Safety, comfort and health: new values of IT technologies
Today, Connected Home is a successful startup that has already installed 1,500 smart homes in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. CEO of the company Mukhtar Kuanyshbayuly told about how he chose the IT field, why competitors are useful, and gave advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Tell us how you came to IT. Why this particular sphere?
The choice of my future profession was influenced by 3 factors as a child. This is studying at a physics and mathematics school and a love of mathematics, the film “The Matrix”, as well as an example of an older sister who enrolled in an IT specialty. As a student, I studied for 2 semesters at SDU in the profession of "Computer Engineering and Programming", after which I entered the Bolashak program at Purdue University in Indiana for "Computer and Information Technology".
The IT sphere is an integral part of our future, of every industry. Now, at the age of 31, I am no less interested in new technologies than I was at 18-19. The coolest thing is that we have the opportunity to radically change any industry for our benefit.
What is Connected Home? What is the uniqueness of your project?
Connected Home is not just a smart home. We position ourselves as a smart housing ecosystem "smart living". Thanks to our solutions, the client can manage not only the devices that are in the house, but also automate his entire life: use different services, monitor the condition of his house and even the entire area. Thus, the entire IT system of a resident of a house or office is in one application. Our goal is to make the life of residents of the residential complex as safe, comfortable, lean and healthy as possible.
Do you consider yourself a leader? What is the complexity and advantage of managing a startup project?
A startup is stable instability, that is, constant decision-making in changing circumstances. This is a constant stress, from which some get pleasure, while others run away. Our team consists of different people with different experiences, each of whom knows that everything can change tomorrow. It's a kind of romance. Constant variability charges, so we give our best every day so as not to let ourselves and the team down.
In a startup, a person does not feel like a cog in the mechanism. Here everyone understands their role, their importance. It is not so important to consider yourself a leader, it is important whether the team believes in itself and considers itself worthy of leading the market, whether it feels responsible to investors and shareholders. I see the role of a leader in how he gathers the team, builds the atmosphere and climate in the team.
How are you connected with Astana Hub?
Since the first days of the Connected Home foundation, we have been registered in the technopark and enjoy tax benefits. We are very grateful to the Astana Hub team. This is one of the few institutions in Kazakhstan that do their work very professionally. I always support good projects, I worry about the country's IT industry as a whole. Like the whole of Kazakhstan, I am waiting for some project to “shoot” to the whole world and become the first “unicorn”, and I am sure that Astana Hub will be an important merit in this.
If it wasn't for IT, what profession would you choose?
In high school, I had three options. Since I've always loved music, I thought of becoming a musician. The second option is, of course, programming, and the third is psychology. Today, this hobby helps me a lot, since psychology is comprehensively applied in business. Every day we contact a lot of people, work in a team. And team building is also a kind of case for a psychologist. By the way, when hiring employees, we use different psychological tests, such as MBTI, Adizes and Gallup.
What is your attitude towards competitors?
Competitors? In fact, they force you to get up from your seat, as it is fashionable to say now - to get out of the “comfort zone”. Competition is an incentive to constantly develop, regularly review your business model, and improve the product. At the same time, we want to achieve a business model where we have no analogues in the whole world.
Give practical advice to aspiring startups
I repeat the advice that was given to me at the time: to collect, that is, to work out mistakes. I call it the “error library". The more books you have in your library, the stronger you become.
The second tip is to keep a balance between the technical and business components of a startup, not to forget about the importance of communications and reputation in the market. The main thing is to work hard and believe in yourself. Then you will succeed!