Focus on one thing at a time – try things out, but focus, don’t chase more rabbits!
Brad is a strategic thinker, with a strong AI background and a passion for developing people & businesses.
He first became CEO at 21 (managing a B2B ISP), has had 10 years of experience in software development and management. He has also been involved with various startups as founder, CTO or advisor.
Brad Constantinescu has been doing project based software development & management for the past 10 years, with a track record in AI & Data Mining applications.
He is the current President and CTO of Stone Soup Technologies, a US software development and media agency. Stone Soup Tech is based in the Atlanta area and London, with a decent sized development team based in Romania.
He is also the CTO of JustNow Inc, an AI powered food waste start-up, as well as Interim CTO for HealthWitz, an AI powered health start-up.
After going through the Springboard business accelerator in 2012 (currently TechStars London), Brad wanted to help other start-ups on their journey so he became a TechStars mentor. He is also a Startupbootcamp alumni, after going through another accelerator with JustNow.
In the past he was the CTO of 2MinuteValet, a parking management start-up, as well as the CEO of Housepedia, a real estate technology start-up based on AI. He’s been involved in developing Mobile & Online education with the School of Values NGO (www.scoaladevalori.ro), both as a project manager & lead developer for the www.growedu.ro platform student & trainee tracking application.
He has a Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Bucharest.
With the AI Olympics AI-MAS team he’s been a lead developer and architect for an AI game platform & SDK development: a platform made for AI’s to battle in a popular turn based strategy game, including multi-threaded test servers and SDKs for AI development
Specialties: Software architecture & development, Project & business management, Artificial Intelligence
Brad has a passion for challenge and innovation and works towards transforming the world into a better and smarter place by use of technology.
Brad is an avid skier, a former competitive ballroom dancer, a hobby rock climber, and freshly, a father.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I’m currently founder / partner / CTO of two companies – one is a software agency based in the US and the other is a food waste prevention startup that started in South Africa and is currently launched in Europe. 🙂
Stone Soup Tech (the agency) was a joint venture with Bradley Kirkland after my previous startup failed. I wanted to keep the team together, develop cool projects and at one point maybe create our own product again. We started working for various companies in the US and that’s how we met Bradley. After a few successful projects we decided to join forces.
I was living in South Africa when we started JustNow. Food waste is a huge problem globally, but African countries afford even less than the rest of the world to waste food. My partner Alex pointed out the problem, we came up with the solution and he came with the first client. It’s a business that can have a huge social impact, can generate a significant amount of revenue and open really great future opportunities in working with huge clients (retailers).
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Assuming it’s a full day – the first hour of the day is for my daughter and myself. I wake up with push-ups, freshen up, help my wife with my daughter, enjoy the morning giggling and then start work.
We have a fairly early scrum call daily with the whole SST dev team, going through projects, and then continue with team management calls and project reviews. Close to noon I’m working on various JustNow tasks – forecasts, decks and emails.
The afternoon is busy with client calls, potential client calls or investor calls. Late afternoon into evening is follow up time, with emails, preparing tasks for the next day, and usually things that require peace and quiet to sort out.
Evening is for family and sport.
I like what I’m doing, and I set targets every evening for what I need to achieve the following day – this makes it easy to prioritize and stay focused. Breaking things into small tasks helps tick things easily. If I feel I lose focus, I take small breaks and read – this help me disconnect and then when I restart work I’m focused again.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m a very analytical and conceptual person – meaning I have a high imagination with a very strong analytical / mathematical thinking. This enables me to dissect a problem, attack it from multiple angles and find a way to solve it. My background in mathematics and computer science combined with quite a few years of business experience helps.
I tend to figure out what the solutions are, figure out the fastest ways to test an idea, then AB-test it, to get a fast feedback from the users. Once the user feedback is in, we plan for the next steps, product road map, go to market etc.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I find the new interest for space technology development and exploration a great and useful thing. It makes people dream and aspire for greater things.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Reading fantasy literature before going to sleep 🙂 – helps me disconnect, I rest well, and in the morning I can attack problems with a fresh mind. I’d say disconnecting from work problems is super important, so whatever works for each entrepreneur, as long as the disconnect happens.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Focus on one thing at a time – try things out, but focus, don’t chase more rabbits!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Artificial Intelligence is not what everyone thinks, unfortunately we’re quite far away from singularity. AI requires fresh and new approaches in order to evolve in the direction of flexible self learning.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to try new things even if they are hard!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Delivering quality services, being fair and straightforward made people want to want to work with me and my team. I’ve got clients I’ve been working since I was in the University (10+ years).
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had multiple failures in my business life, I think the biggest failure is not focusing. I first had to acknowledge it and then I went through a long process of forcing myself to say no to opportunities and let go of things I was doing that were not important.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
eBay for diamonds, with a twist – use blockchain to map and encrypt all the features and defects of a diamond as well as it’s transaction history. Open up the diamond market, get the quality you pay for, ensure fair trade and prevent blood diamonds.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A birthday present for my wife 🙂 – a pair of fleece lined pants, that are very warm in winter time – she’s very happy with them – happy wife, happy life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I’d say Google docs, I use them for everything I do: estimates, offers, contracts, financial forecasts, project tracking, project documentation and pitch decks.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie – Human interaction is at the base of every aspect of business. Being able to lead is crucial for running a business and growing a team, being able to network, connect and interact with people in business on a deeper level enables you to develop your business faster and better.
What is your favorite quote?
“Never knew before what eternity was made for. It is to give some of us a chance to learn German.” ― Mark Twain
- If you have 1 book to read in order to improve your business, read “How to make friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie
- Don’t be afraid to try as many things and fail a lot of times, but do it fast!
- Focus is the key to success!
- Work on things that make you passionate and you like, this way you will be able to put all the time your business needs.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.