Hrvoje Smolic is the founder of Qualia Data Sciences LTD (Ireland) and Qualia d.o.o. (Croatia). He has a degree in physics, but started his career path with software development and business intelligence systems.
Today, through his companies, he is putting efforts into blockchain, data science and data visualization in order to change the way people are doing business.
We spoke to Hrvoje about the inception of Qualia and their plans for 2018.
Describe the company: what is your elevator pitch?
Qualia Data Sciences LTD specialize in data visualization and analytics software products. We are working interdisciplinary with human perception theory and color theory. We are driven by data science and machine learning in general; passionate about blockchain potential and development; and finally, we are interested in bringing understanding to Industrial Internet of Things via presentation layer. All those new hot technologies work together on our software products and projects, opening almost limitless opportunities for our customers.
How are you different?
When we are working on something, we are not focusing only on the particular challenge. Rather, we are taking more holistic approach. An example is our BusinessQ software for data visualizations. When building and coding BusinessQ, we were not only focused on the end result like rendering tables and graphs. No, first we studied the theory of human perception. The theory of modern and effective user experience design. What colors to use in palettes? What if a color-blind person is using our software? Gestalt principles, Anscombe’s quartet, our mind as a pattern-detecting machine… Studying all those interdisciplinary fields helped us to build something in the context of all relevant knowledge available to date, not just knowledge strictly connected to tables and graphs.
We also have special Key Performance Indicators visualization types – KPI card and matrix. They will help put any important company number like sales, quantity, number of defects, into right context visually.
Why will you do well?
Because underpinning everything we do is passion. It’s driven. It has a momentum of its own. To put it more philosophically, we can’t lose because being on the road itself is fulfilling. To be more on the ground, we will do well because we are focusing on what real people need and how real people process information.
Where are you based?
Today we have 2 offices. One office in Ireland which is more focused on Research and International Sales, and a Croatian-based development and support office. We have the majority of our clients from USA, UK, Ireland, Italy and some other EU countries.
When was the company launched?
The Irish office practically just started, it was founded in May 2018, but it already did an amazing job in expanding BusinessQ software partner network throughout Europe.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
The big win is the fact we developed our own business intelligence and dataviz software – BusinessQ. Today it is used by more than 6000 companies in the world. On top of BusinessQ we built some vertical solutions as well – like Analytics App for FirstData’s Clover POS. That app is now Editor’s choice app, recommended by Clover and the best reporting app on their app marketplace.
There are also a number of “little things” – customer satisfaction, their feedback like “this is the fastest support response that I got ever from anybody”, or the recognition that we improved their analytics capabilities so they can not believe they were doing without it before.
Who are you trying to attract to your product?
CTOs, CIOs, any c-level management, people working in controlling or people involved in any way by data analytics or reporting, from private companies to Universities. Our software and services will provide data visualization without compromise, without chart junk. We don’t believe information dashboards are here to entertain managers, but to inform them.
We are also trying to attract IT companies that need to better visualize data in their future projects. They can do that easily in BusinessQ as our implementation partner.
Maybe IT companies have their own web app, and want to embed BusinessQ (with our OEM licencing) into it to enable analytics and DataViz to their users? That is also the possibility.
What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?
It is not a secret that if you do what you like, what you are passionate about, then it doesn’t feel like work most of the time. It is fulfilling, relaxing, creative and you will be better in what you do. I can only confirm that to be very true. If you have the opportunity, passion and idea about something, it will almost be a sin to yourself not to try to explore that road.
Tell us about your team?
We are a team of IT professionals, of course. The main accent is not on the perfect CV or excellent score on job interview questions. It even doesn’t matter if a person has a University degree, really. What matters is that the members of our team like what they do, that they can be creative, they can think critically and from that process come up with fresh approaches and ideas. That is how our team look like and how we are trying to build it.
What are your plans for the future?
Our newly-formed Irish offices will play a big role now for us. We have a mature software product – BusinessQ – and the Irish branch will approach potential partners to expand the network and BusinessQ visibility on the global market. The Irish company is already working on connecting all new emerging technologies like with Data Science, IIOT and Data Visualization.
In fact, blockchain technology is very much connected to data science. Data scientists will get plenty of work helping companies figure out how best to use the data that is growing on the blockchain. That is why Qualia Data Sciences have a research team dedicated to the creation and understanding of Smart Contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. There will be a growing need for people to understand their blockchain data. As more and more companies enter the blockchain industry, their businesses are going to rely on blockchain transactions and how people are using them. They’ll start asking smart questions. In order to answer those questions, we have to pull data from the blockchain, manipulate it and present it to their business so that they can make sense of what’s happening.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
Since I started to use it, my iPhone. That pretty much starts and ends my list of gadgets. If I was being nostalgic, then my Commodore 64.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
I would like to use new gadgets or technology that will help me do something better, faster, or to create something new. I am a big fan of SF, books and movies. I don’t smoke, but can’t forget the first time I was reading about an atomic ashtray in Asimov’s Foundation. Imagine all the garbage we are producing in the world right now and how much energy it will release back if we will just annihilate it in a garbage bin? Or having multiple parallel pedestrian tracks (again Asimov), each track is just a little faster than previous. One can easily switch from track to track to the last one going 200 km/h, and then switch back before they want to make a stop. It will solve big city traffic problems completely.
But then again, sometimes the best gadget is no gadget at all. I am getting the best ideas about new features or products while just hiking somewhere alone, without anything to distract me from myself.
Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?
If you are working in the company struggling with too much data, and too little information, please get in touch. If you are from an IT or BI company looking for a better business intelligence or data visualization solution for your customers, I will gladly discuss it with you. Any type of comment is appreciated.
How do people get in touch with you?
Check out a live demo of our work here.