Anyone Can Become a Developer Without Learning to Code: Software CEO Katherine Kostereva on the Future of Tech
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Katherine Kostereva, founder and CEO of Creatio, a low-code, process automation, and CRM platform. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Katherine Kostereva: Like many entrepreneurs, I started working early at age 14, providing tutoring services for younger kids. Throughout my early 20s, I worked for IBM, where I had the opportunity to try different roles, from engineering to marketing. IBM taught me how the software and technology industry operates and how to look at business needs from a global perspective. I still remember the company motto on the office wall: “Think globally, act locally.”
When I was expecting my first baby at age 24, I had the idea of starting a business. Just two months after my son was born, I founded a software company with a small group of like-minded enthusiasts. Luckily, we started getting our first clients within a few weeks. Today, Creatio is a team of 600 talented individuals who develop low-code process automation and CRM software for mid-size and large organizations around the world.
What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Katherine Kostereva: Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to talk to many successful entrepreneurs, and I always try to understand their way of thinking. I heavily invest in developing four qualities that I believe are key for any successful entrepreneur: intelligence, a growth mindset, courage, and the will to work hard.
There are many intelligent people in the world, but most are afraid to take risks. You need a growth mindset to be extremely passionate about what you do and to find ways to break the status quo. It’s difficult to be passionate, energized, optimistic, and ready to work 24/7, but that’s exactly what successful entrepreneurs do.
What excites you the most about your business right now?
Katherine Kostereva: We are at the center stage of a revolution in software development. We are entering a world where anyone can become a developer without learning to code. Low- and no-code technology can enable citizen developers to create apps and change how businesses operate for the better.
That’s what Creatio is here to do. We give businesses the platform to equip citizen developers so any idea can be automated in minutes. We help them become software companies so they can fulfill their IT needs without outsourcing or accumulating a backlog. It’s an exciting time and place to be in the industry.
What’s your favorite quote?
Katherine Kostereva: I have two. One is by the inventor Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I believe that this is true now more than ever.
The other is by writer Lewis Carroll: “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” This quote represents why accelerating transformation is so important. Companies face fierce competition; to keep up, they need to accelerate change, which is what Creatio helps them do.
What was your biggest, most painful failure?
Katherine Kostereva: Our biggest strategic failure was staying in 12 countries in Eastern Europe for years instead of going global. We had an opportunity for global growth since the company’s foundation, but I didn’t follow my own entrepreneurial mindset and missed the opportunity for a time.
Now we’re a global company with five offices, 700 partners, and customers in 110 countries. But we could have been there much earlier. It was a painful failure, but it also taught me to be more courageous and take the steps necessary to grow the company.
How do you define great leadership?
Katherine Kostereva: Being able to build a great team. I believe that a CEO’s primary job is finding the right people, leading them wisely, and trusting them along the way. A business is only as great as its team. I love this quote by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.”
How do you hire top talent?
Katherine Kostereva: This is one of our biggest priorities at Creatio because we know our greatness is defined by the quality of our team. We have a sophisticated hiring process with multiple steps to ensure that we choose the right people.
To us, it’s essential to build a team that shares Creatio’s principles. We spend a great deal of time evaluating candidates’ soft skills and values to understand whether it’s a match or a misfit on both sides. As the CEO, I spend at least 15% of my time interviewing potential employees, reviewing resumes, and ensuring that we’re strengthening Creatio’s culture with the right people. Our goal is to raise the bar with every hire to make Creatio better every day.
How do you prevent burnout?
Katherine Kostereva: I practice yoga several times a week. It’s like my medicine, both physically and mentally. Yoga helps me relax, eases tension in my body and mind, and helps me manage stress because I work so much. This prevents me from becoming overwhelmed or burnt out.
What are you working on right now?
Katherine Kostereva: Most of our activity revolves around the low- and no-code concept. All our new releases and work on the Creatio platform are inspired by our vision of creating a world where any business idea can be automated in minutes.
We are excited about the role that our platform can play in a future where anyone can create software. Our inspiration is to build the perfect tool so any business can become a software company and quickly automate and improve its processes and operations.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Katherine Kostereva: I want Creatio to be known as the solution that turned software development from a hard skill requiring coding to something that anyone can do. I want businesses around the world to be able to transform their companies, automate their work, and accelerate — without expensive IT investments, lengthy implementation, or a steep learning curve. With our team, I believe that Creatio has the potential to enable anyone to bring their ideas to life quickly and easily.
The words and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee alone. What worked for them may not work for everyone. Any claims in this article have not been independently verified.