1. Who is Nermin Šehić?
Nermin Šehić is a developer, a passionate fan of Željo, a failed sportsman, and your boss (laughs).
2. What do you remember about your first work experience and what was it like?
My first work experience was in a local drugstore, as a student. And my ‘normal’ first work experience, was in a startup. I was one of the 12 people who won the Hackhaton organized by the Swedish Embassy in 2016, where I and two other colleagues entered the program, which lasted a year, where we developed some cool advanced applications together during that time. The whole team that was engaged now are all successful people who have their own companies, we are all in contact and it was an intense and interesting experience where we learned many things, got to know each other and it is one of the best periods in my life sincerely.
3. Where did the idea and the need to create a space like tershouse came from?
A couple of years ago I got a call to work on a project, actually an application called 'One coworking' whose founder is the owner of one of the first coworking spaces in Berlin, Christopher Falle, co-founder of Betahaus. That application was well ahead of its time; what we did 5 years ago has only now become popular thanks to the coronavirus. As I worked on this product I often went to Berlin, because of the nature of the application we had a lot of contact with various coworking spaces because we onboarded them all and introduced them into the system manually, we had a personal relationship, so to say, with every space that was in that platform and then by nature we went to those spaces a lot, met the community manager, got to know the community and I really liked it, the way the whole system is organized, the way people in Berlin communicate with each other, how they cooperate, how they are open to each other, as there is no envy which is quite present in our country. I’ve been up there for a month, coming back here and I didn’t like the direction in which the community here was developing. As a student where I was part of that community, it meant a lot to me when my older colleagues would help me develop, where everyone was approachable, they always helped you, we all hung out and then it all fell apart over time, you some spaces that were catalysts for these systems went into some more commercial waters. I felt the need to revive it, it would be arrogant to say to create it all over again because no one can do it alone, but the idea was to create a space that will more or less revive our ecosystem that we lack because I think that there is potential, that we are a city that has that culture and that has everything necessary to be even with some slightly larger cities, but we need to believe in ourselves a little more and it turned out to be a good idea, where we managed to gather a great team in tershouse and I am already looking forward to the upcoming period where we will raise it all to a higher level.
4. How would you describe tershouse, since it's far more than a coworking space for some time?
Tershouse is a mixture of many things. Created to be a coworking space, it eventually turned into one big mix of phenomenal people, ideas, a good atmosphere, great relationships, space for organizing events that I never thought about when we opened the company. I would describe tershouse perhaps as one of the best environments a person can be in Sarajevo at the moment, honestly.
5. What does it take to make your business better than the competition? What does tershouse offer that other coworking spaces in Sarajevo do not offer considering that you were a member of a similar coworking space before opening tershouse?
I think there is a big difference between tershouse and other coworking spaces because we take every person who comes to tershouse very personally, so to say. It is foolish to say that we do not put profit in the first place, but it is really in our interest that this person is first of all satisfied with what he/she came for and then that we charge for it in one way or another. I think that is what sets us apart from other coworking spaces, and I think people recognize this and that’s why they are our members. And what does it take to be better than the competition? Even when you are the best, you need to improve constantly, follow some trends, go slowly, always be modest, open for criticism, understand that even the best can make mistakes and to always work on yourself.
6. How do you see tershouse in the future for let's say 5-10 years? Will the concept expand and adapt to the needs of the market because I got info that we will soon become one of the biggest coworking spaces in Southeast Europe?
I see tershouse as a central place to connect all factors of the ICT ecosystem that we are trying to revive here, it is a place where you as a small business owner can come and find full support, it is a place where you as an owner of a big company can come and find inspiration for your next project, it is a place where you as a freelancer can come and meet ten people with whom you will go for coffee or work on a future project and be a no brainer and if you want to finish something be sure that you'll get it done at tershouse. I see it as a place where people come because they like to be there, not because they have to because the company pays for their office, I see it as a place that will be a generator of new startups in Sarajevo, which will encourage people to get out of their comfort zone to develop some ideas, which they think has no potential and here is tershouse is an example that with a lot of effort it is possible to make a success story, and yes we have some plans to expand but I mustn't talk about it yet (laughs).
7. What else is the founder of tershouse currently doing? We heard that you worked for big famous companies…What does a person learn from working for big corporations?
I am currently, besides working at tershouse, working also as a consultant for Lufthansa for one of their core projects for which I have an NDA so I am not allowed to talk about it. Besides that, I am actively involved in software development, it is something I love, it fulfills me and I don't see it as a job, but I like doing it and if I wasn't doing it for money I would probably be on weekends writing some stupid scripts that don't mean anything because it got under my skin and I can't get rid of it. This is a serious problem when you go on vacation and take your laptop with you, it's hard to rest. I have a couple of some projects that I started myself and with some partners including 'One coworking' which is being launched on the market soon, we have redesigned it and it will be a great project because we now have a much better climate. This whole concept of hybrid work, remote work has become popular 'thanks to' the coronavirus and it is an application that was designed for remote work made 5 years ago. In the beginning, we had a big problem presenting it to people; what it is, why we should use it, and now big companies come to us with questions about how they can use it, etc.
8. Do you have any advice you would give to young entrepreneurs or people who have entrepreneurial ideas but lack the courage?
The problem is when someone advises a young person who has a fixed salary and a stable job to take a risk, i.e. quit the job, start your project/startup that no one can guarantee you will succeed. As much as it is true, that you have to take risks, it is not for everyone…
It takes a lot of craziness. Every business decision I have made in my life has been crazy and beyond reason. I quit my job at Klika when I had a big loan, to start working for a company in Germany after working there for a month. So I started the company, at a time when it was mainstream to go to Germany without any need because I had enough projects as a software developer and I didn’t need it. From my perspective, I didn’t make any logical business decisions, I was maybe a little lucky but I was more crazy than smart. I had more luck than wit, as they would say. My advice to people would be to be silly and try, without that you can never know and you can only regret it.
I mean the worst thing that can happen to you is to end up homeless (laughs).