INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Perseverance Over Strategy during the Pandemic
Oleg Domansky, founder of Jammy Guitar about super portable guitars.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Oleg Domansky: I and my wife got COVID back in December. That did break most of our Christmas plans both personally and business-wise and was frustrating as hell but thankfully didn’t go into severe stages. The most discouraging part was the fact my usual morning coffee tasted no different from hot water! We are almost fully recovered by now though, so I enjoying my coffee routine as I write this.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Jammy Guitar.
Oleg Domansky: I started my career in finance & consulting and then transitioned to tech management within Procter & Gamble informational technology department. That’s where I realized how much I’m excited about building innovative consumer products and product management. Soon after I find myself working alongside hardware R&D house learning the thorny path of developing and bringing consumer electronics products to market. We always had a bunch of ideas circulating around but once we started exploring the idea of a digital guitar I immediately fall in love with the potential impact such a product can bring to the music industry. Moreover, playing guitar was my hobby from a young age so it was a no-brainer to jump on board to start leading the company and transitioning it to a full-scale business.
How does Jammy Guitar innovate?
Oleg Domansky: ‘Innovation is at the core of our business’ may sound like a cliche already but this statement applies to Jammy Instruments 100%. There would be no way for us to develop and manufacture on-scale such a complex product if we didn’t have very clever engineering innovations backing its sensors technology, hardware design, and software architecture. The unifying principle behind the innovations we are making is the practical and concrete goals that we set before approaching the process.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Oleg Domansky: It brought both positive and negative changes to our business which makes us rather lucky. The pandemic locked most of us down in our homes so music and music creation started to play an even more vital role in our well-being. Thus, tools that can help to transform one’s creativity and emotions into music products received an increased demand across hobby music-producers all around the world.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Oleg Domansky: Pandemic forced us to move to a 100% remote work setup which seemed to be a difficult business transition but turned out to be rather a positive change for both the company and our team. My personal lesson was that in most cases the trust you put into people pays off with their committed work and business results.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Oleg Domansky: The remote work setup pushed us towards a more structured alignment and improved communication in general. Because the work dynamics start to miss that ‘over the coffee’ interactions, you as a leader have to explicitly think about how each and everyone will be in the loop of important updates and information. This brings more discipline into calls planning and moderation and also leaves out all of the unnecessary meetings. What we ended up with, are weekly company calls and daily function-focused status meetings.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Oleg Domansky: As before COVID, we are focused almost exclusively on the value our product can bring to the user and how that can help us to strive commercially. That doesn’t leave much focus on trying to directly fight with competition and proves to be a good recipe for innovation-centric businesses like ours.
Your final thoughts?
Oleg Domansky: I think the pandemic should teach us all that flexibility and perseverance sometimes can worth more than long-term planning and strategy. So no business leader should lose those traits.
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