outcome. Of course, it also depends on the time that you invest in making the project. I knew that Fruškać will be a long-term project, which requires a lot of time, love and patient when we started working. Publishing a project is just an initial step. It is important to define goals that project should achieve. The one thing that I know for sure is that nothing goes easy and fast. It takes a lot of effort, work and sacrifice to make a high-quality product, whether it is a software or a web portal.
SW: What brought you into design?
NA: I was always interested in drawing and animation. After that, computers broke through, and everybody started using Photoshop and similar tools, and it was all about individual efforts. We all finished design schools, made our portfolios, and started looking for work.
SW: Do you think that graphic and web design are developed enough in Serbia, compared to the worldwide achievements?
NA: Most of the high-quality designers are outsourcing nowadays. I guess I can say that Serbian web designers are not far behind when it comes to quality in the global market. On the other hand, the local market suffers because it is unable to adapt to the conditions offered by the global market. The situation could be better. In Serbia, web design is not considered a profession that provides a good and comfortable life.
SW: There are mixed reactions from entrepreneurs when asked about working with people they know. How you manage that?
NA: Well, personally I never had problems when I was working with people I know. It even made things easier. We know exactly what each of us can do and because of that we can organize things in a way that best emphasizes our abilities. It is rarely a question of money, so no, I don’t have any problems when I am working with friends.
SW: What are the things that inspire you? Where, with whom and how do you find your inspiration?
NA: Everything inspires me. I love my friends, my job, nature. I had built my system, an algorithm in my head, that works pretty well. It helps me find an easy way to face and solve all the problems and challenges.
SW: What is your advice for the people who aren’t sure about the success of their ideas?
NA: The most important thing is to believe in your idea. It is very hard to do that when you’re young, so you have to listen to advice from more experienced people and not wander too far from your goals. Just believe in yourself and push as hard as you can. You will eventually learn all the things you need to know, it’s just about making an effort.
SW: What is your message to participants of the Startup Weekend?
NA: My message is always the same: the one who come once will be there for the second and the third time. It is a great opportunity to start a new business. You can skip one night out with your friends and instead spend a weekend with people who can change your perspective on life and give you a new dose of optimism. Startup Weekend is a very healthy environment where everyone should spend as much time as possible.
Mirko Topalski is an entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of Eipix Entertainment and one of the judges at Startup Weekend in Novi Sad. Here is what he had to say about startups, success, motivation and his life passion.
SW: Your company is well-known all around the world. Today it is a global symbol of fun. What makes you the proudest when it comes to Eipix Entertainment?
MT: I like the idea that Eipix is a global symbol of fun, and I’m very flattered if one gets an impression that the company already symbols that. However, at the moment, Eipix is „only“ a global leader, or more precisely – the most productive development team – on HOPA (hidden object puzzle adventure) video games. On top of that, Eipix is also entering another exciting market – free to play games. I believe that our dream, which coincide with your announcement, for Eipix to become a leader in the industry of entertainment. In addition to developing video games that include comics, movies, cartoons, music and other media. We hope to achieve all off that in the upcoming years. I am proud of previous business success, but I am the proudest of people who are making Eipix one of the best global teams for developing so-called casual games.
SW: How much time did you take from the birth of the idea to making it a reality, and achieving your goal and creating Eipix?
MT: Achieving goals is a relative term, at least in my case, because my goals are often changing. Sometimes I’m facing (really just sometimes!) with a turbulent period, and almost every week I have a different vision of what Eipix should look in the future. Video games were my childhood dream. I achieved it 2005 when I gathered a team, and in 2008 we finished Pyroblazer. Pyroblazer is the first video game I created that found it’s way to the publisher. Unfortunately, the publisher kept the game, and it was never returned to us. In 2011, Eipix signed exclusive cooperation contract with the USA company Big Fish Games, which up to now published 44 of our HOPA games, so far. Considering the fact that I built a company in which 250 make video games, I can say that I have achieved several of my goals by now.
SW: Are you working on some project at the moment, and if so, can you tell us more about it?
MT: Eipix is working on many project simultaneously. Currently, we have ten HOPA games in the production, including the thirteenth sequel of one of the biggest franchise in the genre, the mother of the genre (as some would say), Mystery Case Files. It is indeed a huge success and an honor! Also, at this moment, Eipix is developing several free to play projects, including match-3 game Free the Witch. Free the Witch is in the final stage of development. At the recently held Casual Connect in Tel Aviv, one of the most important conferences devoted to casual games, I spoke about the great challenges that we have faced during the development process and we are still facing them. I have talked with many people after the lecture and they all reacted very positively to the game itself, which is the reason I am encouraged and I am looking forward to the release date of the game.
SW: Which part of the work brings you the greatest satisfaction?
MT: Although I don’t have much time for public appearances, the greatest pleasure for me is participating on panels and conferences where I can exchange experience with people who are interested in entrepreneurship and video games. Also, I would like for Eipix to be more involved in education in the future. Through our cooperation with the Faculty of Technical Sciences and the University Educons, we have made first formal step toward educating young people interested in the development of video games development. And I am sure that this is just the beginning.
SW: What are your greatest passions? What moves you forward?
MT: I was lucky enough to work on something that has been my passion since childhood. Besides video games, music is another thing that moves me. I mixed these the two by composing music for many of our games and games of other development teams. At the age of 16 I started playing drums and later some other instruments. As a part of the music group Obojeni program, I recorded two studio albums. I enjoy in digital simulation of the orchestra and in the creation of applied music composition in the style of nowadays well-known film composers.
SW: In an interview you did for www.netokracija.rs, shortly before 99u Local Belgrade conference, you said that each of us should believe in themselves and to convince others to believe in us. How did you convince others to believe in you?
MT: I convinced them by believing in myself and my idea. I knew what I wanted, and I was not going to stop until I find a way to make it happen. Now I realize I could have taken an easier way to get me where I am today, but the essential thing was that even when it was the hardest I have not given up. Of course, it sounds like a cliche, but it is the truth. Simply, my associates, people I wanted to work with, and my family, saw that I have been actively working on my idea, that I was focused and determinated to find a way to overcome all obstacles. You have to show people how much energy is in you, which also requires a lot of that same energy. Stay motivated.
SW: How would it be the best to keep quality engineers, programmers and mathematicians in Serbia, in your opinion?
MT: I have only two solutions. First is to offer them jobs in inspiring and innovative companies that will more or less fulfill high standards set overseas. Second is to encourage and educate them to start their own businesses in the local community with the potential to expand their companies into the global market.
SW: If you had a chance to start all over again, would you sign up for Startup Weekend?
MT: Of course! When I started, startup culture was not developed anywhere near as much as it is today. The fact that I was not thinking as an entrepreneur, but as a passionate gamer, and that there was no startup community to talk to when I needed advice and support, cost me at least three years of my life, both private and business. I am sure that some mistakes could have been avoided if I could have come to Startup Weekend and heard that I should examine the market before starting to create a product.
Andor Luhović is a sucessful entrepreneur, founder of Buscador app, and one of the mentors on third Startup Weekend in Novi Sad. We have talked with him about success and startups. Here’s what he has to say!
SW: What is your occupation are you working on at the moment?
AL: Last September I stepped into the startup world and my occupation at the moment is Buscador – safe hiking app.
SW: Do you have any additional projects that you are developing in parallel?
AL: Everything goes very quickly, so some parallel projects or some other jobs can hardly be done. It is always quite dynamic and challenging in the Startup world, and such work requires 120% of your dedication. I have spent last few days in Sofia, in the Eleven Startup Accelerator. We are currently launching the first version of our product Our next step is to move on to fundraising and participating in some new programmes.
SW: How important is to have support in the startup world?
AL: Having support in the startup world is very important. We cannot work without support, without the network of people who are helping us. Even though, in the beginning, I didn’t believe I would get this far, but here I am. Everything is possible when you connect with a large number of people. You discover, learn, and that’s how you get to the investors and experts who help you develop your story. More or less, we function with the help of the Startup community that keeps getting stronger in this region.
SW: What would you recommend to someone who has an idea?
AL: Everything starts with a spark that appears in an individual. During the time that idea matures, and when it gets a ripe shape, it becomes a business idea. If you feel a turmoil that doesn’t let you sleep at night because you see that it has some potential, and when that turmoil boils inside of you long enough, then you say: ‘’Let’s do something.’’All that you should do now is to validate the idea. And you will know that you have done it when the potential users tell you: ‘’Hey, I would use/pay for this.’’, then you have something that you can work with.
SW: When we talk about persistence: young people nowadays are very impulsive. They would attempt to accomplish everything right now, and if they cannot achieve it momentarily, they would quit. How important is the persistence in business?
AL: Even an aeroplane doesn’t take off with the help of the air, but against the air current. The primary idea was to identify the problem that you need to solve. For Buscador, the problem is that people are unaware of all the natural beauties that surround them. If you are passionate about solving problems with ideas that have business potential, then you have a chance to be a successful entrepreneur. If you tend to find some shortcuts and easier routes, then that isn’t for you.
SW: How important is teamwork for you? In some previous interviews, you have mentioned that the team is very important in alpinism. Thus, how important is the team for a project, in the world of business, science or any other area?
AL: The team is crucial. A man can improve a startup with his skills and involvement in the whole story. Likewise, a person can totally slow things down, and ruin a startup. I am the third generation of the Startup Academy. Every generation has seven or eight teams. In my generation, no team survived, they all fell apart. The ideas were great, but the idea stayed with one man, who gathered new people, and not the team that entered the Academy. So, it is very important that the whole team gets involved completely.
SW: Many people choose team members based on friendship. Is that a bad approach?
AL: I chose persons who I believe could be a part of the team, based on what I knew about them at that moment. It is easy to quarrel; the point is to reconcile. If the team is good, you can do whatever you want, you can create, and you can conquer. The most important is the passion that has to last.That passion can be nurtured by a person who is willing to make a sacrifice and who has a strong will to succeed. It doesn’t matter whether if she is my friend or not.
SW: Where do you see yourself in a few years? Still all over the world, or at one place?
AL: I see myself in the world of entrepreneurship because I have always been changing something; that is my nature. Early next year we plan to travel to the USA, to conquer American national parks and to record tracks from these places for our application. The application is based on a lifestyle I have. The plan is to start from the Great Smokey Mountains, which is the most visited national park in the world with over 9.000.000 visitors per year. We will see what we will be doing next after that.
SW: To conclude, what recommendations would you give to the Startup Weekend participants?
AL: A very important thing that is meaningful for young people who want to step into the startup world is that they should be shameless. In the early phase, that is the key that defines success and failure. If you’re afraid of asking the answer is always ’’no’’. Young people need to understand that we were all beginners, and we all needed help at some point. In my case, being shameless helped me the most I wasn’t ashamed to come and say: ‘’I need this, I need that.’’ or ‘’I don’t know this. Do you know someone who knows how to do this?’’ ‘’Can you help?’’. My advice is: have no fear, be completely shameless, take a chance, because if you won’t, somebody else will.
Global Startup Battle (GSB) is an initiative created by Startup Weekend that aims to generate a stronger global community of entrepreneurs trough the largest startup competition in the world. Global Startup Battle is a part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week that will start on November 13th and finish on November 28th. Hundreds of startups, who wins Startup Weekend and other Techstars Startup programs that are hosted all around the world, in this period, will have the honor to compete in GSB. Developers, product managers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts who will gather together for 54 hours to share their ideas and launch new startups will be able to compete for the title of the Best Startup in the World.
In 2014, Global Startup Battle included 25.000 participants, 236 events in 83 countries. They have all spent about 1,5 million hours of work on innovations, starting new companies, and applying modern technologies. In just two weeks, the GSB has 1,000 video entries and over 321,000 votes, and 1,3 billion views! On Twitter, the GSB has 1,25 million tweets in just ten days.
This year, the battle returns on November 13th-22nd! There will be over 30,000 entrepreneurs in over 100 countries rally together in the name of innovation and community, in more than 200 simultaneous events and programs over ten days.
Global Startup Battle enriches the global entrepreneurial community by creating a sense of inclusion between startup teams all around the word. It was created by the community, and it serves the community. It’s a great chance for entrepreneur enthusiasts to stand up and show the world what they’re all about.
So, who can compete in Global Startup Battle? If you have an idea and want to compete, you must attend a Startup Weekend hosted near you. Global Startup Battle allows you to compete first against those in your city, and then those near you (in one of 6 global regions), and then when you beat the all you can compete globally.
The competition has three rounds:
- Round 1: Best of the Cities – Teams compete to win the local Startup Weekend. Teams who place in the top three at their local event are eligible to compete to be one of two regional champions.
- Round 2: Best of the Regions – Top three teams of Round 1 compete against other winners from their region. The teams try and win as many Facebook votes as they can. 50% of their overall score is determined by votes; the other half is determined by the judges. Top 15 teams with the most votes can move to next phase.
- Round 3: GSB Champ Crowned – The winning teams from each event move forward to compete with one another via a global video competition. Two teams from each region will emerge and square off against the rest of the Regional Champions. From the final 12 (6 regions x 2 Regional Champs), the final Champion will be named by the judging panel.
Winners of each round of Global Startup Battle have a chance to win many valuable prizes. Such prizes in the past have included travel and access to conferences like GEC in Milan, CES, LAUNCH Conference, and more.
The biggest battle in the Startup World for the 6th straight year is coming soon! If you have a million dollar idea, apply for the Startup Weekend in Novi Sad and get a chance to become a part of the best Startup in the world.
“Full stack“ web developer with more than 15 years of experience. Entrepreneur. Founder of web magazine “Happynovisad“ and web agency “HNS Media“. Currently, 100% focused on developing his startup called “BlogIn“. Miloš will be participating on third Startup Weekend as a mentor, and he will be working with teams on the realization of their ideas. We have an interview with him where he explained to us how he started his business, what is his opinion of events such as Startup Weekend, and he also gave advice to anyone who wants to turn their idea into reality.
SW: Dear Milos, for the beginning of our interview, tell us something about yourself and what you do?
MD: I am a web developer with 15 years of experience. I have my agency “HNS Media”, where my team and I are developing websites and web applications for different clients, and we are also developing our products. One of our first projects that we started back in 1999, and one of the longest-running local websites is a web magazine dedicated to popular culture Happynovisad.com. A project that we are intensively developing in the past year is called “BlogIn.” BlogIn is designed for the global market.
SW: When you decided to start your own business, did you have a fear of failure?
MD: Yes, the fear was there, but I managed to overcome that initial fear. I have managed to do that by working on “Happynovisad” which I started when I was a student. I have learned a lot of things while working on this project. I had the freedom to experiement and therefore the fear of failure wasnˊt as strong because I was working on my project where I always tried to do something new, made mistakes and corrected them, improve some stuff, etc. Simply, I had all the freedom because I was working “on my playground”. On the other hand, when you are working on projects for clients, you have to be very careful and avoid making mistakes and possible problems.
SW: At the time when you started your business, was there an event such as SW?
MD: No. I started my business 15 years ago, and there wasn’t anything like this. Startup events didn’t start until five years ago. Then the Startit crew began to work in Belgrade and organize workshops, and that was just the beginning. I think we are far behind with this kind of the events in comparison to the world. Unfortunately, I think most people don’t even know what the startup is.
SW: Have you already had experiences with events such as SW?
MD: Yes, two years ago I participated in the first SW with my team. We presented one of our ideas.
SW: What was the idea that you presented on the first SW in Novi Sad, and what kind of results did you achieve?
MD: The idea we presented was a tablet application for companies and individuals whose jobs functions on the principle of scheduling, such as dentists, hairdressers, manicure, pedicure, solarium salons, etc. The application is supposed to enable easy business management, and to facilitate and accelerate the process of scheduling. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but we were one of the best three teams.
SW: What is your advice for all the people who have a business idea and believe in it? What kind of message you want to send them?
MD: My advice is to keep working on their ideas, to be persistent, and not to listen what the others have to say because no one really knows if an idea is good or not. Even a person with 20 years of experience can’t tell for sure will the idea be a success, she can only give her opinion. You must follow your instincts, make a minimal viable product as soon as you can and present it to the market. In this way, you will see if it all makes sense or not. You need to hear what people around you have to say, but you need to listen only to yourself. Also, you shouldn’t be afraid of failure. If you fail, it doesn’t matter. It is better to try and to fail than not to try at all because you can learn a lot from the attempt and failure.
SW: Thanks Miloš! Good luck with Blogin!
Marko Mudrinić is editor in chief of Netokracija Serbia. He joined the team in 2012; soon he was emphasized as one of the leading IT journalists in Serbia, covering topics about internet entrepreneurship, new technologies, and digital trends. Passionate for new media and publishing in the 21st century, Marko reports from Belgrade, and when he has a free time he works as a mentor for all startups who wants to learn more about the media presence and public relations.
SW: Can you tell us why you have decided to attend the Faculty of Culture and Media at the “Megatrend” University, and why journalism?
MM: After finishing high school in the USA, colleges in Serbia didn’t want to recognize my diploma from the USA. That is why I decided that I will go to a private university, which is perhaps one of my best decisions when it comes to education. I am not saying that because of the quality of education, but because of the opportunity that I had – to work during my studies, and not to spend my time learning books from cover to cover.
Love for the written word actually emerged during my education in America. I was working on a school magazine with a few of my colleagues there. I fell in love with the media back then, and I knew that the this is the industry where I see myself in future.
SW: Why did you decide to be a journalist who covers the IT sector?
MM: Because today technology is something that is changing every aspect of our lives. There are a lot of untold stories related with IT that will significantly affect our everyday life. I want to be the one who will write about them. That and the fact that I’m not good enough to be a sports journalist are the main reasons why I decided to be an IT journalist ☺
SW: Can you tell us how you became editor in chief of Netokracija Srbija?
MM: During my studies I began to look for a practice. Soon I ended up being a correspondent from Belgrade of the Croatian IT portal. Time passed, and the audience reacted quite excellent to my work. After a while, my boss suggested that it’s time to start local, Serbian edition. I agreed. At the end of 2014, we formed a team, and since the beginning of 2015, we are working on a separate edition – Netokracija Srbija.
SW: How hard was your path from one ordinary student to one of the most influential IT journalists in Serbia?
MM: It happened overnight, but after three years of very hard work, tears, blood, and sweat. Literally! I know it sounds like a cliche but when you set your goals, you will achieve them. Maybe not exactly at the time when you want it, but you will sure arrive at the destination.
SW: This year you will be a member of the jury at the “StartUp Weekend” in Novi Sad, tell us what do you think about this event. Would you sign up for participation if you wouldn’t have your current job and if you would have the business idea?
MM: SWNS, like many other startup competitions, is an excellent opportunity for young entrepreneurs and those who want to experience how it look’s like to be one – even for 54 hours. Such events are great because they promote a positive, healthy and normal things. There should be more stories like this one in the region. I will certainly sign up for the competition as soon as I get my million dollar idea☺
SW: What would be your message to young people in Serbia who want to start their own business, who have ideas but also have a big fear of failure?
MM: Failure is unavoidable, and the best way to overcome it is to work and put all your efforts in it. You will learn a lot of things from a failure, and you don’t need to be afraid of it. Starting your own business, working on your idea maybe sound like a crazy thing to do from the current perspective, but а lot of people had succeeded, and that number is increasing every day. The key is to work and be persistent. For such people there is no fear.
We have been talking to Anita Matt, and here’s what she has to say about business development, startups, life and a few other things.
SW: How did you came up with the idea to make such software? What was the “Eureka” moment for you?
AM: We have been working on similar projects with partners from Denmark and France before we have decided to get into the game ourselves. We had the knowledge and experience to develop a new solution that would be intuitive, simple and suitable for wide range of industries. On top of that, we have managed to join forces with Mercata company. They are the first users of Route Horizon. We have learned that one can not develop software without user’s feedback, and this is where Mercata helped us a lot. We have been analyzing all of their activities, from receiving orders to a delivery of goods, and it enabled us to create a market-ready platform.
SW: Who is making the Infora team? How have you started working together?
AM: There are eight of us at the moment with two full-time employees and six associates. Founder of the company Nebojša Gvozdenović has started working with Karlo Bala in 2009 while Infora was still part of TIAC, a Novi Sad based IT company. Dejan Bracanov and I had joined in 2011. Other team members: Žarko Milovanović, Srđan Terei, Vesna Terei Rudinski and Nenad Mirkov have started working with us a bit later. Our collaboration was spontaneous at first, and then we got more serious and joined our forces in Infora. Nebojša has great ideas, and he managed to find people who can help him make them real.
SW: In your opinion, what is a better choice – working in a startup company or some big corporation. What is more interesting for you and why?
AM: Working in a startup is not a conventional “work”. There are few rules and regulations, and working conditions are quite relaxed. Team members know each other quite well and can simply click together. On the other hand, working in a startup sometimes means working on weekends and holidays. When there is a job to be done we all work, no matter what time or day in the week it is. The startup is a way of life, especially for people who are in the management. We are thinking about the work all the time. It is not something that you can forget about as soon as you close the office door. There are no advantages of working for a big corporation.
SW: What is your advice to all the people who would like to run a startup company?
AM: First, you need to collect as much info as possible about what running a startup actually means. Talk to people who have done it, read some related books and especially a book called “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. If you still wish to run your startup, just go for it!
SW: Thanks Anita, it was great talking to you!