Hey there! My name is George Tasioulis and I’m a entrepreneur from Greece. I love transforming product ideas into viable businesses and because of my strong technical background I’m pretty much successful in it.
My studies.. or sort of
After High School, I packed my bags and flew to Germany to study at the Mechatronics and Microsystems department of Heilbronn University. My dream as a teenager was to work at the Mercedes-Benz factory near Stuttgart as a Microsystems engineer, and studying at this particular University was my first step to conquer my goal. Unfortunately personal reasons forced me to move back to Greece 6 months later and so I continued my studies at the Department of Automation at the Chalkida Institute of Technology. The very low quality level of studies in Greece and especially in the school I was studying in, together with the fact that I was able to directly compare it with the studies quality level in Germany, led me to drop off school and start working, since I always thought that work experience was a lot more important than a degree.
The early years
At 19 I started working as a Systems Engineer (building custom PCs, installing OS, repairing hardware and software issues etc) at a computer shop in Chalkida and very soon found myself acting as the linchpin (per Seth Godin) of the company. In the two years that followed I was responsible for coordinating the support team and resolving any advanced tech issues at local Banks, Public sector offices, and SMBs and compiling proposals for public tenders with budgets varying between 50K and 1M Euros. My occupation in corporate environments made me realize how excited I was every time I had to deal with networking or server installations and so I started playing around with Cisco gear in my free time, to finally find myself having designed and setup the whole internal IT infrastructure of the company I was working for (networking setup, automated client OS deployment, file & backup servers, exchange server for mail, monitoring etc). A few months before hitting 22, on September 2004, I decided that I wanted to run my own business, where I could have more flexibility over it’s business model, charging scheme, customer target group and other small but significant details.
My first business
In December 2004 I co-founded CNS with a starting capital of 6000 Euros along with a former colleague from work. Although our expectations were that we wouldn’t be able to afford a salary for at least 6 months until the first flow of payments would start, we managed to cover all our expenses and get a fair cut even from the first month of doing business. We actually started as a small computer shop, but everything changed when I had the idea to transform the company into an all-in-one solution provider for Internet Cafes. CNS primary business became Internet Cafe / LAN Gaming Center technical support services from building all the way to monthly maintenance. At the beginning it was all about signing our first support contracts! My extensive knowledge of the Internet Cafe business (I already had assisted with the building of three large internet cafes in my previous job) made the process easy for our company and there we were providing tech support to a bunch of Interet Cafes in the regions of Evia and Viotia which pushed our first annual revenue to a bit more than 120.000 Euros. The experience we gained in remote administration/support during our first year of business combined with the financial security provided by the monthly contracts with our customers, allowed us to expand to the market of Athens and the rest of Greece and so on our second year we focused on automating game and applications deployment and PCs hard drive restoration. By the end of 2006 we already had two guys working at tech support and a software developer for GameLaunch -our Game/License management software-, 15 monthly paying Internet Cafe businesses and a revenue of more than 1/2M EUR!
In 2007 we sponsored Digital Game World at the largest yearly IT fair in Greece, DTE. We deployed 100 PCs in a 1000 sq m area, and in cooperation with Intel and EA Games, we hosted a 4-day tournament and gave away 5000 EUR in prizes. CNS had by then become a market leader in Greece and doubled the amount of revenue raised the previous year.
…after 12 months in the army
In May 2009 after completing my army duty, I realized that things with my partner didn’t work out the way I expected while absent. I decided to close the office and each one took responsibility for half of the customers regarding their tech support contracts. Two months later I moved back to Rhodes (my hometown) and continue to provide tech support to my clients (got a few new ones too 😉 ) up until today. Apart from my tech support contracts, I’m also working on a new version of GameLaunch, which will be redesigned from the ground up and renamed, and will be available as a game- and license management SaaS to LAN Gaming Centers worldwide for a monthly fee. More on that in a future blog post 😉
Follow me @georgetasioulis or Google+ 😉
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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