Born in the beautiful city of Olsztyn, I started my IT adventures at the age of 15 with an 8-bit Amstrad CPC 6128 computer. A year later I could proudly call myself ‘a hacker’, as I already possessed the knowledge of the Z80 assembler and even knew the machine code by heart, thanks to which I was able to break computer games. I could proudly run through my high school corridors (Vocational Technical High School of Electrical Industry) and shout out loud to my mates: my immortalities were published by ‘Top Secret’ magazine!
By the age of 17, I already had Amiga and an appetite for conquering the world. Together with my friend, we decided to write a book. And that was what we did! It worked out at around 1,000 pages and 2 floppy disks with music, graphics and sample programmes. 2 years later it was published under the title ‘AMOS Professional in practice - anyone can learn programming’. I received the A+ /excellent mark for my diploma work and I ended up studying IT (Maths Informatics Mechanics at the Warsaw University). It was in Warsaw where I started my first job as an editor for ‘Amiga’ and ‘Enter’ magazines (both at approx. 100,000 copies at the time). I had lots of fun writing articles, and enjoyed receiving plenty of letters as a result of that. I felt important and needed.
I had great plans. My appetite was growing. I was meeting a lot of incredible people on the demo scene, but my circumstances at that time forced me to move to an international firm, known then as Relaxa. I’ve always been fascinated by spirituality, meditation and relaxation and that firm was specialising in selling products based on biofeedback, which made it possible to reach that state. It all sounded quite tempting. A few months into my employment I became their Marketing Director. I completely turned the firm around by changing their branding (‘a year of learning in a week’), transforming it from ‘nonconventional’ to ‘modern, communing with nature’ and establishing ambitious goals: tripling the revenue within a year, without substantially increasing the advertising budget. I still remember sales execs looking at me in disbelief (‘but it’s impossible’ - they said). It turned out at the end of that year that 97% of the targets were achieved, mainly due to central advertising. Sales units doubled their revenue.
During a meeting with the chairman, who arrived from Germany, I raised the issue of brand recognition. I shared with him my next goal - to make sure nearly everyone in Poland knows the brand. He replied that it wouldn’t be possible, as they only managed to achieve 3% in Germany, and they considered it to be a great result. But nevertheless, he was taken by my concept and agreed to running a TV campaign. That’s what we did, and it worked out! Nearly everyone in Poland new our innovative approach to learning foreign languages. I followed this by setting up a company in the economic zone right by Olsztyn, Poland, manufacturing miniature gadgets that I designed. As a Director I had the task of finding and recruiting people, preparing the assembly line, sourcing parts and suppliers, as well as compiling the full documentation for the prototypes. And all that was successfully achieved. I even managed to secure another person to release me of my duties, as I wanted to go back to my dream work - programming!
I started up my own firm and fired up straight away with a big project - right from scratch we wrote and implemented an asset management programme called the Fixed Assets Register, to manage the assets worth over 1bn Polish zlotys in several of the Regional Offices of the Military Property Agency. Yes, we managed it and received commendations for our work. Over that time I also delivered many other IT projects; from small to the quite big and complex ones. I remember, especially fondly, one of the biggest implementations we ever ran in Poland, working with the company called ACTION, where I had the opportunity to work on the server processing over 100,000 invoices per day. I was tasked with integrating all of the systems written by several other programmers into one. The moment of the actual switch to the programme written by me was hugely challenging and stressful -just one mistake could be financially very detrimental to the company. But I succeeded – and again received great references for my work.
Somehow I managed to collaborate with big business publishers in Poland – Publishing Group INFOR, with over 1 million internet users at the time. We were organizing events, seminars, marketing, and I was selling my programme with the Legal Newspaper (over 100,000 copies). I was also providing outsourced IT why, thanks to which the company specialising in accounting, HR and consulting why for the biggest firms in Poland did not have to have an in-house IT department and was entirely dependent on my firm’s why. It was a big responsibility, as all of their systems had to be fully functional regardless of the circumstances. And again- very good references for my work.
Long story short, I was responsible for many more projects. A lot of work and stress. The bigger the project, the more detailed work it required. Programming, marketing, sales – I could talk a lot about each of those subjects. But it wasn’t making me happy or giving me the sense of fulfilment that I craved. And it was then I decided to turn my life upside down.
I arrived in London...