Passion? Maths. He mainly listens to country music and likes Sibiu, Brasov, and Cluj. Haris Zachariades, the CEO of SoftOne Romania, started doing business in this country in the ’90s. Now he is there one week, and the next week he is in his home country, Greece.
Johnny Cash, Linda Rostand, Kenny Rogers, Shania Twain – these are names on his playlist. You feel really cool to meet a man with the same musical tastes as yourself whom you find by mere chance. Between the sips of African red tea, Haris Zachariades reminds me that “if you want to go fast, you have to go by yourself, however, if you want to get far, you have to be accompanied by others.”
He first came to Romania during the communist era and remembers a dark Bucharest, without advertising boards. “It looks very different now”. Then in 1995 he identified a software business opportunity here. Seven years later, the company established in our area was successfully sold. Exciting or not, Romania was not a new market for the business he now runs, SoftOne Romania. There were already more than 50 customers in 2012, and the country was becoming more and more attractive for business, so he decided to take the big step and open the Bucharest branch, which has since become a hub for entire Europe. Today, SoftOne proudly announced that they do a business of over 20 million euros in Europe and they have 5 branches operating in the region.
The secret? Innovation and Quality! You must be willing to perfect your products and services non-stop – basically to be unhappy at all times! It’s the only way you can differentiate yourself in the fierce market at all times.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It is the idea according to which Haris Zachariades leads his company and based on which SoftOne Romania decided to do business: through partners. It has created a community in the IT world that works together for a healthier business environment meant to reach the highest standards in the shortest delay.
The best piece of advice he has ever received came from his father, who explained to him that he should never adopt his views. That they are two different human beings who make their own mind. The second? “Never accept favors, for anything. Work for everything you want to get”, admits Haris Zachariades.
While still a child he was passionate about maths and technology. He attended his postgraduate studies in the UK, at a time when the English were not very hospitable. He never thought of taking over his father’s business or starting a business in the UK. When he graduated, he returned to Greece where he decided to specialize in developing software solutions. He thinks the only way to be successful is to work hard. “Often hard work has exceeded talent. If you want to be successful, this is the key”, he points out.
The most difficult decisions he had to take? They all had to do with people. “It’s hard to decide whether to conclude a partnership with a person, whether you shall conclude it with another, or whether you shall fire one of your employees.”
“Remember: If you do not have a balanced personal life, you will experience failures in your business!”, says the CEO of SoftOne Romania.
He very much appreciates the time spent with family and friends. He does not like to talk too much on the phone, and in 2007 he started a blog. He used to listen to the radio a lot at the time and says he did not appreciate at all how the journalists at that radio station commented about absolutely anything, from perfume to music or politics. “You put a microphone in their hand and they start talking about everything. But from what standpoint? This is simply not done”, added Haris Zachariades.
The CEO of SoftOne Romania likes walking in Herastrau and regrets that there are no parks in Greece like we have here. Finally, let’s listen to Cash.