In a special feature, iNTERGAMINGi interviews a host of iGaming executives to discuss their business philosophies, leadership styles and to find out a little bit more about the personalities behind the progress. Below you can read the interview with our co-founder and VP of Business Development, Darko Gacov.
Read the full-length EXECUTIVE TIME feature at the following link.
Outside of the igaming industry, who do you find the most inspirational and why?
There are many people that have inspired me in my iGaming journey. Some amazing individuals from which I have learned and have a significant part in me becoming who I am today, both as a person and as a professional. But since this would be only outside of the iGaming, I would have to say this would be my brother.
The WHYs – well he is a person that can only see the good in people. One that does not give up on humanity, nor compromises the values of what it means to be a human being regardless of the circumstances. Because he can only see a glass half full and never half empty. He has been a living example of the lesson that you should always be yourself and not an image of the social expectations. Because he is an anchor of what the real priorities in life are and has taught me to never ever give up.
What makes a successful leader?
I don’t think there is no one right answer to this question. There are different styles of leadership, since at the end of the day we are all different people. This does not mean that some are better than the others, but different leadership styles will have different audiences and thus unique ways of achieving a certain goal. Nonetheless, I believe there is to a certain extent, a common denominator to successful leadership.
For one to be a successful leader, he has to have a clear vision and to believe in it with his every breath. A person that can successfully communicate the passion around that vision to other people and unite them towards a common goal. One that can inspire and show that other people can grow together with him. Ultimately a successful leader is a person who can motivate others to be a better version of themselves.
What is your go-to activity when you want to take your mind off work?
As time goes by it is increasingly difficult for me to take my mind off work. Even when I think I am actually taking my mind off work, it includes activities or conversations that do revolve around some level of brainstorming or creating new value, either self-reflective or with other people. By new value I do not necessarily mean monetary value, but challenging the status quo on things we take for granted and we should not.
Nonetheless after reflecting on this question, the only time when I actually can switch off work would be in competitive sports that demand a high level of physical engagement, like football, kickboxing, basketball and seldomly tennis. This does not happen when I jog, especially if I ease up during the run and let my mind start working on things other than catching my breath. Another activity that helps me is getting closer to nature, but still through a physical engagement of going on challenging hikes.
When it comes to inspiration, be it one book, one song, one film, or any other piece of art I haven’t mentioned, what would you miss never having the chance to immerse yourself in again and why?
It is not a specific book, a movie or a song, or a painting kept in the safest room in a museum, nor it is a sculpture. What comes to be inspiration again and again is an idea. One that we see through history, an idea that resonates in movies, is written by great authors, one that is sung through different generations or carved in clay, stone and marble.
The idea that one man can challenge and change the world. That one person can stand up to injustice albeit to his own demise. With determination, belief and persistence, the impossible can materialize. What gives me inspiration is the story that one voice can echo loud enough to make the world a better place, maybe not today, but definitely tomorrow.
What do you spend your money on?
On good ideas, on making people that I love happy, on traveling, on technology, on new experiences and new hobbies, on good food and good wine.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I am willing to give at least as much as I ask and don’t settle for average. Irresponsibility is the one thing I can not accept, but I can be spontaneous and understanding. In my leadership style, I promote learning, for myself and the people around me. I highly encourage having a strong opinion, I admire good organization, I stimulate healthy arguments, I attack ideas, even if those are my own. Also, I challenge the status quo, I don’t have a uniform approach with all individuals, but I try to be fair and just. Clear vision is one thing I always aim for. I try to be as clear as possible when communicating that vision, I work hard, I always share WHAT the goals are. The HOW to achieve part is communicated only when absolutely necessary. Respect of all people I work with is a priority of mine, and don’t take my team for granted. I know that is a lot of “I’s”, but ultimately without a strong team there is no successful leadership.
How do you get the most out of your employees?
In essence I do not see getting the most out of a person to be the essence of being a leader. The core of it is having someone understand the vision and the goals and to motivate the person to get the most out of himself. This would be a combination of self growth, professional and personal self-realization, goal setting and goal achievements, actually it would be different things for different people in different situations.
Time and time again, I get reminded of the same life lessons about working with people, three points on which you should never save time or make compromises on.
- Never underestimate the importance of choosing who you will work with
- There is a really thin line between communication and miscommunication – what you think you said is rarely what the other person understands you have said
- Empower – always share the big picture, share the whats and not the hows, unless specifically asked to do so
Which one product are you most looking forward to revealing to the industry?
We are currently not working on that particular product of which I am most looking forward to revealing to the industry. I am not saying that we are currently working on dull, non-important products and features, quite on the contrary – we are developing some awesome things.
What I am saying is that there is this one product on which we still have not started working, which would make a ripple in the industry. We have it envisaged, we have it conceptualized, but it is still not in production. An analogy would be when car manufacturers work on concept vehicles, something that would challenge the standards, something that pushes the reality of physics, but it needs maturing and proofing. Only in our case it is not a concept vehicle, it is revolving around sportsbook.
Describe yourself in three words?
Hard working, visionary, just/righteous