The People Behind The Cogworks: Svetislav Savic

In the lead up to our decade anniversary here at The Cogworks we thought it was about time we took a moment to reflect on what’s changed since our initial days as a three-man unit in a basement in Drury Lane.

Not to toot our own horn, but there’s been a few pretty awesome developments. We’re not here to talk office upgrades or client wins today. One thing we’re massively proud of is the number of staff now working behind the scenes to keep our cogs working.

We’ve now got a record 26 staff on the books, so we thought it’s about time you got to read about the people producing our top notch websites and bringing the fun, edgy and creative vibe to Cogworks HQ.

First up is someone who’s been with us at London HQ for a year now and is a valued Cog employee.

And extra kudos to him for being the guinea pig for our first, slightly quirky Q&A…

Introducing…Svetislav Savic

Role: Digital Project Manager at The Cogworks since the 1st June 2015.

Client/project brag list: Cobham plc and Cobham Careers, SmartSaver, Airwick, VitroClen, Destop, Calgon, Mucinex (Campaign website), Veet Bahamas Campaign and IET.

Let’s talk more…

So Svetislav, what brought you here?

Well, I was relocating to London from Leamington Spa and had already been working as a PM in an agency specialising in Umbraco, so when I was looking for a job, I was hoping to find a place where I could stay in the Umbraco world and its community. I saw a job post for The Cogworks on LinkedIn, had a few interviews and it was the perfect opportunity.

What makes you fist pump at work?

The done column on our Trello board! I don’t know what makes me happy at work - I don’t often think about it, because I’m happy all the time.

What makes your Cogs work?

When we have short deadlines. We often have clients who have brilliant, last minute ideas. It’s hard to say no to clients. I like challenges where you’re forced to push the boundaries and find a way to deliver.

The two that most come to mind were SmartSaver and also Veet’s Bahamas campaign - they were the fastest delivered projects! The campaign was a few weeks from starting and the brief was ‘oh it’s pretty simple we just want this one page with a form…’ It always seems simple from the client’s side, but there’s always a lot of work that has to go on behind the scenes. But, we managed to deliver before the deadline, so that was something! That’s the kind of challenge I like.

Also I guess the atmosphere in the office, there’s always something going on. I really like things like Coglympics (our own weekly staff Olympics challenge) – it really brings a lot of life into the office. PM’s are always stuck working on their machines and by organising different events like Coglympics it makes work easier - you don’t even think about work, you just do it.

How do you get your tech fix outside the office?

Sometimes I actually run away from technology. I’ve meditated for the past 10 years and spend time teaching others how to meditate and connect with themselves more, so I spend a lot of time on that. But tech wise, I guess I do a bit of photography. I use my phone because I’m too lazy to drag a camera with me, so it’s hard to get away from technology today. I try to keep the balance between techy stuff and what do you call it, our previous life?

Are you a part of any tech groups?

There are Umbraco meetups, but I mostly attend a lot of PM meetups which are most interesting to me. It’s important for PMs to understand technology and how to manage a project and be efficient. Doing PM meetups helps me stay up to date with the latest trends in production and project management processes.

Who would be on your client bucket list?

Well, I’m a big fan of Richard Branson – I’m not sure if Richard could be my client, but yeah, I guess I would say I have a type of client rather than a client list. A good client is the one that lets you do your job and is open to new solutions and ideas and so that you can build a good relationship. And if we deliver a good job and business value, then of course they see what we’ve done and come back for more. That’s the best way to advertise our services, by providing a great job in the first place.

What is your office vice?

I just want to say it’s now been two months since I’ve tried to reduce the amount of sweets I eat and, well… colleagues just keep bringing them in! Once or twice I brought doughnuts in for everyone but took none and said ‘okay doughnuts for you, I’m not touching them.’

Then Ania, Andrew or Huan come in and I’ll be there looking at those sweets and think – ‘okay it’s 12 o’clock lunch break time’ but when I come back from my break I’ll be like ‘oooh it’s the perfect time for something sweet’ and so yeah, I think that’s my thing. Just like Richard Branson says, ‘I’ll always try something once,’ so yesterday it was chilli sweet and sour worms…

Tipple of choice?

One drink, one word - Guinness.

How do you unwind?

The thing is - to unwind, first you have to wind yourself up, and I don’t easily get upset… I think meditation has contributed to this. It’s not an instant process where you wake up a different person the next day – it’s been a long term process getting to a place of inner balance but now even if there are stressful situations, clients chasing me up and an email backlog to come back to after a holiday, I can calmly do my job. It doesn’t matter what there is to do, I just do it one by one. It’s definitely helped me.

What’s on your office playlist?

Wow that’s a complicated question. I listen to lots of different music - sometimes it’s dark progressive techno, sometimes it’s Vivaldi and Mozart. It really depends on my mood, sometimes I just enjoy the sound of my office. Recently though DJ N-Tchbl has been on my playlist – she’s a favourite, she’s a Serbian DJ -  techno progressive something.

There are so many styles out there, I can’t keep up. When I was younger I grew up on heavy metal, thrash metal, speed metal and that’s it. Recently I heard of Djent and when I Googled it, and read the explanation, I thought - we just used to call it trash metal 20 years ago?

What’s your secret talent?

Ah, that will stay a secret! But if I was to offer something, maybe poetry? I’ve published three books plus two unpublished and in the autumn my next one will be ready. I write about life – I’m told it’s ‘like Haiku writing’ but that’s a very precise formula which I don’t have - so it’s haiku-ish?... I can’t write on demand, I just write a few lines when something inspires me and usually then leave it as it is.

Lastly, can you sum up Cogworks in one word?

The place you want to be between 9-5! Ah, that’s not one word. Umm - exciting!

Oh but wait there’s more… Introducing The Mystery Jar question…