We talked to Bernard Huber of bPol about how they work with leading international brands that operate in various industries and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Bernard Huber: Our intimate relationships have been reshaped in unimaginable ways by the Covid-19 pandemic, pushing us to live together with some individuals and farther away from others. Life in lockdown needed close, regular interaction with our families and spouses, but we were separated from our peers and broader communities by social distancing steps.
I’m trying to find pros – I get to spend more time with my family. I have an impression that life has “slowed down” since the pandemic started. It allows us to appreciate little things, like dinner with my wife and kids, walk in the park, etc.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded bPol?
Bernard Huber: I have been running bPol for 15 years.
We started small; now, we’ve hired +40 developers. Before that, I was head of technology for a French parapharmacy and CTO for the European leader for craft beer online. I lived and studied in France and Germany.
I was always a technology enthusiast. My first adventures with coding started in my early years. It was fascinating for me how lines of code can transform our entire spectrum of the world. Software development became my passion, and that’s the main reason I started bPol. If you want to succeed, you need to love what you do. Otherwise, it just doesn’t make sense.
How does bPol innovate?
Bernard Huber: There are many factors in the term “innovation.” For us, the main pillar is How Covid-19 Boosted Innovation for us as a Digital Marketing Agency is the willingness for creativity. This is either getting a passion for continuous innovation in the organization’s ‘DNA’ or recognizing the immediate necessity that continual innovation is a must-have to survive and succeed. This will need to be consistent across the company’s multiple levels, between words and behavior, and throughout the business cycle to innovate.
How do we achieve it? We put people, individuals first. In bPol, we encourage self-growth – as a result, our employees are eager to try new things and come up with new, brilliant ideas.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Bernard Huber: We are a software company. From the business side, pandemic did us no harm. We have many new clients – a lot of businesses had to switch to online – start selling on the internet instead of physical stores. In my opinion, this change was inevitable, and COVID was just a catalyzation.
From the social side, we cope with the same problems as other companies. We miss our office, and we miss our community. In IT, remote work was prevalent even before the pandemic. Most of our employees worked from home, at least part-time.
To manage our work, we use time-management tools like Asana, Toggl, or Focus Keeper – it helps focus on the tasks and help get rid of distractions.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Bernard Huber: As a CEO, I often have to make difficult decisions. We had a few stressful events caused by Corona (for example, when clients could not pay for the work we already did).
As a key take away, I can use a pirate metaphor: Every problem is like a node – if you push and pull it in different directions, it will get tighter and eventually impossible untie. If you slow down for a second, take a deep breath and take time to think about the node’s structure and all possible outcomes, you end up with a straight rope.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Bernard Huber: I stick with my routines. I know this sounds shallow, but daily exercise, healthy food, and a good night’s sleep essential for well-being.
My advice to everyone: eat your greens, read a book, pet your cat. That’s my universal guide for happiness and balance in life.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Bernard Huber: My competitors are other software houses. However, we are trying to think about each other more like contestants. We partner up with a lot of our “rivals,” and that way, everyone wins.
As for the plan to stay in the game – good quality services will always find customers. We deliver top-notch technologies and never rest before we build a perfect product. I guess that our culture and way of work ensures that we will not fall out of circulation.
Your final thoughts?
Bernard Huber: To sum up – we are all trying to figure out how to adjust to a new reality. While business in the IT sector is in bloom, the human factor is still missing. Our company is built on relations – which are hard to maintain when you are locked down.
A more critical question is, what will come next? How can we prepare for the post-Covid world? Will it be the same as before. I hardly think so.
The pandemic outbreak is a scary and horrible thing. Yet, it is also an opportunity to grow and explore. Disruptive technologies that came during COVID are incomparable. People learned how to adapt to the new normal extremely fast. And so are we.
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