#Iteoviduals #8: Damian Krysta

1. What made you join Iteo? Tell us your story!

After I graduated, I was looking for my first job in the industry. It turned out to be a little challenging since even after a few job interviews, none of the offers looked really appealing to me. You know, when you begin your career, it’s hard to find conditions that satisfy both you and your employer. Fortunately, I found what I was looking for here at Iteo. It has opened the doors to IT industry for me.

2. Do you remember your first day or first few days at Iteo? What was it like?

It was simply terrifying (laugh). I have been thrown into deep water, working on a project since day one, and initially, I felt really overwhelmed. Fortunately, on the second day the rest of the team came over and while working together, it didn’t seem so hard anymore.
Looking from perspective, I know it was a simple project and that I was involved in order to show off my skills and to challenge myself. As soon as I stopped worrying so much, it turned out to be a great opportunity. I felt extremely motivated and treated seriously. Also, I really appreciated my teammates’ support – especially because half of them I knew from my college days! The atmosphere was phenomenal, I felt like going back to my studies (laugh).

Moreover, even before I officially came to the office on my first day, I was invited for the office bicycle trip. I had an occasion to get to know my teammates better. It also gave me an idea about how the after-work time at Iteo looks like.

3. What is your biggest professional goal you would wish to achieve?

Continuous self-development. I think there is no such a thing as “the pinnacle of one’s possibilities”. You can never rest on your laurels and say that everything has already been achieved. You can do anything really, as long as you are hardworking, up to date with everything that happens in your field, always curious and motivated.
I don’t really have any particular professional goal – I just want to do the best I can in the field I have chosen. I never stop searching and learning. I also invest my free time to improve, every day. I like what I do so I definitely won’t let it go to waste.

4. Say the first thing that will come to your mind: Who is your biggest inspiration?

I don’t have one person that inspires me – I get inspiration from listening to achievements of other people around me. For example, this weekend Mr Robert Karaś became world champion in Triple Ultra Triathlon. I’m also into running and I take part in events such as Runmageddon, so I think it’s amazing that a guy like me – even exactly from my country – achieved such a spectacular success.
I look up to people who have accomplished something and I try to observe what made them successful. I don’t tend to focus on a single person and rather learn from many people that follow their aims. That keeps me challenged and motivated. Maybe one day I will be the source of inspiration for someone? I would absolutely love that to happen!

5. Who did you want to be in the future when you were a kid?

I wanted to be Songo (the main character from Dragonball cartoon)! (laugh). And besides that, a firefighter. So you can say that I had pretty typical plans for a boy my age.
Later on, I became fascinated with programming. I got my first PC pretty late, but only after one year of using it, I went to IT school and started catching up. I found coding really fascinating, I was able to engage into a discussion about every single line of code! I consider myself a very lucky guy to be able to work in an industry I have so much fondness for.

6. If you were a fictional character (from a cartoon, movie or game) who would you be and why?

As I already mentioned, Goku from Dragonball. That cartoon marked me for my entire life (laugh). Even now I can be spotted in Dragonball t-shirt from time to time. When I was a kid I simply enjoyed the captivating action and flashy goings-on, appreciation for plot and characters came later. For now, I can’t say I’m a perfect Goku – first of all, he didn’t have such a round belly (laugh) – but I think I might get that idea of continuous self-development partially from him.

7. Imagine you are on a desert island. You can choose one person from the entire team to keep you company. Who would it be and why?

Will you allow me to give two answers if I explain them well? Yes? Okay, so it would be Michał Konieczny (Full-stack Developer) and Benjamin Rast (Frontend Developer). They are both such mood lifters! Even if something unexpected happens in the project, they always keep a calm and optimistic attitude. We would not only survive but also have a lot of fun. Moreover, they are my good friends and amazing developers who taught me a lot… So I would like to force them to survive the tortures of a desert island!

8. The most important question: iOS or Android?!

Weird question for someone who talks to you via Samsung! (laugh) Of course Android. Who would want to use a mobile phone that has a nibbled apple on it and, hence, is famous? It’s time to say “enough” to all those iOS-worshipping answers. We’ve all used Android at some point  – I don’t feel any need to change that state.

10 Facts and Myths About React Native

React Native. Due to the community admiration that surrounds Javascript, it is a one hyped up framework. It gives you the impression that everything you need to know is Javascript – and the framework will make your hybrid app, well, react like a native. It sounds incredible – who wouldn’t want to live in the world where one language can deal with both iOS and Android, and every web creator can seamlessly turn into a mobile app developer?

Well, let’s take a closer look at the React Native framework and find out some of it real advantages, and some horrendous misconceptions.

1. You no longer have to create two separate apps (for iOS and Android)

Myth. Let’s establish one thing: native apps are superior towards hybrids in most aspects. Or at least – in all aspects involving app’s native behavior, such as smooth navigation and access to mobile’ devices functionalities. Yes, you can develop a multi-platform application that will work on both iOS and Android – but it will be far from perfect.

Firstly, there are components that React Native cannot support. For example, there is no support for tab bars (on platforms other that iOS), and although you can connect any database, none of them is actually supported directly from React Native. Then, you have to develop those components separately what almost completely defeats the purpose, as obviously, you have to add those elements independently for iOS and for Android. Sometimes there are only singular controls, sometimes whole views – depending on how detailed it is supposed to be and how coherently it should work.

It’s always a good thing to have a deep, technical understanding of a certain platform. If you develop applications for iOS on a daily basis, you will be able to create something closely resembling a native app. Also, you will be able to notice any deviation from the norm.

Secondly, native components do not perform that well on multi-platform apps. That’s unfortunately a stated fact, not just a subjective opinion. It’s mostly because they create a coating – an additional level of management – over device functionalities, which really slows them down. Direct operations of a real native app will always be faster and more stable. So be prepared for some possible crushes and long loading when using a camera or a GPS in a hybrid app.

2. Apps created with React Native are indistinguishable from native ones

Myth. Once again – although the framework has the word “native” in its name, it doesn’t create native apps. It creates multi-platform apps that try to mimic native ones. This is a huge difference. It’s like going to the concert of someone covering Eric Clapton – he may do it pretty well, sound decently similar, even wear his significant Cordings suit. At first glance you may even feel satisfied. But with every misplayed cord, every false note and every misspelled lyrics, you will be reminded that he is only an imitation. Sure, he may be a good artist, overall a nice guy and hey, the tickets were much cheaper, but he is not, nor will ever be, a real Eric Clapton. The more you like and appreciate the real singer, the more you know about him and his artistic achievements, the clearer you will see the difference.

So if you are used to native apps, not to even mention – you develop them, you will quickly notice that app made in React Native is different. Moreover, app stores are less willing to accept multi-platforms. The process of launching the hybrid to the app store is much longer and more complex.

3. You can choose from lots and lots of libraries to add native elements

Fact. React Native is an open source. There are a lot of libraries to choose from, and the collection is still expanding. You will find a lot of great libraries to help you with pretty much everything, starting from API and navigation, to fancy vector icons and animations. Befriend GitHub, as it is going to be your best buddy when developing anything in React Native. It’s true that React Native community does a great job providing solutions to many of framework’s initial problems. Whenever in doubt, check out if the community hasn’t solved your issue already.

4. It’s unexpensive in development

Fact, but… You don’t need two separate development teams – or at least you don’t need them as long as you do not need to add some native elements unavailable for pure React Native. Creating and maintaining one application instead of two may be cheaper, but you have to take into consideration that every additional native element will increase cost and eventually also the risk of application becoming unstable.

To put it: to some extent, React Native multi-platform apps indeed are cheaper, but after crossing the line with adding native elements, the cost may not only equalize with cost of creating a native, but even suppress it. Lots of people and companies talk about React Native “cutting costs in half” or guaranteed “up to 40% savings” when using it, but in many cases, after adding native elements and further development, prices become very similar to those of a native.

5. It’s popular among clients

Fact, but… Mainly because of the point mentioned above. Lower prices are always tempting, and it may sound so good that you are creating one thing that will work on every device. However, you already know the drill – it isn’t the whole picture.

6. It’s easy & comfortable in development

Fact, but… It can be easy and it can be comfortable. It’s relatively simple to learn Javascript, so creating an app with React Native isn’t difficult as well, especially with all the libraries the community provide. In order to create something that can really stand between native apps without shame, you need much more knowledge and experience. So you may say that React Native is easy to learn but slightly harder to master.

As for the second part of the statement, developers with wider experience agree that you will need some additional tools (fortunately, they are free – also, easy to find and obtain) to make the process more pleasing, especially the debugging part. So it’s not really that comfortable by default – but you can easily adjust it to your needs.

7. It has a great community

Fact. Javascript is really popular, so there are lots of people who are interested in React Native, which leads to lots of people sharing their experience and expanding the library. If you find yourself struggling with any troubles, you can count on many people willing to help you. React Native’s community is energetic and friendly towards new members.

React Native, as an open source project, is being developed by the community, which means it is constantly expanding. With that being said – it’s actually the community that leads the framework to be even worth considering at all.

8. It’s great for MVPs

Myth. This is one of the most signficant misconceptions about React Native. MVP is neither the prototype nor the mockup, but the basic form of your product that you can already put on the market and show to your customers (you can read more about MVPs here) So it is basically app’s core functionality in the simplest form, which means that if that core functionality is anything native-related, React Native may not show its full potential. If you want a native component to be a star of the show, why choose a multi-platform to achieve that? As mentioned before, for those who are used to native apps, the differences may be easy to notice.

Moreover, most MVPs play the role of a foundation for the whole app that will be constructed in the future. The bigger the app becomes, the more the framework will struggle. It’s more reasonable to create an MVP with a more trustworthy technology, unless you are absolutely sure that it will be very simple and you’ll never want to develop it more.

9. It’s great for simple apps

Fact, but… Referring to the previous point – React Native isn’t the greatest for MVPs, but a simple app that isn’t intended to expand in the future is a whole different story. You can learn how to create in React Native easily (Javascript, Javascript!) and given the product is plain, it may work decently well on many platforms. So if for example you want to develop a simple product like a mobile shopping list or a notes storage, you can buddy up with React Native pretty well.

In the past, many customers wanted to develop simple products, for example applications dedicated for a single event, in frameworks such as Xamarin. As currently the hype concentrates around React Native, it may be a good choice to develop such products using it instead.

10. You can move seamlessly from being a web developer to do hybrids with React Native

Myth. That may be the biggest misconception of them all, because theoretically – yes, you can. If you know Javascript, React Native opens its arms for you. Unfortunately, coding an app doesn’t automatically make you an app developer – and there’s the rub.

If you already developed a few truly native applications, you know how they work. Remember, websites and applications are two completely separate things. You may be the best website developer to ever exist, but apps have their own rules. You have to learn them first, because otherwise, it will be rather noticeable to everyone with the slightest knowledge in the topic that your app is not native at heart. Web developers are used to different solutions and ways of thinking. You navigate websites differently than a mobile app, don’t you? So it’s important to understand that it is not only the technology you have to learn – but also the technique.

Know the needs, know the limits

The tone we use talking about React Native may seem rather tepid, but it’s not like we think it is a bad solution – just maybe a little overrated for what it really is. If you know your needs and framework’s limitation, it may be a great technology for you.

React Native promises a lot. Reading about its assumed benefits may leave you really excited – one framework that allows you to create apps for both iOS and Android using good old Javascript, what is this witchcraft?! This may be the reason why so many people leave the framework disappointed – the expectations were set too high for what they actually found because they found a nice, open-source framework that allows them to create a simple app working on all devices, nothing more, nothing less. Attempts to create something that can compete with complicated, native applications fail miserably, as React Native simply can’t handle this. It’s not even that you can’t create something pleasant – it depends primarily on your skills – but with every additional feature you may notice that the app runs slower and slower, which makes creating big things in React Native pretty unprofitable.

To sum things up – enjoy the fun parts of React Native, because it can be truly a lot of fun, but remember that it won’t fulfill your dream about a hybrid in a native’s skin. It won’t dethrone neither Swift nor Java and Kotlin, it won’t end the native’s reign, it won’t save the world and cure global warming. If technology capable to mimic native seamlessly ever comes to live, be sure we will be first to rave about it.

#Iteoviduals #7: Aleksandra Zimoch

1. What made you join Iteo? Tell us your story!

A colleague from my previous job, who worked at Iteo at the time, gave ma a call to say that they were looking for a Project Manager. I was pretty much exhausted by working at the typical corporation, so I showed interest in that offer.
As I was researching Iteo, its projects and team members, I was beyond surprised to see that a very old friend of mine, Kamila (Kamila Figura, Design Team Leader) works there. Kamila and I met over ten years ago when we both worked at one of the pubs in London and didn’t really have contact with each other ever since. I called her to ask how employment at Iteo looks like from her perspective, and after a long and honest talk, I decided to give it a try.

I was looking for a place with great atmosphere. As I already mentioned, I was really, really tired of working at the typical corporation, especially because interpersonal contacts seemed so fake there. That’s why the argument of friendly working environment really convinced me.

2. Do you remember your first day or first few days at Iteo? What was it like?

My onboarding was very fast, rapid and dynamic. I entered my new responsibilities quickly, and to be perfectly honest – I was too stressed out to remember my first day. Most probably I was sitting at some training session or fulfilling some probationary task, as I have been doing this the entire first week.
What I noticed immediately was that everything they told me about the friendly environment was true. Jokes were not always of the highest quality, but everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy each other’s companion. I really appreciated kitchen gatherings in lunch breaks and the way every day began with talks over the coffee machine. It’s much better to work with people you are actually happy to see.

3. What is your biggest professional goal you would wish to achieve?

Calmness. Stability. I would like to reach a point of a financial security, where you don’t have to worry about urgent issues that may suddenly happen. Also, I would like my life to do not revolve only around my job. That may not be strictly a professional goal but I think that professional and personal life are interrelated.
As for my Project Management career – because I wish to stick to that occupation – I want to reach the point where I deliver the projects perfectly, do a textbook example of a Project Manager’s job. Unfortunately, that is not only up to me, but I want to do my best nevertheless. I also want to develop myself, learn more and more about Project Management, its tools and methodologies. I want to know enough to be prepared for everything and to be able to reduce the risk of failures to the minimum. I want to be proud of my job.

4. Say the first thing that will come to your mind: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Ellen Degeneres, hundred percent sure. She’s my absolute idol in everything she accomplished in her life, and also in what kind of person she is.
Do you know her story? Back in the 90s, she played the main role in a successful sitcom “Ellen” (also known as “These friends of mine”), and to make it clear, she actually played herself. In one of the episodes, she revealed that she is a lesbian. It was a huge scandal (charm of the 90s), she got fired, her series was cancelled and everyone was offended because it was unthinkable back then for someone to talk about different sexuality publicly!
With that one act, Ellen risked everything she has already accomplished but she stayed true to herself. She was fed up with living in falsehood, so she made a revolution – both in the show business and her personal life.
Now she is extremely popular, widely recognized and respected. Thanks to her, many people decided to come out of the closet, not only with their orientation. Despite being a powerful show-business persona she keeps being simply a good human. She gets a lot but gives away even more – also in the financial sense. I really respect her honesty and unchangeable moral values combined with the optimistic approach and constant smile.
Of course, I don’t know her personally – maybe behind closed doors, there is something I wouldn’t like to know about her. But what I can see, I simply adore. That’s the best life truth – to simply be a good man.

As for my personal life, however predictable it may sound, I would say that my mom. It was she who taught me what’s the most important. I also admire the high working ethic of my boyfriend – you rarely see a person who is that honest and engaged in what he does on a daily basis. He gets involved wholeheartedly in every task he gets to be done. So I have role models of certain behaviours in my immediate surroundings as well. As you may see, I’m all about honesty – with other people and with yourself.

5. Who did you want to be in the future when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a nun (laugh). Seriously. Back then I thought that nun’s habits were extremely pretty, and watching “Sister Act” regularly (singing Whoopi Goldberg was glorious) left a mark on me as well. I was also quite religious at the time, as most children raised in mass Catholic culture during the period of life when they celebrate their First Communion. Obviously, that phase came and gone away. The second big plan of mine was to be a Firewoman – I didn’t really see any woman in Fire Brigade and decided to be the first one. I craved some heroic actions back then – also, those helmets and fire trucks, man! Strong woman, I know – like my mother! (laugh)

6. If you were a fictional character (from a cartoon, movie or game) who would you be and why?

When I was much, much younger, there was that cartoon named Dexter’s Lab. There was a girl named Deedee, annoying sister of the genius main character. She really reminded myself, as my goal at the time was to bring my older sister to insanity. The more she was in a state of nerves, the more satisfied I was. So I guess – Deedee would be my pick. I used to be one little ball of malice back then (laugh).

Nowadays, I would say Monica from “Friends”. Not in the OCD cleaning sense, but I am a control freak like her. At least that’s what my friends say!

7. Imagine you are on a desert island. You can choose one person from the entire team to keep you company. Who would it be and why?

Kama, I guess (Kamila Figura, Design Team Leader). We know ourselves for a very long time, so we could sit under a palm tree, sip coconut drinks and talk about good old days.
To be honest, I would love to hang out with the whole team – they are so entertaining. I would like to have fun with them in some unusual circumstances. For the first time, I have an occasion to work with many people that are actually younger than me and I find it to be really interesting.

8. The most important question: iOS or Android?!

Before I came here, I was used to Android only. For now, I still have the smartphone with Android but I learn to use iOS for my working needs. iPhone annoys me, to be honest, but thanks to being able to use both Android and iOS, I’m more aware of the pros and cons of both.

Why .NET Core Is Thriving?

It was the 27th June of 2016 when the world was hit by a bolt from the blue (or more specifically – from the four-coloured window). The ground parted, angelic choirs raised their voices in exaltation and pinguin-praising and apple-praising pagans were given the chance to believe. Mankind was blessed with the .NET Core 1.0, along with Visual Studio 2015 Update 3, which enabled .NET Core development. And Microsoft saw that it was good.

Leaving behind the holy metaphors – in November of 2014, Microsoft announced .NET Core, the new version of the famous .NET Framework, changing the game once and for all. Formerly, the biggest disadvantage of .NET Framework was its exclusive dedication to Microsoft devices. Core was the result of an effort to include cross-platform support for the framework. That gave .NET, already known to be great and highly reliable, chance to get even more appreciation and further advancement.

Currently, .NET Core is definitely on trend and we can’t deny that we are proud to be in the lead of .NET Core development. We tamed the implementation of the .NET framework early and now we are glad to be called one of the very few .NET Core specialists in our area. Let’s take a closer look and talk about the Microsoft child that makes such a fuss in the development world.

Revenge is best served cold. And with the cup of Java

Interestingly enough, .NET was born out of controversy. In 1995, Sun Microsystems Inc. introduced their beloved child to the world. Child being the impressive set of computer software and specification. Child widely known till this day, with its logo presenting cup of steaming coffee. Yes, you guessed – it was the Java platform.

Microsoft was pretty impressed by the language and its ecosystem, and decided to implement that strategy itself. Shortly Microsoft introduced its own implementation, and then started enhancing it beyond the Java standard. In 1997, Sun finally lost its patience and sued Microsoft. Yet instead of giving up or trying to cooperate with Sun, Microsoft decided to outshine it (pun may be intended). First beta version of .NET 1.0 was released by late 2000.

Here arises the question – so is the .NET just the Java copied by Microsoft? Definitely not.
Are these two similar to some extend? Definitely yes.

Both .NET and Java are dedicated to serve the purpose of enterprise application development, both are object oriented, type safe and have automatic garbage collection. Both were created to allow programmers develop the n-tiered applications, comprising a client tier, server tier and database tier. Both platforms have a similar set of components and features that provide a standard way performing certain tasks. Finally, they are both iconic and have a great cult following.

Differences? Well, Java is based on the concept that the same software should be interoperable with different devices, while .NET runs only on Microsoft’s one (remember: here we are talking about the pure .NET, not .NET Core). Furthermore, while in Java framework Java is your programming language by default, .NET supports several languages, such as C#, F#, and Visual Basic. The list goes on, but those two differences are the most commonly recognizable.

Loving the Visual Studio. Pros and cons of .NET

As mentioned before, .NET really shows its greatness when it comes to enterprise application development. It finds the best use in big, long-term projects when you are willing to sacrifice a little more development time in the name of top-notch safety and reliability.

Furthermore, because .NET framework was developed by the programmers from the great Microsoft, it gives the sense of environment you can trust. Security, certificates, encryption – developers feel certain and confident using the platform that is a Microsoft’s baby. It’s stable in operation and good in maintenance. C#, the flagship language of .NET, is a compiled and strongly typed language. So it’s not only really secure but also do not require having the additional developer to verify the code.

The whole .NET platform works on a higher level of abstraction – you don’t have to focus on anything lower leveled, you are just taking care of what’s really important. Also, libraries are being constantly updated and adjusted to newer versions. At the same time, the old versions are still being supported.

Moreover, you do not only count on Microsoft official support, but also enjoy the great community surrounding the framework. You can find the great documentation on the Internet. And there is Visual Studio.

Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment, including code editor and code refactoring. Visual Studio is widely appreciated, and a lot of developers, even those who do not support Microsoft personally, agree that it is one of the best tools of its kind. It does not only support 36 different programming languages, but also allows the code editor and debugger to support (to varying degrees) nearly any programming language. It has great IntelliSense and lots of plugins that significantly improve the process of coding.

Asking developers about .NET’s disadvantages creates a long moment of silence. Not because they are too afraid to offend the great gods of four-colored window, but because it is hard to find. If you want to be very specific and strict, there is one thing that comes to my mind –  .NET isn’t the best for startups, as they often look for technologies that are quick in development.

Wait a minute, you may say, and what about the fact that .NET works only on Microsoft-powered devices?! That isn’t a small thing at all! Not to even mention that clients aren’t really into Windows Phone and don’t want to invest in .NET for mobiles. How is that not a problem?!

It was a problem. A pretty big one. But then .NET Core appeared.

Great to the Core

At Microsoft Connect(); conference in 2014 Microsoft announced that “.NET Core will be entirely released as an open-source software”. That alternative framework implementation opened doors that were previously closed tight – most noticeable allowed .NET to be multi-platform, which means that it can run not only on Microsoft devices but also on Linux and iOS ones, which solves the biggest issue of classic .NET.

.NET Core name basically explains itself perfectly. It’s a filtered essence of .NET, its most important core, that has been rewritten in order to be fully transferable and to work on all platforms. Its source code is available on the distributed version control system – GIT. You can easily adjust it to your needs.

.NET Core is currently one of the Microsoft’s most beloved projects – the company invests impressive amounts of money in its development, and most of classic .NET libraries are being transferred to .NET Core. The framework focuses mainly on web app development, as the market analysis shows a sharp decline in desktop apps’ popularity. Most probably that is the reason, why the lines of code that allow creating desktop apps aren’t going to be rewritten to .NET Core. You can use elements of classic .NET while coding in .NET Core, but you have to remember that those elements will be available only on Microsoft devices.

.NET Core 2.0 was released in August, 2017. It is worth mentioning that migration of projects from version 1.1 was as painless as possible, while the update resulted in a significant increase in performance. Overall, .NET Core became the next best thing in application development – and it still hasn’t said its last word yet.

Why it’s so extraordinary to use .NET Core?

As mentioned earlier, .NET Core is relatively a fresh thing. Although not perfect, it seems to be one of the greatest development initiatives of the last few years. We saw potential in that framework implementation early, so we were able to master it and start using in commercial projects before lots of other software agencies.

Of course, we maintain applications made in classic .NET, but lots of new projects we already develop in .NET Core. It all depends on our client’s will and the target group of his product. Classic .NET still has many features that in some cases can make it more attractive. Nevertheless, the multi-platform approach of .NET Core is tempting. And our experience attracts entrepreneurs who want to follow the most alluring trends in app development.

#Iteoviduals #6: Alicja Stalmach

1. What made you join Iteo? Tell us your story!

Well, that’s quite a long story! During my last lecture of Business Language at University of Silesia, we had a special guest doing a presentation. That special guest turned out to be Jerzy (Jerzy Kufel, Iteo’s CEO), looking for sales interns to join his company. That intrigued me, so during the lecture, I asked if I can give him my CV.

Funny thing is – I had the last step of job interview in another company that day (to be honest that wasn’t supposed to be my dream job), so I had my CV literally at hand. Surprised by my unexpected readiness to be recruited, Jerzy invited me to come to Iteo right after that other interview.

I got that other job, however, I didn’t fully declare my acceptance yet, because honestly, I was much more interested in a chance to work at Iteo. As you may see, I succeeded – and here I am, for over two years now. I remember coming back home that day, absolutely baffled I got two spot offers the same day, one being absolutely unexpected and in industry I didn’t even realise existed.

2. Do you remember your first day or first few days at Iteo? What was it like?

I don’t remember my first day very well, because I was so overwhelmed with incentives and new information, although I can recall my job interview as if it was yesterday! Especially, when I was waiting, completely stressed out, for Jerzy and Ola (Aleksandra Prorok, Office Manager) to make the big decision and the people from the team gathered on the kitchen’s sofa to check me out (laugh). I also remember being asked about the newest model of Samsung smartphone. I knew the answer only because my boyfriend is a tech enthusiast – and I will always remember that it was Galaxy S7!

From my actual first day at work I remember Kami (Kamila Figura, Design Team Leader) helping me with coffee machine. It was very heartwarming – everybody was so kind and helpful, asking if I need anything and so on.

3. What is your biggest professional goal you would wish to achieve?

I think I would like to reach some point of stability – the feeling that I’m truly good at something and that I can share my knowledge and experience with others. I feel like there is still a very long path in front of me and that I have to invest a lot of time and energy to achieve that goal. However, I feel like this is exactly what will give me the most satisfaction – being at point where my experience and knowledge are worth sharing. You can tell that my success will be the ability to help others achieve theirs.

I don’t know what future will bring – as my job-seeking story showed, it may be really unpredictable – but I’m all about continuous development, looking for the new ways and possibilities. I would like to show young people that life is full of chances, you just have to be open-minded and brave and never doubt in yourself.

4. Say the first thing that will come to your mind: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Firstly, I would like to divide my sources of inspiration into three categories: personal, professional and my scouting life. These are three segments that formed the person I am today.

When it comes to my personal life, there are mainly my parents and my boyfriend, who always kept me inspired and wanting more. In my scouting life, I always admired our District Commissioner, Asia. She is a very engaged person, hardworking and altruistic. Of course, what’s too much isn’t healthy, but she was always a role model of a reasonable selflessness.

For my professional life, I’m not able to point such a person. On the one hand, I admire those brave founders and start-upers. But on the other, I think that this is not a mission of every person and not everybody needs such a spotlight in their life.

Summing up, I always think of my inspiration as a set of people, experiences and circumstances that influenced me in one way or another.

5. Who did you want to be in the future when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a policeman… or rather a policewoman. When I think about it, it was probably because I wanted to be strong and able to cope with even the most difficult situations. Sometimes I even wonder why I didn’t fulfill that plan.

6. If you were a fictional character (from a cartoon, movie or game) who would you be and why?

I wanted to be a Sailor Moon! I always wanted to be a hero. We played some kind of a role-play with my sister and cousins as kids, and every single one of us had a permanent role as one of the Sailor Moon Soldiers. And guess what – I was Usagi Tsukino (main character) herself (laugh). If you think about it, she was such an awkward and shiftless butterfinger at the beginning, but turned out to be the most powerful and courageous one at the end.

I also like to prove everyone that women are strong both in physical and mental way. I can’t stand when someone’s saying that women are weaker. We are definitely different, but in no means worse. And there is our beauty in it.  (note from the interviewer: the interview was published a few days after Alicja had beaten the Runmageddon Classic run).

7. Imagine you are on a desert island. You can choose one person from the entire team to keep you company. Who would it be and why?

It would be really hard, mainly because of habits I brought from scouting. I guess my approach would be a bit different from those of the rest of the team. But if I have to choose, I will divide my answer depending on if I would like to survive, or have some fun.

If I would like to survive, I would choose Jola (Jolanta Baran, Head of US Operations). When it comes to our personalities, we are quite similar, having leadership features and always wanting to achieve more and more. But in many business cases we have quite disparate opinions, which is good, because thanks to this we are able to analyse each problem from A to Z from two different approaches. This is why we could survive together.

If I would like to totally chill out and simply have fun, I would choose you (Gabriela Cendrzak, Content Specialist)! You would be talking about cats all the time and it would be hilarious to watch you trying to deal with all that survival conditions, wild nature and lack of make-up!  (laugh) Also, after the stay on a desert island, you would be able to write a book about that, the one that would be a bestseller for sure.

8. The most important question: iOS or Android?!

Two years ago I would say that most definitely Android. But as for now – iOS for sure, especially for work. Working on iOS is far easier and faster, at least for me.

Comparing Native, Hybrid & Web

Once upon a time, there was a wonderful Kingdom of Applications, ruled by a wise and devoted royal couple. There was a Queen called the Web App, heiress of the great family of Web Pages. And there was a King called the Native App, charming and energetic, loved by the subjects, a true son of the Kingdom.

They had a royal baby called the Hybrid App. The heir of his mother’s flexibility and father’s functionality. But he wasn’t perfect – he inherited the bright, but also the dark sides of his parents’ features.

Years have passed and the kingdom was getting a little distressed. People were whispering that Queen was becoming sluggish and her way of thinking was outdated. There were also voices saying that King’s ideas and actions are hard to afford and that he divided the kingdom into followers of the Almighty Bitten Apple Cult and Association of Supreme Green Robot.

Little Prince was constantly changing himself trying to cope with the task of correcting his parents’ mistakes. But did he ever fully succeed?…

Deciding which type of an application will best fit your needs isn’t simple. You can easily get lost, confused by continuously changing technology and mixed signals you receive from different sources. Who’s right? Are there any universal rules you should follow? The Internet is full of outdated information and misconceptions. Native apps are usually glorified and favoured, but are they really superior in all aspects and in every situation?

The Queen: Web

The concept of a web app itself may sound confusing. What is the difference between our good, old website and something called a web app? Well, the funny thing is nobody knows for sure, because there is a fine line between these two. The most relevant distinction is the fact that a web app is majorly interactive, while websites are generally more like informative blackboards. But of course, the difference is subjective and not always clear.

Web apps are built in HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, just as regular websites. You have the access to templates and frameworks, such as React, Angular or Vue.js, which speed up the process of development, especially its beginning. They may feel like native apps when running on mobile devices. However, they are pretty far out from the thing that first pops out in your head when you hear the word “application”.

As for the things that speak for their benefit, they are usually the most inexpensive option. In most cases, they are easy to build, and also to maintain.

The downsides? Well, their usability is sometimes limited, as they don’t have the easiest access to all mobile devices’ functionalities. They are said not to be as intuitive, and most of the users tend to like them less than the native apps.

The King: Native

Native apps are what most of the people think about when they come across the word “application”. They are almost everyone’s personal favourites. They are developed precisely for a specific operating system, and unlike the web ones, are supposed to be downloaded, not just run in the browser.

Natives, depending on the operating system for which they are addressed, are built in Objective-C or Swift (for iOS) and Java or Kotlin (for Android). Their very specific characteristic is that you can’t run Android apps on an Apple product and vice versa – Google and Apple are competing companies, well known to be frenemies for years now.

When it comes to natives’ advantages, there are a lot of them. They tend to have the best UX, as they are loved by the users (to the point where some of them manifest their loyalty towards their favourite operating system loudly). They are fast, responsive and reliable. Also, they have the fastest and most reliable access to a wide spectrum of mobile devices’ functionalities, such as GPS, camera, gyroscope or microphone. They are intuitive, support gestures and are easy to find in the app stores. In addition, they are less likely to be forgotten, because once downloaded, they constantly remind you about their appearance just by their icon sitting comfortably on your screen.

As you can see, the list of the advantages is impressive. List of the cons may look ridiculously short compared to it, yet it’s hard to omit the fact that those are pretty serious issues. Firstly, if you want your native app to work on both platforms, you need two teams of developers, one of them specializing in Android and the second one in iOS. Which also means that every update, change or amendment must be implemented separately. That highly rises the cost of not only the development but also maintenance.

The Little Prince: Hybrid

Lastly, there is the precious child of the royal couple – a hybrid app. I used the child metaphor because the hybrid app may be described as a web app in native app’s clothes. Basically, while on a mobile platform, they translate themselves into platform’s native code.

Most of the hybrids are built using cross-compatible technologies, such as Javascript. They run on a simplified browser on your mobile device. By using libraries, they also get the access to some features and functionalities native apps have. Hybrids used to be more like web apps in terms of simplicity, but recently things have changed. Currently, we have access to frameworks such as Xamarin or React Native which allow doing the cross-platform development without sacrificing the UX so much and access to native API. Great examples of products based on this solution are Slack or Pinterest.

Due to the changes mentioned in hybrid’s usability, currently, their price tag spectrum and functionalities widened greatly. Their low costs of development used to be their huge advantage, yet nowadays it depends on many circumstances. On the other hand, that also means that you have an access to much more of the mobile devices’ capacity. What’s more,  for sure they are easier to scale to another platform which is one of their crucial pros.

Cons? As it’s been said, although they used to be pretty inexpensive, it isn’t always like that anymore. Of course, they can still be done without a big budget but it also comes with lack of most native functionalities. The similar thing happened to development time, it used to be quite short, now it depends. They don’t always get the App Store approval. And the users seem not to like them as much as they like native apps. Even the greatest design of a hybrid will never give the exact feeling of a native. Either way, the UX suffers.

Democracy in the kingdom

As you have probably already noticed, there is no way to choose the one and only solution for all the projects. You are probably already sick of getting the ‘it depends’ answer all the time, yet there’s truly no remedy. You have to think deeply about what you are heading towards, what your plans, needs and expectations are. You have to understand the differences between the options: take your budget into consideration, also the amount of time you can spend. Well executed workshops can dispel most of your concerns, allowing you to focus on what’s most important.

Although native apps are truly awesome in terms of their functionality, they are not always the best option – especially if your idea is rather simple and does not require much development. Or, for example, you just need an MVP. Do not underestimate app options other than the holy native – especially the hybrids can positively surprise you.

Still, if you are in need of something really sophisticated, big and with many functionalities, native applications are the way to go. When it comes to these features, they still rule the kingdom with an iron fist. It’s also important to remember that every additional, native-like feature in your hybrid app may increase its cost. Sometimes the cost of creating (and maintaining) two separate native applications may turn out to be smaller than the cost of developing one very complicated hybrid app. Always do your research, check out the market and your target group – maybe the greatest and most economical option will be creating a native app for one platform, as the users of the other one aren’t really your intended audience?

You always have to take into the consideration the range of functionalities you want, your target, characteristics of your business scope, things you may want to change in the future, and so on. If you are aiming at something simple and informative, think about the web app. If you are going for something more complex, talk to your agency whether the native or hybrid will suit you better. Their experience will help you find the best solution.

And this is the moment when the fairytale should come to an end – but the glorious Kingdom of Applications, as the land where technology and modernity are inscribed in the constitution, is ever-growing, so the fairytale will go on and on.

The Not-Really-End

#Iteoviduals #5: Michał Konieczny

1. What made you join Iteo? Tell us your story!

First of all, I wanted to change my work environment for a better one and take on new challenges. The office is well connected and located in the vicinity of the university which, at that time, was an additional advantage. Kornel (Kornel Warwas, .NET Team Leader) was my lecturer, therefore I knew that he was able to guarantee a dynamic development of the newly formed team in Bielsko-Biała. How could I have not taken this opportunity?

2. Do you remember your first day or first few days at Iteo? What was it like?

I do not remember much because it was quite a long time ago. The move to Bielsko was preceded by a month’s leave so the only thing I’m sure of is that I was full of enthusiasm for work. Ultimately, I was supposed to get acquainted with the new technology during the first weeks, but it turned out that I could help with some existing project so I could not complain about boredom at the start. The crew was not numerous, it consisted of several people with whom I quickly found common language. I remember delicious coffee… Unfortunately, there was no pizza! During breaks we organized spontaneous sports games utilizing a small ball and adapted office equipment. Good times, there was a lot of laughter!

3. What is your biggest professional goal you would wish to achieve?

I do not have any specific goal, the achievement of which will bring me closer to professional fulfillment. In the near future I would like to constantly improve my skills, gain experience and be better at what I do while maintaining a balance between work and leisure. However, I am not sure if I want to connect my future with this industry. We’ll see what time brings.

4. Say the first thing that will come to your mind: Who is your biggest inspiration?

After a moment’s thought, I have to admit that it is impossible to name specific people. Many people inspire me in their own way. Surely, there are friends, family and Tadeusz Drozda. Travelling also brings me a large baggage of experience and valuable inspiration. Exploring more and more places is a great opportunity to meet interesting people, confront their beliefs and diverse worldview. Often it’s the accidental situations that affect life choices for a long time and shape the personality allowing you to become better.

5. Who did you want to be in the future when you were a kid?

For some time, like every boy, I wanted to be a footballer, but after scoring two suicidal goals in one match I gave up. At some point in my existence I wanted to be a gangster but it also failed for obvious reasons. In later years I lived without any idea from day to day but somewhere always rattled the desire to explore the world which, however, the programming defeated in the fight for my favor. And here I am.

6. If you were a fictional character (from a cartoon, movie or game) who would you be and why?

The transformation of water into wine sounds quite good for me. Besides, I’d like to be like Mr. Pepe the Platypus. It would be nice to be a platypus. Platypus are unusual for mammals.

7. Imagine you are on a desert island. You can choose one person from the entire team to keep you company. Who would it be and why?

Let’s just say that some abrasion in a similar situation is behind me. Last autumn I went to a wild camping with Dominik (Dominik Kawczak, .NET Developer) on the most remote and at the same time the least populated island of the Azores archipelago. Therefore, I can definitely say that I would not take him to a deserted island for company. But except for him, I would choose anyone because all of us have the ability to create something out of nothing and together we could make the dream of the Second Polish Republic of the Polish overseas colony come true.

8. The most important question: iOS or Android?!

A short question, a short answer: iOS. I prefer bulletproof solutions and no compromises. I will be forced to use Android for my punishment in hell (laugh).

Finding Top App Devs

We are where our customers are and there is no research-based site for ratings and reviews such as Clutch. Iteo is pleased to announce that you can reach us there and find out what cooperation with us really looks like based on the experiences of our customers.

Why do we think it’s so important? It’s our clients that determine whether our development meets their expectations or not. Even the best reviews from the most competent critics don’t give us as much satisfaction as seeing our customers enjoying the project we made together. So it’s not the pointless vanity that makes us so thrilled with our high rates on Clutch. It’s not about tables and rankings. It’s about the real appreciation and knowing that we have created something special together and we are both proud of it.

“The iteo team is very talented and demonstrated a lot of care to make sure things were done right.”

Why we invite our potential clients to Clutch? Because we believe in results over bragging and Clutch gives us the possibility to show, not tell. Every testimonial and opinion is verified and true-to-life, and you can easily find out what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with us (however the latter didn’t happen so far, which makes us motivated to keep up the great work).

“I’m glad I have a partner in iteo that is able to complete the project seamlessly from concept, through development, to product launch. They do great quality work, and it’s always on time.”

Why would you choose iteo? Because we believe that the finest software and most outstanding design simply isn’t enough. We go further than that and provide you with advanced business consultation, sharing our knowledge and experience, and constantly challenging you to reach higher and higher. This mindset has pushed us to be one of Poland’s top app developers, which gives us the possibility to help our customers better. We work with you, not just for you and we want to help you achieve the success.

“…Working with Iteo has been one of the best experiences of my career.”

Speech is silver, silence is golden – but reviews and case studies are over both. Get them on our Clutch profile.

#Iteoviduals #4: Piotr Guzia

1. What made you join Iteo? Tell us your story!

Well, I was looking for new challenges, simple as that. I wanted to be a part of projects that would confront my skills and trigger me to further self-development. I’m not that kind of person that settles down on safe stabilization when it comes to my programming activities.

2. Do you remember your first day or first few days at Iteo? What was it like?

There was pizza. I left my house really early to be in the office ahead of time, only to be almost too late because of parking issues (laugh). I remember I was listening to my new teammates’ talks – mainly the silly jokes and banters – thinking that I may really fit here, because their sense of humor was as abstract as mine. That was a bracing impression.

3. What is your biggest professional goal you would wish to achieve?

Firstly – simply to make better and better apps every day. Especially, when it comes to their architecture. I care a lot about code’s clarity and I like exploring new tools and it allows me to never get bored with what I do.

Secondly, somewhere in the future, I’d wish to be some kind of a technical leader. I really like to cooperate with people and when I reach the level of technical knowledge that would allow me to teach others, I would love to lead my own team. Of course, I wouldn’t want to be just the one that gives orders, but a truly engaged team member that also happens to be the one that guides the rest.

4. Say the first thing that will come to your mind: Who is your biggest inspiration?

I don’t think there is one specific person. I read and watched a few interviews with one guy that is famous in our development environment named Uncle Bob. He writes interesting books and have really intriguing opinions about the way in which the programming world is heading. They cover many topics, including programming languages, architecture and also how to be a pragmatic developer and overall professionalist. I think that he may be my inspiration of some sort, at least for my professional life.

I think that the best inspiration are your teammates and all the people you meet on a daily basis. Their thoughts and opinions may influence yours, may question what you took for granted and encourage you to get better and better. Every team member may inspire you, as they might have that so called fresh look and notice things or have thoughts no one else had.

5. Who did you want to be in the future when you were a kid?

It may surprise you, but I always wanted to do something with computers. When I got my first one, I initially broke it apart in order to see what’s inside! (laugh). Later on, when any PC in my neighborhood would break up, instead of calling a serviceman, I wanted to fix it all by myself. And remember, looking for anything on the Internet in times of radio modems and limited impulses was hard! (laugh). God bless my parents for all the high bills they had to pay. On average, once a month I formatted my computer’s system and restored it out of pure boredom. So you can say the stars were aligned for me becoming a developer.

What may surprise you, I attended the first and second level music school playing clarinet, and there were the times I wanted to become a professional musician. Sometimes I even wonder how it would to sit in the philharmonic hall instead of sitting in front of computer’s screen.

6. If you were a fictional character (from a cartoon, movie or game) who would you be and why?

As everybody already knows, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. And if I were to choose a particular character, it would be Darth Bane. This guy began his life as a simple miner and ended as a mightiest Sith of them all. He also created the famous Rule of Two, according to which there is always a master and his pupil and later on they exchange their position. Truly great fella. And yes, I would like to be an evil master – but I would be a gracious one, I swear.

7. Imagine you are on a desert island. You can choose one person from the entire team to keep you company. Who would it be and why?

Nobody, all food for me. Okay, if I would have to choose – that would be Maciek (Maciej Zajda, iOS Developer) if I would like to survive, or Dominik (Dominik Nowakowski, Junior Motion Designer) if I would prefer to die.

Maciek is that kind of person that can make a bus out of a twine and a bamboo, so we would definitely make it out alive. And Dominik is such a funny guy, with sense of humor so similar to mine, that we would die out of laughter together.

8. The most important question: iOS or Android?!

iOS, obviously! I’m an iOS Developer, after all! Although I had my beginnings with Android. For my eighteenth birthday, I bought the second smartphone in the world with Android system, HTC Magic. I still have warm feelings towards this phone. I was familiar with every operating system, except Blackberry, and have consciously chosen iOS. And that talks for itself!

Swedish Unique Startup Scene

At this point you probably imagine a truly extraordinary picture of a magical, horned horse festing over a (Ikea) table full of surströmming, traditional fermented Baltic herring. The horse is very tall, blue-eyed, blonde and calmly listens to Dancing Queen, while watching his family-friendly Volvo standing against the landscape of a beautiful, majestic fjords.

That is so wrong. First of all, unicorns, as the term in business world inclines, are privately-held startup companies valued at over $1 billion. The term was created in 2013 by Aileen Lee, a venture capitalist investor. She named that business phenomenon after the mythical animal to represent its statistical rarity. Going with the theme, we can also define two other occurrences, even more uncommon and unique – decacorns, companies worth over $10 billion and hectocorns, meaning companies valued over $100 billion. And lastly, magical horses of Sweden don’t eat surströmming every day, but only on every traditional third thursday of August. Stereotypes, people!

Fancy stables of Nordics

Unicorns are indeed beautiful and magical, although they need a very specific habitat to bloom and breed. Most of those majestic creatures live somewhere in the United States or China. Actually, the world’s most valuable unicorn comes from USA – and yes, I’m talking about Uber, a true giant amongst start-ups, worth around 68 billion dollars. The second and third place on the list belongs to China with Didi Chuxing worth $50 and famous Xiaomi worth $46. Generally, for most of the top rates at the list there is a war between the United States and China, with the humble contribution of India (11th place). It isn’t until the 18th place on the list when finally Sweden appears with their Spotify. So there goes the question – why do we praise Swedish unicorns so much?

First of all, it’s important to understand the environment. The United States, China and India are enormous countries. The easiest way to explain my point is to present statistics – China has the biggest population in the whole world (around one billion and three hundred million people). India is the second (one billion and two hundred million people) and USA the third (three hundred million people). Now compare this to Sweden, a little european country with the number 91 on the list and total population of nine million people. That really puts things into perspective, don’t you think?

Now, what makes Sweden such a unique place? Let’s begin with the fact that all Nordics are quite special in this case. They have a great entrepreneurial environment, which – again – is easily noticeable in statistics. According to Crenadum’s Nordic Tech Exit Report from 2016, Denmark opens the rank of The Best Countries To Start a Company. Sweden is placed at the fifth position, Norway at seventh and Finland at tenth. Nordics are also incredible when it comes to the Global Innovation Index, where Sweden and Finland are placed at third and fourth place, then also Denmark at eighth one.

Crenadum report explains that the small market of Nordics forces startups to expand early in order to keep growing. Those countries are especially good when it comes to digital development, with the highlight on the game industry. And although accounting for 2% of global GDP (gross domestic product), since 2005 Nordic companies represented about 7% of global billion-dollar tech exits. Now, that’s a success.

Sweden has always been a country known to be all about innovation. To begin with, they have a great education system, focused on engineering training programs. Swedish economy relies heavily on exports, what forces investors to think globally. Also it’s worth noting that over 90% of household have Internet access, and citizens are in love with technology in general. The most common job in Stockholm is a programmer and 18% of the Swedish capital citizens are employed in the tech sector. Even though they still care a lot about ecology and like engaging technology to serve environmental purposes. All of these factors make Swedish the nation of smart, creative, open-minded people, confident about their ideas and ready to adjust to other environments. Isn’t it what startups are all about?

The Great Five?

Although we are here to praise Swedish start-ups, it is important to put the facts straight: three out of five unicorns that Sweden was so proud of lost their magical status. It’s not because of their financial lose, but due to their change of ownership. You see, the unicorn can truly be a unicorn only if hold privately. When sold to an entrepreneurship, it still remains a successful product, but can no longer be called a unicorn.

We used to mark five great Swedish projects that brought their owners over one billion USD in profits. These were as listed: Skype (2003), King (2003), Klarna (2005), Spotify (2008) and Mojang (2009). In 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $8,5 million. Mojang, the creator of Minecraft, was also sold to Microsoft – in this case for $2.5 billion, in 2014. Lastly, King Digital (know for creating Candy Crush) was bought by Activision Blizzard for $5.9 billion. All of those still exist and bloom today, but are no longer considered startups, and hence, unicorns.

Currently, Sweden has only two unicorns, Klarna and Spotify. Klarna is now one of Europe’s largest banks and provides payment solutions for 60 million consumers across 70,000 merchants in 18 countries. Spotify became a widely recognizable music storage, providing access to more than 30 million songs. As of June 2017, it had more than 140 million monthly active users and more than 60 million paying subscribers as of July 2017.

What is worth noting, Klarna’s beginnings weren’t really promising. In fact, it was just the opposite. Three founders of Klarna, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth and Victor Jacobsson, participated in the Stockholm School of Economics annual entrepreneurship award. But their idea of simplifying the process of online payments did not arouse much excitement. In fact, their project was one of the lowest rated among all of the presented.

However, they still believed in their concept and based a whole company on it. They founded Klarna in the middle of 2005 and started operations in Sweden. An angel investor and sales manager, Jane Walerud, invested in their company and put them in contact with a team of programmers, which allowed them to turn their idea into the real product. It was in the middle of 2005. Ten years later, the Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg dubbed Klarna one of Sweden’s five unicorns. Today, Klarna is worth $2.5.

For Spotify, it was founded by Daniel Ek, former CTO of Stardoll, and Martin Lorentzon, co-founder of TradeDoubler. As the rumor has it, they worked together for a few months inside Ek’s small apartment, where the servers were heating up to the point where even in winter they had to walk around half naked. Officially Spotify was launched in 2008 and barely one year later, Mark Zuckerberg famously makes his status “Spotify is so good”, so it is hard to imagine a better recommendation. In 2011, almost three years after its official launch, Spotify earns one billion in profit. Its growth was impressively rapid and it is still going strong. Currently, Spotify is worth over $8 billion. Very soon, the famous music storage will gain the title of a decacorn.

Dig in the Startup Queen

Specialists agree that it was the multinationals who first became successful and contributed a lot of tax money to finance infrastructure and entrepreneurship ventures. Although stories about Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon running in their underwear around a tiny apartment as the beginning of a huge company sound awesome, we have to remember that those garage entrepreneurships successes wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for previously maintained infrastructures. And those were achieved by the giants like Volvo or Ericsson.

Nevertheless, as mentioned before, it is a whole tech culture that made Sweden so unique. It is said that Daniel Ek came up with the idea  of Spotify during his first year at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology. So it wasn’t just a spontaneous spark of idea in his head, but he already had a solid foundation to begin with.

What is interesting, although being called “the new Silicon Valley”, due to spawning billion-dollar tech companies, Sweden is nothing like the legendary high-tech dominated area in the USA. Enough to say that Sweden treats the concept of work-life balance very seriously, which includes taking a multi-week vacation over the summer. What’s more,  Sweden has one of the highest female and maternal employment rates in Europe, and it is perfectly normal and highly recommended for men to take paternity leaves, too. Government cares to make parents professionally active, for example, by subsidizing daycare costs which makes them really low. University tuition is free, healthcare is free. Can life and work conditions get any better than this?

Well, there are some troubles in paradise. Nobody can deny that costs of living are high. Sweden has the second highest income tax rate in the world, and the highest in Europe, with a 56.6% deducted from annual income. Housing can get ridiculously expensive, not to even mention that landlords have to obtain special permits which sets costs of simply renting a flat even higher. All of that may work for citizens, but for outside talents who wish to taste the sweet nectar of Swedish tech environment, may be unbearable.

To smell a (horned) rat

Sweden’s start up environment has  a very advantageous characteristic – willingness to adjustment. That’s one of the things that allows them to be so successful, regardless of their relatively small budget. They are great at predicting the upcoming trends and needs, as they are so progressive and open-minded. They already succeed at simplifying process of payment (Klarna), creating music storage (Spotify), facilitating communication (Skype) and designing digital entertainment (Mojang and King). As for now, the world is heading towards everything connected  to healthy lifestyle – in its very wide range. Simultaneously we care more about ourselves (diets, exercise, general state of health) and about our environment (ecology). This opens a wide range of possibilities.

Experts predict that the future belongs to the projects associated with health care, social responsibility and food & beverage, where the last one has the biggest unexploited potential. Online gambling is always going strong, not to even mention gaming and digital entertainment as a whole. Anyhow, whatever will be trending, we are sure Sweden will own it. Their unicorns are fertile, fruitful and ready to gallop.