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Alexander Lazutin of ICarta Technologies: “If the app doesn’t excite you, don’t do it”

If the app doesn’t excite you, don’t do it: Apps that are good will not get you enthusiastic. You cannot fake enthusiasm, or you will sound like a salesman who’s trying to drill something down your throat. Everyone has something that they are excited about, choose this niche and don’t chase the seemingly profitable or […]

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If the app doesn’t excite you, don’t do it: Apps that are good will not get you enthusiastic. You cannot fake enthusiasm, or you will sound like a salesman who’s trying to drill something down your throat. Everyone has something that they are excited about, choose this niche and don’t chase the seemingly profitable or popular niches.


As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexander Lazutin.

Alexander is the founding director of ICarta Technologies, a software development company specializing in apps for mobile, web and voice platforms. This is not just a service based company, ICarta Technologies have some of their own internal projects going on, where they invest and build solutions for the market. A notable mobile app is My ICarta, also known as My Personal Card, is a business tool for sharing contact information during in-person meetings.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

As most founders, I started with an idea, a small need that I wanted to fulfill which was to get rid of paper business cards but have a seamless and quick contact exchange system to build a network of business contacts. From here, I began to design and build an app to fulfill this purpose, with a team of developers to help.

Thereafter, we were approached by people who also wanted to build an app so we made the decision to grow in numbers and begin a service based business as well as this initial app. Now, we primarily build software for our clients and are open to new and interesting ventures.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

My initial app idea came from a personal need. I knew that we should build this app for a few reasons, the main one being to try and learn the process, there is a lot of potential in the app market and the other is that I was both a creator and a user, if I could fulfill my need, it is likely that other people like myself would use this too.

For the services business, it came initially from demand, then we grew in numbers because we love collaboration. People working together can achieve a lot more than if they each work individually.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

It’s a journey of ups and downs and it can get tough at any moment. Even the big businesses which appear successful can have huge downs, a lot greater than they did at the start of their journey. You are faced with challenges such as finding and building a team, seeking funding, getting market traction and scaling. None of these are easy, every step is a risk that can end your business.

There can be an urge to leave the risk and do something else, but I would not say that I considered giving up. I believe that if you start something, you should bring it to completion, to the best of your ability. Even if our projects fail, I will not regret the investment of money, time and resources.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Our projects are in the app and play stores, our clients are pleased with our work and we are developing ourselves also. Even with the current economic difficulties and the slowing of the economy, it is possible to thrive and grow.

I wouldn’t say that we have achieved success, we still have a long way to go and we will get there as long as we keep moving forward.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Practice explaining and visualizing your idea. You will understand what you’re trying to make but others will not so practice presenting it from the listener’s point of view.

For me, it was difficult to get people to see what I was seeing and explain clearly so that people understand the vision. It is important to understand that people think differently and different explanations may be needed.

Also remember, when explaining, most people will want to know your software’s effect on them, personally. Once you get this clear, then they will start caring about what you are saying.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our company is different from most software development firms in that we have our own internal projects too, as well as client work so we have experience in project ownership and know exactly what the stakeholder feels. This means we can address their needs and understand them in their language.

When taking on new projects, we always analyze the probabilities of it becoming successful, because ultimately, it’s our goal too that our client succeeds. They come to us with a business goal, something they would like to achieve with an app or SaaS platform and we make sure that we align and exceed their expectations.

On the other hand too, if you present a project or idea that has little chance of succeeding, we will tell you as we don’t want you to waste your money and end up unhappy.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

We have some of the most flexible work patterns so each of us can work whenever and wherever is convenient. This helps in individual productivity.

It’s important that everyone involved in a project agrees and knows each other’s work patterns so the team can produce quality results quickly and efficiently.

For colleagues elsewhere, I would recommend to be open and honest with your fellow members about your work patterns so that you are not unnecessarily stressed before even starting work. If you hate routines, pick a schedule that has intervals, your overall output will be greater.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’m grateful to some of my partners that I’ve worked with in the past and some that I still work with. They have been patient along the way, even when times were tough and our firm was trying to find ground. I am quite demanding at times and they have done well to respond to my requests, even in the late hours on occasions.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

I am unable to give an exact number, given that we have a number of projects running but I can say that we are just shy of 100 technical members of our wide team. Our initial app has steered away from a subscription model and is open to everyone for free.

Our three steps to build a community are;

A prosperous brand message, to push the boundaries of technology and leverage software for a greater social benefit.

Equality, in that everyone who works gets a fair share of the reward, in return, we expect our team members to conduct work diligently and honestly, without the sole goal of being paid.

Thirdly is respect to the community where we operate, we take time to talk to as many people as we can about their needs, conduct research and communicate with everyone. We try to reply to anyone who contacts us, even if their request is not relevant, we will reply whereas many people will not.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

We could adopt subscription models and run ads but… we decided not to do this on the basis that it sucks. As a user, would you want to see ads pop up every time you try to do something in your app? Would you use whatsapp if it had ads? — That’s why it’s the most popular app in the world.

We receive revenue from our clients who pay us for the service that we do for them. This we then use for our internal projects, internal development and bringing value to our followers and community. So be certain that if you follow us, we will not try to squeeze every penny out of you or spam you with ads.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SaaS? Please share a story or an example for each.

Focus on bringing value instead of making money: Ultimately, an app or SaaS platform is built to fulfill a purpose and bring value to its users. If you want to make an app simply to make some money, don’t do it. Apps are built to serve their users.

Be a user of your product: If you are trying to make a product for a group of people that you don’t relate too, it will be very difficult for you to try and guess what they actually want. Even if you ask them, you’d be surprised how much information is lost through miscommunication.

Think about how your product makes people feel: If you are able to generate excitement through your app or SaaS platform, you’re heading in the right direction. Only users that love your product will share it, people that simply like it will use it but not share it. Create fans, even at the expense of creating haters.

Have a distribution channel before development: Don’t get to a point where you have a ready-made product and then you think about selling it, trying to find who needs it. Think about the whole journey in reverse, it will be easier for you.

If the app doesn’t excite you, don’t do it: Apps that are good will not get you enthusiastic. You cannot fake enthusiasm, or you will sound like a salesman who’s trying to drill something down your throat. Everyone has something that they are excited about, choose this niche and don’t chase the seemingly profitable or popular niches.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would build many sports schools for all ages but emphasizing on children. This builds discipline from an early age and makes people mentally resilient. Of course, not everyone will become world champion but sport from a young age trains the mind and body for healthy competition which is essential for life.

It saddens me to see many children and teenagers wasting their years taking drugs on the streets or rotting in social media and other passive activities. We should invest into our children with long-term thinking and a great way will be sports schools in my opinion.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Website: https://www.icartatechnologies.com/

Linkedin for ICarta Technologies: https://www.linkedin.com/organization-guest/company/icarta?challengeId=AQFbcw9eUY_v0QAAAXN2YO9Cvpeb0ehlVK8C3UdAhO35Sp-c7aITaBH5fF03py638fPDuP7KKHIUIh-JmdjK60E6_1opsgnXPg&submissionId=519c268e-1011-2416-1c91-62efc33d4f0a

My ICarta app: https://www.myicarta.com/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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