First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Martin Večeřa: There are very bad impacts on world economies; some industries are heavily impacted, people losing their jobs… On the one hand, we feel the whole pain of the world. On the other hand, we do not feel like being influenced much. Even the lockdowns have so many exceptions that they provide enough freedom. We did not travel and went to restaurants much, but we can wait for a year or so. Not a big deal.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Lumeer.
Martin Večeřa: I started working as a freelancer when I was still in high school. During my university studies, I worked for several companies in health care, energetics, and IT.
Then I joined an international corporation and saw it grow rapidly. I also identified many drawbacks that could be fixed in the way the smart people around me work with data and information.
Instead of always starting a project by collecting data scattered among many business apps and putting them in spreadsheets, I believed there must be a better way. And I found several people who were thinking alike. This made us incorporate Lumeer.
How does Lumeer innovate?
Martin Večeřa: We try to figure innovative ways on how people with information and data in their projects. We try to replace single-purpose apps for project management with something offering much greater freedom. Like spreadsheets. But we also try to replace spreadsheets with something that understands your data and displays them in the right visual way. And not only display but also to manipulate in a visual way with just a click of a mouse.
We also try to use AI to observe how people work in the system and automatically offer similar steps to other users to achieve the desired results with the least mouse clicks as possible.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Martin Večeřa: We are very sorry to see so many people dying of the virus. I lost a distant relative a couple of weeks ago. Despite all these bad things, the business goes pretty well, I must say. With the lockdowns and people staying at home, companies needed to invent new ways for their employees to stay productive. They needed to find a way for employees to stay up to date while not staying on meeting all day long. They started looking for tools to increase their efficiency to enable smooth work and collaboration, tools like Lumeer.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Martin Večeřa: No choices I would call difficult. We did not do any layoffs or so.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Martin Večeřa: A lot of sleep, time off with the family, get out at least around the house. Set goals in the future, so there is always a purpose to follow.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Martin Večeřa: In the book The Everything Store, Jeff Bezos mentioned that your company could be competition obsessed, product obsessed, and customer-obsessed. We always tried to be customer-obsessed, with temporary slips to product obsessed ;-). So this is how we always planned to stay in the game. We try to deliver exceptional added value for our customers. We do not care about the competition much. Neither do we need to copy every feature. We actually see our features copied…
Your final thoughts?
Martin Večeřa: In summary, many studies and predictions show that the post-pandemic world won’t be the same. We need to embrace the good things we learnt during the pandemic and continue there, especially in the area of digitization of employee interaction and collaboration, as well as automation and AI.