Agrello blog

Welcome the new CEO Toomas Pihl

I remember the day I learned about Agrello. I was instantly intrigued by the vision of making ‘intelligent contracts’ with a human-readable interface. What is not to like about that? Well, that sort of stuff is great for techies; they are the only ones who are not intimated by its complexity. I held on to that thought for a while as it reassured me that Agrello was on to something different and impactful.
Toomas Pihl
Toomas Pihl
April 27, 2020

I have to admit that for an Estonian, the idea was not surprising. It was here in Estonia as early as 2001 when we had our first qualified digital signatures. It seemed only logical that we would soon start on the full digitalization path.

It is inherent in our culture to embrace digitalization as we, Estonians, are also advocates of transparency. Just imagine that we already use Blockchain to store our health records; our taxes are all online, and we have been using e-voting for ages. I feel very fortunate and proud to have evolved in this environment and approach to digitalization. Unfortunately, the rest of the world works differently. Some of the most advanced economies in the world are nowhere near this level. So things change dramatically across the border from this digital-friendly place.

So back to .ID electronic signature app Agrello, I happily signed up to lead Agrello with the vision to facilitate what we now know as the Digital Economy; we are well-positioned culturally and intellectually to drive this wave of digitalization.

“Making ‘better tools’ is not enough; it’s the mindset we have to change.”

During these hard times, no doubt, all of us are facing challenges. Yet, I feel that the struggle we are going through is something that will help us bond and establish new grounds for future successes. We must stay close to our True North, which is also our relentless commitment to break grounds and push forward.

As a new phase starts in Agrello (with a bit of turmoil and uncertainty), we need all hands on deck. I am very proud to have joined Agrello’s talented team, along with the recent addition of our Head of Product and Business Development, Jarmo (stay tuned for his story on the upcoming blog posts). Together with Jarmo, we have completely revamped our product strategy. We are now in a strong position to continue paving the way to fulfil our initial vision and not lose sight of building borderless networks of trust, starting with digital identity and signature solutions.

Before Hando stepped down, he reminded me that things will not always go as planned, and despite the rocky start, we will soon see the results of our efforts. We work smart and hard, and sometimes we will have to make difficult decisions, but always keeping our purpose as our guiding principle.

It’s time to put to work some practical advice. I would like to share with you some key lessons learned from past endeavours that have shaped me personally.

It is time to open the toolbox!

Lesson 1: Door to door sales tests you resilience

Lesson from the times when I used to sell educational children’s books. Door to door selling in the United States. Tough job to do. They say that the world is full of talented people, but what’s holding most of them back is lack of hard work and persistence. You need to learn to love the daily grind, regardless of what are the rejections or setbacks. ‘Commit and then work your ass off.’

Lesson 2: From Salespeople to Salespeople

The second lesson comes from the experience gathered at a company I love to be part of for many reasons. It’s called Pipedrive. They created a sales tool for salespeople. The founders have a strong sales background, so the idea was born from the actual need for a better tool to manage the sales pipeline. An everlasting lesson from there is to ‘Build a product with real users in mind.’

Lesson 3: Make a decision and then make it right.

Last but not least is the principle about making decisions, a lesson learned from my military experience during the time I served. People are afraid of making decisions because either they don’t have enough information, it is risky, or they fear failure. Well, the truth is that you will never have everything you need to make the decision. I learned that, generally, there is no right or wrong choice. You got to use your best judgment, make the decision based on the information/conditions you have, and then make it right. What I love about this practice is how it sets you free. Whether you get it right or wrong, there’s always a path forward. Just be prepared to shift direction swiftly if new information or circumstances requires you to change your choice.

While each of those lessons is valuable on its own, I believe that by combining these learnings and having a culture in our organization that is mindful of all our stakeholders (DLT holders included), we will be able to achieve something valuable for all.

In summary, just as we are building our own company, it is our wish to create a future where businesses are resilient to any challenge ahead of them and where pandemics do not stop us from getting our work done.

Thanks to our supporters, investors, partners, and team for sticking with us. I am convinced we will make you proud.

Toomas Pihl
Chief Executive Officer

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