ScaleUp Magazine editorial team spoke to Krešimir Končić (CEO, Neuralab) on his life journey. He is a Rectors Award winner in 2006. Diversity is his middle name, but he fully enjoys designing and building online products.
Read his full interview here:
I went through all possible web development jobs – from design, development, PM, QA and now working with a team of 20 creative people as a Neuralab director. My background is mostly technical and i have worked during studies on Neural Networks and AI. Hence the name of the company – Neuralab.
Neuralab is a team of multidisciplinary people (content, design and development) that focuses it’s projects around big eCommerce web applications. We are a WooCommerce Gold expert, Mailchimp and Google partner and we provide enterprise clients with a means for them to sell their products online. Our biggest challenge is finding quality team members. We are tackling this by providing all team members with high grade projects, mentorship, working hours and location flexibility, compensation based on skill set and overall stress-free comparadrie working zone.
Successes & Failures in life.
My failures are connected with projects that i wanted to produce outside of our agreed way of working. Also, playing with technologies outside of our focus and scope (and without clear vision) have always been failures. My success is that we are now 9 years into web development business, never slowed down and have pretty high rating in eCommerce world – we are awarded as Top 3 eCommerce team in the whole world
Choices made in life for success
I learned that “showing up” is 80% of all the difference. Never backing down from challenge and always doing hard (but smart) work is a key that made the most difference in my life.
Way I work
Writing, writing and writing is my first task for the day (articles, content marketing, blog posts, projects documentation, emails to clients etc.). I try to keep writing for several hours while i am fresh and inspired. We have lunch together in the company around noon were i eat just some smallish thing to keep me going. After that i have several hours of mentorship work, project and finance management. This second part of the day is focused around team and working directly with people. Around 6 pm i go home to dinner, gym, reading book, going out with friends and girlfriend. Anything that is not-related to business as i need to clear my head and juice up with other sorts of energy.
Gym is my number one source of productiveness. Without it i’m feeling sluggish, slow and pretty bad. I’m not into hardcore training program (probably should), but i am always up to the any business challenge when i am going regularly to the gym. Reading books and high quality magazines like Wired or Monocle always keeps me pumped up about the industry and trends.
How to keep growing?
I am always seeking new challenges for the team and myself. For instance, when new Neuralab teamster arrives, we work together on a new software module or new plugin that will be live on GitHub. We chose some new tech and functions that we have never worked before and try to code it to maximum perfection. We always incorporate interactive design and content / copywriting work into our software development process so it’s interesting and fresh. Growing team is also my personal growth path as it’s pretty different to manage juniors and seniors. They both have their own needs and wishes.
Tools I use
Our main office tool is Google apps (everything from Google). Development is based around JIRA for project management, Harvest for time tracking and BitBucket for handling code deploys. Content marketing production is based around Trello. Our design flow includes working with feedback on InVision and producing interactive prototypes on Figma.
Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott), On writing (Stephen King), A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson)
My parents. They are very different so they both influenced my in different ways. My mother is really productive by nature and she “gets shit done”. I learned from her that grit beats talent all the time. My father is a skilled orator and a really excellent communicator. I learned from him that communication is the essence of all the mutual work that our team fall apart without it.
Hiring and building team
We have a multi step process where we get to know the person in a one week payed mini project work. We are looking first for a team fit; then communication and overall people skill and only then; core technical skill such as level of PHP or SQL. Our team can work from our Zagreb HQ location or through remote work. Generally, we are seeking people that are not afraid to explore and to communicate early and often.
Advice I got for success
I pretty much had to experience advices in both positive and negative way. I think you need to live it for yourself and that advices are too subjective to be implemented in real life. You can listen to them, but most of our problems basically boil down to working hard and stepping outside of your comfort zone. No advice will be needed if you are constantly doing these two things.
My advice for success
Go to gym and read books. The rest will follow.