25 years ago, Marian Alecsiu laid the foundation of a business that was about to become the greatest photo-video retailer in Romania. In our interview we were able to offer you a cup of his passion and his creative potential, seasoned with a biscuit of wisdom.
Trainart: From hobby to job and from photography to entrepreneurship is a long way, do you still practice taking photos or do you just focus on improving other enthusiasts’ experiences?
M.A.: From taking a photo of your cat and making a clearer picture, because it leaves an impression of art, to the level of taking a photo telling a story is a long way to come along. Which is similar to the entrepreneurship one. I didn’t start by being passionate about photography, it was the passion for the photographic technique which implied capturing the image, developing the film and taking out the photo.
Entrepreneurship has nothing to do with photography, as it may appear/ at first sight.
Trainart: From consignment to a millions of Eur business , F64 is now the largest retailer specialized in photo-video field in Romania. What did this spectacular evolution consisted of?
M.A.: We began with photos at events, then we started developing, mini labs appeared and we were only operating the service, we were the connection between mini-labs and our customers. Then, by chance, a client asked us how much our cameras cost, we had at least two, one with color film and one with black-and-white film. We were surprised and we came with the idea to sell them. By `93 we effectively started the activity period of the consignment when we gave up completely to photographic services. Only now, after 20 years we started rerunning them.
Trainart: If you could travel to the past, what advice would you give to the young Marian Alecsiu at the beginning of the road?
M.A.: I love this question, is a kind of a coaching process for me, to look in the past. I don`t think I would change much and I am not saying it from vanity. I am just saying that the advice I would give both to Marian Alecsiu, as well as to any youngster who starts a business is to take care not to regret something he hasn`t done. To have courage, to try, to test, because regrets will not come from the fact that you may fall on your knees or you may hit the verge top, they will come from something you didn’t do.
I am an artisan who learned his work and who is doing his job very well, I am not an entrepreneur. I have learned that if we offer a pleasant experience, we will also enjoying it as well. It is very simple, somehow, what you give is what you get. I also consider important to focus on one subject at a time, without doing too many things at once. Increasingly I hear about this term of “multitasking”. Personally, I consider that nobody can do that. Computers can’t do it either. A processor can only do one single action in a second, the fact that it divides the second in many parts is a different subject. We have a processor and we must focus on one single action in order to get results.
Trainart: Tell us a story, shortly, about a situation when you felt empowered/resourceful/spectacular.
M.A: An experience which gave me energy to approach other projects was and still is: always receiving a positive feed-back about my colleagues from my clients. When this happens I have the power to say “Ok, it is not hard, it is worth keep doing it, it is worth investing in this”. This business wasn`t my idea, I did it because that was what the client wanted. We are still trying to improve ourselves and to offer services, appreciated by our clients as added value. For example, the Training Department is a service for everyone, both for clients and for my colleagues.
If you count all your mistakes, you won`t have the courage to move on. For me E.R.S. means every success. And the success means the feed-back of my clients, of my partners, the opportunity to develop new projects. I need to be a better self every day, better this week than last one. As long as you are aware you can`t achieve the perfect thing, you have to keep learning.
Trainart: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
M.A.: I see myself still attached to/ F64, I will be happy to keep up with what F64 will do next. On the other hand, at a certain age I feel the need to detach. For example, I am more productive if I leave for a week to paragliding because every time I take-off, when I fly and when I land I completely detach from what happens in F64. I realize that I come back charged with a new perspective. I also want to develop a new business to put my signature as an entrepreneur and to confirm that all I have learned in these years in F64 makes me cable to adapt to new environments….
Trainart: If you could “stay” with a certain age for ever, what would that be and why?
M.A.: I would like to stop at around 20 years old, with the experience and the knowledge from now. Even 17-18 years old with all I have gained so far. Anyway, I don`t want to stay in a certain place, I want to develop myself and I still want my appetite for learning new things to remain open.
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