In the bustling realm of entrepreneurship, there are a few names that stand out, and Nebo Nikolic is undeniably one of them. As the CEO of MyMiniFactory, Nikolic’s journey through the multifaceted world of business, from marketing and engineering to product development, is nothing short of inspiring.
Recently, Chris from The Bright Founders Talk podcast sat down with Nikolic for a candid chat. Their conversation delved into the very essence of what drives an individual—passion.
For Nikolic, it’s not about the status quo or following the beaten path. It’s about fervor, purpose, and the relentless drive to innovate. Dive in as we uncover the fascinating story of a man who believes that passion, not status, is the key to happiness.
Solving Life’s Problems with a Whiteboard: A Chat with Nebo Nikolic
If you ever wondered how some people transform their challenges into solutions, Nebo Nikolic’s formula might intrigue you. “Well, I’m quite fond of whiteboards,” Nebo started with a chuckle, reminiscing about the two-meter by 150cm board he used to have. “I even solved a fight with my ex using a whiteboard. Visualizing issues just makes it easier to understand and resolve them.” A peek into his office and you’d find traces of his handwriting on all the whiteboards, even extending to some of the staff’s notepads. This tangible, visual approach is reflective of how Nebo perceives the world.
Growing up, Nebo was inspired by an inventor from the animated show DuckTales, a character that infused creativity into everyday objects. This passion for invention led Nebo to a career in engineering. But after years of following the same routine, working in a constricted environment, he yearned for more. “When I was 30, I felt down, doing the same thing over and over. That’s when I decided to take the route of product development on my own.” It was this experience, among others, that instilled in him the belief that passion is a crucial ingredient in achieving true happiness. “There’s no Mondays for me, every day feels like a Saturday,” he quipped.
While Nebo’s entrepreneurial journey didn’t commence with clear, predetermined goals, his love for tech and innovation guided him. He ventured into theoretical physics, only to realize it wasn’t his cup of tea. Seeking something more practical, he leaned into his knack for engineering and product development. A self-proclaimed nerd and geek, Nebo emphasized, “I wanted to create a product that changes people’s lives for the better.” A mission that, judging by our chat, he’s passionately pursuing each day.
Nebo’s Tennessee Tales: From Swedish Sophistication to Southern Charm
“Sometimes,” Nebo began, leaning forward as if sharing a secret, “life takes you places you never expected.” From the academic halls of Gothenburg, this mechanical engineering mind found himself in Maryville, Tennessee. It was a stark contrast from the Swedish landscapes he had grown accustomed to. The southern charm and accent, a delight to the ears, made him feel like he had stepped into a film reel. “It was almost like being in a movie,” he laughed.
But beyond the culture shock, there was growth. In the midst of the unfamiliar, Nebo learned one of his most valuable life lessons. “Don’t wait for opportunity,” he mused. When faced with lack of direction during his internship, he didn’t sit idle. Instead, he became curious, interacting with factory operators, initiating projects, and shaping opportunities for himself. “Be curious,” he advised. It’s clear, whether in Gothenburg or Tennessee, curiosity has always been Nebo’s compass.
Nebo’s Journey: From Sales Floors to CEO – The Evolution of a Business Maestro
Many might argue that success is achieved by those who have a clear roadmap from the start, but Nebo’s multifaceted career journey challenges this conventional wisdom. From hustling in sales to understanding the intricacies of engineering, he ventured into multiple professions before taking the helm at MyMiniFactory. As Nebo aptly put it, “Life is about trying,” which embodies his entire ethos. It’s a deliberate strategy, not pure serendipity, that has guided him through varied experiences.
The Pareto principle, commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule, took a pivotal role in Nebo’s life. Instead of seeking perfection in one domain, he recognized the value in mastering the significant 80% across various fields. By spending just a couple of years in different roles, he gathered invaluable insights that helped him cultivate a holistic perspective. “To become a specialist in engineering to be at 95% will take me 10 years. But if I go the 80% route, I can almost master five, six different fields. As a CEO, that’s invaluable,” he stated.
At the heart of MyMiniFactory is a community of indie creators and 3D enthusiasts. The platform isn’t just about buying and selling 3D printable files; it’s about empowering creators. Drawing a distinction from giants like Spotify, MyMiniFactory prioritizes the well-being and sustainability of its community members. For Nebo, it’s clear that the platform is more than just a business; it’s a manifestation of his life’s mantra, ensuring that both creators and consumers find value in every transaction.
Nebo’s Creative Revolution: The Niche within a Niche
Nebo’s enthusiasm is palpable as he delves into the world of community economics. Beyond the typical business metrics, his company thrives on a value-driven approach. From how they communicate with customers to their interactions with creators, values play a pivotal role. It’s not just about money or profit margins. For Nebo, it’s about the bigger picture – a sustainable ecosystem for creators.
Nebo reminisces about tabletop products, those intricate miniatures that are a universe of their own. The digital evolution of these products is truly fascinating. Instead of traditional manufacturing processes that might involve complex logistics and cultural challenges, they’ve adopted a system that is agile, efficient, and direct: Design, upload, and sell. The physical product exists as a blueprint, a file, democratizing the creative process.
The crux of Nebo’s strategy is under-promising and over-delivering, an advice he treasures. This principle resonates in their business practices, ensuring they never oversell anything, thereby setting themselves apart from a world driven by aggressive marketing and cutthroat competition. By valuing relationships with creators and ensuring sustainability, Nebo and his team are building a legacy that goes beyond profit.