Convert your (future)COMPETITORS into MENTORS

This is  a no B.S. guide on getting top mentors in the industry working for you.


After doing all of this you’ll know how to answer these crucial questions about your (future) company.

Who is your target audience?

What conferences are important?

What features your company/product absolutely must have ?

What features are lacking from the competitors range?

How you should communicate with your customers?


and most importantly….


How you should treat your (future) employees?


Before you can learn from your mentors you have to identify how to reach out

This is the way how….

STEP 1 – what companies represent your future competition?

In the IT world Producthunt and Programmableweb  are the best way to start.


Search for the CMS (for example)  and take a look at the companies listed – you get a list of about 10 companies that seem to have their main business set in CMS.

Go to their web page and see the about or team link – soon enough you’ll get a list of people in charge.

STEP 2 -Research the folks behind the competition

Firstly find out who their CEO,CTO,COO and CMO is and write down their names.it_team

Then go “down the ladder” and find profiles of all the employees within the company.

Write down names of these people and search for their profiles on twitter,facebook,instagram, linkedin….

If you are handling a big organization you definitely need to set up some automatization.


STEP 3 – Connect with your mentors

You can do this by doing the following…

Go to the persons blog or twitter/instagram/linkedin  account and copy their profile URL.twitter_URL_for_blogtrott

You paste the URL into blogtrottr and get live feed from any change at the persons twitter profile

So any update you’ll get an e-mail about it.



You’ll be getting a lot of e-mails about personal and business stuff and this can be overwhelming but soon enough you’ll find out what top 5 people are worth following and you can readjust the filters and the feeds.

You can also use filters on your gmail interface or e-mail client(Thunderbird / Outlook) to sort individual profiles into folders.

What do you get out of this?

By targeting all the employees at the competition and you’ll see what conferences they are attending, things they are happy/frustrated with..etc…all of the things you should do and know.

You’ll see even people suggesting ideas to companies that you track – CEOs will often ignore them but you’ll be smart enough to write them down.

The comments and way of thinking can make you think another way about the product you are building.

You grow with them and they become your mentors.

With following individuals start following official channels of competitor company.


Track companies social profiles

You’ll find out a lot out of it.

Check out these examples….

customer_complaints2 customer_complaints

For this company you could easily tell that there is absolutely  no communication with the customers who are obviously very disappointed and unhappy with the mentioned product.

Learn that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away

Start using their services

Poke and test – Pay for the service

Ask the customer support  tricky questions – study the product.

See how fast they respond.

Use it for a couple of weeks – try to figure out what you would do better – write it down.

Glassdoor (indicator on the future of the company)



You should be careful with Glassdoor because some of the testimonials don’t have to exactly true – but they are a pretty good indicator on the state of the company’s  current / past staff.

You’ll be able to see what your future employees like and dislike in a company.


After doing all of this you be able to know if your business idea, work ethics and mindset can match the one that is currently being offered on the market.

You’ll be fully aware of what you are getting yourself into and have the motivation to be better where your competitors fail.



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Country where cost and quality meet and have babies.


Couple of facts about it:

Country of 4.5 milion people, a EU member located in the Mediterranean (sharing the Adriatic sea with Italy).

Croatia is very sunny (over 250 sunny days) in it’s coastal region.

City of Rijeka with it’s population of 200.000 has over 5 US IT companies but most of the companies are about 100 miles in Croatia’s capitol Zagreb

Croatia’s labor costs are 4 times below the EU average

Croatia's labor cost is 4 times below the EU average
Croatia’s labor cost is 4 times below the EU average


The people:

95% of locals have elementary proficiency in English…while 70 % have very good English writing/ conversational skills.

Croatian language is almost the same as in neighboring Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia meaning that with branches opened up in Croatia you’ll be able to reach markets where there is similar work conditions.

Mindset and work ethics is very similar to western countries like Germany and US.

People look down on things like showing up late to work or being lazy.

Crime (petty crime/street crime) is almost non existent – you can feel safe walking in every part of town in the middle of the night.


The reason why US based IT companies  are making money:

I’ve met over 100 developers during my 8 year IT career – needless to say I’ve moved around a lot, changed 4 companies and this gave me an incredible insight into the mindset typical Croatian developer.

You have to realize that there is a 20% unemployment rate  in Croatia  – so there is this whole mentality built up that when you get a job you have to stick to it no matter what because regular paycheck is king in Croatia.

People in Croatia  generally have a sense of extreme loyalty to the company they are working for and it’s not rare of a case to find people working in the same company for 30+ years.

So let me break it down to you (you’ll read about how complicated the bureaucracy and labor laws are in Croatia and they are…but if these guys:  (located in Split) (Rijeka)  (Rijeka) (Rijeka) (Zagreb)

are making a business out of it…there must be something to it.

(these are just part of the companies that illustrate what type of US IT companies come in Croatia)

For more stats about Croatia go to


Developer salaries in Croatia (main reason why the companies are here)

1 USD = 6.78 KN (On 15th of August 2015) for a today’s currency value check out this link

Let’s break it down:

Junior developer will get something around 4000 kn net salary per month

( this is 5.238,64 KN or 772 USD Gross)

Intermediate developer gets around 6000 kn net salary per month

( this is 8.440,00 KN or 1243 USD Gross)

Senior developer gets around 8000 kn net salary per month

( this is 11.773,33 KN or 1735 USD Gross)

Top developer (CEO/CTO cries-a-lot if this guy leaves type of developer)

gets usually around 12.000 kn net salary per month ( this is 18.440,00 KN or 2717 USD Gross)

So for you to employ a CTO material type of developer in Croatia it would come down to around 15USD /h ( 1 month = 180 work hours) to get this guy to work for you full time.

If you google translate this web page you’ll be able to do this calculation yourself.

Keep in mind that figures above are considered good salaries –  in reality there is a around 10 – 20 % decrease.

Apartment rent + Office space + infrastructure

Apartments go around 250 USD / month for 400 USD you can have a luxury apartment for yourself.

City of Rijeka,Zagreb,Split (three of the biggest cities in Croatia) all have fiber optic internet connection (100 MBIT /100 MBIT) that usually comes with the provided office space which goes around 8 USD per 10 square feet (expenses included)



Building a team

So let’s recap – imagine you have a 1000 sq feet office with s team of 5 senior developers.
This would cost you in total in any given city in Croatia roughly 9400 $ / month.

If you think about it  this is a salary of a intermediate developer in Silicon Valley – you could have a team of experienced professionals for the same price.


A place for your next subsidiarity ?

Everything said I think that every up and coming IT company working in the US should really think about opening a branch in Croatia.

If you have some question feel free to contact me via e-mail (















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18 things you need to do to make your employees hate you

I got inspired to write this after I saw a horrible Glassdoor reviews of company that I wanted to give TECH/UI /UXD  ideas to.

Let’s set one thing straight – there are always going to be rotten eggs – people that will bash and give out negative reviews and feedback no matter what you do – some people call them haters, some rotten eggs and they probably need a hug.


But…when you see reviews like this about about YOUR company….

where_carrers_go_to_die disappointing disappointing_i_hope dontworkhere avoid


….you should really really hard think about where your company is going.

So I give you…

*18 things you need to do to make your employees hate you!

*screenshots of reviews of a SINGLE company

1. Treat employee concerns and suggestions as personal insults

 Treat employee concerns and suggestions as personal insults


Did you just make eye contact with me you piece a crap?!


2. Hire your buddies as senior management



Who better to trust then your best buddy form college. He orignaisted all the frat parties - handling one department is a piece a cake. 
Who better to trust then your best buddy from college. He organized all the frat parties - handling one department is a piece a cake for that guy!


3. Spend more time touring Europe with your motorcycle then running the company


If only my employees knew how Europe is great their moral would skyrocketed



4.  Even perks have to have secret agendas




5. Make your “month old” employees leave






6. Make your performance reviews really really late – when they happen give out a minuscule increase to the ones that deserve it.






7. Have a huge ego – be the smartest person in the room – at all times!

(This is a positive review – only one!)


8. Make your employees lie to your customers






9. Take authorship credit.







10. Micromanage everything!






11. “People are stellar – management sucks”





12. Be vindictive to former employees




13. Don’t listen – push your idea even thought it’s horrible and everyone tells you it is.





14. Delete reviews and which-hunt people that post bad a review of your company on Glassdoor




15. Make people sign a 2 year non-compete




16. Do NOT listen to ideas from those inferior beings called “employees”




17. Try to solve your problems with food – that always works.






18. Get hacked A LOT  (probably by pissed off former employees which you lost track off because the turnover is 25% a year)


Dilbert Security


No matter what you call them you have to take into account that in a general population there is a certain percentage of people with these “hating” characteristics.

But even the most positive review on Glassdoor pointed out that there is a ego problem.




I wanted to share with you publicly what company this is – but my wife Maja talked me out it.

Instead I’m gonna send these guys an e-mail on how to make their  current employees hate them less and gonna write a post probably.



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