Sabatino is the head of technology at Craftzing, a Belgian business consultancy bureau. He has a large passion for technology and is working on his personal SaaS projects on the side.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
I always start my day with the same routine: getting out of bed at 7:30am, drinking coffee, and join my desk upstairs. At 8:00am, I start my work with some deep work. As the head of technology at Craftzing, I oversee multiple projects projects and ensure they are all aligned. In addition to this, I make sure our developers can broaden their minds and share their knowledge. This involves collaborating with other team members, attending meetings, and providing guidance and support to other developers.
I take a short break to eat breakfast at 10:00 am, and eat a quick lunch around 1:00 pm. During my lunch break, I take an hour to exercise.
After wrapping up at Craftzing between 5:00 and 6:00pm, I take some free time to eat dinner and relax. In the later evening, I spend approximately one or two hours working on my own projects, which mostly consist of Unipage, my own AI tools, or research related to them.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As a full-stack freelance developer with a passion for technology, I am always on the lookout for new ideas in fields that interest me. In the last year, I immersed myself in the world of AI. During my free time, I researched and learned about generative AI, such as ChatGPT, Dall-E 2, and Stable Diffusion. I began experimenting and creating my applications, which eventually led to the development of https://imagined-with.ai.
https://imagined-with.ai is an AI profile pic generator (one of the first back in october 2022!).
During the first week after launching, I manually handled the training of the orders since all our efforts were focused on marketing instead of development. The website was initially launched on Facebook. I shared my journey with my Facebook friends and linked to the website. Surprisingly, that post was the source of the first paying customers. After that, it was time to dive into marketing. As a developer, the thought of doing marketing still scares me, but in the end, it wasn’t that bad.
I created a Tiktok and Instagram account for the website and started creating content. After a week, I had my first ‘viral’ Reel, which gathered 30k views in just a couple of hours. Apparently, people on Instagram really like dogs!
As the days went by, I spent time automating the process until I finally landed on a product that had an entirely automated end-to-end flow. At the time of this article (march 2023), the tool is up & running and still generates revenue on a daily basis.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is the increasing use of AI and machine learning in various industries. The applications of AI are expanding rapidly, and the potential benefits of this technology are immense.
In particular, I am excited about the potential of AI in the healthcare industry. With AI, it is possible to develop predictive models for diseases, analyse medical images, and personalise treatment plans for patients. This could lead to better outcomes for patients and more efficient healthcare delivery in the future.
Another trend that excites me is the increasing focus on sustainability and green technology. With climate change becoming a pressing issue, the development of sustainable technologies is more important than ever. I believe that AI has the potential to help in this regard by improving energy efficiency, optimising resource usage, and developing new renewable energy sources.
Overall, I am excited to see where the developments in AI and machine learning take us in the coming years and I am eager to be a part of creating innovative solutions to the challenges we face.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
One habit that helps me to be productive is setting clear and achievable goals for myself. I find that having a clear idea of what I want to accomplish and breaking that goal down into smaller, manageable tasks helps me to stay on track and make progress.
Trello has been my go-to project management tool for almost 10 years. Its ease of use and clean UI is unmatched across other tools in my opinion (please don’t make me work in Jira).
Another habit that helps me tremendously is one hour of exercise during my lunchbreak. This consists of cycling indoors, running on a treadmill or using the rowing machine. Working out helps me to clear my mind and to focus for the rest of the day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I could give advice to my younger self, I would tell myself to try to set aside my imposter syndrome. Even though 100 other tools are approximately doing the same, none of them have my personal touch to them.
Another piece of advice is to always keep being curious, dive into new tech, and don’t be scared of the unknown. Instead of fearing innovation (eg. AI) – think of ways to incorporate this in your workflow (or even your business). I would advise my younger self to not be afraid to take risks and to pursue my interests, even if they may seem unconventional or outside of my comfort zone. I believe that taking on new challenges is what has allowed me to grow as a developer, and I would encourage my younger self to embrace this mindset earlier on in my career.
Lastly, I would advise myself to build a strong network of contacts and to seek out opportunities for collaboration, as these can lead to new projects and opportunities for growth.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.
Many people believe that programs capable of generating AI-images, e.g. Stable Diffusion and Dall-E 2, could make graphic designers obsolete or are stealing their jobs. In my opinion, these programs are valuable tools that should be embraced and used collaboratively, rather than being viewed as adversaries to designers.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
I would recommend everyone else to explore their interests and learn new things. In my case, my interest in AI led me to explore and experiment with it, which eventually led me to create two successful websites. By continuously learning and exploring, I was able to expand my skillset and create innovative solutions to problems. I believe that taking the time to learn and experiment can lead to exciting opportunities and help us grow both personally and professionally. So, my advice would be to always keep learning and exploring new interests, no matter how unconventional they may seem. Who knows, it might just lead to your next big idea.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
When I feel overwhelmed or unfocused, I take a step back and try to identify the source of my stress. If it’s related to work, I’ll review my task list and prioritise the most important items. I look if there are tasks I can delegate to a team member. Sometimes, it helps to take a break and come back to the work with fresh eyes. As I’ve said before, taking a break to work out helps to clear my mind most of the time. If I’m feeling unfocused, I try to eliminate any distractions and focus on one task at a time.
Overall, I think it’s important to identify the source of your stress or lack of focus and find techniques that work for you to reduce it. Whether it’s taking a break, engaging in physical activities, or using time-management techniques, finding what works for you can help you to stay focused, productive, and reduce stress.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
After finishing the website of Imagined wit AI, I started building an app with the same name. Enabling in-app purchases was the next challenge. I spent a Saturday morning building it and submitted it to the App Store the same day. By Monday we had our first in-app purchases rolling in.
I also found our first B2B partner that wanted to resell AI generated images to put on their personalized photo products. This helped accelerate our sales as they had their marketing machine.
Bringing existing customers back has been a challenge since these AI images are something people buy one time and then forget. Upselling new generations at a 50% discount to existing customers has been a large revenue driver and helped me in increasing the average customer spend (e.g. their partner also wants to try it).
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
I experienced a significant failure early in my career as a freelance developer. I had been working on a project for a client, and despite my best efforts, the project was not progressing as planned. As the deadline approached, it became clear that I was not going to be able to deliver the project on time.
I felt disappointed and embarrassed by the situation, but I knew that I had to take responsibility and find a way to overcome the failure. I approached the client, explained the situation, and worked with them to come up with a new plan that would meet their needs and expectations. We agreed to extend the timeline and adjusted the project scope.
I realised the importance of clear and frequent communication with clients. By being upfront about challenges, setting realistic expectations and boundaries where necessary, I was able to maintain a positive relationship with the client and ultimately deliver a successful project. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than to promise more than you can realistically deliver.
Finally, I learned the value of perseverance and determination. Despite the setback, I was able to find a way to turn the situation around and deliver a successful outcome. This experience taught me that even in the face of failure, it’s possible to regroup, reassess, and find a way forward.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One idea is an AI-powered fitness platform. The platform could use computer vision technology to track and analyse users’ movements during workouts, and then generate personalised exercise plans and nutrition recommendations based on their goals and progress. The AI could also provide real-time feedback and motivation during workouts, making it feel like a virtual personal trainer. This could be a game-changer for people who struggle to find the time or motivation to go to the gym, as it would allow them to have a personalised fitness experience from the comfort of their own home. With the current boom in the fitness industry, this could be a potentially lucrative idea for someone with the right skills and expertise.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
iOS focus modes are a life saver. I configured my iOS devices with multiple focus modes for multiple scenario’s, eg. ‘deep work’. In this mode, not even a single notification can distract me.
What is the best $100 you recently spent?
I recently purchased the Logitech MX Master 3S, a quick, precise, and ergonomic computer mouse. If you spend most of your work time on a computer, this mouse is a game-changer. Additionally, its relatively cheap price compared to other computer mice of the same quality.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?
The book ”The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries gave me some good insights. Secondly, if you are looking for ways to optimise your time and increase your productivity, then “The 4-Hour work week” by Tim Ferriss is definitely worth considering.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
It’s not a new series, but I recently started watching the HBO series “Silicon Valley.” It’s a comedy series that satirises the tech industry and the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. I appreciate the show’s commentary on the challenges and absurdities of the tech world.
- Embrace new challenges. Instead of fearing innovation (eg. AI), think of ways to incorporate it in your workflow or business.
- Set clear and achievable goals for yourself. Breaking that goal down into smaller, manageable tasks helps to stay on track and make progress.
- Build a strong network of contacts and seek out opportunities for collaboration. They can lead to new projects and growth.
- Set aside your imposter syndrome. None of the other tools or start-ups have your personal touch to them.
- Working out regularly helps to clear the mind and to focus on your work.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.