There are many ways to be inspired – one of them is to read interviews with those who‘ve built up their own technology companies.
This week features an interview with Michael Hettegger, one of the founders of craftworks. Let’s jump right into it!
Michael, If someone paid you $1 billion right now with the condition that you‘d never work a day in your life again and never start a company – would you do it?
No way! 1 Billion is a lot of money and I could do and buy anything I want. But knowing myself I’ll get bored after a couple of years, I‘ll want to challenge myself again, and there‘s no greater challenge for me than doing what I do right now. Starting a business, building up an amazing team and working together with customers like ÖBB, Andritz or Porsche is what really drives me every single day. Apart from that my greatest passion is travelling – and I don’t really need a billion for that 😉
What has been the biggest surprise for you personally? Which kind of assumptions, perhaps even unconsciously made, worried you most before starting up a business?
I always thought, and lots of people told me, that the private economy is very tough and consists mainly of tough negotiations, personal networks and lawsuits. But after three years of craftworks I can safely say that it‘s not like that at all. I‘m talking to C-Level Managers on a weekly basis and they‘re all extremely interested in our team and our products. And so far no one has sued us. 🙂 *fingerscrossed*
Who/what has inspired you most in defining the company’s culture and how you manage your company the way you do?
I‘ve always been inspired by Steve Jobs and the way he developed new products (not the way he treated his employees), but I learned the most from my two co-founders. I could not imagine a better CEO than Simon or a better CTO than Jakob for any company. Together we constantly further develop our company culture as well as ourselves as leaders.
What is the single most important skill every startup founder should have?
Focus! Because if you focus on the wrong things you‘ll either get distracted and competitors will pass you by, or you‘ll burn out because you‘ve worked too much. All that matters is your product and your customers. I knew that from the beginning, but I still have to ask myself every week if I’m focussing on the right things and if these actions will result in winning a new customer.
What has been the biggest challenge of your entrepreneurial career so far and how did you overcome it?
Delivering our message. As a trained developer I look differently at a product or solution compared to a CEO. Also, an innovation manager is looking at different things than a head of production. Ultimately, I need to convince all three of them to buy my product. Therefore I have to deliver the message in the right format. I‘m still working on it, but the best way to become better is to regularly ask for feedback.
Which book would you recommend reading and why?
- Getting Real by 37 Signals – This is my favorite startup book because it‘s very practical and shows what‘s really important when developing a digital product.
- Leading Digital – A book that shows how older, big, non – digital companies used the digital transformation to outperform their competitors.
- Steve Jobs Biography – It shows how he failed and then got up again to continue. Very inspiring.
3 short questions:
Mac or PC?
Office or remote?
I don’t understand the question. Have you seen our office? Why would anyone not want to work here? 🙂
Which music is playing on your player right now?
Les Miserables (the Musical) – I guess the sound of the French Revolution motivates me. 🙂
Thanks Michael for the interview!
And thank YOU for reading our interview. We hope you found some interesting tips and suggestions. See you in two weeks!
PS: Due to the large amount of new projects we have, we’re currently hiring more team-members. Sounds interesting? Check our career page.