Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and that’s a big part of who I am today. I adopted Chicago as my new city soon after moving to the US, and are not planning to move anywhere else any time soon. I guess I just fell in love with the Windy City ;).
What made you decide to become a developer/engineer?
My fascination with computers began when I was 11 years old. My father used to bring his computer home from work, which had few programs installed that he used to show me. There were few games, and some advanced calculators that would help me do my homework ha-ha.
What was happening when you decided it was the right time to create CSW Solutions?
I felt the need to start a company where I could create custom software solutions for businesses that would not settle for the one-fits-all off-the shelf software available out there. On the personal side, the timing was not ideal, since my first daughter had just turned four months old, and anybody who has kids knows how exhausting those first months could be, but life has taught me that there is never a perfect time for anything.
Can you share at least one tool or trick that makes your life easier as the owner of a software development company?
I need to be connected and attentive of everything that’s happening at CSW, at all times, so Office 365 is very useful to me. The synchronization between platforms and devices is what I find mostly useful.
What is your favorite client question and why?
“What differentiates your company from others?”. I really like this question because you have to be honest and straightforward to answer something like that; the message you’ll transmit cannot sound like a script, or empty, which I find is the case with many other companies.
I prefer to take a more personal approach when answering: I’m passionate about what we do but I’m invested in my company as much as I’m invested in our clients, so I talk about what we’re into, as a team. Company culture is very important, and I believe that our employees are our greatest assets. When talking about why our clients choose CSW, I rather take the story telling approach about a recent project, so people can relate not only to our skills in our field, but also to how a well designed and executed project can affect emotionally positive the daily life of our clients.
What industry blogs or sites do you read no matter what?
What motivates or inspires you?
My daughters, and the awareness that their mother and I are responsible for their well-being. It’s a daily motivation source that keeps me going forward, it’s very powerful; I didn’t understand responsibility as much as I did when they came into our lives.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Well, at some point in my life, when I was a teenager, I had a long hair ha-ha. I was into rock and roll and long hair was part of my look. Those were good old times!
What’s one thing everyone knows about you?
Everyone I know realizes how passionate I am about technology, innovation, and discussing ideas about what the future will bring us. Technology is evolving rapidly and I believe there will be a dramatic progress in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology in the next few years, and software (even if different than what we know as a software today) will continue being what powers the “brain” of future devices, networks, communication protocols, etc.
What’s never missing in your daily routine?
In the mornings, I am never fully awake until I have an espresso.
What’s never missing in the fridge?
Do you have a hunch about how CSW will look like in its next cycle?
We are working very hard to establish our company as one of the leaders in the industry. Helping our clients grow has helped us grow as well. The highly personalized service we provide today cannot be compromised with growth, as I have seen in other places. The quality of our work and service are our flagship, so in the next cycle, with a bigger team, we are determined to provide even a better experience for our clients.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
Probably time traveling. That would be awesome!
What do you value most in your team?
Commitment, honesty, and professionalism.
Are you talking about your current team or an ideal team?
We are very selective when hiring new team members. The group we have today is just great, and I would love to continue bringing people in with the same qualities as we grow our business.