First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Igor Zapletnev: Everything’s good, thank you!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Exyte
Igor Zapletnev: I used to work as a developer, went to the office every day, gossiped besides a water cooler. As a person interested in discovering new things, I found a side gig that later developed into a more demanding project. It became big enough to invite a coworker to help me with it. After some time, we realized that we are pretty good at handling it and thought of starting a company that would deal with similar projects.
After starting Exyte, I first was engaged in projects as a programmer, but now there are so many projects that my engagement has been reduced to scaling processes and maintaining the boutique quality of work. After all, what we are most proud of is our excellent reviews.
How does Exyte innovate?
Igor Zapletnev: First, we study projects not as developers but as business-analysts. We resolve money and risk management issues with the software we produce; we don’t just solve programming puzzles. Sometimes people come to us with one set of tasks but end up with a different, better solution. We use technical knowledge and practical expertise to reformulate the problem, thus saving the client’s money/time/nerves.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Igor Zapletnev: In terms of the work environment in Exyte, we are doing our best to turn all the lemons 2020 gave us into lemonade and adapt to the current situation. At the beginning of the pandemic, we increased the capacity of our VR / AR team. The isolation gave the VR industry a significant boost. We could not miss that being one of the top VR companies in the world (according to independent ratings like Clutch). We plowed through this period with a robust push and made a remarkable advance in several major projects.
The fact that the effects of COVID-19 affected the IT industry gradually helped us get ready for it. Moreover, the virus actually moved people closer to the digital lifestyle. However, there is a fly in the ointment; the consequences of the crisis are yet to come to IT. Many businesses had to close down or go bankrupt, which will eventually lead to stopping them from investing in technology as much as they used to. But we believe that our unique technical skill and expertise will allow us to be in demand even then.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Igor Zapletnev: In my opinion, our most outstanding achievement is keeping all our employees. I am deeply thankful to my team for the way they handled these conditions. The guys kept their spirits up and even managed to show growth in terms of productivity. We talk about it in our article about launching a VR meeting space (https://exyte.com/blog/do-you-use-vr-to-its-full-potential). So the most important lesson learned is nothing new — always put your team first, and it will come back to you tenfold in times of crisis.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Exyte in the future?
Igor Zapletnev: I keep strict work and life balance, and that keeps me safe and sane.
I see Exyte expanding our areas of expertise while staying on the cutting edge of technologies. Lifelong learning should apply not only to individuals but to companies too.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Igor Zapletnev: We compete with other companies providing outsourcing services for software development. Never mind the crisis, our competitive advantages are and always have been our unique expertise in blockchain, AI, VR, AR, and mobile development, transparency in communication with customers at any stage, responsibility, and high rate of work. This is what always retains us in the game.
Your final thoughts?
Igor Zapletnev: We hope that everyone will get through this challenging period successfully. The most important thing in life is wellbeing and health. For a competent businessperson, any crisis is the time of great opportunities, so do not fret! Embrace the change, transform, and you will be fine.
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