Inside The Mind Of . . . Gil Dudkiewicz

Gil Dudkiewicz Startapp
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Gil Dudkiewicz is the Co-Founder and CEO of StartApp, which he founded in 2010.

StartApp’s goal is to connect partners with consumers in ways that benefit the partner and the consumer, through mobile data insights, helping partners understand what today’s mobile user is really like – where they spend their time in the mobile space, what experiences they gravitate towards when it comes to interacting with their favorite brands, and more. StartApp then helps those partners make a real connection with those users by giving them the tools they need to truly understand their customers.

StartApp partners with over 400,000 applications, reaching over 1 billion Multistation Access Units (MAUs) worldwide. Startapp has just launched MobileChain, a blockchain platform for mobile apps, facilitating the diffusion of blockchain technology down through the mobile app developer network and into the mobile user base. Through the MobileChain platform, StartApp aims to accelerate mass market adoption of blockchain technologies across the globe by distributing them through one of the biggest markets in the world: mobile.

Tell me how/why your company was created?

Gil Dudkiewicz: It was clear to me in late 2009/early 2010 that the world was moving from PC and desktop to mobile. I was confident that we could take some ideas from the PC world around helping software developers and content creators earn money from free content, and adapt them to the emerging mobile landscape. I had the vision, but lacked the technical know-how, so I hooked up with Ran Avidan, my partner, co-founder, and our current chief technical officer. We founded StartApp in late 2010 as a mobile monetization company – in other words, we helped app developers earn revenue from their free apps. We developed our own software development kit, that enabled app developers to connect to the advertising ecosystem. We were one of the first companies in this space and, as a result, we now have our software development kit on over 500,000 apps.

What’s unique about it?

Gil Dudkiewicz: What sets StartApp apart is our deep understanding of mobile and mobile users. We have a database of over a billion global monthly mobile users, and analyze over 90,000 user-generated events per second from over 190 countries, giving us unparalleled insight into complex mobile behavior. We then bring these insights to our partners so that they are able execute mobile-first business strategies, such as mobile marketing and advertising campaigns, protecting sensitive digital communities by identifying malicious users before they register, and even simply gaining a deeper understanding of their customers.

What kinds of things do you do in your role?

Gil Dudkiewicz: As the CEO of a global company, every day is something different. Ultimately, my job is to set the vision for the company, and work with the people around me to figure out how to achieve that vision. This involves a lot of travel and a lot of time spent on the phone. One day I could be in our office in Israel meeting with my management team, the next be in New York to meet with clients, and the next in San Francisco to speak at an industry event.

How had your previous career lent you the skills for this role?

Gil Dudkiewicz: I was the CEO of two companies before StartApp, so I’ve been able to take the things I learned in those positions into my role now. One of the first major lessons I learned was to not be afraid of making big decisions. If you have enough vision and drive to rise to be in the position of CEO, you obviously have a clear view of what the company needs and where you want to go. Slowing down and waiting for someone to tell you what to do, or how to do it, won’t do you any favors. That’s something I’ve taken forward with me today.

How do you navigate cultural differences?

Gil Dudkiewicz: In many ways, handling cultural differences is no different than handling different personality styles on your team. Everyone works in a specific way, and brings a unique perspective to the table, and it’s important to be both open to that, and respectful of that.

However, when it comes to the specifics of navigation cultural differences, I’ve found its best to just trust my team on the ground to know what the best approach is for their specific region. At the end of the day, they know their market best, and know how to approach local companies, and local clients. When they have the time to communicate best cultural business practices to the wider company, it’s a positive learning experience for everyone.

What have you learned as an entrepreneur?

Gil Dudkiewicz: I’ve learned something new each day, honestly, but there are two key things that I’ve really carried with me.

First, I learned to choose co-founders and investors who share the same business goals. For example, if your dream for your company is to be the next Google, don’t look for investors who want to sell at $20M or get dividends, and vice versa.

Lastly, I learned that you need to hire and work with people that you really, truly like as people – not just as colleagues. You will be spending way too much time with them to not enjoy their company.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?

Gil Dudkiewicz: First and foremost, take risks. When you are too afraid of failure, you will never be open to trying new and exciting things with your business; innovation and experimentation are the keys to growth! Could you fail? Of course. But that needs to a risk that you are willing to take if you want to make an impact.

Secondly, build a strong support network. Entrepreneurship is not a forgiving career path, and you need to surround yourself with people that will help to get you through those days where everything goes wrong all at once. Those days happen – trust me.

Where do you see apps heading in the next few years?

Gil Dudkiewicz: I think messaging apps are going to continue to lead the app economy in terms of innovation, and I believe we’ll see more and more brands exploring the messaging space in the next few years. We’re already seeing this in Asia Pacific markets, and once it hits the US, there will be no slowing down.

I also believe we are going to continue to see efforts to give mobile users more control over their mobile experience. This is something that everyone involved in the mobile industry from entrepreneurs to CEOs to marketers to developers need to be prepared for. How do we talk to consumers that are explicitly asking to be talked to? How will that change the messaging between brand and consumer? What will consumer expectations be? I think the answers to these questions will start to become clearer in the coming years, and I’m excited to see what happens.

is the Co-Founder and CEO of StartApp, which he founded in 2010.

StartApp’s goal is to connect partners with consumers in ways that benefit the partner and the consumer, through mobile data insights, helping partners understand what today’s mobile user is really like – where they spend their time in the mobile space, what experiences they gravitate towards when it comes to interacting with their favorite brands, and more. StartApp then helps those partners make a real connection with those users by giving them the tools they need to truly understand their customers.

StartApp partners with over 400,000 applications, reaching over 1 billion Multistation Access Units (MAUs) worldwide. Startapp has just launched MobileChain, a blockchain platform for mobile apps, facilitating the diffusion of blockchain technology down through the mobile app developer network and into the mobile user base. Through the MobileChain platform, StartApp aims to accelerate mass market adoption of blockchain technologies across the globe by distributing them through one of the biggest markets in the world: mobile.

Tell me how/why your company was created?

Gil Dudkiewicz: It was clear to me in late 2009/early 2010 that the world was moving from PC and desktop to mobile. I was confident that we could take some ideas from the PC world around helping software developers and content creators earn money from free content, and adapt them to the emerging mobile landscape. I had the vision, but lacked the technical know-how, so I hooked up with Ran Avidan, my partner, co-founder, and our current chief technical officer. We founded StartApp in late 2010 as a mobile monetization company – in other words, we helped app developers earn revenue from their free apps. We developed our own software development kit, that enabled app developers to connect to the advertising ecosystem. We were one of the first companies in this space and, as a result, we now have our software development kit on over 500,000 apps.

What’s unique about it?

Gil Dudkiewicz: What sets StartApp apart is our deep understanding of mobile and mobile users. We have a database of over a billion global monthly mobile users, and analyze over 90,000 user-generated events per second from over 190 countries, giving us unparalleled insight into complex mobile behavior. We then bring these insights to our partners so that they are able execute mobile-first business strategies, such as mobile marketing and advertising campaigns, protecting sensitive digital communities by identifying malicious users before they register, and even simply gaining a deeper understanding of their customers.

What kinds of things do you do in your role?

Gil Dudkiewicz: As the CEO of a global company, every day is something different. Ultimately, my job is to set the vision for the company, and work with the people around me to figure out how to achieve that vision. This involves a lot of travel and a lot of time spent on the phone. One day I could be in our office in Israel meeting with my management team, the next be in New York to meet with clients, and the next in San Francisco to speak at an industry event.

How had your previous career lent you the skills for this role?

Gil Dudkiewicz: I was the CEO of two companies before StartApp, so I’ve been able to take the things I learned in those positions into my role now. One of the first major lessons I learned was to not be afraid of making big decisions. If you have enough vision and drive to rise to be in the position of CEO, you obviously have a clear view of what the company needs and where you want to go. Slowing down and waiting for someone to tell you what to do, or how to do it, won’t do you any favors. That’s something I’ve taken forward with me today.

How do you navigate cultural differences?

Gil Dudkiewicz: In many ways, handling cultural differences is no different than handling different personality styles on your team. Everyone works in a specific way, and brings a unique perspective to the table, and it’s important to be both open to that, and respectful of that.

However, when it comes to the specifics of navigation cultural differences, I’ve found its best to just trust my team on the ground to know what the best approach is for their specific region. At the end of the day, they know their market best, and know how to approach local companies, and local clients. When they have the time to communicate best cultural business practices to the wider company, it’s a positive learning experience for everyone.

What have you learned as an entrepreneur?

Gil Dudkiewicz: I’ve learned something new each day, honestly, but there are two key things that I’ve really carried with me.

First, I learned to choose co-founders and investors who share the same business goals. For example, if your dream for your company is to be the next Google, don’t look for investors who want to sell at $20M or get dividends, and vice versa.

Lastly, I learned that you need to hire and work with people that you really, truly like as people – not just as colleagues. You will be spending way too much time with them to not enjoy their company.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?

Gil Dudkiewicz: First and foremost, take risks. When you are too afraid of failure, you will never be open to trying new and exciting things with your business; innovation and experimentation are the keys to growth! Could you fail? Of course. But that needs to a risk that you are willing to take if you want to make an impact.

Secondly, build a strong support network. Entrepreneurship is not a forgiving career path, and you need to surround yourself with people that will help to get you through those days where everything goes wrong all at once. Those days happen – trust me.

Where do you see apps heading in the next few years?

Gil Dudkiewicz: I think messaging apps are going to continue to lead the app economy in terms of innovation, and I believe we’ll see more and more brands exploring the messaging space in the next few years. We’re already seeing this in Asia Pacific markets, and once it hits the US, there will be no slowing down.

I also believe we are going to continue to see efforts to give mobile users more control over their mobile experience. This is something that everyone involved in the mobile industry from entrepreneurs to CEOs to marketers to developers need to be prepared for. How do we talk to consumers that are explicitly asking to be talked to? How will that change the messaging between brand and consumer? What will consumer expectations be? I think the answers to these questions will start to become clearer in the coming years, and I’m excited to see what happens.

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Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications globally, over the course of twenty years. More about him can be found at DaveGordonWrites.com
Dave Gordon

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