Marko Jurisic: “My first visit to Baku, was for business, as a consultant in construction industry, in projects of furnishing giant hotels and business centres threatening to overshadow similar projects in Dubai. ”
Cash In, Cash Desk are words that could be heard often during past months in bank meetings, IT sector or in regular cafes, as in Novi Sad and Belgrade circles, so in social media, which had become the standard way of communicating in our digital era.
What actually ‘modern banking’ is, and how ‘payment and cash withdrawal at every corner’ that suddenly started attracting so much attention is possible has been explained to us by a seemingly quite ordinary man. Thanks to years of experience he acquired working in international corporations and by frequent traveling, and through acquaintances and communication with different cultures and nations, which are all part of his daily routine, for Marko Jurisic this idea became a reality. As Walt Disney, the father of the most popular mouse in the world and the eponymous company, used to say: ‘If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse’, so has Marko turned the idea of making one’s life easier into Advanced Technology Solutions company. This is his story.
- How did your cooperation with Alexander Tvaradze, which resulted in ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS, happen?
My first visit to Baku, the capital of the Land of Fire (Azerbaijan), was for business, as a consultant in construction industry, in projects of furnishing giant hotels and business centres threatening to overshadow similar projects in Dubai. During my stay I tried to immerse myself in the culture of the country and the way of life of an average resident. Aside from splendid architecture, tasty food and very beautiful women, I realised their lifestyle allowed them to avoid the usual waiting in lines in banks or post offices in order to pay their bills, taxes and services, of which there are about 400, since they can be paid in newsstands, supermarkets or restaurants, basically at every corner. I used those services myself and I liked the concept. I don’t believe in coincidences, so it happened soon afterwards that I met the man who created that kind of lifestyle.
- Do you mean to say that Advanced Technology Solutions is actually the Serbian version of that lifestyle?
Exactly, as the name itself claims, the advanced technological solutions for all of us! I like the idea that an average man in my country doesn’t waste any time. This payment method saves time and money on daily basis. Paying for services in such a way is less time consuming and cheaper if we compare it with the usual provision fees in banks. My idea is to make it easier for everybody in my country, including myself (laugh). Since the opening of the company in May, this idea started becoming a reality and not only a dream of mine.
- How do your advanced technologies actually work, and what were the reactions from people with whom you talked about business cooperation?
Devices are based on Android technology and upgrading options are basically limitless. It is possible to make an app and offer service in a short period of time, for example, games of chance, sports betting, money transfer, online shopping etc.
As for the reactions from people with whom we started serious negotiations, technology itself has quickly reached decision making levels, which tells me a lot about its attractiveness. In the beginning it took a lot of time for people to understand how this technology worked, since it had been created to execute payments in a very simple way, just in three steps. The ease of use is what inflicted ‘headaches’ in people from the industry who wasn’t used to such simple and easy processes (laugh). Potential users reacted with a question of when and where they could use it (laugh).
- What was the most interesting thing about your visit to Azerbaijan, and are cultural differences an advantage or a disadvantage in business cooperation?
My first impression of Azerbaijan was basically leaving the airport in Baku itself. I took a taxi and told the driver the address of the hotel in Russian, which is spoken perfectly by 70% of the population in Azerbaijan. To my surprise the kind driver was very well acquainted with the political situation in my country, he listed a couple of football teams, among others the oldest sport club ‘Vojvodina’ which I have been supporting since my early childhood. My surprise was even greater when that kind man refused to charge me for the ride, saying that I was the friend of his nation. I was swamped with emotions, so I hugged him and gave him my card telling him to call me should he ever visited Serbia. The second impression was the architecture. In Baku, one can see more than a hundred years old buildings decorated in baroque style, as well as arabesques standing next to each other. Baku is the city rapidly developing in last couple of years, and it has slowly emerged as an important Eurasian centre.
My personal conclusion of Azerbaijan regardless of religious differences is that we and Azerbaijani have identical habits and lifestyle. We both like social life and direct communication. No matter how odd it could seem, but we definitely have a lot in common both nationally and culturally.
- Given the fact that you travel a lot and that you meet and cooperate with people from other cultures, what are you dearest experiences aside from Azerbaijan, and if you could choose where else would you prefer to live?
If we are talking about Europe, which I know very well, my first choice would be Minsk, the capital of Belorussia. If I compare the ex-USSR with the ex-Yugoslavia I can easily draw a parallel between Belorussia and Slovenia. Belorussia used to be, and still is, the most developed of all ex-USSR republics. Minsk is almost without crime, immaculately clean, people walk the streets with smile on their faces, and culture and civilian discipline are very high. You can never hear a horn in traffic even in situations in which in Belgrade or Novi Sad it would be used more than once (laugh). School system and health care are seriously developed and free for all citizens. Unemployment, if I recall correctly, is less than 2%.
The other European city would be Luxembourg, with its 10 towers, and very rich history, positioned at the heart of Europe. Grand Duke Henry, reigning for the past 16 years, continued the tradition of his father Jean, attracting to its duchy the biggest names from IT industry as well as the greatest financial institutions represented in Europe. It is a very good setting for life and business. The third city on my list ‘of places where I would like to live’ is Cabo San Lucas, on the west Mexican coast, whose climate and position simply lure back everybody who ever visited.
- You are an advocate for the development of advanced technologies in Serbia. What is your vision for AT Solutions in the next year?
AT Solutions is not based solely in Serbia, but it has been represented in CEE region as well. For now we are putting a lot of effort into Serbian market, but other countries from the region are also in our focus. We are in touch with potential partners from other Balkan countries, and the feedbacks we have received so far are more than promising. In particular, my vision is that by the end of the third quarter 2017 our technologies are fully implemented in Serbia and its residents are experiencing its benefits. ‘Cash in desk’ technology as well as the ‘Cash In’ terminals is something that will positively change lifestyles of many residents. I believe our children will be much indebted to us for that.