Enthusiasm is contagious and when it’s well-founded it is easily accepted among associates and clients. It often multiplies the real strengths of business processes, which enables faster scaling and progress. It was on such a tide and with such an emotion that I founded Razor – and I still enjoy that ride to this day.
We spoke with Vuk Mirković about founding Razor Communications eighteen years ago, when he was only 21 years old. Through years of work, he gained international experience and reputation, improving his skills and knowledge while constantly running ahead of time. It is worth mentioning that he participated in the Obama-Biden presidential campaign in 2008, has worked for Philip Zepter, and was a project manager at the World Bank, MasterCard, Eircom and many other Fortune 500 companies. Over the past decade, he started or invested in more than ten businesses from his Irish HQ including Razor, TailofFin, Delicent, Parkeyz, BlockChain Reactor, Luedu, DCI… All of these businesses have a digital component and significantly influence the digitalization of various industries. He is also the co-founder of the Serbian-Irish Chamber of Commerce and its Secretary-General.
At a time when Razor is celebrating its first 18 years, we would like to ask you what was the beginning like? How did a 21-year-old come up with the idea to start his own business?
Every beginning is difficult, so they say. The launch of Razor, on the contrary, evokes enthusiasm and beautiful emotions in my memory, a ‘song and dance’ emotion, so to speak. That certainly has to do with age, youth, as well as with being ignorant of business reality. Somehow, my business started growing and it swiftly started occupying my attention, time and energy. I believe that starting a business, especially in a nascent niche, is easier when you have no idea what you are dealing with. Realistically speaking, I had no idea what doing business and running a company required and implied. I did not make particularly thoughtful or calculated decisions but was guided by sporting ideals and childish insolence. The aforementioned enthusiasm is contagious and when it’s well-founded it is easily accepted among associates and clients. It often multiplies the real strengths of business processes, which enables faster scaling and progress. It was on such a tide and with such an emotion that I founded Razor – and I still enjoy that ride to this day.
“There are often situations that require a change of direction, and the quality of the response to that change is definitely measured by the speed of reaction”
Business growth is what every business owner wants and is committed to achieving. How did Razor develop?
Growth and development are a challenge for every organization or organism; prior to that, there should be a quality mix of knowledge, experience, ideas and happiness in place. Managing changes inevitably requires changes in oneself: improvements on a personal level for the benefit of the collective. The winners are the ones who adjust the fastest to long-term projections while being flexible enough to iterate those adjustments. The input parameters of long-term projections thus do not have to be perfect or completely correct. They will often be wrong, but they must be sufficient to create a momentum that will lead the organization in the desired direction. There are often situations that require a change of direction, and the quality of the response to that change is definitely measured by the speed of reaction – quicker changes are better than fewer delayed, forced changes.
What was the turning point in the development of the company and you personally?
The company’s incorporation in the EU, i.e. in the Republic of Ireland, more than a decade ago, was an important moment in my career and the company’s history which was a result of curiosity and desire to improve, but most of all, of the re-examination of one’s own values. This incorporation is something that changes the perspective and opens up various possibilities, namely the possibility of working with the best and competing with the most innovative companies. It puts you on a map and draws a path you can take.
How much does your sports (water polo) career help you run a business?
Working in a team is close to playing a team sport – you just have to insist on everyone (the game participants) to contribute in the part where they are the best. Balance in the team guarantees the team’s satisfaction, while good results come from the quality of the engagement of the weakest link. I have always tried to surround myself with such a team where I will be the weakest link because being aware of my own qualities/shortcomings can compensate for the team’s.
“Growing up, these eighteen years until we reached ‘adulthood’, Razor witnessed major changes in the business and social order, often in a crisis environment”
How did your company cope during this crisis and do global changes affect your business? If they do, in what way?
Growing up, these eighteen years until we reached ‘adulthood’, Razor witnessed major changes in the business and social order, often in a crisis environment. A crisis is certainly the best catalyst for change, and such situations always create new opportunities and release new solutions to existing or caused challenges. The speed of adapting to changes will be decisive in business in the coming period; it will be the definition of success. Large-scale crises will recur in the future, and when they do, they and the assumption of rapid change should be embraced and implanted in the mentality, in the system setting, if you will.
What can we learn from the Irish and what can they learn from us?
At the start of the internationalization of business and incorporation outside Serbia, I analyzed several options with my consultants: Switzerland, Cyprus and Ireland. In short, the choice fell on Ireland because of the English language, the euro as the official currency, the fact that it is the first destination for US capital on its way to Europe and the existence of a business ecosystem surrounding IT / technology. Later, I realized how many historical and social similarities the two peoples have. They share close values on which the culture of tradition is based. The good lessons lie in the courage and determination of the Irish to bring about or adapt to change. They persevered in the 1980s in their effort to reform their society and break free of political corruption and institutionalized crime, thus creating the prerequisites for a progressive society which they are today. About ten years ago, as one of the countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis, Ireland silently and peacefully entered the reconfiguration of its own economy and financial system, empowering those sectors that had prospects, while distancing themselves from losers and failed business models. They were dedicated, persistent, devoid of populism and big words. They quickly got back on their feet and regained their earlier position on the world map.
It is through my engagement at the ISCC (the Irish-Serbian Chamber of Commerce) that I want to promote positive examples from the Republic of Ireland that should serve our society as a guide, a good example and a lesson on how to improve.
Realistically speaking, we have nothing to offer Ireland except sunny weather, rakija and beautiful women. Come to think of it, that’s more than enough which is why business meetings in Serbia are a prerequisite for cooperation and the basis of a business relationship.
Vuk Mirković is the founder and director of Razor Communications. He was born in Belgrade in 1981, where he attended elementary and high school. He studied industrial design at the Polytechnic Academy. In his youth, he played water polo in the senior team of VK Crvena Zvezda. Today, he plays for the first team of the veteran water polo club ‘Belgrade’. Restless in spirit and very enterprising, after graduating high school, he started working as a salesman, and, guided by the vision of having a 360-degree-agency, he founded Razor when he was 21 years old.