10 Years of Tech Ideas. Interview with Polidea's Leaders
When Polidea was founded 10 years ago, the tech industry was all about the smartphone revolution, with the iPhone having only 10% of the market share. Since then, quite a lot has changed, technology evolved and so did Polidea. While celebrating our birthday next month, we’re starting out with the talk about the past, present, and future—with Polidea’s CEO Grzegorz, and Co-founder Jakub.
Btw, we’re preparing quite a surprise for our birthday—stay tuned for updates on our social media;) #SmthUnique is coming!
What’s the story behind the name ‘Polidea’?
Jakub, Polidea’s Co-founder, former CEO: “Poli” means “many” in Greek and the other half is obvious. The concept behind the company’s name was to create an environment in which many thoughts and ideas could meet and compete. We believed this friction will lead us to some new value.
Where did the idea to build Polidea come from?
Jakub: It began with the introduction of the iPhone and Android to the market. It was a great opportunity. There were a lot of changes in the market and we all felt that the revolution was a long time coming. Technical barriers were transcended. Many internet companies wanted to transfer their services to the mobile world so that they could be used on smartphones. There was a need for companies that would help with this transformation and could offer their services to major players.
In the beginning, was it mainly about smartphones then?
Jakub: At that time, no one was sure which mobile platform would win. When we started, back in 2009, the iPhone and Android had 11% of the market share combined. Nokia, Symbian and Windows were dominating. Now, of course, we know ‘who won’ but it wasn’t so obvious back then.
Ten years of Polidea have passed. What was the business focus back then and how has it evolved?
Grzegorz, Polidea’s CEO: We began as a company focused on mobile technologies, both the old school ones like Symbian and the then-modern ones such as iOS and Android. With time, we were adding new blocks, reacting to the changes in the market.
The first big change came in 2013. We combined technology with design, meaning UX and UI. It completely remodeled the company’s culture because—from a purely engineering company—we have become a product-oriented organization which is able to deliver finished products, starting with the concept stage, through development, ending with a successful launch.
Then, we began to notice technological changes that were occurring on the market and react to them. We began to work more with products like IoT, BLE, embedded software. Cloud is the latest branch of our activities. It has been a strong and growing trend for a few years now, and companies like Google, Amazon or Microsoft are heavily invested in the development of the cloud. We definitely see huge potential here.
Looking at the company’s culture, how did it change over the years?
Grzegorz: One thing that hasn’t changed for sure is the strive for Polidea to be an environment in which people can grow. Apart from the internal development, we made every effort to create a space that enables us to be visible and contribute to the community, through meetups or open source.
Jakub: I’d like to also mention close the relationship with our clients and the partnership approach to solving their problems and, at the same time, identifying their potential opportunities.
Could you give an example?
Jakub: Sure. Back in the day we decided that when running a software project we should appoint one of the engineers to act as a Project Manager. We thought software engineers know best what is happening in the project, they have the full picture, and, therefore, should spend part of their working time on project management. We thought it made sense at the time. Now, we have arrived at completely different conclusions, namely that project management is a skill on its own merits. These contradicting approaches resulted from our care for a good relationship with our clients.
Grzegorz: We are still able to build meaningful relations with clients, while completely redefining the role of a Project Manager. PMs do not divide their time between management and code writing, they are solely responsible for communication with clients and building relationships with them.
Let’s talk about tech as a whole. What changed over the last 10 years?
Jakub: Our clients had to be convinced to build mobile applications, at first. For a long time they were just doing websites and now, suddenly they have to do mobile apps too. Later on, everyone started doing mobile apps. It also became more complex. In order to have a successful mobile app it wasn’t enough to publish it in the app store. It must have looked great as well. This is when the necessity for the great UI came in. Everything needed to be flashy, beautiful; it had to move and animate.
Grzegorz: Suddenly, the attitude “mobile is hot right now, let’s do it” wasn’t working anymore. Companies had to understand the needs of their users, through users’ research, analytics etc. If 80% of the users would rather use a desktop browser, there was no point in investing in a mobile app. Today, more and more decisions regarding technology made by companies are data-driven, based on research and questionnaires with users.
Looking into the future, where will technology take us within the next decade?
Jakub: Of course, it’s really difficult to say what kind of technology it will be. Ten years ago, we wouldn’t be able to foresee the world in which we live today. However, I think that Polidea will definitely be somewhere between technology and people. Whatever the technology might be, we will be translating it, building interfaces—whether based on voice, thought or touch—enabling people to benefit from them.
Grzegorz: We will still be the company which helps other companies make various business models possible through technology. We will be the partner that can advise and solve a problem, understanding the technology and human needs.