Dennis Turpitka

I believe that it’s more important to have a few key people in your network. These people are early indicators of major changes (or they’re the ones capable of introducing these changes). The growing volume of a general network does not cause harm, but it also does not help and can’t be a goal of its own.


Dennis Turpitka is founder and CEO of Apriorit, a software development company that provides engineering services globally to tech companies, including Fortune 500 tech giants. Turpitka’s team works and lives in Ukraine.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I have a technical degree, and after graduation, I worked as a software developer for several years. At some point, I realized I wanted to explore specific tech markets and work with the clients myself.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Apriorit is an international company; thus, I communicate with partners and teams in multiple time zones. In the morning, I usually catch up on the emails I received during the night. After that, I check my LinkedIn feed to stay apprised of news and changes related to our leads, customers, partners, and markets of interest.

Being CEO of a company of 350-plus employees, I have many roles and tackle various activities; that’s why my day can seem somewhat hectic from the outside. But I won’t spend more than 30 minutes on any one activity during the day — that’s my rule. The only exception is meetings, which can last about an hour.

How do you bring ideas to life?

“Idea” may imply creating something new, but 99 percent of my ideas simply involve plans for changes within my company.

To bring an idea to life, I run it past the people who’d potentially participate in its implementation. The second step is a fully functional pilot implementation within a limited scope or budget.

What’s one trend that excites you?

From the global perspective, one trend that really excites me is that our world, our life — I mean the whole of humanity — is actually becoming better.

Media and a lot of people tend to focus on bad events and pessimistic forecasts. But if you step aside, you can see that the world is actually slowly changing for the better. For example, some people have been discussing the death of humanity because of technology, but look, technologies help us evolve and resolve problems. The same can be said for medicine, education, equal rights, etc. Though imperfectly, change is moving in a positive direction.

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

Rather than guess or hope about an idea, I bring it to life. Whenever I decide an idea is worth pursuing, I act as if it’s already implemented — as if all the changes it would bring about already exist. Each idea becomes a fact for me.

I wouldn’t say that it’s some modification of “fake it until you make it.” It’s more about never looking back and about giving your idea 100 percent of your efforts. This attitude makes my actions much more effective. If an idea eventually doesn’t work, it’s because the idea itself was faulty, not because I doubted its potential.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t change anything. Act just as you’re acting at this stage.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

A lot of people believe networking is extremely important and your success is proportional to the number of people in your network. I don’t think so.

I believe that it’s more important to have a few key people in your network. These people are early indicators of major changes (or they’re the ones capable of introducing these changes). The growing volume of a general network does not cause harm, but it also does not help and can’t be a goal of its own.

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

I constantly think about how I can improve everything I do, everything my team does, and everything my company does.

Everything that works today — even if it works perfectly — can fail tomorrow. Thus, you should always have and work on the improvement plan. When you constantly improve, you’re able to not only respond quickly to a crucial change with a backup plan, but you also don’t meet this drastic disruption.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

It’s the strategy of focusing: focusing my business on what my team can do, what the market needs, and what is valuable at the same time. It also involves focusing on strong competencies and clearly defined specialties, which is the core of Apriorit’s business model. And it works.

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

After working in the B2B market for more than 10 years, my team and I decided to start a B2C project. We didn’t realize how different the mechanics of these markets were, and we were careless enough to build everything on our quick assumptions about B2C. And we failed.

I could not imagine how much preliminary research — even on high-level concepts — was needed for the team to be successful. If we’d kept this amount of effort in mind when we evaluated the project, we would not have started it.

The lesson I learned is that new ventures should be based on what we are successful in — on what we master. If a new project differs from this “master-scope” in multiple aspects, we should understand that the preparation stage will involve far more time and effort.

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

Technologies designed for the driverless car market. I’m sure it’s in the immediate future.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I purchased books on personal development (e.g., behavior analysis, self-understanding, brain mechanics) and professional development (e.g., entrepreneurship, management). I’m sure books are the most effective investment, as they help you gain knowledge that could otherwise be achieved only through long-term networking and event participation.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Gmail. Besides useful additions such as email grouping, labeling, or its calendar, Gmail gives me the main core ability to communicate anytime, anywhere. I consider email the best channel of communication; 90 percent of my work can be efficiently done through email.

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

“The Pleasures of the Damned” by Charles Bukowski. The way Bukowski writes is unique, especially in how he uses ordinary words and things — sometimes unattractive or ugly — to create the most impressive poetry ever written by a human.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t try.” — Charles Bukowski

Key Learnings:

• Don’t just dream about, sample, or try on your idea. From the first step, act as if you’ve already implemented it. Live your idea.

• Embrace the fact that everything that works well today can fail tomorrow. Replace your collection of “plan B’s” with a continuous improvement plan, and start working that plan right now.

• Focus your attention and resources on your work and business, but do not limit your personal and professional development. Expand the scope of yourself as an entrepreneur and a person.

• Read “The Pleasures of the Damned” by Charles Bukowski to absorb the poetry of a literary legend.