It’s a pleasure to introduce Ivailo Ivanov, the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of BGO Software. With 14 years of experience in the IT industry, Ivailo’s main mission is to ensure the correct balance between business and technology strategies within the company. Ivo leads software development teams and inspires new programmers to join the company (after that he beats them on Mortal Combat but that’s another story). He promotes an innovative technical culture to make sure the company can continue to retain and attract the best IT talents. Ivailo constantly connects engineering, product and business to guarantee that the company meets its vision and business goals, and that the technology roadmap goes hand in hand with that strategy.
We caught up with Ivailo to learn about how his background in engineering helped him build a company. And here is how he answered.
- Can you tell us the story of BGO (how the company was born and why)?
In 2004, I started creating a small website for industrial machinery ads. At that time I was working full time for another company, so I couldn’t develop and maintain the project only in my free time and only by myself. I called Nikolai Kalenski, a friend of mine from the army and asked him if he wants to work from home on that and learn PHP and web programming. There were literally 2 people in the company, me and him. We also started doing some outsourcing work for a US company and got our second employee – Zachari Mladenov. Then new partners joined and we built the automotive blogs network and started doing software development work for different customers and organizations. That’s how all started.
- How has BGO evolved over the years, and in what ways it has stayed the same?
BGO has grown a lot in terms of people and team members. We have changed our business focus and strategy from media websites to software development and IT consultancy. And yes there are some simple but significant things that stayed the same. One is our organizational culture, the way we work with people, and we are still like a big family. At the same time we strive to inspire the passion to do new exciting things: projects, technologies, business models.
- As a CTO Jedi-master, tell us what it is like to be one?
I can describe it with a metaphor – management is similar to the work of those people who spin plates on sticks in the circus. You need to keep the plates spinning otherwise they fall on the ground and smash into pieces on the floor. It’s fun to watch. If you are good you can add more plates and keep all of them spinning together. The manager is constantly balancing various responsibilities and commitments in order to ‘keep them spinning’. But being a jedi I can count on The Force so for me it is easier than for other people. 🙂
- Being a fan of Silicon Valley TV series, which character do you like the most and why?
Erlich J. He is always full of ideas and really confident in himself, also always invents new words like ‘app-date’.
- What’s your advice for other founders trying to scale their engineering organizations?
There are many but the Top 3 are:
- Implement technologies you personally know well at least when the company is still small.
- Automate things! The time spent on automation always pays for itself.
- Listen to the people, don’t play it “Mr. know-it-all” because you are not.
… and “keep the plates spinning”
- My favorite moment of the day is when I am having my first coffee
- The first thing I notice about a person is the way he/she talks
- The 3 things I cannot work without are coffee, keyboard and concentration 🙂
- My 3 favorite online places are chitanka.info, IMDb and YouTube
- When I am offline, I need to be outside or with the family
- I love my job because there are endless creativity and keeps your brain working at high speed
- I get inspired by the people who help others
- If I had a superpower, it would be healing all deseases
- On my nightstand you will find a book, magazines and other two books
- I come to work with curiosity
- I learn the most from my mistakes
- If I had to describe myself in 3 words, they would be believer, too serious, always pushing my limits (whoops more than 3 words!)
- The strangest thing I believed in as a child is that I can build a balloon by myself and reach the space. Even tried to do so 🙂
- One person I consider a genius is John Carmack
- My favorite quote is (no quotes by Paulo Coelho if possible) “We become what we think about.” – Earl Nightingale
- My catchphrase is … I am too shy to have one 🙂
- If I win from the lottery, I will buy land and make it garden with trees and places for reading.
- If I have to describe to my grandparents what I do for a living I’ll just tell them that I am one of the lucky people who do what they love.
- My philosophy in life is be consistent in what you do
In summary, Ivo is a wonderful CTO because he is invaluable for the company as he has the ability to step back and see the whole picture, envision the future and become the voice of clients and employees.