We talked to Arkadi Jeghiazaryan of Amlogy about interactive AR experiences and COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: Thank you very much! We are happily moving forward, doing good, and thankfully all of us are healthy. Just like with most of the world, our company has adopted the home office approach for all our staff. I’m pleased to share that our A-Team is delivering extraordinary work from home.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Amlogy.
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: I was 11 when I came to Austria as a refugee. Education was very hard for my brother and me. We were just pushed into school and were supposed to be on the same level as the other kids speaking the German language perfectly.
These hard times flow by very fast. We finished school and were still not happy. Thinking about how many other kids could face a similar struggle and not find a solution or have enough support left us uncomfortable. The next logical step was to make it a point that we find a way to overcome this challenge using technology and to bring school books to life. We wanted to make the ‘language factor’ unnecessary and instead let pictures talk for themselves. Five years ago, our dream was to bring 3D interactive learning experiences out of the schoolbook and make kids happy and more engaged.
Soon after the first tests, we found out that our idea of an innovative learning experience was not only helpful for refugees and migrants with less language knowledge. The fact was that all the kids started to love Augmented Physics books, History coming to life, where you are able to meet Pharaoh in your real environment, and even more. We knew at that point that we needed to make the first step. We took all the stuff we had, sold it, and invested in building the next educational experience level.
The journey was very challenging, as we ran out of money and started to bootstrap. Soon we realized that we need to build the main technology to make it accessible for everyone to create their own interactive AR experiences. And fast forward to date, this is where we are now.
How does Amlogy innovate?
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: Innovation for us is a continuous process. Our company is constantly looking out for ways to improve our products and provide the best experience for our users. We do this in various ways; for instance, we have a culture of evaluating ourselves regularly. We are community-oriented, so we study how people are using our existing products, find ways of improvement, and appreciate the feedback we get and incorporate them into our innovation process. For instance, we also always ensure to use cutting-edge technology that is agile and secure when building the next generation of Augmented Reality Technology for the web-browser. This means that in the future, no App download will be required to engage in interactive Augmented Reality Experiences.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: Well, Corona indeed affects our company in different ways. First of all, there is a change from office to working fully from the home office. However, I must say that this didn’t really affect our team negatively as we were already working in a hybrid digital-real environment. Secondly, our B2B customers put all our on-going projects on hold for obvious ‘let’s wait and see’ reasons. Which meant for us a lot of revenue was stopped.
There is a saying I will like to add that after every closed door, another one will open. Indeed, we started to concentrate more on creating educational content, our Areeka Studio came to life, and we began to increase our user base in big steps.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: Yes, we did, and we still do need to make difficult choices. It’s part of the process of managing the changing times. Just to mention, a difficult choice was: should we instead try to save money? Or do the opposite and invest more in employees and growth? So should we go for it and rise like a phoenix out of the ashes? And we did. In the midst of the pandemic, we grow our team by 50%.
The lesson here was: we will survive even in a better way bringing more products, high-quality technology, and serving a great product to our community.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: In the first years of being a founder and CEO, it was crazy for me to see how my body is getting damaged. Within the first year, I founded with 19 years, and all was perfect. After 1 year of heavy hustle and 5 jobs at the same time, my body started breaking, and I largely felt the mental burden. I was sure that I would survive. And I did by giving more time to myself.
A year later, after having heavy company troubles and gaining the first Knowledge about being an entrepreneur, my body again began to break. However, this time it wasn’t mentally. This time, I felt in physical damage to the point where I could not drive a car.
Soon I understood that I need to find a way to prevent my mind and body from becoming sick. I love my job, and I love what I do. And I can only do what I do by keeping my body safe.
I started again to exercise my body, doing CrossFit. At the same time, I began to give my mind more breaks during the days, napping, closing my eyes at least for 30 min a day. I am honest; there are days where I just cannot make the 30 min a day to give my mind a boost. However, a mix out of exercising the body and mind helped me now after 5 years of being Founder to survive in the best way.
There is a golden rule: if you cannot give your mind 30 min of rest, then you need at least 1 hour.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: Our main competitors are US Companies having over dozens of millions of investments into their technology and products. We, however, do not concentrate on the competitors. We concentrate on our vision, technology, culture, and team. We believe in growth from the inside out and feel that is a more sustainable way for us that allows us to perfect what we do and do it well over the long-term.
We are not just planning to stay in the game, but we are going to win this game!
Your final thoughts?
Arkadi Jeghiazaryan: I hope everybody may one day find what I found. I wish that everybody will one day wake up and smile because they are happy to have started working on a vision and a dream and see it come to life because of their efforts.
It’s been 5 years since I started, and still loving what I do. Every day and I really mean every day, I want to wake up as early as possible to make sure we came to a step closer to our vision.