Listen to your team.
Kostis Mamassis is the founder and CEO of Megaventory, a super light and simple web-based ERP application used by organizations and businesses to manage inventory, manufacturing, and sales. Before that, he was co-founder and CEO at diveshop.gr, the market leader in the Greek retail diving sector. That was when the idea of Megaventory was born. His diving equipment e-shop was about to extend to an additional location, but there weren’t any affordable systems to manage inventory and orders across multiple locations. So in the absence of one, he decided to build his own. Ultimately, the whole venture was successful and Megaventory started getting its first customers. Today, it has users in more than 40 countries and has been localized in 6 languages
He holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of Aegean (Greece) and BEng + MSc degrees in Telecoms from the University of Essex (UK).
Since 2007, he is lecturing software development at the Department of Financial & Management Engineering (University of the Aegean) and is actively involved in numerous research and non-research projects related to transportation and logistics.
He is father to two beautiful young ladies and loves sports and the sea. He is a keen freediver and spearfisherman and in his free time runs long distances.
Where did the idea for Megaventory come from?
The first concept/prototype software (always web-based) was developed in 2005. It was something I developed as part of the operations of another (diving equipment trading) company I founded back in 2004. We just needed a way to keep track of the stock of our suppliers in real-time. So, we developed the system from scratch and we gave remote access to our suppliers to update their stock on our app.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The first thing I do when I wake up is to see if there are any urgent support issues that need my attention. Then, I make a huge coffee (the best secret to productivity!!) and I check my calendar. Megaventory runs only with apps being web-based so, I have 10 pinned tabs (for crm, project management, calendar, sw development etc) on my browser all the time. At least once a week, you need a full day off. So, I disconnect myself from the internet and I spend my time free diving or somewhere close to the sea.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Usually, these are suggestions from customers. When something sounds interesting, we discuss those with the engineering team and we add them to github and trello. Once their time comes, we start developing them!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I think AI is going to explode (it has already started) in the next years. ERP systems with embedded AI capabilities seems a very hot topic!!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Freediving. It is one of those sports that disconnects you completely, not only from the internet but from the world. It is like underwater yoga!
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
When I was 12, I wanted to prove to my father I could work and make my own money (I come from a middle class family). So, my father puts me to work in a cafeteria serving coffee and snacks inside a 10-floor office building. The first day passes by and boy, I was really excited! I was serving really fast and everyone liked me. So, my boss decided to keep me but told me to wear a pair of jeans and black shoes to look more professional (at the time, as a boy, I only wore training pants and sports shoes). And so I did. The second day, was a disaster. I stumbled upon the stairs 4 times and broke the disk with the glasses. The reason was, my shoes were larger than my feet and could not walk easy. I felt ashamed and left the job the same day… I still remember that day as a terrible experience! So, I guess, what I learned is, be comfortable in what you’re doing or you are not going to do it good!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
So, with my current experience, if I could turn back the time by 13 years, I would say, choose your starting team wisely.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen to your team.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Focus on the product and the first customers that are using it. Find out why they are using it and how they are using your product. Engage with them at all times and help them if they bump into any issues. Build trust.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I ended up leaving the first business I founded because I was fed up by the daily operations and my team. So, once again, choose your team wisely. I overcame it with immediately starting a new business with a product I loved where I was doing things I enjoyed. Basically, business failures are like broken relationships. You overcome them easier by starting something new 🙂
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Read above, the answer is there.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Ι booked a few days of holiday in my favorite Greek island. A great way to relax during the last days of summer and get ready for the next business year.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Alright, here is the list! Trello, Pipedrive, Freshdesk, Intercom.io, Github, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Skype, I love being able to access my data by using a browser. I can work from a remote beach, during a travel, on my desk… everywhere!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A classic: Moby Dick by Melville. It describes a whale hunter being obsessive with killing a huge whale. It teaches how a leader should be obsessed with his target but also, and most importantly, not to hunt something larger than you can land.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Well, my experience here is quite personal, and I unfortunately I cannot include a link to a profile. My university professor, Ioannis Minis, taught me analytical thinking during my PhD years. He was the smartest guy in the room but he was always listening to his students. He was able to listen to something during a conversation with the lab team (seemingly not important to the rest of us), discuss it with us for hours and come up with something brilliant at the end.
Megaventory on Twitter: @megaventory
Megaventory on Facebook: @megaventorycom
Megaventory on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/megaventory-inc
Kostis Mamassis on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kmamas