[Interview] – The vision – Alex Tsekenis
In part three of this industry interview, co-founder Alex Tsekenis talks us through the vision for Ai Exploration and his changing role within the company.
Ai Exploration was formed in 2019. The company develops and commercialises sensors and analytical solutions for the Energy sector to provide real-time insights to optimize production & reduce emissions.
Ben – So, when you’re thinking about the fact that you’re on this journey building your own tech company, what makes a great tech company?
Alex – What makes a great tech company? I would say a number of things and this varies from person to person. Technology is inherently changing. Day-to-day it’s changing. It is not static. And no matter what industry you’re in, they are all underpinned by one form of technology or the other. You have, you know, some faster movers, some slower movers, but technology is used everywhere.
So the moment you start interacting with technology, you have to keep up. Whether that means adopting new technologies or spearheading the development of new technologies, depending on what type of company you are. I think a great technology company is one that is constantly looking for opportunities that course would have a commercial return at some depth of time, constantly looking for opportunities to push the boundaries, particularly their own benchmark against themselves and just continue improving the capabilities for their own technology and in their industry.
So continuous innovation, and having the culture that will enable that, I think is what makes a great technology company. The moment you stop innovating and being content with what you have, that is the start of a clock to your demise, I think.
Ben – Brilliant. So think about your four year journey and think about the future. How is your role evolving in the business as it grows?
Alex – That’s a very good question. In the beginning, it was, there were no rules and I think that is still the case. You don’t have very well-defined roles. Your role changes day-to-day depending on what does the business need right now. And I’m going to give some examples here.
For example, in one day you might be playing patent attorney and another day you might be playing the commercial director, trying to secure a large sale in Dubai, as we are doing now. Another day you might be playing CTO, thinking about structuring of teams. Another day you might be playing procurement, trying to chase up people on invoices.
People say that there is a minimum of seven hats you need to have. I don’t know how they figured that out. What I want to say is that you need to be flexible, adaptable, and not to overthink or have one role being more important or more glamorous, if you know what I mean, than any other role, and just do whatever it takes.
You know, this goes back to the never give up, do whatever it takes to get the job done. And that has been probably the only role that I have had and continue to have and will continue to have. As the company grows, hopefully you can start delegating some discrete areas, depending on skills and so on but it would be impossible to say my role is that and stay to that. No matter how good you’re trying to define that and ring fence it, it’s just not going to happen.
Ben – Interesting. So you’re then thinking about envisaging your own company. Maybe you could describe for us what your vision of Ai Exploration might be.
Alex – It is a very difficult question to answer this because, and this goes back to the challenges of running your own company. On one hand you have the daydreaming extreme and on the other hand you have the day in, day out, you know, picking up parcels from reception for example.
And where do you position yourself within that? I think it’s very important to have a northern star to guide you as your vision and for us, it’s to completely digitalize and automate the production of energy. Energy as we keep on seeing is just so important worldwide and being able to measure it, monitor it, control it, and optimize it is extremely important.
So I would say that this is the vision from the company perspective, if you like, but that is not what is driving myself and Robert, right? We have our own mini-visions and that is, at some day, being able to have a sit down next to a fireplace and go through all these war stories. Be able to go through them in a nostalgic way, having been there, done it and being on the exit side of it, I think that’s what’s driving myself and Robert.
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