This quarter (Q4) has been quite intense for me in terms of outputs. I’ve completed a number of interesting interviews and various podcasts in which we covered a wide range of business topics. What I’m honestly happy about is that I started working much more intensively with students. This quarter, I have managed to visit colleges four times as part of the lectures I have prepared for students. I have also shared my experiences multiple times with students who are participating in various startup accelerators. I also visited a high school in Košice and I plan to continue these visits next year. I am genuinely happy about the talented, young and ambitious people I have the opportunity to meet in my lectures. Personally, I think it is extremely important to work with young people and students and to show them how to build a business, and also to tell them about the various downfalls that they will surely experience along the way and which should certainly not discourage them. I am happy that from my position I am able to support, encourage and pass on my know-how to young people. Apart from that, I have been invited to be interviewed for various interesting podcasts, articles and also to great events.
Podcasts and interviews
All of the podcasts below are in Slovak language.
1. Business class – in the podcast we discussed the reason for our growth, intrinsic motivation, I described my work day and the beginnings of Gymbeam. We also addressed influencer marketing, artificial intelligence and how we use it, and our attitude towards customer support.
🔗 Link to the podcast: https://shorturl.at/IP024
2. Forbes Česko (Byznys) – I talked about my opinion on the election results in Slovakia, the main markets in which we operate, the reason why we focused on the target group of women in the beginning, our experience with doing business in Ukraine, the way of filling managerial positions in Gymbeam or the impact of my regular physical activity on the successful operation of the company.
🔗 Link to the podcast: https://shorturl.at/knMSV
3. Agenda Zuzany Hodkové (Seznam Zprávy – Byznys) – we discussed our expected numbers for 2023, our strongest markets, the specifics we observe with customers in each market, our plans for next year (2024), the “niche” categories we started to address last year and the deepfake scam we faced.
🔗 Link to the podcast: https://shorturl.at/gmDR8
🔗 Link to the podcast: https://shorturl.at/oxEH4
4. Service Designcast – we addressed our first steps in the early days of Gymbeam, selecting and knowing our target customer group, the types of data that helped us identify it, what customer experience means to us, building customer relationships, growing the price of attention or the key value we give to our customers, and the way we approach the concept of service in brick-and-mortar stores.
🔗 Link to the podcast: https://shorturl.at/fyNZ4
5. Let´s talk business – I talked about securing our growth, geographic expansion and building local teams abroad, our marketing department, ChatGPT and process automation thanks to the LLM, my leadership approach and typical working day, our own products and how we test them, the type of talent we’re looking for and how to build a strong team.
🔗 Link to the podcast: https://shorturl.at/ckEPY
6. ESHOP Talks with Expandeco – in cooperation with Expandeco, we have brought you an exclusive look behind the scenes of our company. It featured a team of my talented colleagues who described their work and also the departments they lead.
🔗 Link to the video: https://rb.gy/l4nlxi
7. Expandeco livestream – in a moderated livestream I answered various questions from the audience. This livestream is a follow-up to the above video (ESHOP Talks).
🔗 Link to the live stream: https://shorturl.at/goKV5
8. Article in Forbes.sk – in this interview, you’ll read about the factors contributing to our continued growth, our projected sales for 2024, and how we differentiate ourselves from other ecommerce retail players. We also addressed our current valuation and discussed how my management position and roles have changed over time as the company has grown.
🔗 Link to the article: https://shorturl.at/gIJV0
Events I have spoken at
1. IBM Perspectives – I gave a talk on Beyond Business As Usual: How to Build a Multimillion-Dollar Data-Driven Empire. I presented my career story and shared five key career tips: 1) Work-life balance is about flexibly dividing time between work, family and hobbies according to life stage and goals; 2) Sustainable routines are key for long-term success and motivation; 3) It is important to have clearly defined long-term personal goals and work towards them; 4) Acquire deep expertise in areas with great future potential; 5) Consistency is key for long-term success.
2. Upterdam – at the Upterdam conference, I participated in a panel discussion where we talked about the factors that contribute to Gymbeam’s growth. Key elements are our expanding customer base with frequent repeat purchases and strategic geographic expansion. I stressed the importance of adapting to market trends or leveraging horizontal integration and in-house manufacturing to increase margins, thereby strengthening our position in the market. Our brand and sub-brands, which account for 86% of our revenue, are testament to our ability to innovate and respond to dynamic market challenges.
3. Startup Connect (Technicom) – as part of the “Startup Connect” program at the Technical University of Košice, I shared my entrepreneurial story and advice for young aspiring entrepreneurs that would have helped myself in my youth. For the sake of our country’s progress, I sincerely care about educating and mentoring the younger generation. I was also very positively surprised by the startup-ists themselves, because when I have been to similar events for startups in the past, I was often skeptical about the “product-market fit”. In this case, however, I was really positively surprised and I honestly think that these students have a great chance of success.
4. PROFESIA Days – we talked about the origins of our company, reporting and data analysis, which are key for us. I talked about the expected skills and competencies of colleagues, as well as our company culture. We also talked about diversity, inclusion and mental health, with an emphasis on gender balance and equal pay. We discussed our visions for the future, including expansion in the DACH region and Italy and the launch of a new production hall. At the end, I talked about what motivates me, what drives me and how I manage challenges.
5. Lectures at universities MUNI, EUBA, UPJŠ – Through my lectures at three universities I shared my entrepreneurial story and the mistakes I made so that students don’t have to repeat them. This sharing of experiences was accompanied by a lively discussion that surprised even the professors with its intensity. My message was to connect theory and practice, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and constantly looking for new opportunities in business. The aim was not only to inform but also to motivate students to become entrepreneurs, to promote the position of an entrepreneur and to build long-term relationships with future talents.
6. Marketing Rulezz – At the Marketing Rulezz conference, I talked about the evolution of user experience over time (CX), our strategy and its importance in building a strong brand. I shared practical examples of working with CX and showed how ChatGPT and other GenAI tools help us do this.
7. CEO Meetup FORBES – I was at the FORBES CEO Meetup 2023 as the cover personality for the November issue of Forbes magazine. This event brought together approximately 70 CEOs of leading Slovak companies. We discussed macroeconomic trends, Slovakia’s budget policy and innovation in companies. The main topics were: the global economic slowdown in 2024, the impact of the German market on Slovakia and the strong need for a new economic model. My interview with Juraj Porubský, following my recent interview in Forbes, focused on the current challenges and strategies of our firm. I thus provided strategic insight for the business community.
8. Challenger Ideator – At the Challenger Ideator finals in Košice, I talked about my entrepreneurial story. I talked about the drudgery, tough decisions, mistakes, and joys that are part of GymBeam’s success, and gave 3-5 recommendations for my 22-year-old self that resonated with young people. I concluded by answering questions from the moderator. This program, aimed at TUKE and UPJŠ students, helps students turn ideas into real projects. In my motivational speech, I focused on the lessons and takeaways from my business to inspire the students who have been working on their projects for the past three months.
9. Camp courage – As part of the Camp Courage project, sponsored by Amerian Councils Slovakia, I shared my business story with high school students. I talked about the beginnings of my entrepreneurial journey, overcoming obstacles and the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve success. I was delighted to see such young people interested in democracy, civic engagement and other important topics.
10. E-shop Klub – We discussed our business model and managing the rapid growth of the company. We addressed the challenges of recruiting seniors, integrating into the company culture, and building an organizational structure, including roles such as CMO and CFO. We also discussed setting corporate goals, leveraging frameworks such as OKRs, tracking KPIs, and decision making related to expansion into new markets. Other topics included strategic product decisions, pricing, marketing, and managing by customer LTV. Finally, we focused on leadership philosophy, management methods, financing, and long-term goals.
11. Lecture at SPŠE in Košice – At a lecture at SPŠE in Košice I talked with students about the beginnings of entrepreneurship. Dealing with key topics and expecting a tight atmosphere, I was pleasantly surprised by the lively discussion. A number of different questions showed the importance of this topic for the students. I brought with me not only knowledge, but also healthy snacks from our Gymbeam Santa and gifts for the best questions, believing in the impact on individuals’ motivation and their future success.
12. ODKUKAJ.TO Meetup –
The Innovation Centre of the Kosice Region is an interest association of the city of Kosice, the Kosice Self-Governing Region and 3 Kosice universities. Its main objective is to support start-up entrepreneurs, primarily founders of technology companies in Eastern Slovakia. In November, they organized a Meetup where I discussed with the participants my personal entrepreneurial story, the reasons why I stayed in Kosice, and also my first entrepreneurial experiences. We also discussed what entrepreneurship has taught me, how I allocated my time in the past and how I allocate it now. Finally, I shared my message for aspiring entrepreneurs.
This quarter, I focused on passing my experience on. Each talk and lecture I tried to pass on unique information and my know how, hoping that the audience will work with it further. I have passed on practical advice and insights that reflect my experience and perspectives in various fields. I am glad for every dialogue and opportunity to share my thoughts with people who find them interesting. Thank you to all who have participated and to those who have engaged in these discussions.