Michal Liska: the man of many talents
The readers have probably never met you, so how would you first introduce yourself?
My name is Michal and a few months ago I graduated from the Brno University of Technology in Czechia. Having said that, my interests largely coincide with the focus of my studies. I am fascinated by new technologies, applications and anything that can move us forward as a society and make life easier on the individual level.
In addition to that, I like sports, I prefer running or crossfit. I also enjoy listening to podcasts with inspiring people from different walks of life. My other hobbies are largely music related. I enjoy going to live concerts (let me know whenever there is an Imagine Dragons gig in Europe). I have also been playing piano since I was a child. One of the pieces that I am capable of playing and at the same time the most proud of is All of Me by Jon Schmidt. At the same time, after a busy day there is nothing as relaxing for me as playing W. A. Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca.
Now, if we assume that the reader has never heard about PDF Generator API either, how would you introduce that?
Let’s imagine that we have a bunch of people who just finished a Spanish course. They all have received a diploma on the paper for their new skill but lets assume they need one in a digital format as well. To provide it the university can hire someone to scan all the paper diplomas, to convert them to PDF and then manually email each student their diploma. Alternative solution would be implementing PDF Generator API — in this case, whenever there is a new line added to the database “Spanish course graduates” the name, course id, language level and all relevant information will be sent to PDF Generator service, the Diploma is generated and sent to the students automatically. In addition to that, the university has the flexibility to easily design different diplomas for different courses.
So in a nutshell — we are in the business of helping universities (and other companies) generating their diplomas (and other documents).
Would you mind also explaining what it is exactly that you do at PDF generator API?
I am dedicated to learning our customers’ business logic and their needs so that I could really work with them to figure out how they could leverage our PDF Generator API capabilities the most. In order to achieve that we are offering a discovery call for every sign-up — I believe that we are among very few in our field to offer something like this.
The biggest satisfaction for me is knowing that I have helped a company automate generating and editing documents that before having the call with me was all done manually. For example, once there was a realtor who created a pdf advertisement for each of his listings, really beautiful thing with pictures, main info, address etc. He did it all manually and it took him a lot of time, so we figured out a way how he just had to type the main information, upload the pictures and the PDFs were generated automatically. That was very creative use of our service and I am still super proud of this case.
Neither API nor PDF sound appealing to most people, what was it that got your attention and convinced you to join the team?
You know, every now and then life gives us coincidence and this was a big one that I am extremely grateful for. It was 2019 and I attended sTARTUp day with my friend Erik. We were participating in a pitching contest as an university project and the idea we had was very similar in nature to PDF Generator API. One of the jurors was Tanel, who presented his own ideas to us after our presentation and we have been cooperating ever since.
If you look at the IT sector in general, what are the main challenges today and innovations that you are looking forward to seeing the most?
For me personally, it is the development of electrotechnology in mobility, especially cars. For me, what makes it interesting are all the problems that need to be solved. Is the mining industry able to keep up with the demand as lithium and cobalt are essential to manufacture batteries? Will power grids be able to keep up with the increasing demand of electricity? I am really looking forward to seeing where this innovation takes us.
In addition to that I am also fascinated by machine learning. In the university I had the opportunity to participate in many projects related to machine learning and I saw first hand the possibilities for implementing machine learning are almost limitless. For example, one of the most developed fields is image recognition. Let’s assume you want to find the picture of yourself eating a burger with your friends but you are not sure when you took it. Today you have to scroll through a lot of pictures to find it but in the future you will be able to type in “burger” and “friends” and the right picture will pop up in a limited selection of images matching the keywords. This is something that I believe will happen very soon.
Is there anything you would definitely recommend reading, learning or experiencing for people interested in IT related topics?
One book that is stuck in my mind is The Four (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google). This book explains very well where we are, where we’re (probably) going and the need for antitrust measures for the Four. His style won’t be to everyone’s taste but Scott Galloway rips through the subject with energy, passion and a bit of “adult” language.
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read is The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. The book describes the difference between Finite and Infinite mindsets (different from growth and fixed mindsets) and provides a framework for companies to recognize which mindset they have and how to implement an Infinite Mindset.
In a nutshell he writes that one should find a good cause for their business. In addition to that, developing a trusting team is one of the most important goals to develop an infinite mindset but also studying worthy rivals. Once all that is in place you should work really hard to develop existential flexibility for your company — what you are should never be set in stone. And finally you have to be crazy and bold enough to lead the way and execute.
For me, it sounds like a company I would like to work for (and not too different from what we do here in PDF Generator API).
What was the last notable mistake you made?
My weakness is losing things, anywhere, at home, at work, on vacation, on the beach. It happens to me often and always when I least expect it. I haven’t fully tuned the take-away yet but as a result, I have to buy new glasses, headphones and similar things every season …
Finally, what is your Christmas wish?
Hmm… good question. Airpods maybe… Yes, definitely Airpods.