People of Zigi with Daniel Kalchev

In our People of Zigi series, we showcase our team. Meet Daniel, one of our Solution Architects.
Dani, our Solutions Architect, recharges with long walks in nature and intensive arm-wrestling training sessions. He loves gaming and spending time with his family and close friends.
Today, he’s telling us more about his journey with ZigiWave, his excitement with providing the best solutions to customers’ business challenges, and about Zigi’s growth.

My background

I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. I’m the third child in our family, and also the youngest one. I first studied accounting and then economics, but after two years at the National Economics University, I got bored with that and decided to drop out and explore other fields. This is when I began my first job as a Sales Consultant for electronics, which I did for about 3 years. There, I learned what it was like to have a job, work with customers, and work within a team.

At some point, I received an offer to join HP’s tech Support team for a partner called Tech Experts. It was quite a big transition for me, but at that point I was already interested in computers and in IT, so I decided to give it a try. I started as a level 1 Engineer, then moved on to a level 2 Engineer role. Again, I improved my skills and learned a lot from that job: about business software, integrations, and how to solve problems alone or as a part of my team.

My role at ZigiWave

At HP, I became friends with some of the people who I’m working with right now at ZigiWave. Around 2016, I joined our current team (back then, under the parent company Do IT Wise). Here, I learned a lot about the process of developing software and delivering it to customers successfully.

First, I was a Senior Consultant, and although my role was mostly technical, I was often working with customers. I also contributed to R&D: I investigated software products for which we could develop integrations. After identifying an opportunity and market need for a new integration, I prepared all the information and recommendations for our Dev team on what to integrate and how. After they built each integration, we tested it to make sure it was working as expected, delivered it to customers, and provided support afterwards.

We were gaining more and more popularity and new customers, so more people joined the ZigiWave team. A dedicated Support team was created, and I became a Solutions Architect, which is also my current role. Here, I’m more focused on marketing, contacting prospects and existing customers, making demos and implementations, and making sure that customers could successfully integrate the tools they needed to.

For me, it’s very interesting to see customers’ use cases, challenges, and pain points, and to be able to offer them the right solution. It always feels very rewarding to see our customers happy.

Building custom integrations

A lot of our integrations were initiated by customers’ requests, so this is something that is not new for us: we’re used to it and we do it very well.

Once we reach an agreement with a potential customer for a specific integration, my team and I discuss it together, and present it to our CEO and CTO, Idan and Avi, for approval. Once we have their approval, we proceed with the necessary research, planning, development and testing of the new integration.

This can take between 2 and 6 weeks, depending on the integration’s complexity, how urgent it is for the client, and on our other projects. We’re always very flexible in adapting to customers’ needs.

The Zigi team

This is one of the core strengths of ZigiWave: everyone is super reliable and we know we can count on each other. I know I can always ask for others’ help when I need it.

In the past, I’ve worked a lot with the Development team and with the Consultants. I still do that, if I need their help with a specific problem. Right now, however, I’m working a lot with our Sales Account Manager, Magi, to meet customers, explain to them what ZigiWave is all about, and offer them solutions for their problems. I also work with Milena, our Technical Writer, whenever we need to do something to bring ZigiOps closer to our audience, and with Maria, our Marketing Manager, whenever we need to prepare new marketing materials to improve our presence and visibility on the market. I also work with our Support team in providing solutions to customers.

My advice to someone just starting out at ZigiWave would be to be open-minded, to not be afraid to make mistakes, to be prepared to work with a real team and to learn a lot. The field we’re working in is constantly changing, so we need to be very flexible and adapt fast. They’ll learn a lot of new things and will make a lot of new friends.

The most important lesson I learned from working at ZigiWave

The most important lesson I learned is that you can rarely do something alone: it’s always easier if you’re a part of a team, and it feels great to achieve something big together.

Another important lesson for me was that some things take more than 1 month to complete. There are goals that might take 1-2 years or more, and they’re still worth pursuing. Sometimes it’s hard to see that a month or two have passed, and that on the surface it looks like you made no progress at all. But then, after 2-3 more months you see the bigger picture and appreciate everything that’s been happening. At the other jobs I had, goals were always short-term, while here we have a mission and a vision that we’re following through.

For me, ZigiOps is not as much of a product, but rather a vision on how we want to do things. It’s always changing and improving and it’s never the same. Every month, it’s a little bit different.

Dealing with difficulties at work

I’ve learned that the most useful thing to do when dealing with a problem is to remain calm and analyze the situation objectively: feelings or opinions are not always helpful. I stay positive, show that I’m available and easy to reach, and try to establish a good dialogue, because problems get resolved in conversation. It’s crucial to not make the customer wait and to not hide behind a deadline.

I try to get as much information as possible, to establish whether we have a problem in the first place, where it’s coming from, and whether we can do something about it. Even if it’s something on the customer’s side, if we can, we help them.

I try to fix the problem on my own first, and if I cannot, I reach out to the team and we fix it together.

...and in general

I’ve learned not to be very emotional during hard times, so that I can think straight. In case something really gets to me, the first thing I do is to simply give it some time and think it through. I try to figure out where the problem came from and why it happened, how it can be fixed, and whether I can do it alone, or whether I need my family’s help and support.

My hobbies

I love gaming and I spend a lot of time on my computer, but I also love going outside in nature, for example to the forest.

Currently, I’m also doing arm-wrestling with my colleagues from Zigi and with some friends.

When I was a consultant for electronics, I was selling photo cameras. This sparked my interest in photography, which is another hobby I have.

I also collect knives, which is related to spending time outdoors.


How I recharge and destress

To recharge, I go to the forest for a day, just to walk and enjoy the silence. Initially, I tried to bring music with me, but then I realized it’s not helping in any way to recharge, so I just stopped bringing any electronics with me. I only use my phone for emergencies. It’s super refreshing.

Another thing I do is to train: it can actually be quite painful and takes a lot from me, physically. And this works really well when you need to recharge your mind.


My sources of inspiration

For me, encountering something that I don’t understand is very inspiring. For example, if I have a difficult customer or a problem I don’t understand, this immediately attracts my attention and I try to figure it out. I don’t like not understanding things or how they work.

My favourite place in the world

My favourite place is home, with my friends and family. Every time I go elsewhere, even if it’s to the most beautiful place in the world, after a week I long to go back home. This is where I feel the best.

My favourite book and movie

I’m a fan of fantasy, so my favourite book (and movie!) is Lord of The Rings. I’m currently reading a lot of psychology books.

Celebrating success

When I succeed in something, first I internalize it, to see how I actually feel about it. After that, I share it with my immediate family and my close friends. I’m not a fan of social media, I was using it before but at some point I stopped. I rarely post anything personal online.

A day in the life

I get up at the last possible moment before work and rush to prepare for my workday. Then I go on with my plan for the day, as far as work is concerned. After work I have a quick meal and go for a training session. Sometimes, I play on my computer, or just go out.

I’m actually trying to change that and get up a lot earlier in the morning, so that I can have some of my free time before work, and incorporate work as a smaller part of my day. I’m still battling with this, though.

I’m most productive in the morning. If I have a problem I need to solve, this is when I focus the best.

What I’m most looking forward to

I’m really looking forward to making more presentations and demos, meeting with customers, and helping them get the most of our platform. I also have a goal to get back into the more technical side of things, and to prepare detailed documentation and information about pre-sales processes. This way, whenever new people join us, they can have a smoother onboarding process, and have all the information they need.