Meet Tatsiana Kirimava – CEO & Co-Founder of Orangesoft, an agency specializing in mobile and web app development. Working across Orangesoft’s company strategy, development, sales, and marketing departments, she takes a hands-on approach with both her team and clients.
Tatsiana co-founded Orangesoft in 2011, pursuing her passion for apps and new technologies and being willing to help clients solve business problems with digital solutions. Today, their mobile agency helps big brands like Hamley’s and Adidas, as well as mobile-focused early-stage startups.
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Table of Contents
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Tatsiana Kirimava: When I was a child, I had no idea what a CEO meant. And if I had known about it, I would probably say that I’d like to become a CEO. When we’re speaking about the CEO’s job, it’s more about managing people and working on the company’s development. And I really liked managing people even when I was a child. For example, when I played with other kids, I tried to get them to play by the rules.
I clearly remember that I dreamed about becoming a radio presenter, and I had an excellent strategy. Since I was too young and couldn’t get a job, I decided that I needed to get my own radio station. I started recording tapes with my favorite songs and interviews with friends. Actually, it looked like a real radio station with ads, top songs, and interviews. Yeah, it wasn’t a real business, but still, it was about dedication and building proper strategies that could lead to desired results.
When it was time to choose what faculty to enter, I had no doubts and chose Business Management. Frankly speaking, the skills I got while working are more important and valuable than all that stuff I received while studying. Closing up, having an open and enquiring mind is one of the most important things for a CEO.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Tatsiana Kirimava: Orangesoft is a mobile & web app development company with 10 years of experience in building digital solutions for clients all over the world: from the United States to New Zealand. Over the years, our bright team of 100 developers, designers, analysts, and strategists has completed more than 300 projects. We’ve also received various awards, including The Best App of the year by AppStore.
We at Orangesoft don’t only develop tech products; we also share our experience with others conducting tech consulting and tech due diligence for startups.
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Tatsiana Kirimava: I’m not just a CEO. I’m also a Co-Founder of Orangesoft. My way of becoming a CEO isn’t just an ordinary one. It’s more about building the business from the ground up than climbing up the corporate ladder.
Taking into account all my experience, becoming a CEO isn’t just about soft skills such as communication and networking. It requires a deep understanding of all the company’s processes, starting from CFO to developer roles. A unique mix of hard and soft skills will help you become a really great CEO and make your company stand out from the crowd.
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Tatsiana Kirimava: The main secret is that there are no secrets. There are three crucial things every CEO needs – relevant experience, open-mindedness, and dedication. There are no particular skills that could make you a CEO.
Speaking about inspiration, I can get it from the stories of both rising as well as failed startups. For example, I’ve recently read about Markus Villig, the Founder of Bolt, and I got inspired by his dedication and hard work.
But there are tons of other success stories to get inspired. For example, Starbucks’ success story. Starbucks went from just one local coffee bean store to an $80-billion company. I’ve attended the class led by Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO. I was both impressed and inspired by his attitude to employees.
There are hundreds of CEOs that can teach you something they can do better than others. Kevin Johnson can teach you how to win the loyalty of your employees, and Markus Villig can teach you how to work hard and how to come to the morning through all the shadows. The key thing is to learn from the best while being yourself. You cannot just use someone’s success story since every human and every company is unique.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Tatsiana Kirimava: A CEO should focus on building short and long-term strategies with an emphasis on what to do tomorrow instead of what we should do today.
When speaking about traps, I’d like to point out two of them. Firstly, it’s important to delegate tasks, even the ones that seem too important. When the task isn’t about building strategies and company development, it can be delegated. If you can delegate, your team, as well as your company, will only win.
Secondly, it’s a hiring-and-firing issue. I’ve learned that you need to hire slow and fire fast. When hiring, you need to make sure that a candidate is a perfect fit for your company. But if you think that your employee is not the right fit for the position, it’s better to say goodbye right now. Human resources are our driving force. That’s why it’s of great importance to pay particular attention when hiring new employees.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Tatsiana Kirimava We were more than ready to face lockdowns and remote work since we have offices and clients all over the world. So shifting to a remote office mode wasn’t too challenging for us. We’ve got everything ready for a work-from-home challenge like online meetings, online document storage, online workflows, etc.
At Orangesoft, remote work had no impact on the quality of work, but it influenced the relationships between employees. It was harder for new employees to onboard while there was no informal communication like coffee chatting, etc. And our so-called “old” employees started missing coffee breaks and personal contact. Everyone who wants to come to the office can come and enjoy office life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us new exciting projects since many companies were forced to adjust to the new normal. We helped lots of companies not only get a custom software solution but also grow and expand during the pandemic.
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Tatsiana Kirimava: When the COVID evolved and started progressing, it became a real challenge for most companies. A vast majority of companies faced some difficulties based on fear and uncertainty, and they started a cycle of layoffs and furloughs. I think that was the biggest mistake. Later on, the companies realized that it was a big mistake but hiring back all the employees isn’t an easy thing.
Besides, massive layoffs affect the remaining employees as well. It can easily undermine the loyalty of your employees since they’ll know that they can be easily laid off in case of a crisis. You need to clearly assess all the risks and problems in the following case before laying off employees. And we took advantage of massive layoffs, hired the best specialists for Orangesoft, and built a really great team.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Tatsiana Kirimava: The COVID-19 has shown that a crisis management strategy isn’t less important than a business development one. With a proper crisis management strategy, any COVID-19 or other unpredictable stuff can severely affect the company.
While working on a crisis management plan, you need to find answers to top questions like:
- – What to do when there is not enough money?
- – What to do when there are fewer clients and projects?
- – And other what if-questions
Thanks to our flexibility and agility, we’re able to adapt to new realities and understand what the market needs. During the pandemic, we started helping clients transform their offline businesses into online ones or power up businesses with an online mode to expand their services and continue their growth even when the global lockdown was around the corner.
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Tatsiana Kirimava: We are currently working on finding new partners in the US. Under the COVID-19, it’s harder to plan a business trip or get on the plane right away. We’d like to become closer to our clients and provide better services.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Tatsiana Kirimava: It’s probably handwriting. Nowadays we aren’t using a lot of pen and paper. We’re typing instead. And it seems that even typing will become useless soon thanks to AI and voice typing. The quality of text recognition is becoming better and better. So I think, soon we won’t type; we’ll do everything via voice typing since it’s more convenient than typing and can save tons of time.
When speaking more about business, building 5+ year-development strategies is a useless skill in the ever-changing business world. It doesn’t allow a company to adapt to new changes and new normals quickly. As COVID-19 showed, everything could be changed in a few days or even hours.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. We will select these answers for our ValiantCEO Award 2021 edition. The best answers will be selected to challenge the award.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make, this past year 2021, for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts
Tatsiana Kirimava: In 2020- 2021, we were forced to cancel all our business trips. This year, we weren’t able to visit our client in Spain and in the US. But we managed to overcome this situation and run a series of online meetings that helped both parties succeed – we were able to analyze all the client’s pains, and the client got a fully-functioning app meeting all the requirements. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that nearly all business processes can be easily transformed to online and remote.
George Wright III, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Tatsiana Kirimava for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Tatsiana Kirimava or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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The world of digital art has transformed how artists work by enabling them to use cutting-edge technology to channel their creativity. The drawing tablet is a crucial piece of equipment for digital artists since it makes it easy and precise for them to realize their visions. Wacom and XPPen are two of the leading competitors in the drawing tablet market. Both companies provide a variety of products made to accommodate artists of various ability levels. We will examine these two well-known brands in-depth in this article, concentrating on the XPPen digital sketching pad and other standout products from each business.
Since its founding in 1983, Wacom has been a leader in the digital art sector, developing ground-breaking technologies that have influenced how artists produce their work. Early offerings from Japanese manufacturers, such as the SD series, laid the groundwork for its standing as a dependable and excellent supplier of drawing tablets. However, XPPen, founded in 2005, has grown swiftly and evolved into a formidable rival to Wacom thanks to its reasonably priced and user-friendly products.
Offering a wide variety of tablets to suit different demands and price points are both Wacom and XPPen. The Intuos Series, designed for novices and hobbyists, the Cintiq Series, renowned for its cutting-edge pen display technology, and the MobileStudio Pro Series, a potent solution for working professional artists, are all part of the Wacom product line. The Deco Series, the Artist Series, and the sleek Innovator Series are all cheap options from XPPen.
For many artists, tilt and multi-touch capabilities are crucial features in addition to pressure sensitivity. Wacom tablets typically provide tilt as well as multi-touch, enabling a more natural drawing experience. Most XPPen tablets include tilt support, however, some, like the Artist 24 Pro, also have a touch bar for further functionality. The overall experience of a tablet user is greatly influenced by the quality of the screen and display. While XPPen’s Artist series has excellent displays with customizable color temperature and a laminated screen for less parallax, Wacom’s Cintiq and MobileStudio Pro series promise amazing color accuracy and resolution.
Another feature that distinguishes these brands is customization. ExpressKeys and a Touch Ring, which may be tailored to the user’s chosen shortcuts and commands, are frequently included with Wacom tablets. XPPen tablets typically have a dial that enables easy access to frequently used tools and customized shortcut keys. While some models of both brands also support Linux, both brands are compatible with Windows and macOS. Both Wacom and XPPen tablets are compatible with industry-standard applications like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter, and both businesses occasionally offer promotions and bundled software.
Wacom is well-known for its high-end products, which frequently come with a heftier price tag than those of its rivals. On the other hand, XPPen has made a name for itself by offering inexpensive options without sacrificing quality. To choose the tablet that best meets your needs, you must balance the value of each brand’s offers against their relative costs.
When buying a drawing tablet, you should seriously examine the customer service and warranty. Customer assistance is provided by Wacom and XPPen via a variety of methods, including email, phone, and online resources. Depending on the location, Wacom offers a one- or two-year guarantee on most of its products, whereas XPPen offers a one-year warranty on its tablet computers. To ensure you are adequately covered in the event of any concerns, it is crucial to become familiar with each company’s warranty policy and support options.
Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each brand to gain a better understanding of its advantages and disadvantages. Professional artists favor Wacom tablets because of their superior build quality, accuracy, and cutting-edge features. However, some users, especially newcomers or enthusiasts, may find the premium pricing to be prohibitive. On the other hand, XPPen tablets provide a cost-effective alternative with a user-friendly layout and superior performance. Although some users might think that XPPen’s products lack some of the more sophisticated capabilities found in Wacom tablets, the company nevertheless offers a good alternative for those on a tight budget.
To sum up, both Wacom and XPPen provide a variety of drawing tablets made to meet the various demands of digital artists. It is essential to consider aspects like pen technology, pressure sensitivity, display quality, customization, compatibility, cost, and customer support when selecting the best tablet. The ideal drawing tablet for you will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and needs. To choose the best tablet for their journey into digital artwork, we recommend artists explore various gadgets and consider their individual needs.