A 10-Year Milestone: Interview with our CTO

A 10-Year Milestone: Interview with our CTO

As our CTO, Stjepan Udovičić, hits the ten-year mark at Inchoo, we sat down to talk about his career journey. We could learn many things from our Chief Technology Officer, who’s been shaping the Inchoo tech scene for the last decade, but we decided to keep it short and insightful. We’re not going to make this introduction any longer; let’s hear more from Stjepan – the wins, the hurdles, and where things are heading.

Stjepan, on your 10th anniversary, could you reflect on your early aspirations in web development and how Inchoo featured in your journey? Is Inchoo the first IT company where you began your career, or did you have prior experiences in the field?

I had no formal employment in IT before joining Inchoo. However, I was deeply involved in development for many years prior. I explored various branches of software development, including embedded systems, game development, and mobile and desktop applications. Nevertheless, I found that eCommerce was the best fit for me. What appealed to me about it was the immediate real-world impact. The results of every change or feature I built were easily visible and could be directly attributed to that change. This aspect allowed me to better understand the significance of my work on eCommerce sites. And Inchoo was a great fit due to its approach where developers actively engage in discussions with the clients and the whole decision-making process.

Inchoo was the pioneering Magento-focused company in Croatia. How would you compare its current standing with its initial days?

When Inchoo started, there were relatively few competitors in the field. Back then, our influence in the Magento community was notable, with our blog often regarded as unofficial documentation for the platform. However, as Magento’s popularity grew and more agencies entered the scene, the landscape shifted. Today, there are plenty of quality learning sources, including official documentation. However, Inchoo never embraced Magento solely because it was an unexplored territory at the time. We always saw its potential, as a means to facilitate innovation and achieve better things. We saw it as an opportunity to build features we had challenges with on the other platforms and achieve goals more easily as the platform was flexible. It helped us craft solutions that stand out and make a difference. Over the years we had plenty of experience in doing just that. Helping merchants elevate their businesses to a new level. Between then and now, we are still a company that’s a merchant’s best friend. A company that helps them grow by taking care of technical solutions and allows them to achieve their goals. And I believe that our current and future clients still see that in our work.

Could you name a specific year that holds special significance for you at Inchoo and elaborate on why it stands out? (e.g., relocation, team growth, major projects)

If I had to choose a defining moment in my career, it would be the year we transitioned to a new office. However, it wasn’t about the change in workspace. It marked a period when I was a team leader in a growing team that was tackling our most ambitious projects at that time. Working on projects that push beyond conventional boundaries has always been my passion. It inspired me to embrace new challenges, reevaluate conventional approaches, and continuously learn. Handling both team growth and complex projects during that time provided invaluable lessons that have influenced my career.

On the flip side, which year presented the most significant challenges for you? Is it perhaps tied to your transition to the CTO position or something else?

Becoming a CTO certainly was a challenge. The role was completely different from what I was used to before. It required me to learn new skills and adapt to a more strategic, less hands-on role. It was a bit outside my comfort zone at the time, but it was a welcoming change and something I saw as the next step in my career. However, If I were to pinpoint a specific year that presented the most significant challenges for me in my journey, it would be the year leading up to my transition to CTO. During that time, our company underwent a major restructuring, which involved significant changes in leadership, strategy, and organizational culture. That period demanded a lot of flexibility and strategic thinking to maintain stability. Ultimately those experiences helped me prepare for a transition to a CTO position and everything that comes with it.

A ten-year-mark in Inshoo: Interview with our CTO - Stjepan

Reflecting on your time as CTO, what have you learned that you could share with our audience that would be meaningful to them?

During my time as CTO I have learned a lot, but I would like to share three main lessons that I believe are valuable for anyone who wants to grow in their career:

Keep learning. Explore new technologies, reevaluate approaches, keep up with trends and tools, and collaborate with your team and your peers. Technology is constantly evolving, and only by embracing continuous learning can you keep up with it.

Prioritize communication and collaboration. They are essential for success. Organization and teams can only be successful if team members can have open and transparent communication where they feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback, sharing ideas, and working towards common goals.

Focus on customers and values. To develop and deliver a good solution, you need to understand what goals need to be achieved, which pain points need to be addressed and what value should it bring to its end users. Going beyond the technical specification makes the difference.

We discussed the past, but let’s switch to the present now. What challenges do you believe Inchoo is currently facing? Are there any noticeable market changes, and how do we adapt?

Adobe always lacked a proper roadmap for Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. This has always been a pain for companies such as us and a problem for potential new customers. Mixed with the global economic climate and geopolitical factors currently in the world, it impacted market demand and made clients more uncertain about tomorrow. On the other side, especially new developers find Magento’s default tech stack a bit outdated, and not something they are willing to work with. We counter it by working closely with our clients to understand their goals and challenges. To ensure they have a trusted partner that has a plan and vision for their online shops and has them covered. We work on a series of internal solutions for common problems that we use to enrich our solutions. Those are built based on years of experience and with performance and usability in mind. And of course, we are always on the lookout for what is happening in the community. So when something interesting like Hyva or MageOS shows up that boosts performance and tech stack, we are happy to join in.

What unique value does Inchoo provide to clients who choose us as their partner agency and what to potential employees?

At Inchoo, we always nurtured long-term relationships with clients. Our goal is to take ownership of the technical solution. Maintain it and have a plan on how to grow it according to its vision and goals. This would allow our clients to focus on business and what truly matters to them. Having more than just a development agency, but also a knowledgeable partner to help you grow is what sets us apart, in my opinion. For our employees, I believe it is the opportunity to work on meaningful projects that make a real impact on our clients. Each business is unique, each market is different. And by working closely with clients, there is always something new to learn and it’s an opportunity for professional development.

Looking ahead, what do you envision for Inchoo’s development in the next five years?

Five years is a lot of time in this industry- new things pop up every day. It’s our job to adapt and make new technology work for us. But ultimately the value we bring is what truly matters in our work. Therefore, built on the foundations of change that was made in recent years, I want to see Inchoo grow and expand. Both in the client base and our team. I see us working on projects that would challenge us, but at the same time make us proud of, both how they have been completed and what impact they have made. And through the culture of integrity and excellence be a merchant’s best friend.

A ten-year-mark in Inshoo: Interview with our CTO

Lastly, Stjepan, is there a particular achievement or goal you aspire to personally or collectively in the future in Inchoo?

One achievement I aspire to personally is for Inchoo to be recognized for creating highly optimized websites for our clients. Aside from design and user journey, I believe focusing on optimization for speed, performance, and stability is crucial. I see that by continuously refining our work, leveraging the latest technologies, complying with best practices, and relying on our years of experience we can create shops that are performant and efficient. Ultimately, my goal is for Inchoo to be renowned for stores that deliver exceptional performance and user experience.

Reflecting on his journey, Stjepan shared insightful perspectives on his career path. Looking ahead, he envisions a future where Inchoo continues to push the boundaries of technology and deliver unparalleled value to its clients. With a strong emphasis on optimization, performance, and user experience, he aims to establish our further reputation as a leading provider of eCommerce solutions.

As we conclude this milestone interview, it’s evident that Stjepan’s dedication, vision, and commitment to excellence, alongside the team’s support, will drive the business forward. Here’s to the next decade of innovation, collaboration, and accomplishment for Stjepan and the entire Inchoo team.

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