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HomeSPECIAL GUESTWith Mihai Costea: On Passion and Principles in Technological Innovation

With Mihai Costea: On Passion and Principles in Technological Innovation

Mihai Costea is a seasoned tech entrepreneur with a 14-year tenure in the IT industry. Notably recognized for his contribution to various successful projects, Mihai’s expertise extends to collaborations with prestigious corporations such as IBM, Boots UK, and Centric NL, as well as many Romanian firms. He possesses a versatile skill set, which includes developing custom web and mobile applications, leading technical teams, providing software consulting, and delivering comprehensive team training. In addition to his technical acumen, Mihai is known for his life balance philosophy, frequently quoting that he is “on vacation every single day” because of his love for his occupation. His career has also been marked by significant global engagement, working with diverse international teams across the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, India, the USA, and China, showcasing his adaptability and cross-cultural competency.

C&B: Describe your professional activity!

Mihai: In my role as a tech entrepreneur, I specialize in assisting business owners through the digitalization process by delivering bespoke software solutions. My entrepreneurial journey began with the creation of various complimentary digital tools, including employee hour tracking web applications, a CRM platform, and financial planning applications, all aimed at boosting operational efficiency for businesses.

C&B: What is the story of your career progression?

Mihai: The roots of my entrepreneurial journey can perhaps be traced back to my family background, where despite my parents’ modest roles as factory workers, I often pondered the origins of my business acumen. A clue lies with my grandfather, whose reputation as a shepherd with a substantial flock was well-known. Since my early days, I’ve exhibited a propensity for entrepreneurship. My first foray into business was quite creative, setting up a tent in my hometown where local children could experience music and enjoy snacks for a nominal fee-aventure that proved to be quite lucrative throughout a summer.

As I matured, this entrepreneurial spirit never waned. By the age of 19, I had already made enough from an online business to afford a car independently, a feat that left my parents both stunned and impressed, as they had harbored concerns about the legitimacy of my endeavors. My career’s evolution has been a vibrant tapestry of diverse experiences, from selling projects to my classmates to venturing into nightclub ownership, exploring the import-export sector, and ultimately, developing accessible online platforms. Each business venture and interaction with various individuals has sculpted the entrepreneur I am today.

C&B: What were your childhood/adolescent dreams, and what are they now?

Mihai: Since my younger days, I’ve harbored the ambition to create a meaningful impact and achieve remarkable things. During my teens, I established a reputation in the IT domain, known widely in several towns near my village for my adeptness at solving computer issues. Holding onto that dream, I took the initiative to start an IT Academy, offering complimentary programming training to nurture aspiring programmers. My experience over five years as a mentor in various associations has cemented my dedication to encouraging the youth to pursue IT careers. Contributing positively to others’ lives continues to be a source of daily motivation for me.

C&B: What are the life and work principles you follow?

Mihai:  Throughout my career, I’ve embraced a set of principles that have guided both my personal and professional life. Aligning with individuals who share similar values has been paramount. It’s also essential to recognize when a concept isn’t working; in those moments, I believe in the philosophy of failing quickly and moving forward “if you fail, fail fast”. One of the core tenets that bring joy to my work is the feeling that every day is as delightful as a vacation, thanks to a genuine passion for what I do: “I’m on vacation every single day cos I love my occupation”. Time is a finite resource, and effective scaling requires delegation and building a team of competent individuals who can collectively drive success.

C&B: Have the pandemic and economic crises influenced your professional life?

Mihai: The IT industry has proven to be even more crucial during the pandemic, highlighting the necessity for enhanced software in navigating crises. During this period, I capitalized on emerging opportunities by launching new ventures, including a successful UVC light lamp business, indicative of the sector’s resilience and adaptability.

C&B: Can you share any amusing situations from your professional experience?

Mihai: Let me weave you a tale that’s both humorous and a cautionary epic in the world of tech entrepreneurship. Picture it: I found myself in cahoots with a fellow whose knack for sales was as notable as my prowess in coding. Together, we ventured into the wilderness of the IT industry, dreaming of software empires. Our treasure? A hefty investment in what would be the backbone of our venture—servers, gadgets, and yes, a massage chair for those late-night brainstorming sessions.

Then came a day that would be etched in the history of “unexpected workplace dramas.” I arrived at our digital kingdom, only to be greeted by a fortress sealed tighter than a miser’s purse. The locks had changed, and not even a secret handshake could grant me entry. The plot thickened when, upon breaching the premises with the aid of the building’s keeper, we were met with a sight so barren it would make a desert blush. Our once tech-filled oasis was stripped of its glory—no servers, no sanctum of relaxation (farewell, dear massage chair), and notably, no trace of my erstwhile business partner.

The twist? My vanishing compatriot resurfaced in the most unexpected of venues—a TikTok video, portraying a life far removed from the entrepreneurial spirit, dabbling in the high-risk world of gambling. This saga serves as a dual-edged sword of humor and solemnity, underscoring the importance of knowing your allies in the quest for business success. As for reclaiming my investment, that ship had sailed into the misty realms of “unlikely outcomes.” A funny tale, yes, but with a serious undertone: choose your business partners wisely, for the world of startups is both exhilarating and perilous.

C&B: You have a potential client/partner or employer in front of you. What’s the sentence that convinces them?

Mihai: I am committed to forming partnerships based on mutual benefit, I only work on win-win principle. My goal is to ensure that any collaboration we embark upon is advantageous for both parties, fostering a sustainable and long-term business relationship.

C&B: What advice do you have for beginners or those who are undecided?

Mihai: For those starting out or feeling uncertain, it’s crucial to seek guidance from mentors who can aid in unlocking your full potential. Look for real-world success stories that inspire you and remember, fear of failure should not deter you. Failure isn’t the opposite of success; it’s a step towards it, enriching you with invaluable experience. Understand that life is like a sine wave, marked by its highs and lows. If things aren’t looking great at the moment, remember, it’s just a low point on the curve, and an ascent is inevitable. Keep pushing forward, knowing that each challenge is a lesson leading you closer to your goals.

C&B: What is your opinion about society and its evolution?

Mihai: Society is on an upward trajectory, becoming increasingly astute and improved by the day. The advent of AI, in particular, is propelling us towards a brighter future, enhancing our quality of life and enabling us to reach new heights of innovation and efficiency.



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