Cezar Kolodziej – President, CEO and Co-Founder of Iris Mobile

Always talk to customers and understand their pains. A solution to an ongoing pain is much easier to sell than things that are “nice to have.”

Cezar Kolodziej, Ph.D. is the President, CEO and Co-Founder of Iris Mobile. He is widely recognized as one of foremost mobile technologist and visionary experts on MMS and rich media messaging. He is actively participating in defining the next generation mobile marketing and advertising. He has more than 20 years of technology and managerial leadership experience. He is a member of Mobile Marketing Association’s Messaging Committee.

Prior to founding Iris Mobile, Cezar was Chief Architect for the Motorola messaging business. Under his leadership Motorola messaging products were chosen as an exclusive multimedia-messaging platform by the largest tier-1 US wireless operator, considered the most successful in the world as measured by MMS uptake.

Where did the idea for Iris Mobile come from?

It actually came from personal disappointment with MMS and the form of mobile coupons. By 2008, more than 8 years since the inception of MMS and successful adoption for personal usage by the mobile community, it had not gained any traction with marketers. Mobile coupons had nothing to do visually with coupons and promotions we knew from print, direct mail, digital and TV. The reason to understand why helped us uncover challenges of MMS and realize why MMS was never designed to meet the needs of marketers.

What does your typical day look like?

Well, as for most of us, mobile is a very important part my life. My day starts with checking breaking news and latest developments, mobile trends and marketing stories on my mobile phone. Then I’m working with my team to deliver the best possible user experience on behalf of our clients to their consumers. The day ends with using my mobile phone to relax and play my favorite mobile games.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas come from our clients – the brand marketers. They are the most creative and unconstrained people I ever met. Our job is to make sure we provide technology solutions to materialize their great ideas. After we define campaigns goals together, we discover how a mobile campaign can be implemented. Then, we build it, carefully launch it, collect analytics and measure results. Lessons are learned from every campaign and carried on to the next one.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Trends are defined by people. Since people and societies evolve, so do trends. Watching the change in mobile trends and trying to predict them is something what excites me very much. There is nothing more rewarding than understanding and witnessing how technologies impact our lives. Mobile technologies are not exceptions but they evolve on an unprecedented rate, this is why it is easier to notice mobile trends and this is why very exciting to see changes in almost real time.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Using an actual short term to do lists. Checking off items from the lists keeps me focused and productive.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

There was a time in my life I had to have 2 full time jobs. It didn’t last for long but what I learned was that working longer doesn’t mean to work harder. Working smarter is a better way to meet your personal and professional goals.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have started 5 years earlier than I actually did.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Using the actual short-term list and making sure nothing falls off the list is what what helped me stay on truck and meet deadlines. We have limited time with any opportunity and we should always try to do things in a timely manner.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Always talk to customers and understand their pains. A solution to an ongoing pain is much easier to sell than things that are “nice to have.”

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

For some time I tried to be an entrepreneur on the side and an employee for one of the largest technology company in the world. Having a good long term job reduced drastically my capability of taking big risks. How did I overcome it? I was helped … :-), pushed over the edge and became a full time entrepreneur. Having no job security and job parachute I had no choice but to make it happen.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Ideas just stay ideas if not correctly executed. With that in mind, mobile will change everything we do. As we created web services around stationary personal computers, most of these web services can be significantly improved now by leveraging mobile behavior. For example, developing a mobile service that will keep track of things to do not only based on timeline but also current location will make our lives much more efficient and give us more time.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I really love salsa music and dancing salsa.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Deep inside I’m still an engineer that watched the internet revolution and am now participating in the mobile revolution. The Internet made our lives much more convenient and enabled us to shop from our couch and have items delivered to the steps of our homes. However, Google search is still the top service that I use. This is the means to stay up to date on what others are doing to move our mobile revolution forward.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Outliers – The story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Great perspective on success and what it takes to get there.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Mark Suster’s blog and practical approach to entrepreneurship really helped me understand the space. I would highly recommend his blog to everyone who is or is thinking of becoming a full-time entrepreneur. His blog can be found at .


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