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Meet Alex Jijie – From Software Engineer Graduate To CEO – A Story About Evolution in Digital

Today we have selected Alex Jijie to take his interview. He is the CEO of Digitalya.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

We are doing pretty well. We adopted a hybrid system, and we are working from home, but there is also the possibility to work from the office. There are people, myself included, missing the buzz and the interaction from the office when all the team was there. But the fact that we still have this possibility and that a group of 4-5 persons is coming to the office makes things more bearable.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

I’m Alex, 27 years old. I have finished the Automatics and Computer Science faculty. Although after finishing this faculty, most of my colleagues became software engineers or engineers in a factory, automating processes, I decided to choose a different career. I became a salesperson, and the person that made me choose this career was the economics professor from my first year of faculty that offered me the option to negotiate my grade to his exam. He made me realize how cool this area is, and then I took a sales internship at a software company.

A few years later, I joined Digitalya for 1 year as a Sales Associate, and it was a great experience. Even though I like it here, I wanted to do sales in SaaS, so I moved on to a SaaS company in the SEO and brand monitoring industry. Great products and a great team; however, the opportunity to return to Digitalya arose, and I decided to take it. Then COVID hit everyone, and things worldwide became a bit insecure. One day a year ago, Ovi, the founder of Digitalya, came with a proposal. To be the CEO of Digitalya and focus more on ClientZen, our SaaS product. Big changes and a great opportunity, but after some consideration, I realized that the team is great; the founders trust me to do this, which motivated me to take this challenge. 

How does your company innovate?

We have different processes and workshops that help our clients progress from an idea to a product design phase, technical architecture, developing and launching an MVP, and scaling a product. This is from a software development perspective, and in some cases, we even did more than that and helped our clients with sales processes, marketing, etc. 

We also have a SaaS product called ClientZen, an AI solution for agencies to determine the happiness level of their clients.

How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

When the first wave of Corona came, things were a bit uncertain. However, people moved fast in digital, and the demand for software development dedicated teams increased. We are a software development agency, and in some cases, we are the first option for people that want to digitize their business.

Did you have to make difficult choices and the lessons learned?

Yes. The lesson learned is that sometimes it is better to choose the team over a client that does not match your culture. Also, people are different, and some of them are a good fit in a different company and culture than ours. And that a lot of bad decisions can be prevented by talking with people. 

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Being a software development agency, we use many digital tools like Google Meet, Slack, Jira, Confluence to communicate with our clients abroad. It was easy to replicate the same process internally and navigate this crisis.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

The software outsourcing and custom software development industry have many competitors. But I would say that not all of them are our competitors. For example, we focus on healthcare, learning, and martech solutions. So our competitors are the Eastern European Agencies that are focusing on these industries as well.

Your final thoughts

My final thought is to enjoy what you are doing and stop overthinking, and life will be much easier. People are so focused on different objectives and always want more that sometimes they forget to enjoy the ride. There is a saying in Romania that I relate to very much: “Sometimes we can not see the forest due to the trees.”

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