An Interview With Igor Spinella – Eggtronic’s Founder, CEO and CTO
Since founding Eggtronic in his garage in 2012 Igor Spinella has grown Eggtronic into a global leader in the field of power electronics and wireless power. Here we ask Igor to explain what drives and inspires him and he shares his insights into running and growing a tech startup.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would say adaptable. I don’t believe that there’s only one style of leadership. I adapt my style to the needs of the people I’m working with. Wherever possible I take time to explain my decisions, though sometimes deadlines dictate there is no time for detailed explanations, which is when I ask for trust from the team.
Of course we all make mistakes and I always try to point out my own, while being just as transparent in saying what I want to see improved when I see something is wrong.
One thing I have always done is to seek out smart, bright, high-potential people who I entrust with tasks that might, at first, seem too difficult given their level of experience. When I see the tasks are done well, I assign even more complex ones. And when I see that the hard skills are there, I consider what potential there is for managing others. It is this approach that has helped some recent graduates to climb to leadership positions in Eggtronic in just a few years.
And I believe very much in the value of commitment and of passion, which I try to convey by example on a daily basis. Whenever there is a problem or an opportunity, I never back down – I believe we can always find solutions and, while there may be mistakes on the way, statistically a combination of skills and commitment will bring great results.
What are the best and worst things about being a CEO?
The greatest thing about being a CEO is the opportunity to transform dreams into reality. The act of inventing and creating is satisfying - but seeing that our products and technologies are improving people’s lives and the environment is even better.
Another amazing experience is getting to know special people, with whom it has been really exciting to build and grow a startup.
One of the worst parts of the role is the frustration you get when you have to slow down activities because the real world is much slower than ideas. Several times I can see the whole ‘movie’ in my mind - the potential issues, how to avoid problems, and the resources needed to get a goal quickly. But then I need to fight and accept the fact that the world is not always as smart and passionate as it could be.
But then I need to fight and accept the fact that the world is not always as smart and passionate as it could be.
From whom have you taken inspiration over the years?
I admire and have been inspired by many people. Enrico Fermi, Antonio Meucci (who, contrary to what many people think, is the true inventor of the telephone), Alessandro Volta, Guglielmo Marconi, Nikola Tesla, Vilfredo Pareto, Rita Levi Montalcini, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Adriano Olivetti, Federico Faggin, Bill Gates, Leonardo Da Vinci, and many others.
And I love the Italians. I think Italy is a country capable of fostering the serendipity that leads us to become excellent inventors. However, at the same time, it’s a country where people of value are not always sufficiently supported to grow their ideas - something at which ecosystems like Silicon Valley excel.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Since my childhood mornings have always been difficult for me. Teachers must have thought that I lived far away as I was always late, when actually I was just outside the classroom, trying to find the right mood to start the day.
Evenings on the other hand are a magical moment in which I reach my creative peak. I wish I didn’t have to sleep.
Therefore my day reflects my night owl soul.
During the morning, while getting ready, I start reading my emails avoiding most complex ones. I need a breakfast that lasts at least 30 minutes to get through the day. While eating, I read articles or watch YouTube videos about different topics unfamiliar to me that I find interesting. I love learning new things. Recently I discovered some unusual ways to use a microwave oven, and something about very old computing technologies, as well as unsolved math problems.
During my evenings I work on activities I need to focus on. I don’t mind if I need to stay awake until late at night.
What personal technology couldn’t you live without?
My favourite device is my laptop. My Microsoft Surface is a travelling companion even for trips to the beach, since it is a laptop with the portability of a tablet. I also have a laptop pen to write down notes and share them in the cloud.
The other vital device is my smartphone. I recently bought a Samsung Note because it has a pen to use in case I want to jot ideas down quickly.
Thanks to Camilla, our CMO and Creative Director, I got to know the Remarkable 2, a digital notebook. With these three devices together, I have everything I need to take notes and quickly write down ideas and avoiding the problem of having paper everywhere in the office and at home.
Finally, I use my Samsung Buds a lot: excellent audio quality and very comfortable.
Of course, I charge all these devices with our Einova Sirius power adapter, and with our 20,000mAh universal power bank. At home and in the office, I use the Einova Charging Stones in a few different stone varieties, and I still use an old Einova wireless charger in genuine leather. It’s perfect for my bedside table because it’s extremely thin.