Meet the CxO – The Three Musketeers, Andrei, Matei & Alexandru, MPs at Adcentric
How can three young entrepreneurs born in Bucharest can upgrade the game in helping a company building its image? We didn’t know the answer so we asked The Fantasy Fan (Andrei Popovici, 28 years old), The Philosophical One (Alexandru Cristian Verdeș, 28 years old) and The Science One (Matei Popa, 31 years old), managing partners at Adcentric what it means. Foolish and hungry, failures in classical education, and extremely creative, this trio managed to land important clients with their outstanding view of the world. Their vision is carefully carved by encompassing their personalities. Complementary and different, the three of them found the perfect chemical formula that allows them to function as a whole, while being their themselves.
Tell us a few words about how your company started.
M.P. – Everything started in the summer of 2010 when we saw a niche of Google AdWords freelancers being more and more overwhelmed by demand and unable to single handedly cope with their customer’s requests. In the very beginnings, Adcentric was meant to develop and manage Google AdWords campaigns for local businesses. The brand is built around this idea – ‘ad’vertising ‘centric’ – focused on advertising, filling a gap in 2010’s Romanian advertising market. Everything we did back then revolved around advertising through AdWords.
What drives you each day?
A.P. – Facing new challenges and overcoming them. The feelings after each triumph are worth it for me.
A.C.V. – I find that some of the most successful people are not always the most talented, but they are the most driven, the most inquisitive. The “where” isn’t all that important to me as long as the journey there is full of wonders. To that extent, I guess you could say that to a point I’m driven by a certain sense of adventure and by the desire to enjoy it every step of the way to the finish line.
M.P. – It’s a form of competition. Not with others or other companies, but with myself – trying to be better every day and better at what I do.
What do you believe are the 3 main accomplishments that brought you here today?
A.P. – I’d like to summarize this answer:
- a) First and most importantly was taking the risk to become an entrepreneur.
- b) Finding the right people to start a business with.
- c) Entering this field of work and keeping up with innovations.
A.C.V. – What brought me here today? Luck, fortune and a game of cosmic dice. You get to a point in life (and mind you I’m not that old) where you’re not that sure what your accomplishments are. I studied, I worked hard, I played hard and I had the planets align and steer me towards what I am today. I have a family, a great kid and another little guy (or girl) on the way – so there’s one major achievement in life. I’ve managed to put together a successful business mostly thanks to my two awesome partners ‘in crime’ – Andrei & Matei – and I enjoy being a part of it every step of the way – so there’s your second major achievement. I’d like to say the third is still to come and I’d like it to have a bigger impact – maybe even change the world – but let’s keep that a secret for now.
M.P. – I’m going to be short – Always being accountable for the work I’ve done, learning from my mistakes and always being fair to people around me.
What do you believe are the 3 main failures that brought you here today?
A.P. – (laughs) Quitting all my previous jobs, it all led to this point.
A.C.V. – Failures? Don’t have any. I’ve been through a few business opportunities but I wouldn’t regard them as failures, rather as opportunities to learn, to grow. My first major opportunity was working with a very driven guy who proposed we partner up and build something grand together – working mostly for the Dutch market. He was brimming with energy and had enough business connections to keep the whole thing going but I soon found out that the partnership was incredibly one-sided as all the work and management fell on me and my other partner at that time and all the ‘laurels’ and most of the business benefits went the other way. So, I decided to start over, one thing led to another and I soon found myself in another business venture where the experience I gained in the past was going to play a major role in how I wanted the business to be managed. Things were improving until they broke down again – this time it was a failure of vision – how we wanted things to function and I promised myself I was going to keep things fair for everyone. That’s how I eventually found myself where I am today – with these wonderfully like-minded individuals who want to build something based on the pillars of trust, respect and responsibility.
M.P. – I believe these are the most important – Failing at University (I quit the Electronics faculty at PUB in my second year), failing with an advertising job right before founding Adcentric in 2010 and failing to get a job at Enel a little later
Do you ever disconnect from the office? How?
A.P. – Finding time to rest, relax and enjoy life is one of the main requirements to be in business today. I kept my clients aware of my business hours and always tried to get my colleagues to be efficient in their tasks so that we can all go home and recharge our batteries for tomorrow.
A.C.V. – I used to. Now that I enjoy the environment as much as I do I guess you could say I disconnect at the office. There’s really nothing to disconnect from as work isn’t work to any of us.
M.P. – Not really, I usually only take city breaks which always means a laptop is lying around and we’re never short on requests or issues.
Do you have any books you wish you could forget just so you can read it again?
A.P. – I have a soft spot for Tolkien’s work J. We should all be able to read his books for the first time, every time.
A.C.V. – ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde. Just thinking about it made me go back and search for a quote I loved: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.”
M.P. – It is not a book, but a series that really stayed with me throughout the years – Frank Herbert’s Dune
Education – classic or alternative? Both?
A.P. – Alternative all the way, I honestly do not consider that any of my accomplishments or any success that I may have achieved has anything to do with classic education.
A.C.V. – This is a tricky matter when you really stop to think about it. The question here is if the classical system can still function in the modern world. Alternatively, are any of the other, more modern systems up to par? I’m inclined to say ‘no’ to both of them. What we now have is a fast-track, fast-minded generation used to gadgets and the benefits therefrom with a totally different set of standards, wants and needs than we, our generation, had growing up. The problem here is that when we – the governing party – try and impose our vision upon our youth and it is often times antiquated when paired with their actual needs. The problem is that given the rapid expansion of technology I don’t think we’re adequately prepared (mentally) to cope with the ever-growing speed of everything that’s going on around us.
M.P. – Alternative, I’ve always been self-taught since I can remember and traditional education didn’t work out so well in my area of expertise
Now tells us more about the business you are running. Let’s start with the number of clients you currently work on.
A.P. – We try to bring a certain standard for our clients online presence. We have very strong opinions about the importance of branding and presenting a message the right way. For these reasons brands like: Thermegroup, Etno TV, Money.ro, Casa Doina, Zexe, Juventus Bucuresti chose to partner with us.
Name a few of the biggest clients you work for.
A.P. – Therme Group, Etno TV, Money.ro, Casa Doina, Zexe, Juventus Bucuresti
Name a few of the projects that made you a force to be reckon on the market.
A.P. – The media platform for Money.ro really was a step up for us, proving (to ourselves and others) we can handle big clients and deliver to their standard. After this project we become an option for clients who were associated with great quality.
What is your most beloved project you worked on? What project forced you to be creative and innovative.
A.P. – Optimacall. It was one of our first project as a digital agency and we had the opportunity to have full creative freedom from the client, and it was awesome 😀
What project forced you to be creative and innovative?
A.P. – I would say Therme Group. They expected excellence from their project and for that we had to be all-in. Big amounts of research, bold ideas, new coding languages, you name it. But as always, we delivered.
What was the biggest struggle?
A.P. – Convincing international clients that working with a small Romanian digital agency is a win win for them.
- What makes your company different from others in your field of expertise.
A.P. – Our focus on design. We start all our custom project with great designs that we later bring to life.
How are your products innovative?
A.P. – We always keep the user in mind, and because of that we are able to deliver experiences with our websites. No detail is overlooked and as a result all aspects come together for a truly complete experience.
Who is the biggest innovator for you?
A.P. – Steve Jobs, with the first Iphone 🙂
A.C.V. – Right now, I’d say Elon Musk. From PayPal to Tesla and finally SpaceX – I find that Musk is an inspiration for any and all aspiring tech agencies. Not so much for the technical solutions but, more importantly, for the scope of the solutions and the problems they tackle. I’ve read somewhere that since we landed on the Moon we haven’t really dared to dream big, to have bigger goals. We’re too focused on the necessities of today, maybe even tomorrow – are we’re far to grounded, looking to satisfy only our own needs. J.F.K said “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win (…)”. I feel that Musk has adhered to the same philosophy and it is something I both admire and aspire to myself.
M.P. – Alex surely is, he tackles a (very) broad range of coding issues every day, always keen on learning new things and solving problems more efficiently, which actually means doing things differently from what is expected or traditional
What advice do you have for a young entrepreneur?
A.C.V. – I believe it was Steve Jobs that said “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” – and mind you those are words to live by. You have to keep your mind sharp and hungry for more, be it for knowledge, challenges and/or beauty. Always strive for the best version of yourself.
M.P. – Do what you think is right and have it your way as long as you possibly can – in the end, it always works out, you just have to get there.
What do you want to accomplish in the next year?
M.P. – Next year we want to outgrow our current offices and to double our team in size. By mid july 2018 we plan on having a new location in sight for relocation.
What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
M.P. – In 5 years we would like to have established Adcentric as a respected international brand in our industry, encompassing and promoting the same values we strive for since the beginning: morality, responsibility, innovation and respect, not only for our customers, but also for our work and for everything we build together.
Why did you join Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster?
A.P. – It made sense to be part of a bigger team who can tackle bigger challenges.
How does it benefit you?
A.P. – It is a platform to expand our business and find partners for more complex projects.
How do you see your company as being part of the cluster?
A.P. – We can provide a different perspective on how to make things look as good as they work.
How do you see the evolution of the cluster?
A.P. – I see the cluster as a trend setter of sorts, where smaller companies with more creative freedom engage tasks in different ways then the market is used but with just as much success as the bigger players in the game.
You can find more about their work and services on their website and Facebook page
Interview by Răzvan Dincă, PR Specialist@Smart Alliance – Innovation Technology Cluster