People of Zigi with Daniel Kalchev
Daniel is one of our Solutions Architects. A techie by nature and sports lover by heart, Dani can solve any integration challenge and beat some of the best arm wrestlers.
I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. Im the third child in our family, and also the youngest one. I first studied accounting and then economics, but after two years at the National Economics University, I got bored with that and decided to drop out and explore other fields. This is when I began my first job as a Sales Consultant for electronics, which I did for about 3 years. There, I learned what it was like to have a job, work with customers, and work within a team.
At some point, I received an offer to join HPs tech Support team for a partner called Tech Experts. It was quite a big transition for me, but at that point I was already interested in computers and in IT, so I decided to give it a try. I started as a level 1 Engineer, then moved on to a level 2 Engineer role. Again, I improved my skills and learned a lot from that job: about business software, integrations, and how to solve problems alone or as a part of my team.
My role at ZigiWave
At HP, I became friends with some of the people who Im working with right now at ZigiWave. Around 2016, I joined our current team (back then, under the parent company Do IT Wise). Here, I learned a lot about the process of developing software and delivering it to customers successfully.
First, I was a Senior Consultant, and although my role was mostly technical, I was often working with customers. I also contributed to R&D: I investigated software products for which we could develop integrations. After identifying an opportunity and market need for a new integration, I prepared all the information and recommendations for our Dev team on what to integrate and how. After they built each integration, we tested it to make sure it was working as expected, delivered it to customers, and provided support afterwards.
We were gaining more and more popularity and new customers, so more people joined the ZigiWave team. A dedicated Support team was created, and I became a Solutions Architect, which is also my current role. Here, Im more focused on marketing, contacting prospects and existing customers, making demos and implementations, and making sure that customers could successfully integrate the tools they needed to.
For me, its very interesting to see customers use cases, challenges, and pain points, and to be able to offer them the right solution. It always feels very rewarding to see our customers happy.
Building custom integrations
A lot of our integrations were initiated by customers requests, so this is something that is not new for us: were used to it and we do it very well.
Once we reach an agreement with a potential customer for a specific integration, my team and I discuss it together, and present it to our CEO and CTO, Idan and Avi, for approval. Once we have their approval, we proceed with the necessary research, planning, development and testing of the new integration.
This can take between 2 and 6 weeks, depending on the integrations complexity, how urgent it is for the client, and on our other projects. Were always very flexible in adapting to customers needs.
The Zigi team
This is one of the core strengths of ZigiWave: everyone is super reliable and we know we can count on each other. I know I can always ask for others help when I need it.
In the past, Ive worked a lot with the Development team and with the Consultants. I still do that, if I need their help with a specific problem. Right now, however, Im working a lot with our Sales Account Manager, Magi, to meet customers, explain to them what ZigiWave is all about, and offer them solutions for their problems. I also work with Milena, our Technical Writer, whenever we need to do something to bring ZigiOps closer to our audience, and with Maria, our Marketing Manager, whenever we need to prepare new marketing materials to improve our presence and visibility on the market. I also work with our Support team in providing solutions to customers.
My advice to someone just starting out at ZigiWave would be to be open-minded, to not be afraid to make mistakes, to be prepared to work with a real team and to learn a lot. The field were working in is constantly changing, so we need to be very flexible and adapt fast. Theyll learn a lot of new things and will make a lot of new friends.
The most important lesson I learned from working at ZigiWave
The most important lesson I learned is that you can rarely do something alone: its always easier if youre a part of a team, and it feels great to achieve something big together.
Another important lesson for me was that some things take more than 1 month to complete. There are goals that might take 1-2 years or more, and theyre still worth pursuing. Sometimes its hard to see that a month or two have passed, and that on the surface it looks like you made no progress at all. But then, after 2-3 more months you see the bigger picture and appreciate everything thats been happening. At the other jobs I had, goals were always short-term, while here we have a mission and a vision that were following through.
For me, ZigiOps is not as much of a product, but rather a vision on how we want to do things. Its always changing and improving and its never the same. Every month, its a little bit different.
Dealing with difficulties at work
Ive learned that the most useful thing to do when dealing with a problem is to remain calm and analyze the situation objectively: feelings or opinions are not always helpful. I stay positive, show that Im available and easy to reach, and try to establish a good dialogue, because problems get resolved in conversation. Its crucial to not make the customer wait and to not hide behind a deadline.
I try to get as much information as possible, to establish whether we have a problem in the first place, where its coming from, and whether we can do something about it. Even if its something on the customers side, if we can, we help them.
I try to fix the problem on my own first, and if I cannot, I reach out to the team and we fix it together.
...and in general
Ive learned not to be very emotional during hard times, so that I can think straight. In case something really gets to me, the first thing I do is to simply give it some time and think it through. I try to figure out where the problem came from and why it happened, how it can be fixed, and whether I can do it alone, or whether I need my familys help and support.
I love gaming and I spend a lot of time on my computer, but I also love going outside in nature, for example to the forest.
Currently, Im also doing arm-wrestling with my colleagues from Zigi and with some friends.
When I was a consultant for electronics, I was selling photo cameras. This sparked my interest in photography, which is another hobby I have.
I also collect knives, which is related to spending time outdoors.
How I recharge and destress
To recharge, I go to the forest for a day, just to walk and enjoy the silence. Initially, I tried to bring music with me, but then I realized its not helping in any way to recharge, so I just stopped bringing any electronics with me. I only use my phone for emergencies. Its super refreshing.
Another thing I do is to train: it can actually be quite painful and takes a lot from me, physically. And this works really well when you need to recharge your mind.
My sources of inspiration
For me, encountering something that I dont understand is very inspiring. For example, if I have a difficult customer or a problem I dont understand, this immediately attracts my attention and I try to figure it out. I dont like not understanding things or how they work.
My favourite place in the world
My favourite place is home, with my friends and family. Every time I go elsewhere, even if its to the most beautiful place in the world, after a week I long to go back home. This is where I feel the best.
My favourite book and movie
Im a fan of fantasy, so my favourite book (and movie!) is Lord of The Rings. Im currently reading a lot of psychology books.
When I succeed in something, first I internalize it, to see how I actually feel about it. After that, I share it with my immediate family and my close friends. Im not a fan of social media, I was using it before but at some point I stopped. I rarely post anything personal online.
A day in the life
I get up at the last possible moment before work and rush to prepare for my workday. Then I go on with my plan for the day, as far as work is concerned. After work I have a quick meal and go for a training session. Sometimes, I play on my computer, or just go out.
Im actually trying to change that and get up a lot earlier in the morning, so that I can have some of my free time before work, and incorporate work as a smaller part of my day. Im still battling with this, though.
Im most productive in the morning. If I have a problem I need to solve, this is when I focus the best.
What Im most looking forward to
Im really looking forward to making more presentations and demos, meeting with customers, and helping them get the most of our platform. I also have a goal to get back into the more technical side of things, and to prepare detailed documentation and information about pre-sales processes. This way, whenever new people join us, they can have a smoother onboarding process, and have all the information they need.