Exclusive Interview with Vasily Kolosov: Innovation in the Digital Realm

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on November 27, 2023

Vasily Kolosov, the founder of a groundbreaking software development company, shares his inspiring journey and insights into the world of technology and innovation.

Kolosov’s journey from a young computer technology enthusiast to the founder of a company specializing in transforming raw ideas into fully functional software products is a tale of passion meeting purpose. In this Grit Daily interview, Kolosov shares the inspiration behind his entrepreneurial leap, driven by witnessing many promising software ideas fail in the implementation stage. His company emerged from the desire to bridge this gap, focusing on turning complex concepts into viable, market-ready products.

Grit Daily: Vasily, your passion for computer technology and programming from a young age is evident. What inspired you to transition from this passion to founding your own company, particularly focusing on transforming raw ideas into fully functional software products?

Since a young age, I was obsessed with computer technology and programming. I have always been amazed by the possibility of creating something that lives inside a machine but affects people and things in the real world.

But the truth is, writing great software is inherently hard. During my early career, I saw a lot of great product ideas fail in the implementation stage. They had the potential to conquer the market but fell short on the technical side of things. This inspired me to build a company that helps people bring their ideas to life, and we specialize precisely in that: taking a raw concept, and turning it into a full-fledged product.

Grit Daily: You’ve highlighted the challenges faced by great product ideas during the implementation stage. Could you delve deeper into the pivotal moments that led you to establish your company? How did your previous experiences, especially in the fintech sector, influence your decision to venture into software product development?

Our co-founder and I previously worked together at a fintech startup, which indeed had a very promising idea at its core: providing an easier way for individuals to invest in a wide range of financial products. We were responsible for product development, and the irony is that while we created a really great piece of software with a number of brave and innovative ideas in it, the marketing and sales of the product were not successful at all. In the end, the software itself was sold to a competitor, and we two started thinking about what to do next. The answer almost presented itself: why not go on with creating software products, as we had success doing so? This is how we started our business.

I’m inspired by great products that nail it in every department: solving a problem, doing it in style, and being profitable. As cheesy as it sounds, I can’t help it — it’s always been Apple for me as a benchmark for how software and hardware should be done, and who, if not Steve Jobs, is the man behind their most important principles? Many of his quotes live in my head rent-free, and when designing products for our customers, I often refer to the one where he says, roughly: start with the user experience and then come up with the technology to achieve that. If you do things in this order, you will always be on the right track.

Grit Daily: Your background in engineering for media production companies and your involvement in visual effects for prestigious events like the Olympics are truly remarkable. How have these experiences shaped your approach to software development, especially concerning user experience and innovation?

In my professional journey, I specialized in media production, where I engineered robust storage systems to manage a diverse array of video and media files from TV shows, movies, and live concerts. My role extended beyond ensuring reliability; I focused on scalability and top-tier performance.

Traditionally, media production relied on off-the-shelf vendor solutions. However, I saw an opportunity for innovation. I delved into crafting custom software solutions that revolutionized our workflows. These solutions were more than just code; they streamlined processes provided insightful reports, conducted performance analyses, and managed data lifecycles. They became the backbone of our efficiency, turning challenges into successes.

A significant milestone in my journey was my involvement in creating visual effects for the Olympics. This experience was transformative, not just professionally but creatively. Immersed in this high-profile project, I honed my skills, exploring the boundless potential of customized software. This period of innovation showcased the seamless fusion of technology and creativity.

These experiences shaped my transition into software development. Each line of code written and every problem solved marked a step toward a future where technology harmonizes effortlessly with human creativity. My journey transcends mere algorithms; it revolves around crafting meaningful experiences, addressing real-world challenges, and pioneering innovation without limits.

Grit Daily: Your company stands out not just for delivering code but for your expertise in digital product management. Can you shed light on how your team analyzes market dynamics, user behaviors, and competition to craft unique products? What is the role of experience and focus on the product part in your innovative process?

Certainly, at our core, we are proficient in the art of crafting code, a skill we’ve mastered exceptionally well. Yet, what truly sets us apart in the realm of software development is our unparalleled expertise in digital product management. This prowess has been honed through the creation of numerous software products, each a testament to our innovative spirit and commitment to excellence.

Our unique approach ventures beyond the mere lines of code. It delves deep into the creative domain, where raw ideas metamorphose into successful launches and delighted customers. This transformative process begins with a meticulous analysis of the competitive landscape and a comprehensive understanding of the market dynamics. We delve into extensive user research, deciphering their needs and preferences with precision.

What follows is a delicate amalgamation of various factors. We carefully curate the features that find their way into the product, making strategic decisions on what to include and, equally importantly, what to omit. The specifics of implementation are not just technical details; they are the building blocks of a seamless user experience. We sculpt the user journey through the product, ensuring it feels intuitive, engaging, and utterly unique.

Yet, our expertise goes beyond these strategic decisions. It’s rooted in the culmination of experiences, the collective knowledge of our team, and their unwavering focus on the product’s essence. This is more than just coding; it’s an art form, a symphony of technology and creativity orchestrated to perfection. It’s in these subtleties, these nuances, that our brilliance truly shines.

In the realm of software development, where innovation knows no bounds, our forte lies not just in writing code but in sculpting digital experiences that are unparalleled, unforgettable, and truly extraordinary.

Grit Daily: Can you shed light on how your team analyzes market dynamics, user behaviors, and competition to craft unique products? What is the role of experience and focus on the product part in your innovative process?

I’m excited about AI and Big Data and always try to find a way to employ them in our products to enhance their capabilities. In Picvario, a digital asset management system for which I led the development process for more than four years, we progressed from a system that relies on user input to structure its content to software that you can just throw photos, videos, and documents at and then it does the rest: detects objects and key features present in the photo or video file, including people’s faces and characteristics of their behavior, indexes document text, and its structure, and automatically categorizes content to ensure that you can easily find what you need later, saving a lot of content manager’s time.

However, in this product, an important part of the innovation is also present in the experience it provides to the user. It does not sound as flashy as a combination of AI features above, but in a way, it is even more crucial to the product’s success: Picvario’s competitive advantage is often attributed to its simplicity for the end-user, as many of the customers say.

If you look at other media management systems, you will find that while having a lot of functions under the hood, most of them look outdated and just too complex for most people. The foundational principle I adhere to while developing Picvario, on the other hand, is focusing on hiding complexity from the user. Our product design team used many clever interface techniques to structure product functions in a way that does not look like a Boeing-737 control panel — and Picvario’s customers praise this every time.

Grit Daily: In a competitive landscape, your company stands out due to its holistic approach, covering everything from UX design to market research. How do you manage to strike this balance between technical expertise and user-centric design? What do you believe sets your company apart from competitors?

Frankly, our key competitor is usually the customer’s in-house development team. It’s always the choice: build your own development team or outsource to an agency. Both options have their pros and cons, but what we’re aiming for is creating an outsourcing experience that feels like working with your very own team. This requires us to be radically open about our methods and internal processes and integrate deeply with the customer’s team, but the end result is worth it: this approach always results in better collaboration between parties and a better product.

In 2019, I had the privilege to participate in a 500 Startups-led acceleration program in Europe, where I became part of the dedicated team at Picvario, overseeing product development. Out of over 600 startups, Picvario was among the select 25 that underwent this intensive program. The program’s outcome was crucial; the most promising companies stood a chance to secure early funding from a local banking institution at a valuation of $2M.

500 Global, a renowned venture fund specializing in early-stage startups, provided invaluable mentorship. Collaborating with a global team of experts in sales, product design, and marketing was a tremendous learning experience.

During the program’s culmination, known as demo day, I had the honor of presenting Picvario to a distinguished audience, including potential investors, CEOs of major corporations, and government officials. Picvario was recognized as one of the program’s winners, securing funding that significantly accelerated our product development while also opening doors to extensive networking opportunities and increased sales potential.

Grit Daily: Obstacles are inherent in any journey. What challenges did you face while building your company, and how did you overcome them? Additionally, with AI tools like Code Copilot on the horizon, how do you foresee the evolution of software development processes, especially in complex projects?

The #1 obstacle I always had in the way was finding the right people. I’m very peculiar when it comes to hiring, and having a cultural fit with a person is as important as his or her skills. It does not mean we need to be all the same, but it is the basic principles of professionalism and teamwork that our company is built upon.

The second one is about adapting to the product life stage. You need to be very careful with this. When your product is just rolled out to its first users, and when it has thousands of them, it is two very different products, which require, I’d even say, almost opposite approaches to their development. And it gets worse as you get more enterprise customers — each of them wants something different and essentially is pushing your product in their direction. Maintaining the balance and satisfying customer needs while preserving the product’s identity is no easy task and often requires making some thought-out sacrifices.

Grit Daily: Looking ahead, what do you believe are the biggest challenges for the software development industry? Given your experience, how can aspiring developers and entrepreneurs navigate this competitive landscape and create truly unique, innovative products?

In the realm of product development, the challenge lies in crafting solutions that outshine competitors within a specific niche. The reality is the software market is saturated. Across various segments, countless products vie for attention, with fresh contenders securing their initial funding. Navigating this landscape proves daunting, especially without the vast resources of major corporations. As a professional deeply immersed in product development, I frequently encounter diverse product concepts. It’s evident how entrepreneurs grapple with the quest for distinctiveness, their unique selling point – a task far from straightforward.

In the realm of software development, a significant portion of a development team’s time is consumed by writing boilerplate code. Despite the availability of numerous frameworks and prewritten code templates, frontend engineers meticulously refine user interface elements while backend developers intricately design API views and database queries. Despite their apparent differences, these tasks essentially revolve around the same core concepts. The emergence of no-code tools addressed this issue to some extent, particularly for basic product prototypes.

However, for intricate development projects, the challenge remains. My optimism is rooted in the potential of AI tools, like Code Copilot, which hold the promise of revolutionizing the workflow of software engineers. Imagine the transformative impact of accelerating development speeds by an astonishing 200 to 300%. Such advancements could revolutionize the pace at which groundbreaking product ideas are brought to market.

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Greg Grzesiak is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Columnist at Grit Daily. As CEO of Grzesiak Growth LLC, Greg dedicates his time to helping CEOs influencers and entrepreneurs make the appearances that will grow their following in their reach globally. Over the years he has built strong partnerships with high profile educators and influencers in Youtube and traditional finance space. Greg is a University of Florida graduate with years of experience in marketing and journalism.

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