Teodor Blidarus (Co-Founder & CEO, London, UK)
What’s the Teo Blidarus story so far?
The story behind me isn’t important, I would say. Won some, lost some – just to feel the pain and learn – but the moment you feel compelled to tell your past story rather than talk about your future plans, you should probably start thinking about retirement! I’m definitely not there yet, so let’s talk about present and future!
In five words or less, what kind of person would you say you are?
‘Passionate team player’, but with some skeletons in my closet. That’s not five, but I could only have kept it to five with the use of a four-letter word, so this is probably a fair compromise.
What’s something about you that would surprise your employees?
I’d like to believe I’m pretty much an open book, but… I like Bukovski poetry…
I like a lot of literature; far too much to cover here, but to choose two: Marin Preda and Amos Oz.
Could you name a passion of yours that’s impacted your life?
Football. From my early years, when I was not allowed to play it professionally, until later when I got really into football science, tactics, commercial models, people management, etc. I believe sport has a tremendous possibility to make an impact in today’s world, and a lot of successes in football are more about long-term management, rather than just individual talent.
Kids, as well. They are great teachers on how you should behave in life, because you want what’s best for them, but you also want them to have good role models. You’re obviously one of the role models; you don’t have a choice in that. They also have inquisitive minds and always ask ‘why?’ This teaches you that everything in life happens only if other people want them to as well and that’s an excellent lesson to carry with you in your wider professional endeavours.
If you were to do something completely different, what would it be?
To be honest, I used to think I’d do a lot of other jobs, but today I’m so immersed in what we’re building that this passion has really captivated be entirely. I’m not saying this is a bad way to be, but it’s in my mind day and night. I wake up thinking about it, I run, and I think about it. I relax and when I’m relaxed, I think about it.
Still, there’s probably a part of me that would like someday to be a football coach. I would love the feeling of being on the green field early in the morning, rain or sunshine, spending time with people who love the game.
What’s the ambition for FintechOS?
The ambition is simple: we’d like FintechOS to be a game changer in the financial services technology space. Similarly to how VMWare changed people’s thinking about hardware infrastructure, or how Salesforce changed the rules of the game in an industry that was dominated by big players like SAP or Siebel.
We’d like people to be able to build personalized and innovative financial services in a very simple manner, without the need for big development teams, segregated mindsets between tech and IT, and most importantly, all with the customer in mind.
How would you like your employees to see you? What legacy are you building as a leader?
I’m not the easiest person to deal with sometimes: I may be irrationally ambitious, or I can be unreasonably shy.
I’d like my colleagues to see past my role, which is not a right, but a functional part in an ecosystem, both internally and externally. I like to be challenged and be given the chance to explain why certain things are the way they are. I can change my mind and I see that not as a weakness, but as a skill that can be used to navigate uncertainty, which is pretty much the name of the game.
Finally, I’d like people to feel empowered and empower others as well. I’ve been called both arrogant and naïve, single-minded and a dreamer. What people think you are is less important. What you want to be and how you behave accordingly is the important thing. This creates the energy that drives things forward in an irrevocable manner. I’d like people to feel free to speak their mind and act first and ask for forgiveness later.
What do you want FintechOS, and the people in it, to stand for?
Challenging the status quo. Being different. Winning, but with pride and purpose.
What are your expectations for the future?
To stay strong and healthy as a team, have the right people ‘in the boat’, and earn the opportunity to compete.