George Stalev, CTO of Delasport: We invent the future ourselves
Georgi Stalev is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Delasport and has been part of the team since 2012. A few days ago, he was nominated for the ‘Top 100 most influential IT people in Bulgaria’ index by Career Show for his contribution to innovations in the iGaming industry and beyond.
In an open conversation about the present and future of technology and the workplace, he revealed his predictions, observations, and core values.
George, how did your journey at Delasport begin?
– It was many years ago… Soon it will be 11 years and the 12th will begin. I started as a relatively young developer. Over the years I’ve seen that this is the place where growth and evolution have no end. The type of products we develop at Delasport have no beginning, no end. It’s a constantly evolving environment where you have to keep up with the future.
Where is the IT industry headed? What are your expectations and predictions based on your professional experience?
– Surprisingly, I’m not afraid of Chat GPT (Open AI). Everyone seems to believe that we will all soon be out of jobs. But in my opinion, it’s not that important to whom the questions will be asked, but who will formulate and ask them. This applies in full to Artificial Intelligence. If you can’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answers. And yes, the world is moving in this direction, and so are we. Many of our products are already automated to make certain decisions on their own. So, we cannot escape this trend.
If we talk strictly technologically, everything is becoming globalized, everything is scaling up. We’ve seen what COVID has done to the work environment. Even the most conservative, office-based companies quickly caved in and invested in building teams around the world. This applies to us too: there are people we work with from different parts of the world. Globalization is ongoing, technologies are evolving. AI will definitely be one of the things that will continue to evolve, but that’s just the current hype. Everything else that got so much hype, like blockchain for example, slowly died down.
Enterprise solutions are constantly changing and moving from model to model. Before, for example, they were more static, database related, and not so real-time. Now everything is based on a streaming architecture, it should happen in real-time. Everyone wants things to happen within milliseconds when they click. I’d say we’re moving towards a zero-latency world.
You are a CTO and yet you probably learn new things every day. In what ways do you continue to develop on a regular basis?
– Pain is the best teacher in our industry, as funny as it sounds. The moment something breaks, you learn the most about what you’ve done and what you should have done. It has always been like this. Otherwise – constant reading, and constant monitoring of innovation. As CTO, I’m a problem solver and thinker – I design the technology vision of the company. This is my main role – to think ahead about the technology driving our products. So, depending on where we want to go as a business, we set out to find where the future is. And we often invent it ourselves… More and more often we invent it ourselves. And very often we make bold technological decisions that work most of the time and defy the clichés in our industry.
But really: constant reading. A constant search for how to get where the business wants the technology to go.
Who or what inspires and motivates you the most?
– There is great satisfaction in work when you complete it. It’s like you beat the boss at the end of the game or advance to the next level. Seeing something that – in my case – you’ve developed from a mere idea, from a startup with a small team to an industry leader, is the best thing that can motivate a person.
What are the core values that drive you in work and in life in general?
– The most important thing for me is honesty. When people are honest and open, things work out. When there is no behind the scenes or anything hidden, things just work out. You have nothing to worry about. People have said it well: If you don’t want to question what you said yesterday when you are asked about it today, don’t lie. It’s very simple.
The other core value for me is hard work. Most significant things are achieved through it. In my opinion, only 5% of the success is due to talent, the other 95% is hard work.