By Sanne Breimer
In ‘5 questions’ you read about inspiring stories from friends of Tribe Theory. Today: Tomasz Fiechowski (25) who grew up in Poland as a kid. He co-founded Rota, a startup in employee management software, and visited us in Yangon.
How did your upbringing lead you to entrepreneurship?
‘I was raised in Gdańsk in Poland, my parents were running the grocery store for most of their lives. Back in the days, it was very prolific, my dad was going to get the supplies two or even three times a day because it was being sold so fast. I got a little of the touch of the entrepreneurship there but didn’t really focus on that and learn from it. I was always interested in building things and could spend a whole day sitting with LEGO blocks letting my imagination off the leash. Later it transferred to programming and software which I started to learn out of curiosity because I wanted to know how the computer games are made. I also got interested in making “real stuff” and got my Robotics Engineering Degree. As I was raised in a rather comfortable environment, my parents took care of most of my needs. I’m deeply thankful for that, I know how much work and dedication that required! But it also made me fall into a false sense of security – stepping out of comfort zone is sometimes hard for me, although I know that all the best things happen there and I constantly challenge myself to do so!’
What was the specific moment you thought ‘I’m going to start a business’?
‘I had some previous “entrepreneurship” experience but it was rather sitting down and digging into the project itself without any market validation and customer feedback. Finally, we met with a friend and decided to build it, the idea itself was popping around in the conversations for a long time. We thought that was the good moment because we became professional, confident programmers and knew that building the project is easy, we just need some time to actually program it. It was the feeling that we knew we had that part covered really well, so we could focus on expanding the business.’
What’s your most important lesson learned so far?
‘We want to grow our user base and have an important share in the market. We created an employee management software to help managers from different businesses take care of scheduling work for their people and also to automate the payroll process. We know the software is helping people to cope with everyday tasks. We are both programmers, so the most important lesson so far is that we need external expertise and get out of the “programming comfort zone” and try out many different things like sales and marketing. We love to see when people actually use and benefit from using our product.’
Our theme this year is ‘Entrepreneurs without borders’. How can you relate to that?
‘Entrepreneurship, besides being the best school of getting things done and ability to turn ideas into reality, is also teaching a far more important lesson: teamwork, trust and tolerance. Besides that, the internet of course really changed the world. It gives unlimited access to knowledge and lets you communicate and collaborate like never before. With those two things: correct mindset and tools, there are really no borders!’
Famous last words:
‘Trust your intuition :)’