Interview with the CEO of a Software Development Company

If you’ve always wanted to pick an experienced tech strategist’s brain, let us introduce you to Rege, Wanari’s co-founder and CEO. He’s been in the software business since 1997, so we decided to ask him a few questions and post his answers! If you can think of other interesting questions that you’d like him to answer, let us know in the comment section or send an email to!

Why Java?

Around 2000, the beginning, everyone of us was a developer. Then-friend, later co-founder Bodri, had just finished a 2-year Java project and he really loved what he saw compared to what he had seen in his earlier C and C++ projects. So it was not hard for him to get me excited about Java either.

Java, as a language was very present-day at the time. Strongly typed, object-oriented, automated memory management: hard to resist! And the fact that we could carry out platform independent solutions with it was the cherry on top.

This latter part was more of a challenge back then because the enterprise hardware market was a lot more fragmented than today’s two-sided Linux-Windows world. Therefore, JVM being available on almost every popular platform was an excellent selling point. Ultimately, Java was a tool to create server-side applications that could be run on almost any machine. Of course, this came with a price: the reduction in performance (hardware performance was much more expensive than it is today and JVM has improved a lot ever since). But taking all of that into account, our choice of Java was a no-brainer.

Why is Wanari still doing Java?

  1. Because we are good at it. We’ve been working with it on the server side since 2000. We’ve worked with its difficulties and followed through with its progress and used better and not-so-great frameworks with it, too.
  2. However, we’ve encountered some hardship throughout the advancement of the language, the platform itself (JVM) is constantly becoming better. It continues to be one of the 2 most recognized and reliable enterprise application platforms.
  3. We aren’t just doing Java. On the one hand, JVM is what we vouch for. Java is an adept language but it’s becoming old. On the other hand, most of our backend guys also do a lot of Scala. JVM though is a great platform and Java isn’t the only language for it: Python, Ruby, and JavaScript are all proficient for it, to mention only the most well-known ones. And of course, there are the languages that were originally designed for JVM: Groovy, Clojure, Kotlin and of course, Scala.

So all in all, our Java focus is really a JVM focus. We still develop a lot in Java, but we’ve been working with Scala since 2014 and we’ve only started greenfield projects in Kotlin on Android for the past year.

Versatile CEO:


When should you NOT begin your custom software development project?

In my opinion, there are three cases:

1. When you don’t have a budget:

Creating custom software is always the most expensive option.

Your development-partners can be the fastest, most talented group of engineers; if there is a proven system that’s been tested by many users, your custom software development project will be more costly than the license fees.

2. If you don’t have enough time:

Custom development takes time.

If you don’t allow yourself enough time any or all of the following will almost surely happen to your project:

If these problems look familiar, you aren’t alone. Startup MVPs often times could have all 4 of these problems to more or less of a degree. However, with a startup, it is inherently understood that there are future iterations and the MVP is just the first step. If you choose to take this road, make sure you have the budget for the future versions as well.

3. Or your goal isn’t clear:

This is true for every project, of course. But without the end-goal, starting a custom software development project can be very costly and difficult. If you have your own team, their work load might increase dramatically, if you have a development partner, then they might not want to work with you after a few iterations of endless goal-definitions.

Crafting the sales strategy with the VP of sales:


From CTO to CEO – tell us about how that happened.

Back in the day, I didn’t care for business. When we started Wanari, I only focused on technology and nothing else. I didn’t participate in dealing with the sales, marketing and management efforts at all. I should have.

Today I understand why it’s important to be versatile like that. Today I think that at a small company, no leader can allow himself to focus on only one topic. Quite simply, there are not enough leadership positions to fullfill every aspect of the business and none of these ‘departments’ should be neglected either. In hindsight, I think this was the single and most tolling mistake we made when we started Wanari. Marketing, soft skills and leadership development were all topics we didn’t really care for, hence didn’t make an effort to advance in them.

We didn’t say it out loud, but I think we truly believed that there was no need for any of this, since were well-versed with technology. We did some sales, but we looked at it more as if it were an obligatory evil in managing your own business and didn’t really want to get great at it. I think this might be the arrogance of developers in general; not giving enough credit to other departments. Somehow we weren’t geeky enough in this sense. If we were, we would have tried to hack the concept of sales, create our own approach or at least would have tried to be excellent in it.

Perhaps arrogance is the worst enemy of geeks?

Helping – no matter the circumstances:


We hope you’ve enjoyed these short musings. To hear more about Wanari, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

As always, if you need a reliable and adaptive software development team, let’s have a chat!

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Our fun and insightful leader is a CTO-became-CEO. His remarkable ability to juggle staying up-to-date on technologies, while educating himself about management, and even sales techniques, makes him a resource any member of the team can turn to.

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Karo oversees our marketing, branding, leadership development and generally people-related efforts. She is also a cognitive scientist and a yoga enthusiast.

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