We had the good fortune of connecting with Konstantin Dolgan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Konstantin, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I don’t see a reason to separate work and life. Work is life and life is work. In my opinion, these terms are inclusive, not separate. Work is a part of my life, it’s a reflection of my personality, my skills, my way of having fun, and how I like to relax. In fact, I do more at work than simply completing the tasks in front of me. I express myself, I make relationships, I grow as a person, I learn things, I experience emotions. I don’t see my life without work. I don’t want a life without work. If we call family time “life” in this context then it’s obviously important too. I want to make sure I have quality time with my loved and close ones. It doesn’t mean I have to stop working or that I can’t meet or call them during work time. I think it’s important to be free to do what you want and when you want. It’s much more difficult to achieve if you are an employee working full time, thus I think it’s important to either have a job where you control your schedule and don’t have to ask someone’s permission to leave or come at any time you want.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started and currently run a product design and development company, LA New Product Development Team. We turn product ideas into reality. In other words, our team generates and develops ideas, designs technical solutions, and markets new products. We work on our own ideas and also help other companies and individuals who want to launch new products or improve their current ones. Basically, we are a group of creative people with technical and marketing expertise. We’ve been in business for five years now. During that time, we served around 500 customers and received several awards, including Entrepreneur 360 and INC 5000. However, it’s not the awards that I’m most proud of, but our team’s versatility and ability to consistently deliver creative solutions and build something that didn’t exist before. It’s exciting to hold in your hands a prototype of an idea that was only in someone’s head before. Building a business is not easy. Building a business where you need to deliver new and creative solutions day after day is even harder. Product development requires a collaboration of people with different skills and expertise, such as engineers, designers, content writers, marketers, web and app developers, manufacturing experts, project managers, and others. Orchestrating this collaboration is not a small feat. It requires a great understanding of each discipline, but also what the customers and the end-users want and expect. What we do at LA NPDT proves that anything can become a reality. If you can dream of something, it can be built. It’s just a matter of having the right skills, equipment, and team. It also requires passion and patience. Turning an idea into a product can take many months and sometimes even years. Experience and knowledge help to avoid costly mistakes and speed up some processes. Our team consistently learns and adopts the latest technologies and the best practices, so our products and those of our customers can meet market demands while satisfying all the industry standards. Our company was first a student organization I and my partner (and wife) started while working on our degrees at LA Tech. The organization later evolved into a company. We bootstrapped the company and grew it organically, so balancing the needs and wants of the business with the bank account balance was a challenge, especially in the beginning. We are happy we didn’t have to raise capital or borrow money, though. What many people seeking for investors don’t realize is that you essentially become an employee of the investors. That defeats the whole purpose of starting a business if you do that to have the freedom of making the decisions on your own. In many cases, you’d have to report to your investors regularly and consult with them on many decisions. After seeing that happening with some of our startup customers, I realized that my ultimate goal is to become primarily an investor and an entrepreneur secondary. As a change from an employee to an entrepreneur, a step up from an entrepreneur to investor should happen gradually in my opinion. So, I’m working on that right now.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In Atlanta, I would take them to the Coca Cola museum and the Botanical Gardens. It would be also nice to walk around the Georgia Tech campus. Some of my friends from overseas would definitely get really excited visiting the CNN studios because it looks like what they saw in the movies.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents and my wife