PART 3: CODETE THROUGH THE EYES OF ITS CREATORS
Do you want to know what the most valuable lesson gained by Codete’s executive board so far was? Or maybe you’re curious to read more about Artur, Karol, and Greg’s fields of interest? All of these and more can be found in the third part of the interview below.
Dominika: Building Codete the way it is now, what was the most critical moment, in your opinion? Which event, achievement, or award? Or maybe something completely different?
Karol: Building mid-level management was a giant leap for the entire company. I’d also add consulting services that are now also delivered by Codete and help us build the position of an expert in the market. Our employees show their knowledge of interesting topics, and clients receive comprehensive assistance in the sensitive areas of their projects.
Artur: I’d say that this event was the opening of Techie’s [resto-bar in Krakow, created by Codete and dedicated to knowledge-sharing between technology professionals and enthusiasts – author’s note]. And I’m not thinking only about the gastronomic aspect but also the fact that this place has become a part of the organization, its daily routine, and its culture.
Thanks to Techie’s, we can show the best things that we have from a slightly different perspective than other companies. In my opinion, this place conveys all of our values, and that’s how it enables the local community to access them, e.g., knowledge-sharing culture.
Additionally, Techie’s was created despite the current situation on the market, against the tide, and yet it works great and strengthens our position.
Grzegorz: You’re right. Last year there were over 1000 participants in total in our events at Techie’s, and we had between 2 and 3 meetings per week. This resto-bar is a perfect tool for building and enhancing our branding and sales aspect.
Dominika: How about the most valuable lesson you have already taken while being on the Codete board?
Artur: It’s non-stop learning! [laughter] These lessons keep changing all the time, and sometimes we joke that every year we do another MBA [Master of Business Administration, post-graduate studies for management – author’s note]. Undoubtedly, this project teaches us how to accept failures and draw conclusions instead of focusing on frustrations.
It’s very important to delegate tasks to other people and to trust your employees, but it’s also quite difficult when you have to look at someone doing something differently than you would. Sometimes we need to watch someone making mistakes that we’d probably make as well, but after all these years with Codete, we already know that it’s worth waiting for the final result.
Grzegorz (Greg): What I’d add to what Artur has said is the communication aspect. Today, we know that it should have always been high on the priorities list. Since the beginning of Codete, this topic has been very important for our employees, and it was visible in the regular satisfaction surveys sent to the entire team. Unfortunately, we thought it was enough to do some work on this issue just once, but that’s not true. As the company took 2 steps forward, everything changed again, and a new communication model had to be devised.
Summing up: Working with people and communicating clearly in which direction we are heading - these are the areas that have been funding us the biggest lessons in the Codete for years.
Artur: But today, we’re taking part in this interview, so apparently, it all works! [laughter]
Now, let’s focus a bit on each of you separately. We already know that at Codete, Karol is responsible for the IT sector and cooperation with Fortune 500 companies, Artur takes care of the sales and marketing departments, and Greg is the Managing Director of HR and recruitment processes.
Dominika: Greg, compared to the previous years, how has the model of work at Codete changed since the beginning of the pandemic, according to you?
Grzegorz (Greg): I remember when we were recruiting the first employees, and there were just a few of us sitting by a small table. The market has changed completely since then, and I’d never believe that it’s possible for it to transform so much.
From my perspective, the biggest change was the replacement of work in the office for the home office. Our habits and routines have changed, and even if it didn’t affect us so much at Codete because we’re hiring people from over the world, we still had to face communication, social, and integration challenges.
We have made a lot of effort to make the newcomers onboarded online, and the fully remote employees feel part of Codete. Initiating meetings and creating working groups – that’s what we brought to life.
Today, there are more and more people complaining about the lack of possibility of coming to the office; that’s where the idea of coworking came from. The non-monetary benefits have also changed. Right now, there’s a Worksmile platform that enables everyone to choose the activities or products that suit them the most at the moment.
Dominika: Karol, do you remember your beginnings in the IT sector? How has it changed since then, and if you were to choose your field of interest once again, would it still be machine learning?
Karol: The first PC in my house appeared when I was 8-9 years old. It was Commodore 64, and that’s where it all started. [laughter] My proper work in IT began at IBM when I was in my first year of studies. The reality in Poland was totally different from today’s, and my workplace was one of just a few IT companies in the country. Today, I can safely say that Poland, and especially Krakow, have become one of the software development centers in Europe. This change is “cosmic”, and the city itself also became a perfect academic background from where young, talented employees are acquired to companies all over the world.
Grzegorz (Greg): You know, I’m sure that after all these years spent with us, Karol could easily go to law school! [laughter], [Greg and Artur studied Law at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow – author’s note]
Karol: When I was choosing AI, it was very interesting for me, but we can’t say that it was trendy. It was definitely hard, and someone even said that “you have to have at least a Ph.D. degree to work with machine learning”. That’s definitely not true, but throughout all these years, everything has changed, and machine learning has become hype. But how will it be in 5 years from now? And would I choose the same path once again? Machine learning is, for sure, a very interesting subject, and that’s why I chose it, but who knows how it would be…?
Dominika: Artur, talking about marketing and sales, I’d like to ask about the most common mistakes made by those who plan to promote their IT startups or new tech companies and build their personal brands.
Artur: When you start, you don’t know what to focus on because you do not know what the market’s response to your activities will be. When setting up Codete, we were beginners who didn’t understand the market’s needs and were guided by feelings rather than knowledge.
From a time perspective, I already know how crucial it is to choose the direction of development, to decide what you really want to focus on, and to adjust your offer to specific clients' needs and requirements as much as possible.
It’s also worth answering the following questions: Who is your client? What do they follow in their work? Today, I know that while developing Codete, we could have put more emphasis on just one persona instead of creating plenty of them simultaneously. I’m totally aware that some things are difficult to be predicted, but sometimes it’s good to take a risk because only that way you can save a lot of costs and become a leader in the niche you have chosen faster.
If you want to develop and see the results, it’s good to be interested in broadly understood economics, marketing, and growth. It doesn’t have to be the knowledge focused only on client profiling. Try to understand what can be a “hot topic” next year to predict what the future will bring to us.
Some time ago, I used to spend quite a lot of time listening to audiobooks about storytelling. I was listening and learning how to tell interesting stories about the chosen topic. This activity taught me it’s more important to explain to your audience how they can help their potential client than to “sell yourself” to them. It’s worth asking ourselves: “Do I focus more on my client or on myself in the marketing materials and speeches?” and then try to answer it.
Dominika: Thank you for the interview, your time, and your engagement! I hope that this episode of the “Growth at Codete” cycle shed some light on Codete’s executive board plans and achievements.
And if you want to be updated with the latest installments of the interviews, visit Codete Blog, and enter the “CodeteTalks” tag in the search engine on the top of the webpage. You can find all the previous episodes that way, too.
Read the rest of the interview with Codete's management board here: