“The most successful founders pursue perfection. Nevertheless, while we are excited about our product and services, we don’t know the reaction of the market, so going lean and following a simple approach is a great advantage when executing a new start-up.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ziko Atamuloev, Founder and CEO at UnicoAero. He is an entrepreneur in spirit that persistently focuses on innovation and making a world a better place.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thank you and I am honored to be chosen for this opportunity to speak with you. I started doing business when I was just 17 years old, and my first business was importing wet napkins from Turkey.
I have always wanted to be a successful entrepreneur and my vision has always been to succeed in business sectors that truly motivate me because they can upgrade and innovative a particular industry.
That is why I founded Unicoaero, which is revolutionizing and changing the baggage space within the airline and travel industries.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting thing that has happened to me since I started building Unicoaero is that IATA has issued a new resolution (753) which mandates that every airline has to track passenger bags from check in to arrivals. In the case that baggage is mishandled, then the airline has to track from check in until returning the bag back to the passenger.
The interesting thing is that as of today almost all airlines deliver bags in a fully offline system. Access to real time tracking and information, or any kind of transparent platform, has never existed. Therefore, the Unicoaero platform was created at the precise right time and is the perfect product for every airline to comply with the IATA resolution 753.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are several factors that make us stand out and those include persistence, passion, and vision. When you have a team that shares the same vision as the founder, then the entire company functions with the same motivation.
Everyone on our team is an expert in each specific field, and we work closely with airlines and passengers to better understand their needs. We launched a great product by combining our expertise and listening to the market.
We at Unicoaero keep our eyes on the most recent innovations so that our company has the newest tools and operatives in an original environment — one example as to how we stay innovative is by implementing Blockchain technology.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Definitely. There some serious issues that passengers, airlines, and ground handlers are struggling with at airports around the globe and we are focused on trying to alleviate those processes soon.
Baggage tracking has been a huge issue for so long and Unicoaero’s baggage tracking feature, which is backed by blockchain technology, will solve the baggage tracking of billions of bags for all parties involved.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees thrive?
I would say that by simply sending out a general email to all employees every week or two, where you clearly explain your vision as a founder and any relevant updates, you are able to keep everyone on the same page and highly motivated.
As a founder, you have to constantly make sure that others are working for the same purpose or goal as you are.
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?
Absolutely. There are many people that I am grateful to for helping, coaching, and mentoring me during the execution process, but I would especially like to give thanks to Omer Diri, who eventually even joined us to help with our product management.
I remember when I first moved to Silicon Valley and we had a meeting where he asked me several questions about product architecture, venture capitalism, and other relevant business areas. I ended up not knowing most of them very well, so he decided to stay next to me and support me since then.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of the reasons that I wake up every morning and start working hard is by knowing that I can do a lot more once I become more successful.
I am originally from Tajikistan and I was lucky to be a part of the team who founded the Tajik American Cultural Association, which helps support the Tajik community in the U.S..
The next step is to help build kindergartens, schools, and to provide funds to schools outside of the U.S. in order to encourage talented students to pursue education and give them the tools necessary to succeed.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Always hire someone better than yourself
A Founder starts something and wants it to grow fast. Even though every founder wants to have a great team, sometimes we miss that we need to be the least experienced one on the team. Surround yourself with experts and people that know how to do their jobs better than you do.
Invest in your people
Investing in your team, partners, and customers is really important.
Investing in a team does not only mean increasing salaries, but also in countless other ways. Some examples are to invest in courses to increase employee skills and qualities, know which professional areas your employees would like to improve in, and spend time during coffee breaks to have short conversations are all very important ways to have each person feel that he/she is a part of a big, kind family.
Do not be discouraged by No’s
I always remember Brian Chesky’s story about how VC’s did not want to invest.
When someone does not invest, it most likely means that they don’t understand the product or can’t see the end of the tunnel. Nevertheless, there is always someone out there that is looking to invest in your company. If someone says no, it simply means that you need to find someone else, but it never means that you are bad at what you do.
Lean is important
The most successful founders pursue perfection. Nevertheless, while we are excited about our product and services, we don’t know the reaction of the market, so going lean and following a simple approach is a great advantage when executing a new start-up.
Understand the pulse of the industry
An industry may seem full of opportunities from the outside, but you often can’t even estimate how slow or bureaucratic it will be in reality.
We were initially very excited about how airlines liked our products, but we were not able to close deals as we did not know the right stakeholders or influencers in the industry.
That has changed over the past few years, and currently Unicoaero is well known by almost every airline, alliance, and airport, and the biggest reason for this is having had a bit of luck to be able to convince the right people within the industry to help and partner with us.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
I think entrepreneurship begins way before even having a breakthrough idea, so an entrepreneur never has a break from doing something great. Being able to start from somewhere and to always keep moving forward, no matter what road block you may hit, is extremely important.
With that said, my life lesson quote is:
As you start to walk on the way, the way appears. (Rumi)
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I would love to meet Brian Chesky, as he is also a young entrepreneur with a vision that has actually brought a new culture to the travel industry. He has also been through a lot of challenges (I have had some of the same), so meeting him and sharing these priceless experiences would be a huge honor.
If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, Authority Magazine, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.
Originally published at medium.com