Nikita is an entrepreneur and professional with over 13 years of experience in web development, software testing and automation. He has a master’s degree in solid-state physics and is an expert in custdev, product development, team management and scaling teams. As a founder & CTO of Qase.io, he became one of the first entrepreneurs to launch an innovative test management platform.
What's your industry?
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I started my career as a PHP developer, and in 2016 became head of web development at one of the leading internet holdings. In 2017, I became a team tech lead in charge of billing and payment systems for the largest classified advertisements website in the world.
While working in web development, I faced a problem: I couldn't find a test management system that met my requirements for tracking both manual and automated tests with a single tool. All solutions looked a little outdated and focused only on manual testing, so I decided to develop the platform myself. I worked on this idea for 2 years while maintaining a corporate job.
In 2018, after seeing a huge demand on the market for a system like that, I decided to start my platform. I spent two years developing Qase while working at my day job. In 2018, I realized an entire community of people was looking for a platform like mine, so I decided to test it. I invested $50 in advertising, and in no time, I had gained 100 users and seen plenty more interest. For two years, I’ve seen sustainable growth in users and revenue. In 2020, I realized that it was a perfect time to quit my day job and make Qase my career.
What kind of work does your daily role involve?
As a founder, my day-to-day tasks vary. However they all fall under these groups: hiring and leading the company’s executive team, implementing short and long term strategies, investor management, analyzing and improvement of product metrics and business scaling. Overall, it’s about being available for any task that needs doing but also knowing what's a good use of time, and when it's time to hire.
What gets you excited about your industry?
The complexity of the tasks and being able to solve them in order to help our clients. This industry throws challenges at you every day. As a CTO, I love overseeing and implementing new solutions in order to fit business needs and requirements. I am excited about this challenge because I know it helps a lot of professionals and prioritizing user happiness and satisfaction naturally leads to better innovations and overall growth. Customers are happy to pay for a product that solves their problems well, so their satisfaction is the most important thing.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
The best advice I was given is actually “anti-advice,” to "burn out with a twinkle". The path of entrepreneurship is a constant state of burnout, so getting out of this state quickly is the task of every new founder. Our work schedules are 24 hours a day until the company is well-established, and until you have consistent revenues, you also have a day job. It's important to understand that you'll have to give the company everything you've got for a certain amount of time, so you need to grab any calm moments you can find. It actually helps your productivity, therefore benefiting your company. I always tell this to my employees too - I’d rather have a productive, well-rested and healthy employee than a burnt-out one. It also means you should be patient. Don't try to make everything perfect and rush things. Finding the correct market and perfecting your product takes time, so don’t burn out before you can even reach your destination.
What's the most challenging project or situation you've overcome to date?
My most challenging project is definitely Qase and being its founder. Before Qase, I was just doing a certain set of tasks as a developer. Now, I have to think about everything: operations, marketing, strategy, financing, creation of company culture, human resources, hiring, firing and sales. There is no,“this is not my job or responsibility” because the success of your company is your responsibility. Another challenging thing is that when you write a code you see the end result immediately, but when working with people, you see it in a year. This was hard for me to accept at first, so I had to change my mindset.
Are you using any AI tools right now to help grow your business or, if not, do you plan to use any this year?
Yes. At Qase we use GitHub Copilot, an AI tool that is designed to help developers create code. For us, it is a very useful productivity tool because the developer can ask an assistant to compile the code, i.e., by entering a command input, Copilot completes the algorithm, or the code snippet, helping reduce development time. Of course, it still requires human assistance, but we definitely benefit from using it. Additionally, we are testing other AI tools like ChatPGT.
Overall, do you see AI as a good thing for business?
Yes. I definitely think that AI is a good thing for business, since it processes and analyzes troves of data much faster than people, especially for IT, where speed is crucial. It will allow IT companies to automate many of their operational processes, helping them reduce expenses and minimize a lot of manual work.
Overall, do you see AI as a threat or an opportunity in business?
I see it as an opportunity, it can help businesses enhance efficiency, streamline workflows and increase productivity. AI can enable the development of a new generation of products and services. It will allow people to take care of more creative operations that require human touch.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
To avoid technological singularity - at some point, the development of robotics and intelligent machines will become uncontrollable. This way, artificial intelligence will be able to surpass the brain power of humans and will be able to evolve on its own.