Alex Iceman is the founder and CEO of Genium, a software development and agile consulting firm that connects innovative companies with world-class software engineers across the globe. A serial entrepreneur, Alex is a passionate leader, coach, and culture creator, inspiring people to follow their personal and professional dreams.
A native of Russia and graduate of the country’s leading technical university, Moscow State University, Alex emigrated to the U.S., scoring his first software gig with Concrete Interactive, where he developed and designed large complex multi-tier applications. Today, Alex leads more than 100 engineers, developers, and other tech experts, to help companies create secure, cutting-edge mobile and web applications building scalable, talented teams tailored to project needs.
Outside of running his own software company, Alex is a professional ice hockey referee for the American Hockey League, a licensed pilot, and a music composer. He actively embeds the trainings and discipline derived from his passions into his professional work using the parallels of checklists that come with flying into the business landscape and the precision inherent in hockey into his leadership style.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Alex Iceman: Genium is a tech startup that provides developers and engineers with a platform for management as well as client and IT support all in one place. It was founded in 2017 and now employs more than 100 developers globally.
When organizations have a hard time hiring high quality technical talent in local markets, they turn to Genium. As a software consultancy, we build and deploy teams of highly skilled engineers. We handle all of the background work involved in finding the best of the best talent – from recruiting to hiring, including extensive background checks. Many of our clients deal with highly sensitive data and they need the best technical skills to build high quality software and minimize risks.
Clients get top technical talent without having to worry about the logistics of finding the best fit for their short or long term needs.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset and started my first IT Consulting company in San Francisco, Iceman Softworks, where we delivered high profile mobile projects working with top engineering talent in Silicon Valley. As my business grew, my clients wanted to have longer-term support for IT projects at a more affordable price tag.
That’s when I started to do test projects outside of the US working with developers from India, China, the Philippines, and Mexico until I finally started working with talent in Argentina. That’s where I found the type of engineers I wanted to work with and knew my clients would want to work with as well. That’s when Genium was born.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Alex Iceman: Ask for help and surround yourself with a great team. There’s always going to be challenges and countless roadblocks no matter the size of the company.
Strong, client service driven relationships is the single important thing to cultivate, maintain and grow your business. Through adding value, anticipating problems, solution finding, and being a good ally, we can all build great relationships with our partners, vendors, and colleagues.
I want to enjoy every interaction with my clients and I want them to feel the same. Once you elevate your energy and frequency to the level where it’s all about helping people, giving more than receiving you start to see how relationships build and add value.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Alex Iceman: I’d say:
- Don’t ever compromise on quality and client-service excellence. Go above and beyond for your clients.
- Ask for referrals. I’ve achieved a great deal of business simply by asking for referrals.
- Hire the best people. You spend so much time working, you might as well hire people you absolutely love working with and would have no problem inviting over to a family dinner.
- Stay in business. As obvious as it sounds, it should always be top of mind as no plans will matter if you go out of business before you get to reach your goals.
- Provide an excellent customer experience. Strong, client service driven relationships is the single important thing to cultivate, maintain and grow your business.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Alex Iceman: In 2019, we moved the whole company to remote working which helped us a lot as the world went virtual. Our infrastructure, security and processes were already operational and our people were accustomed to working in this way.
For our clients, when the pandemic hit, we saw companies let go poor performing partners and vendors and left the best behind to help them grow and navigate the crisis. We kept our heads down, stayed true to our values and determination to deliver excellent service. Our partners stayed with us and grew. We also carefully listened to our clints and provided extra support where they needed it most.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Alex Iceman: Some clients wanted to have discounts and I was happy to work with my mentors to get ready for this. It would be smart to think of this ahead of time and ask for more referrals to support each other.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Alex Iceman: We are starting to see recession coming in a full swing and it normal. This happens regularly. This is a great opportunity to capture more business as its going to go up in the years to come. We see trends in telehealth, shared economy, AI. Mental health companies are doing well during the economic downtime.
We will see the slowdown in investing, valuations for the next 16 months.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Alex Iceman: I work about seven to eight hours a day and am in front of my computer roughly three hours. Being a pilot and a professional ice hockey referee I am always on the go. I use my phone a lot to communicate and even take meetings.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Alex Iceman: I love negotiations and I often tell stories about my toughest negotiations in life, business and hockey.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Alex Iceman: For us it’s sustaining the growth. We’ve been fortunate to have a good pipeline and a line of clients to onboard. We push back on growing to fast to maintain our quality and security. We have a tight sales process where our Sales team is very focused on getting lead generation right, including having a tightly run and documented client-referral program.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Alex Iceman: I am learning about building a hardware product company. We are always working on new and exciting technologies and hardware has been a dark horse for me. I am applying all I know in software to hardware prototyping. I am also learning more about how to tell the story right and help other startups with proper messaging, listening to more pitches and investing in exciting tech.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Alex Iceman: Genium puts people first. I specifically run my organization as a reverse pyramid. What that means is, I am the one at the bottom supporting my team at the top so they can support each other and our clients. I view myself as a servant leader and have created an environment and culture where my team knows they can count on me and each other no matter the circumstances. As the saying goes “Good coaches win, great coaches cover.”
I am a firm believer that culture is everything. With a winning and supportive culture that’s derived from great relationships, we all keep each other motivated.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Alex Iceman: Identifying the perfect client and people to work with. If I knew that the person and their team is open minded and kind, these are the type of people I’d like to work with. If I could identity this quicker, that would be our superpower.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Alex Iceman: Success is to stay on the right frequency of giving and receiving value and helping clients and people. If I minimize the fear and interference to that golden frequency, this is a success for everybody.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Alex Iceman for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Alex Iceman or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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