How did it all start? Resco co-founders discuss 20 years in business
For one final nod to our 20th birthday, we sat down with Resco’s 3 co-founders – Radomir Vozar, Marcel Saffa and Eduard Kirchner (pictured above, left to right) – to ask them what they’ve learned over the last two decades in business and what are their expectations for the future.
On the market for 20 years, Resco is an established brand with quite a history. But why did you decide to start your own business?
Radomir Vozar: To put it lightly – we wanted to build a successful company and make a fortune 😊 And nobody was really offering mobile software back then.
Eduard Kirchner: For me, it was a natural way of realizing my ambition as a young man, shortly after university. We chose software because all three of us had an IT background from our studies and I still see software and technology as my hobby. And why mobility? At the end of ’90s, the first PDA devices were making their way to the market and we’d seen incredible opportunities in this area.
Marcel Saffa: And it was also about building a business with fellow friends from college.
What was the original focus of the company, back in 1999?
EK: The very first idea we had, was custom development of mobile software and to use the internet for distribution. Then it morphed into various mobile applications for end users. And after a couple of years, we also started to create app development tools for enterprise customers.
MS: At the time, we’d seen the potential of mobile devices, but they were lacking suitable software. We’d created the first versions of Resco File Explorer and Resco Keyboard apps and we were looking for ways to get them to potential customers. We wanted to offer our solutions globally, so in our first efforts, we utilized external portals offering shareware software.
The first breakthrough came after almost a year – when Windows Mobile was released and Compaq introduced iPaq pocket PCs. They became incredibly popular and we were one of the few companies that offered software for it. That enabled us to acquire our first customers.
But probably the most important turn of events in those early days came just a few months later. We were featured on Handango – one of the very first online software stores to sell mobile apps for personal digital assistants and smartphones. This collaboration successfully lasted almost 8 years. We’ve gained experience on how to present, market and sell our solutions on a global scale, plus it brought us our first opportunities on the American market.
And even though in the early days we only had the end user applications, we soon added games, developer tools, and started developing for PalmOS as well. Especially the developer tools have later set the direction towards enterprise mobility.
RV: You could say that in the early days, as a three-man operation, we tried everything we could – creating mobile software for quite different areas. In the end, market development showed us what was worth focusing on going forward.
Which factors have had the greatest impact on how the company has evolved over the years?
MS: As is the case in similar situations, many changes have been determined by the market. For example, the average cost per app has changed significantly with the arrival of iOS devices in 2007. While apps for Windows Mobile devices cost an average of $15, the iOS app price was $1. Also, Windows Mobile device sales have declined significantly and so has dipped interest in our consumer software. Around this time the company truly started to focus on enterprise mobility for iOS and Android.
RV: But this transformation wouldn’t be possible without the entire team working at Resco by then.
EK: Precisely – the amazingly talented people, flexibility and vision are what allowed the company to grow and adapt. Even to most challenging situations, such as the revolutionary changes in the world of mobile technology, the events of September 11, or the global economic crisis in 2008-2009.
When did you realize that your products have worldwide potential?
RV: Already during that very first year of the company.
EK: Quite early as well. The Internet as a communication tool and a platform combined with the rise of mobility allowed to envision numerous intriguing opportunities.
MS: For me, there were several moments at different stages. Both applications and development tools have gradually climbed to the top of the sales charts. We have won several awards from various tech media around the world, and even from Microsoft. In the CRM era, we communicated more intensively with partners and customers to obtain invaluable feedback. It enabled us to create products that appeal to large globally-known companies. All of this indicates that Resco’s enterprise mobile solutions really have extensive potential.
Which Resco achievement are you most proud of?
RV: For me, it’s the team of people that works here and the family-like atmosphere they create in the company every day.
EK: And with that come both the small victories and milestones we have achieved as a result. I firmly believe that we’ll keep tackling challenges that will make us proud in the future. For example, in the area of corporate social responsibility, or like our assistance to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
MS: Resco is celebrating 20 years, during which it achieved a lot of success and also experienced a few challenging moments as well. But I’m also most proud of the fact that Resco has become an environment which has brought together many extremely clever and creative people. That’s what makes Resco unique. And thanks to this immense potential, I believe Resco is here to stay for at least another 20 years.
What is the most significant experience/knowledge that these 20 years of business brought you?
MS: That business is not an easy thing at all, and without smart and creative collaborators, no success can be achieved.
RV: And that regardless of where you come from, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.
EK: Overall, 20 years in business brings a lot of various experiences. But if I were to highlight just one thing, it would be the importance of surrounding yourself with people who have both exceptional personal and professional values and qualities. People you can learn from and who create the core values of the company.
In your opinion, what will be the next technological game-changer with the potential to radically change both consumer and business experiences?
EK: From my point of view, it looks like the next “big thing” will be artificial intelligence.
RV: In business, the ever-expanding automation – robots will replace people for most of the mundane work assignments. In the consumer area, I’m afraid sometimes we are already too much like robots when people are not interested to form their own opinions and experiences.
MS: The computing performance has increased rapidly over the last 20 years. The power of today’s devices allows many tasks to be solved automatically by a computer and not human intelligence. And even though AI is still in its infancy, we can already quite successfully replace humans in text, speech and image recognition processes.
There have also already been quite successful experiments with autonomous control. In conjunction with IoT and 5G technologies, automated intelligent operations and services will be created on home, enterprise, or city levels. The mobile phone, as a device that is always at hand, will monitor and manage these solutions. The result will be new industries and better services for both customers and businesses.
What was your first mobile device and what device do you use the most today? What do you think will be used 20 years from now?
RV: The first one I don’t remember. Currently, I’m mostly using a Samsung smartphone. And recently, I also find myself using my Garmin smartwatch ever more often.
EK: An Ericsson GA628 mobile phone and Casio Cassiopeia PDA were my very first mobile devices. These days I’m mostly using my iPhone X.
MS: I think my first phone was a Nokia 3310 – no Internet and the only game was “Snake” 😊 Today it’s mostly my iPhone, which largely replaced the role of a personal computer.
The future is unpredictable, but some suggest that around the year 2040, the smartphone will be an inconspicuous device with a holographic projection screen. It will most likely use cloud storage and external data centers. Which means it will be permanently connected to the network. And since I’m an optimist, I believe it will be an intelligent guide, helping us navigate a vast array of information.