- I am an average person who was lucky enough to surround himself with people who awakened the best in me. Without them, I am nobody, and with them I can do much more than I have ever thought. I`m the happiest director in Serbia, and perhaps in the world.
Thus is how Nebojsa Matic, an owner and director of MikroElektronika, a company in which "no one had ever quarreled” starts the story of the "history of goodwill".
MikroElektronika manufactures software and hardware tools for microcontrollers, which are today present all around us: in cars, refrigerators, washing machines in a climate, a mobile phone, a spaceship ... As pioneers in Serbia, they wrote and published numerous books in the field.
Seven years ago, he slept four hours a day, ten years did not go on vacation. He bought the first car at thirty-eight. The work was guided by one simple sentence: make firm where your child would like to work. He is crazy about fishing and for a woman for twenty years.
Do you know anything?
- At the Futoska market in Novi Sad, I spent last ten marks. The student of electrical engineering, I had a few more exams to pass and asked myself in the mirror - do you know anything? I concluded I only knew to take a spade and a shovel.
Then I decided that I need to learn something. Then microcontrollers appeared and I became interested in it. But these were the nineties, a time without Internet, you had no one to ask, no books, no nothing ...
One teacher in high school helped me. Somehow I collected money and I bought components. I took wires from a computer, I cut them and I was connecting them the whole night at a small table, kneeling. It was such a pile of everything, it was simply impossible to make it work, but it worked.
History of good will
- MikroElektronika was set up from zero. I came to Belgrade with 200 marks in my pocket and asked myself what I could start with that money. I decided to start a magazine MikroElektronika because a magazine is the largest business you can start with the smallest sum of money.
I found companies which wanted to advertise and then went to a printing house and promised to a printer guy I would pay him when they pay me for ads. He risked and accepted. He says it is his best business decision in life because he is still printing for us. This is why I say that the MikroElektronik history is a history of good will.
When the magazine business started, I wrote the first book - PIC microcontroller which contained the clearest aspect of this topic. It was published four times and 4000 copies were sold in Serbia. After that, MikroElektronika continued publishing books translated in many languages – English, Chinese, Turkish…
We started producing the first systems along with the publishing work. We used to make manually and sell ten systems a day in my father’s garage.
I couldn’t wait for the dawn
- Engineers worked in Balkanska , 15 people in 60 square metera. My flat was basically in the company, in one room. We worked every Saturday and Sunday for ten years. I slept four hours a day for seven years, I couldn’t wait for the dawn to continue work.
In 2005, we bought office space in Visegradska. We put a lot of effort and somehow managed. You cannot reach anything without sacrifices. It is an illusion. The one who gets it can succeed in any business.
Today we have 60 employees. We export more than 300 products to 110 countries, and we have distributors in 38 countries, to Europe, America and Japan and some of our regular buyers are Toshiba, Hitachi, Sony, NASA, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, CERN, Toyota, once a month we meet Google.... Only ten companies in the world produce compilers and MikroElektronika is one of the biggest.
Do not watch TV, have breakfast and make love
- My mantra which I have repeated for so many times. How a beginner can succeed in business? First,not to watch TV because he would only listen to bad news instead of working. To have breakfast so that he would not be nervous the whole morning and only wait for a lunch time. The last is I believe clear – less stress, less frustrations…
I learnt by myself everything I know about management. I have never read a book on management. The essence is in organization and in the fact we are striving for more efficient, cheaper production. Quality growth, production scope increase and constant staff development. If you increase a person’s quality, you will increase company quality, not vice versa.
A cleaning lady must see that the company situation improved
- It is not about a degree but it is about what a person is like. People do not work in line with a salary but in line with their character. If you are a personality, you will do your job for a dinar at the end.
This is how MikroElektronika employs. My Production Manager in Lajkovac is vulcanizer, but he was the best one in the area and today he is the best Production Manager because that’s what he is like.
This does not mean salaries should be lower. We pay bonuses four times a year, we have 13th and 14th salary and if everything goes well, we will have 15th salary. It is important because bonuses are mostly given for creative jobs and salary is for everybody. A cleaning lady must see that the company situation improved. It is a shame that a manager is rich and that his employees cannot buy a washing machine.
I bought my first car when I was 38. I do not have villas or yachts. This company is all I have and that is really something.
Fishing protects me from many other crazy things
- There is a quote in Selimovic Fortress: “ Chase fish, Ahmet Sabo. It appears to be a big nonsense, which it is. But it becomes the biggest passion and defends a man from his craziness. A world can fall apart and you will, without moving, stare at water. The biggest wisdom in life is that a man finds a real crazy thing.”
I have always been a passionate fisherman. I fish twice a week, at night. There I find my time for thinking, there I set priorities. Both in July and in January when the temperature is 15 degrees below zero.
I am wondering why there are more fishermen in the summer than in the winter? Aren’ t you a fisherman in December and January? Now, that’s the story about character, about the fact how spoilt we are and about the fact when it will be better in Serbia. Why am I almost the only one wandering in the snow, at night along the river? Because others are cold. When they are not cold, when there will be crowd at the Kolubara in December, everybody will feel better in this country.
- My Biljana was the most handsome girl in high school Lajkovac. I am a persistent man, I started chasing her in when 15 and got her when 21. After twenty years, I am crazy in love with her. We have an eight-year old daughter Lena.
Why there is no more female programmers?
- Whenever I tried to say this in public, it turned out to be clumsy and it is basically a very simple thing. How is it possible there are no more women programmers when women always program? A husband, kids, kindergarten, job, lunch, what to wear, whet to buy, weeding,… she haso fit all that in every day. Programming is work but it is also creative and it is an ideal job for women because they are more imaginative, they create one thing while thinking of something else. Whenever I could, I told that to governmental representatives – Serbia must rely on women. My wish is to have more women programmers.
We are putting efforts to move as quickly as possible to a new business premises in Zemun, a complex of former Belgrade Electronic Industry. We invested a lot but we will have a fantastic space. It will be a real boom. We invested tens hudred thousand euros only in the air conditioning system. MikroElektronika will have a luxurious level like hotels in Dubai. We would like to revive Belgrade electronic industry, to rehabilitate old fame of the complex and ecourage others to follow our example.
What do I personally want? I want all of to be as happy as possible. I decided to “make” everybody to have four kids. I even promised to give 200 euros per month for a third and 400 euros for fourth.