A CHAT WITH MARCO STEFANINI: EPISODE 1
How We Started
We started in Brazil and, today, we are a global company. As we began in Brazil, it gives us the advantage to be very multicultural.
I see maybe four points to achieve success. One is business comprehension. This is the first one. The second one is digital mindset of the total company, mainly the leadership. The third one is the combination of many different technologies- is not only one that you need. And the fourth one, maybe is the most important- the ability to execute.
The biggest challenge of digital transformation is not technology. Of course, the ability to execute, as I’ve already said, is very important. But the main point is the mindset of the leadership, mindset of the whole company. Because everybody likes changes for others, not their changes. This is, I understand, this is the main point, that not working in silos, working in real integration, and the real, what we call, agile development and squads working everything together. That is the main challenge of digital transformation.
We strongly believe in entrepreneurship. Our DNA is giving autonomy to the leaders to take risks, to take the decisions. We understand this is the best model, mainly nowadays. What happens when you talk about a big company- big company is not a flat organization. It’s a very hierarchical organization that any entrepreneur, any start-up- hate this.
That our model is giving them, that we can balance autonomy but also structure, experience, and better organization, better operations for them- that we can combine the two best approaches. And, in the end, I understand entrepreneurship give or brings to the model agility, flexibility- that is so important today. Time to market!
Factors for Growth
I think that to keep consistent growth, in the last twenty years, I think it is, again, a combination of many factors. One is: always we try to improve ourselves. We always are reflecting about us and how we can be better- the first one. The second one is we are usually a very solid financial institution. When there is, there are, a crisis we can face to them in a soft way because we don’t have any issue about financial.
The third one is keeping the people hungry. That is so important that they always looking for more. That this is, I think, it is part of DNA. And last one is always see a half full glass. That’s always, you know, and I think is for the next years you it will be common. Lot of change, crisis, and is very important to see opportunity when you see in the middle of crisis or problems.
Managing During Crisis
I think the answer is seeing a half full glass. That when you, the people, when you have a issue, a big issue, a problem or crisis; always there are some hidden opportunities- and this is the time to take risks and to do some bets, yes? For example in 2009, 2010 I had dinner with a very, is a banker in US, very high level, and they asked me, “Why you are investing in US and Europe?” because everybody was investing in bricks, yes? But for us, the market always was US and European because they are developed countries. And we have to invest when the people are not investing, because the price is going down.
But of course you have to take risks, sometimes we are correct, sometimes not. Because if you invest in the times then only the people are investing the assets will be so high. You are investing in the wrong time. You have to take risks in the end, and sometimes we can be right, or not.
With the decision to invest, I understand it’s a very important mix between data, numbers, statistics, but also feelings. That is important, this is the first one. The second one is seeing a long-term vision. Usually, most of executives or leadership see only next quarter, the next three or four quarters, and we have to see a long-term vision because sometimes in the short-term is not a good decision, but long-term- yes- and we always think in a long-term vision.
We are very focused investing in digital companies. The last seven, eight years we are only investing in digital companies. In the beginning, most of them, almost all of them were very small because we work within the b2b business. Now the size of the companies is growing because the market is bigger and also we are investing more. And of course US is still the largest market, digital market, by far, and we are very focused on growing here faster. This is our main target today.
There are certain areas that we are pay attention more. For example digital marketing- this is one very important area. The other is banking. Today we have a very good digital financial solution that they are very based in Latin America, our plans is extending to North America, then we understand we can complement with some acquisitions in US. The other one is in cybersecurity, is another hot topic. And last one is Agile Development.
And all of these areas, the companies could be a mix- based US clients, but US delivery, but also combining with nearshore or offshore deliveries.
I think our, we have many lessons learned from the pandemic at times. Some people asked me why I began a global company and part of the answer…
To be continued in episode 2!