I was ready to take Balazs Molnar through a framework of structured questions and technical answers. That is what I expected from someone running a new age business that we us mortals can barely understand. We hear the words AI, data engineering, machine learning and the closest association one might have is that of a Sci-Fi movie. Turns out that Balazs is very far from being the stereotype of an IT geek and he highly values creativity. We skipped my rigid questions and ventured into inspiring topics such as education and how to make this world a better place.
CEEC: So who is Balazs Molnar?
Balazs comes from Hungary, he was born and raised there but he loves traveling and has a special place in his heart for the USA. He studied business, and after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, he decided to start his career. He was one of the first employees at Google Hungary. He took care of product marketing and was at the forefront of launching YouTube in Hungary.
Balazs was impressed with the level of innovation our little red dot had to offer and still reminisces that when he arrived here he felt like a little boy visiting a big city for the first time.
Seven years ago Google offered Balazs two positions, one in his beloved US and one in Singapore. He chose Singapore and he still agrees that it was the best decision. In Singapore Balazs spent three more years at Google, focusing on Google Search and improving it in South East Asia. He loved his time at Google considering how much he learned and how many good friends he made. He still feels that Google is one of the best companies one can work for.
CEEC: I wanted to understand why someone would want to leave such a fun, fulfilling and safe job for a risky start-up. Why did Balazs start Aliz?
Turns out that entrepreneurship was always in his blood. He knew he wanted to start his own business for a long time and was simply looking for the right idea. Before he made his final decision on what business to start, he was offered a position at Uber. At the time it was one of the most well-funded and fastest growing start-ups in the world. He took the offer and after almost a year he was very sure that working for a big corporation was not for him.
Balazs started Aliz in Singapore with a couple of friends from Hungary who already had a software development company and were eager to expand. At the time, people were just starting to work with Google Cloud, and Balazs and his co-founders saw the opportunity. Fast forward four years and Aliz was announced as Google Cloud’s Breakthrough Partner of The Year.
CEEC: What does Aliz specialize in?
It’s a B2B company that builds infrastructure and automation on Google Cloud. They focus on data and machine learning but they do take a holistic approach when it comes to the IT infrastructure of their clients. Their main competitive advantages are time and precision, as most of their work is automated they can avoid human error and ensure timely delivery.
Aliz helps companies become future-proof through their data, machine learning and IT infrastructure solutions that enable automation and digitization.
CEEC: What skills do you need to work for Aliz?
They are mainly looking for engineers. Ideally you should be a data engineer or a data scientist since these are the most desirable positions. But at the same time you need to be creative and open to learn constantly. They are currently hiring big data architects, cloud architects and java developers.
CEEC: Considering Balazs’s background, I had to ask him about his thoughts on “ The Social Dilemma” documentary on Netflix. After watching it, I was put off by how much we are being manipulated, especially by social media.
Balazs underlined that the situation is not black and white and that early employees at tech firms didn’t know how the social media platforms would develop. He highlighted that manipulation has always been part of our society. Again, to my surprise, he brought up a famous book by a Polish author Bolesław Prus from the late eighteen hundreds, “Pharaoh” proving that humans have always been prone to manipulation. Balazs sees the internet as a powerful force that can be used mindfully and with many benefits.
CEEC: My next naturally occurring question was, “What can Google do to improve the situation?”
Balazs thinkst that Google should put more emphasis on promoting Google Search and encourage people to search more. This way they can educate themselves and verify any information from other platforms. Google Search gives access to almost any information one might need and we both felt that users from emerging markets and users in the older age groups might still not be taking advantage of the power of Google Search.
CEEC: I then asked whether Balazs thought that school education didn’t advance alongsidetechnical innovation and whether that is our real problem?
Balazs agreed, confirming that most kids around the world are not being taught how to be creative which, in his opinion, is the most important skill one needs to succeed in the future. But he also sees the good in the world and believes it’s not that the governments have bad intentions but rather they just don’t know how to implement change and improve.
We concluded that despite the many issues that the world is facing, we are grateful to live in “the now” because of the unlimited opportunities we are presented with. Balazs mentioned that his friend at the age of 35 decided to change her career, was able to go back to school and is starting over. It is astonishing that today we have the opportunity to have many different careers and lifestyles based on the ever-changing technological landscape. With the internet we can learn almost anything we want, and if used mindfully it gives us amazing power.
With many thanks to CEEC Ambassador Paulina Tylus for doing this interview!