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IT is all about People… and recently a bit of ChatGPT ;) Mateusz Cieślak interview

Interview

Tomasz Michalik: Hi Mateusz, I’ll start provocatively. You work in IT, where does all this optimism come from?


Mateusz Cieślak: Haha 🙂 You partly answered yourself. It comes from meeting people like you. IT is all about people… and lately a bit of ChatGPT ;). I get a lot of positive energy from working with interesting people. That is the source of my optimism..

Honestly, I believe I inherited this from my late Father, who was living in soviet times in Poland and was able to make maximum out of what was available (and there was not much back then). Just one example: there was no ice-rink in our town? No problem for my father. He organized big number of sandbags formed in a shape of a rink on a school parking and poured a water in such temporary pond hoping to freeze. 🙂 And it worked.

I simply believe in good spirit, and that positive mindset can help creating impossible things. And we should never give up. There’s always a way to solve an issue.


T:You are an incredibly communicative person. Is being a substantive and interesting conversationalist something you were born with, or did you develop it based on certain experiences?

M: It’s actually quite interesting. As far as I can remember, I was a rather shy, quiet child. I preferred to play with a small group of friends.

I think the biggest breakthrough came when I was a teenager and looking for ways to have my own income. I started working as a DJ, and later as a radio presenter. Both jobs helped me to open up and develop ‘soft’ skills. I stopped being afraid of the microphone and being on stage.

Another big impact on my own confidence was when I started going to dance classes with my wife. It took a lot of courage at first, but it freed me from a lot of fears.


T: How did you start your adventure in IT?

M: With my first PC (386DX!) and MS DOS prompt commands 😀

Professionally, I studied telecommunications and became a radio network planning engineer for a tier-1 mobile operator. Soon my bosses found out that I liked to look for process improvements and encouraged me to join the IT team to redesign the internal workflow tool. It was a great first step into IT. A few years later, I realised that I could do this on a larger scale and joined Comarch.


T: You worked at Comarch for a long time. I suppose it was a very important place in your professional life. What did you learn there?

M: Yes, it’s a big part of my life. I’ve met and worked with many amazing customers, great colleagues and also directly with the founder and CEO of Comarch.

I love challenges and Comarch has given me many. 🙂

For a few years I was responsible for business development in Canada. Despite globalisation, each country has its own uniqueness and specificities. I had to learn how to do business there by studying the culture and history. This requires humility and teaches empathy. In business, it is important to know the cultural context. Without it, you waste your time and the client’s time.

I’ve held several positions, but there are some common values I’ve learnt: honesty in my work and transparency with clients and colleagues. Another thing that often gets lost in big projects is that we should look at the wider business context in all IT initiatives. Business value is more important than the technology itself.


T: What do you see as the biggest challenges in IT at the moment?

M: Quality of software developed. I think we suffer from the fact that the industry has focused on quantity, not quality. That’s changing, and that’s a positive observation.


T: What made you join the People More structure?

M: People! The company name is an obligation. 🙂

My entire career has been based on working for the largest organisations (mostly Fortune 500). At first I was unsure about this change, mainly because of the size of People More. But my first meeting with you, Tomasz and Piotr Kaczor, made me feel at home.

I feel this good energy in the People More organisation. It has the right size to achieve great things in IT. And I want to be a part of it.


T: Could you immodestly list the cars you own?

M: Only a few. Is that answer enough? 🙂

I love classic cars, with the greatest emotions for the Mercedes-Benz brand. I currently have 3 classic Benz cars: a 1972 w108, a 1982 r107 and a 1989 w126. All in perfect technical condition.

Although I work with modern technology, I really like classic cars. It shows the best of old engineering, where each model was designed with pen and paper. And these cars drive very differently to today’s cars.

The best thing is that I can share this passion with other members of my family. Firstly, they also enjoy using old technology and appreciate the design of classic cars. It’s also a practical hobby, as I use them on a daily basis, for example to take the kids to school. Finally, we can spend time together attending many classic car events – such as those organised under the auspices of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Club Poland (https://youtu.be/jB-qG4O0e5Y).


T: What is the Mercedes-Benz Classic Club Poland? Can you tell me more about it?

M: It is an association of the largest collectors of classic Mercedes-Benz cars in Poland, who have the most valuable models in their collections. It is also the only official club in Poland affiliated with the global Mercedes-Benz Classic Club based in Stuttgart, Germany.

Thanks to this membership I can participate in many events and this year I even organised one myself – StarDrive Poland 2023 Konin. It was 3 exciting days including navigation rally, sightseeing, Concours d’Elegance and evening activities.

Even though the MBCCP is focused on a specific car brand, it is first and foremost about people. I really appreciate the members, my colleagues. That is the best thing about this club, not the cars.

For more than a year I have had the pleasure and honour of being the Vice-President of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Club Poland.


T: So, should we start working with Mercedes, or is it a brand that you are passionate about?)

M: Definitely! It’s on my list.

Mercedes-Benz’s recent motto was “the best or nothing”. I think at People More we follow a similar message and provide IT services that are second to none.


T: Where do you see People More and yourself in 5 years time?

M: As Sales Director, I want us to be a well-known IT services company. Not only in Europe.

The other thing that is important to me is to keep the same team spirit in the organisation, apart from the size. Not to lose our ‘people-oriented’ identity.


T: Thanks Mateusz, great to have you on board!

M: Thank you so much! My pleasure!

author
Tomasz Michalik

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