If you know a TemplateMonster company, you may know the place it takes on the Web. Being in the Top-3 template providers on TrustPilot, it supplies web developers, bloggers and small business owners with templates, themes and extensions.
Today, we are going to have an interview with David Braun, the CEO of TemplateMonster. David is a well-known public activist and a co-founder of the TemplateMonster company, the marketplace now features more than 22,000 design templates and has served more than 20 million customers. From this interview, you’ll learn David’s experience with developers, their salaries and the things which inspire and help him making a go of TemplateMonster.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind templatemonster.com?
My biggest inspiration is keeping a principle of loving what you do and doing it well. TemplateMonster is just a part of my life (clearly, a very big one). There are other projects, inspiring people, sports and social activities that ignite me with new ideas. Even usual things like a customer service in a restaurant or an advertising banner in the street may serve an inspiration and give me an idea of something that we could change in the way we run a business. And, of course, my family, friends and co-workers inspire me. The very fact of having such talented people around you is an inspiration.
You describe yourself as a serial IT entrepreneur. What excites you about launching IT businesses?
I am passionate about technology. IT is a relatively young area, and it’s developing rapidly. We, the people who work in it, create our flexible rules and traditions. Globalization gave us an ability to work with the people from different countries and be tightly united as if we’re sitting next to each other. The young IT professionals are incredibly great to work with. You constantly stay in a stream of ideas, new projects, discussions and development. In IT world everything is possible, one can suggest his idea to the world and fulfill it.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned over the years about managing your career?
First, always be sincerely passionate about what you do.
Second, relationships with people are more valuable than profit. Sometimes it doesn’t seem so, but in a long run that’s a win-win situation. This rule works both for customers and for business partners.
Third, you just need to keep moving. There are always other options. Even if you make a mistake, you can always fix it. In TemplateMonster, we had several really stressful periods. Among relatively recent mistakes we’ve lost track of our customers’ needs. We started getting multiple complaints about our templates. But that made us pull ourselves together, consider every comment and fix the problem, developing a new strategy for the company.
What advice can you offer software developers on advancing their careers? What should they be doing? What shouldn’t they be doing?
They should be flexible and adjust their product or the service they provide to their audience. Also, they shouldn’t stop learning and always look out for new possibilities. There is always room for your service or product improvements. I wouldn’t give any specific piece of advice like re-educating to a different area of development, but I would advise to never stop searching.
How should software developers approach salary negotiations with prospective employers?
Salary negotiations are the right thing to do. If you know that you can do your job well, if you know that you have something valuable to contribute to the company, there’s nothing bad in negotiating on a number. Your time is precious.
What are you looking for in the developers you work with? What qualities do you seek out? What do you avoid?
Passion and dedication to their work, thinking outside of the box, ability to work in a team. Clearly, I avoid everything that is opposite to that – indifference to what they do, narrow-mindedness. Luckily, all our developers are really hard-working guys and are easy-going. You can see that in the templates that we offer.
How can a developer make themselves more valuable to a company?
Being proactive. If you have a worthy idea that may help the company, you should always speak up. That’s the spirit we have in our team. I know, that many companies are not that open-minded to changes. However, don’t let this stop you, find statistics, the data which would prove that your idea would work, find a chance to present your idea. This is how the tech world evolves. With these new ideas, we all evolve.
What areas of a tech world are you observing the best opportunities for career advancement and growth?
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