KRISTIAN SAMLER is the Sales Director of MyQ, which is not surprising given his background in international business from the University of Economics in Prague. Nor is it surprising that he plays golf, since it goes hand-in-hand with the business world. However, he had to overcome the negative clichés that are associated with it, especially back home. In the U.S., where it’s played often, golf is met with less prejudice.
Are you more at home in the Czech Republic or in the U.S.?
It’s about 50–50, but my main place of business is in Prague.
Why do you spend 50% of the time in the U.S.?
It is one of the key markets for us. We are starting to cooperate with major producers of printers and multifunctional devices which has great business potential. The mission is very demanding, the wife stays at home, but it has certainly been an interesting mission.
What makes the U.S. market different from the European market?
From our point of view, we came there later, and the competition was already established there. Our conversation usually begins with these questions: What makes you stronger than your competitors? What do you offer?
What do customers demand the most — personalization?
This is one of the key aspects, along with scanning, where we are stronger in both areas compared to competing companies. Then user-friendliness, whether on the end-user or administrator’s side. It´s important for many of our customers.
Is the U.S. a country full of smart IT and famous Silicon Valley guys who look down on Czech Companies?
The initial mistrust was there, but the above-mentioned partnership with a local company helps us a lot; we do not attend meetings alone. This is very important and today, we are respected partners there. Moreover, we present ourselves as a company from Prague. Our business partners usually know it and have nice memories associated with it. It is stronger than saying just ‘the Czech Republic.’
Does your mission as the Sales Manager suffer from your U.S mission?
It certainly suffers, but it’s a short-term mission that can bear fruit, so we bet on it. In addition to myself, I have a Branch Operations Manger to whom I delegate my responsibilities. Luckily, I have responsible managers on my team, who are responsible and can manage it themselves.
What do you miss most while in the U.S., besides your family?
Americans are different than Europeans, they are more closed-off. They are polite, smiling and then only 10% of something that was agreed on is realized. We in the Czech Republic go for a beer after work and, in MyQ it applies doubly. In the U.S., work life and private life are separated a lot. The boundary between work and family is very sharp there. I perceive it quite strongly because I am there alone.
Where else do you see business potential for MyQ?
In Latin America there is a large, unexplored market. And then there is Asia. Although that’s a question mark because while we are implementing GDPR in Europe, in Asia, there is an effort to monitor people as much as possible in companies.
What do you do if you aren’t working?
Even though I travel a lot for business, my wife and I enjoy travelling to new places. When I have time, I enjoy playing football, cycling, and skiing in winter. I enjoy all the adrenaline-type sports. And I’ve started playing golf.
Do you take golf as a natural complement to your profession?
In part, yes. There are good contacts on the golf course and many things can be solved. But I had always wanted to try golfing, I just didn’t know what to think about it. I was, of course a bit prejudice. I thought that it was a sport for snobs or people who can’t play sports because it seems like just an easy walk. But now I really enjoy it.
What’s your handicap?
Well, it’s still in the 50s because time is minimal. But every good hit counts and makes me happy.
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