An interview with Jiri Janiga, the director of Sales and Business Development at Hiscale (Germany).
— Where were you born, and who were your parents?
I was born in a small village close to the Polish border. Both my parents worked as accountants. I left the village when I was 20 and moved to Prague where I have been living since.
— What were you like in school, what were your favorite subjects?
I did a lot of sports which helped me in primary school. I was popular with the teachers, so they excused my childish problems. Then, I went to a technical high school. This helped me understand the technology and how to use it. At university, I studied general IT sciences. Because of this, I can speak about interfaces and other IT-related aspects of our business with customers. I also have a degree in economics and management. During this period, I studied abroad at Timiryazevskaya Academy.
I studied in Portugal for a year, and I realized that it was fascinating to study abroad and meet new people. Because I studied at a similar University in the Czech Republic, I decided on this academy. I studied there for half a year.
— What was your opinion of Russia at the time?
You know, this is hard for me to say because the history between Russia and the Czech Republic is not the best, but the younger generation did not care as much about the history. They wanted to know about contemporary Russia. I didn’t want to think about what had happened and rather learn more about Russian people. When I moved to Russia, it was amazing. I really like the Russian mentality — they are closed at first but open their hearts once you get to know them.
— Was your university in the Czech Republic private or public?
It was public. All public universities are free of charge in the Czech Republic.
— Where did you go after university?
After university, I decided to work for the company Provys. I worked there as a consultant for two years, after that I became a salesperson. I mainly focused on the South American and global markets because many of my colleagues had families, so they could not travel much. Afterward, I started to focus more on the Russian market.
— You said you concentrated on the South American market; do you speak Spanish?
No, I do not. It was actually an accident because Provys wanted me to open new markets. There was a person from Latin America during NAB who wanted to cooperate. So, I started to concentrate more on Latin America even though I did not speak any Spanish.
— How did you enter the broadcasting world?
It was because of my studies in Moscow. At the time, Provys needed a consultant who spoke Russian. My Russian was quite good, and they liked my profile. So, it was an absolute coincidence that they approached me. I did not know anything about broadcasting, but I had an IT background, and I spoke Russian.
— How long did you work at Provys?
For seven years.
— Why did you leave?
After seven years, I thought I knew quite a lot about Provys and wanted to move forward. I liked Provys very much, but I got an opportunity to work for ChyronHego. I was promoted to Sales Director there, and I was responsible for Eastern Europe. Honestly, after seven years of traveling, I was also a little tired of living at airports. I quite liked the idea of only overseeing Eastern Europe, and I accepted this offer.
— Why did you choose this company?
I got a few offers because the broadcast market in the Czech Republic is small. We have about four large companies, so when I started to think about leaving Provys I spoke with all of them. ChyronHego was the most interesting choice at the time because I wanted to get work experience from an American company.
— What did you do at ChyronHego?
I started as a Sales Director at ChyronHego and worked there for four years. I mainly focused on graphics, which was new for me after Provys. It was interesting because I had to learn a lot. I went from software towards hardware — I did not know anything about SDI, IP, etc. It was a bit tough at first, but it was easier thanks to my IT background.
— How did you find this job?
All the owners of the well-known broadcast Czech companies knew me from broadcast shows and events. So, they approached me. Some of them wanted to know when I was leaving Provys. When I said, “the time has come”, they came to me with proposals.
— Where did you go after ChyronHego?After ChyronHego I started at Hiscale. It is a German company, still quite young and small. I work remotely from the Czech Republic, and the team is in Cologne, Germany.
— Why did you want to join Hiscale?
After four years at ChyronHego, I realized corporate companies were not for me. I needed a flexible company. There were many changes during the years at ChyronHego, and I was not comfortable staying in a company where it was hard to influence the flow and products. When I decided to leave, I got a couple of offers, one of them was from Hiscale. Although it is a small company, they have great products and big customers, including American Fox and large TV stations in Germany. In the end, I decided to work for a small company where I feel that if something happens, they can fix the issue immediately.
— What is your main goal in this position?
Sales are my target. Because Hiscale is very active in German-speaking countries, my main goal has been global business. I have been using my experience and contacts to expand the business to new countries. I started six months ago and have been creating a network of distributors around the world. Of course, my main target is Russia because I know the market quite well. I also started to focus more on Africa as well as the US. This is a bit new for me, and I do not have a lot of contacts there.
— What is your main achievement in your career?
I think that the main achievement is the network I have built. When you think about leaving your current job, many companies approach you to take you on board. I think this was my biggest achievement — companies want me because they know me, not because they saw my CV. Of course, we can speak about some sales achievements, but those seem small in comparison. I like the personal achievement of companies wanting me, knowing that I do my best.
— What do you do outside of work?
I like walking. When I left ChyronHego I completed the Camino de Santiago — a walk from France to Santiago de Compostela. It is an 800km long walk, and I went for a month. This year, I did the GR20 in Corsica, which is one of the toughest hikes in Europe. I love mountains and hiking. I like sports in general I’ve also started kiting and wakeboarding.