The Gdańsk man who brought US giant Amazon to Poland

People change the world in many different ways.

Some do it through politics and rhetoric, others use their art to inspire others, while some keep their head down, work hard and create something that makes the lives of hundreds of millions around the world a bit easier.

Łukasz Osowski falls into the latter category. He is a humble man and blushes at the notion, but his hard work and innovation has not only affected the daily life of millions around the world but led Amazon to be Poland’s largest American employer, creating over 15,000 jobs.

He told TFN: “As a teenager I was a fan of Space Odyssey 2000 and other sci-fi movies which have computers who speak with a nice, natural style. I first became interested in AI (artificial intelligence) and neural networks while studying at Gdansk University of Technology. That developed into applying neural networks in speech recognition and finally evolved into applying neural networks and other AI algorithms into ‘Text to Speech’ software.”

Born in Starogard Gdanski a small town about 50 km south of Gdansk, Osowski’s first job after graduating in 2000 was with a large Polish media organization where he grew his department from zero to seven people within a year. He developed his first commercial TTS software which worked as an add-on to an internet browser. But he knew he wanted his own company and after gaining experience he established, IVO software, with two friends.

The 42-year-old said: “While I was in my fourth year at university I did a psychological assessment test, the results showed I was a good candidate to run my own business. After gaining experience I established my own firm with two friends, Artur and Michał. We had no money and worked long days, desperate to succeed.”

Due to the lack of funds at the beginning, one of the trio left to gain a steadier income. Łukasz Osowski and Michał Kaszczuk stayed the course, working long days, in the belief that they could deliver something revolutionary. The duo had a steep learning curve when it came to running a business though, Kaszczuk had joined the company straight from university and while Osowski had managed a team before, he had the luxury of working in a large company with a departments to take care of the duties he now had to do himself.

“These early challenges required a lot of discipline. It meant we had to learn new things, put ourselves in difficult, uncomfortable situations but it was a great challenge and we learnt a lot. Early in business it is very important to be frugal, to understand your budget and stick to it. A penny saved is a penny earned,” he said.

The duo embraced the challenge, regularly working 12 hour days and even outside the office, while socializing their conversations always ended up back about IVO software.

Full story at source FirstNews.

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