July 5, 2020 | By wp_admin
Name: Andy Dobrucki
Company name: Timeqube
Colour of your eyes: Blue
How many people are in the team: 2
Can you describe your product/service to us?
I invented and together with Mikołaj we marketed the first stress-free hardware timer for business that solves the problem of timing in business meetings.
It uses intuitive colors – green, orange and red to gently inform organizers and meeting attendees about remaining time. It’s perfect for businesses, trainers and public speakers. We also have an offshoot called Timeqube Mind for psychotherapy and the latest addition to the pack – Timeqube Home Office for focused work at home.
How did you get to an idea to start with this?
There was a time when I worked for a company that did a lot of meetings. Usually one or two participants would go on a rant while everyone else tuned out. The amount of time wasted this way was immense and it really inhibited our progress as a team. One morning, after a regular sitting meditation session, a light bulb lit up in my head and there it was : a glowing desktop cube for timing.
What are your plans for the future?
Due to the global crisis, we are now heavily advanced, working on the digital version of Timeqube. It’s an application that floats on your computer desktop and looks a bit like the hardware cube. When a video meeting starts, organizer starts all connected desktop cubes so everyone remains time-aware following the same stress-free concept. We’re in beta stage at the moment, focusing on user feedback and carefully planning available business models. The product shows great potential not only with teams that run online meetings, but also public speakers, event companies and trainers.
Rather Ginto or Whiskey?
Rumco all the way.
What is the difference between you and Steve Jobs?
I personally care about the people I work with.
What is it like to run a business and what do you like the most?
It’s an entirely different level of motivation and engagement when you work on something of your own. It is a never ending roller coaster with peaks and valleys far exceeding the ones you get from working for others. It’s no longer your job. It’s your life. That’s why it’s so important to work on products with a mission – trying to solve a real problem without getting people hooked to a screen or device.
With your own business, you get to call the shots. At times it’s overwhelming, especially in the beginning, when there is not enough data for taking learned decisions. But then intuition comes handy and through ups and downs you learn to grow – professionally but more so – as a human being.
What is it like to run a business and what do you like the most?
I could say something along the lines of “money” or “market situation” but that would be a cliche and honestly, I believe obstacles are all in the head. You can’t have a successful project unless you trip and get up a few times. So it’s all about how you relate to this situation,when things don’t move as you planned. As they point out in scuba diving – if something happens, the best strategy is to stop, think and then act. We had sales decrease by 50% this year as people no longer had physical meetings due to potential virus spread. Instead of whining, we sat down and decided to launch Home Office Edition and start working on Timeqube Online. Resilience is that character trait, all founders need. And kindness towards others. That always pays back.
Are you more Goulash or Odojak? Caviar or Foie gras?
These days I’m cinnamon, chickpeas, spinach and coriander.
What is your favorite spot on the planet?
A forest two metro stations away from my home. There’s a pond there i use to sit by to clear my thoughts. Ah yes, number 2 is Zagreb (haha!)
What was the most important takeaway from the program? Money, some great talks and the experience of living in zagreb for 3 months. Priceless.
What advice would you give to other people that are interested in starting something new?
If you want to start something new, you probably already have an idea that’s compelling to you. Go and talk about it with as many people as possible. Don’t be afraid of others stealing your idea. It’s bullshit. A startup is 5% idea, 95% execution. And there’s only a handful of those who can really take a startup out of idealization into success. If talking to many people seems like an impossible feat, learn that skill now.
What would you advise a founder to do?
I already named one – learn resilience. I’m a big fan of “direction” over “goal” fueled by creativity and curiosity. Let’s say my direction is to “build something useful”, while the goal would be to “build XYZ for ABC so they can DEF”. A perfect goal. But following a fixed goal often makes you build something no one will use. Direction is when you shut up, listen to your potential customers and then kill that baby idea you had in your head without too much drama.
I also encourage founders to start working with the mind if they haven’t yet done so. Using simple mindfulness meditation techniques saves your life by squashing the often useless ego. I write more about in one of my articles here. Mind itself is the biggest variable in the resilience equation.
What would you advise a founder not to do?
Don’t try to be perfect. Create MVPs people will pay for. Use simple solutions over mature ones as you need to validate the concept first.
Don’t build strong hierarchies. It’s not the 90s anymore. Learn servant leadership. Help people first and they will help you.
Don’t fake your numbers. Be authentic and candid about the situation. Always. This pays later.
What is a key factor to success?
To define what success means to you and then getting there. Instead of thinking about dollars, cars and houses, I believe I’m successful whenever I feel peaceful and have motivation to do things. Thinking that you’re not where you’re supposed to be with your project creates needless tension. It’s all part of the journey. Accepting where you are now takes you to where you want to be. This way, working on my business is fun plus this thought model keeps me resilient and possibly saves time in a mental hospital.
How to teach a frog to smile?
Why do you want to teach a frog to smile?
Can you tell us something about your experience in the FRC accelerator program?
Was very good overall. There was ideal balance between the time we needed to spend physically in the program and the time to develop our business. FRC had some great speakers come along. And we’re still using many of the perk deals we got.
Would you suggest to other founders to apply?
Definitely. It’s one of the best choices out there at the moment.
Who was your favorite FRC team member and why?
Ales – always kind, helpful, curious and with a lot of practical ideas we put in action.