We met with Róbert in the office on Deák square. We had a cup of coffee and a nice chat in the elegant meeting room reminiscent of days gone by. Robi moved to Belgium with his family in August 2023, but as they were visiting home for a few days, I had the chance to interview him in person. And compared to an online meeting, a personal talk is priceless—even, or especially, in the era of digital transformation.
The interview was made by Györgyi Rapai-Csáki, marketing communications expert at SCALER
Hi Robi, thank you for meeting up for this interview! Please tell us about how you met Tamás and joined the CodingLab team.
This dates back to the early 2000s, when Tamás and I were colleagues at a computer trading company. We then continued our careers at different companies, but the good relationship remained all along.
Then, in November 2019, Tamás asked me to join CodingLab Ltd (now SCALER Agency—Ed.) as the Director of Business Development.
You are responsible for several focus areas in the agency, including T&M outsourcing. What exactly does this mean and how does it fit into the original profile of the company?
Outsourcing software developers on a T&M basis is a practical solution these days, so it’s not surprising that it can become a solution companies can rely on. Such resource outsourcing is beneficial for everyone: on the client’s side it’s a great scalable solution without the need to hire people for a single project; for the developers there’s always an interesting and new project they can be a part of, while we can optimize our human resources, minimizing idle time. So it’s a win-win for all parties.
In my work, I always strive to make or facilitate business decisions that benefit all stakeholders. This is an integral part of my values.
Coming back to the SCALER company profile: looking at T&M outsourcing as a service, it’s a simple task. We have to assign the ideal candidate to the project, while we always keep in mind that the project is an exciting challenge for them to stay motivated. However, the thing that gives us an edge, that will give our clients more outstanding business results and exceptional digital products, or drive more customers, is not created in this business branch. I consider it crucial to uphold and enhance our services focusing on the creation of digital products. In that line of business, we take utmost care and we employ our expertise when designing products and services, because
we wish to ensure that what we provide is not merely an application, but a scalable solution that delivers the desired "wow" experience for our clients and also aligns seamlessly with their business objectives.
In addition to the above-mentioned, are there any principles you shape your way of thinking and live your life by?
Actually, there are many. One is that I think in many cases, the one who wins is the one who wants it more. This can easily be illustrated by a running race, for example. Everyone there has trained, has run the distance a thousand times, all of them are fit and muscular. But at the end of the day, the one who is mentally the strongest will be the winner.
Furthermore, my glass is always “half full”, and if something is not comfortable, I make efforts to change it, so that I don’t get stuck in such situations. How one perceives success or failure is rather a matter of perspective. As far as I’m concerned, I think that if I get it right 7 times out of 10, it's definitely a success. The point is to make a decision and not to procrastinate.
We've come to one of the most exciting parts of the conversation: in August 2023, you and your family moved to Belgium. What was the reason behind this decision, and how's life there?
We’d been flirting with the idea of trying life abroad for quite a few years. However, we were cautious in making our plans as we have two young children, and it made a lot more difficult for us to take the leap. We had a number of possibilities to choose from, and we tried to find options that would benefit all of us.
In addition, the company had previously also considered entering the Benelux and Scandinavian markets, and this is how Belgium became the most appealing destination to us.
But ultimately it was a family decision, naturally, and we don't regret it. The kids participate in programs that promote their integration—and this is a great gift for us to witness as a parent.
How’s everyday life? Are there any difficulties?
Besides the many cyclists, what catches your attention immediately is how calm and patient people are—and it was quite easy for us to get used to this pace.
As for the difficulties, it is a hardship for me that I’m far from our office and my colleagues, I miss being able to connect with the team in person. However, as I mentioned earlier, I like to take action when I don’t feel comfortable, so I checked co-working offices to meet people with similar needs. Sometimes we get together for a coffee, have a chat, and then everyone opens their laptops and gets on with their work.
Nevertheless, digitalization and the possibility to work remotely makes a difference, doesn't it?
Of course! We adhered to the remote-first approach right from the start, and it works well, I reckon. The best proof of this was that when Covid came along, from a working perspective, we weren't really affected. While many people panicked and rushed around, replacing desktops with laptops, we kept on with our daily work the same way we had done before.
The fact that digitalization is an invaluable gift these days goes beyond saying. Even though the team is in Hungary and I'm in Belgium, we still have the daily standups and we perform our tasks the same way. Personal meetings with clients are less frequent, but it’s feasible with careful planning, especially that moving forward we’re open to meet clients not only in Hungary, but in Belgium and in other countries as well.
Let's give readers a little tabloid content—can you tell us some fun facts about yourself?
Sure, why not! For example, I really like gardening. And maybe I wouldn't do it professionally, I'm almost obsessed with it as a hobby. Sometimes I even check my neighbor's grass to see if it needs mowing... :)
I also used to play speed paintball, but nowadays I’m more into cycling. It's not a difficult thing to do that here in our current neighborhood, though.
And one more interesting thing about Belgium: the seashore. Speaking about a “beach”, most of us envision a sandy place with palm trees where the heat is almost unbearable. It's a different story here. The other day we took the train to the seashore (it’s only 11 minutes from our place), and it was the nicest thing ever: cool air, no crowd, refreshing water... It’s a great place to relax. My perspective of the sea has undergone a complete change since that time, or more accurately, I look at it from a completely new point of view.
Is there any take-home message that you’d like to share with the readers as a business manager?
That no matter how big a company is, its people should always remain connected. We must not lose sight of human values, no matter how much digitalization gains ground.
Great closing message. Thank you for the interview, Robi!