While current start-up culture may create the impression that all it takes is a great idea, the truth about start-up success is far from glamorous, says Aidas Dailidė, co-founder of Pixelmator Team, a successful Lithuanian start-up with 20 employees.
Though he acknowledges the importance of promoting talent and a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship, Dailidė views current start-up hype with a good dose of skepticism. According to the 24-year-old entrepreneur, who spoke at the European Humanities University Public Conversation “Breaking the Mold: From Start-Up to Success Story,” many people have billion-dollar ideas, but few have the determination to take the next step and actually implement them. That requires hard work.
That said, founding a business these days, especially in the IT sector, often requires little capital and can generate large profits. Dailidė’s company, which he and his brother Saulius started in their parents’ home, is a case in point. It also helps if you are able to buck the norm.
“When you’re growing up and in school, you can tell that the 'nerdy' people will become successful in life, because success requires that you not follow social norms,” notes Dailidė.
Dailidė began designing and programming computer applications at age 14. He and his brother worked several years before achieving worldwide success. They received an App of the Year Award as part of Apple’s Best of Mac App Store 2011 selection for an image editing application called Pixelmator.
Looking back, he claims that their best decision was to maintain full ownership of their company. “Owning your company gives you the personal freedom to work on your own terms,” says Dailidė.
The brothers never market-test their products. They simply trust their intuition and try to create the kinds of applications they themselves would like to use.
Dailidė thinks the next big challenge for the team will be to compete directly with Adobe, the worldwide leader in image editing software.
“The 'worst' thing about Adobe is that they have good products,” jokes Dailidė, noting the difficulties his company will face. Competing with companies whose products are clearly not as good as yours is easier, he notes.
In the near future, Pixelmator Team plans to launch products for tablets and mobile phones. Dailidė says they have not yet done so because they feel they are not yet ready with a high-quality product.
While creating and maintaining a successful company is a difficult task, Dailidė says he is motivated by a desire to keep doing better: “I have this feeling that I want to make something huge.”
EHU Public Conversations represent EHU’s vision of the university as a forum for discussion of ideas and their application that involves and benefits the public. The series is generously sponsored by Novotel Vilnius Centre.