Company VS Startup: Discussion about Opportunities for IT Professionals in Ivano-Frankivsk

“An IT professional launches a startup and joins a company for the same reason – out of a desire for change and self-actualization,” pointed out Lubomyr Khodak, Director of SoftServe DevCenter in Ivano-Frankivsk, during the discussion on “Comfort Zone in IT: Working for a Company or Creating Your Own Startup? Pros and Cons”.  

The discussion was held on December 15 at Urban Space 100 on the initiative of Lviv Business School of UCU and Ivano-Frankivsk IT Cluster.  

Participants of the discussion were: Sophia Opatska, Dean of Lviv Business School; Sergiy Fitsak, Managing Director of Softjourn; Lubomyr Khodak, DevCenter Director, SoftServe; Vasyl Matyashovskyy, member of the Academic Board of MS in Technology Management; and Rostyslav Olenchyn, graduate of MS in Technology Management, founder of DocTravel startup.

Company VS Startup

First, the participants defined the notion of comfort zone in IT. Sergiy Fitsak expressed his opinion, “Comfort zone is not only about material things. Free coffee/ cookies for staff and a comfortable workplace are perceived as a bonus only in the first month on the job. Then it becomes something habitual and people start looking for new ‘comfort zones’. Therefore, it’s important to give your staff a sense of belonging and make them feel needed. My team knows it for a fact. Once we developed a product and received very positive feedback from the customer, but they said they wouldn’t use it because the need for it fell by the wayside. It made the entire team feel very low, and we had to get over that experience together.”

 With regard to startups, the discussion participants agreed that creating a startup like outsourcing requires certain skills and approaches. Sophia Opatska, Dean of LvBS, emphasized the importance of deciding at the right time in what direction to head, “At some point you face a moment of doubt. Can I do it? Will it work for me? A startup turns into a business only if you invest 100% of your time in it. Otherwise it’s just a hobby. There are two major problems about Ukrainian startups: insufficient business component and fear of failure. Our mentality views failure as defeat, while for Americans it’s just another step towards success, an advantage within the next project.”

 Company VS Startup

Rostyslav Olenchyn added that in fact there are no major differences between the life of a startupper and that of a company employee, except the level of uncertainty, “The level of uncertainty about the future of startups is very high, thus you have no choice but to be very persistent and go all the way. Then your comfort zone is the product you develop as a startupper.”

 Sergiy Fitsak advised entrepreneurs to have more trust and involve potential partners, “Startup is like mist over your eyes. The problem is that Ukrainians fear failure and thus prefer stability. They are also afraid to share their business with partners and overlook the fact that some promising IT projects will never grow big without partnership.”

In the context of uncertainty, the discussion participants raised the issue of emotional intellect, which is the ability to behave adequately under stress and respond adequately to change, and gave some tips on boosting emotional intellect. Sergiy Fitsak recommends broadening your horizons, “The least you can do is travel.” Lubomyr Khodak believes that it’s dangerous for an IT professional to stay within their comfort zone for a long time, “We all want to be needed in our area of expertise, which means we cannot afford to run in place; we must move with the times.” 

Whether you are a company employee or a startupper, ultimately you strive for success and recognition. The discussion participants are unanimous in thinking that success in IT is viewed as a chance to change something for the better. Launching a startup or working for a company are just tools for realizing your dreams and achieving your goals.

The discussion at UrbanSpace 100 became the culmination of networking between LvBS team and Ivano-Frankivsk’s IT community. During the day, representatives of Lviv Business School met with the local ELEKS team and had business lunch with CEOs of leading IT companies in Ivano-Frankivsk.