The Future of Remote Game Development with Štěpán Kaiser of Remāngu

Štěpán Kaiser

Štěpán Kaiser is the Co-founder and CEO of Remāngu, a cutting-edge platform designed to bridge the gap between remote individuals and prominent gaming studios. With a background in software engineering and a passion for innovation, Štěpán has spearheaded Remāngu's development of intuitive feedback management solutions tailored to meet the evolving needs of modern enterprises. Under his leadership, Remāngu has emerged as a leader in the feedback management space, empowering businesses to leverage customer insights for strategic decision-making and continuous improvement. Štěpán's relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to driving customer success has positioned Remāngu as a reliable partner for organizations seeking to improve customer experience and accelerate growth.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Štěpán Kaiser discusses Remāngu and the process of launching a startup
  • Solutions to remote game development challenges
  • How Remāngu differentiates itself from the competition
  • Štěpán’s advice for overcoming startup obstacles
  • Štěpán shares a few of Remāngu’s milestones
  • Why cloud and remote development has risen in popularity
  • Security and other benefits of cloud and remote games
  • Does Remāngu focus on specific countries for remote work?
  • Cultural differences and compensation issues to consider as a fully remote company
  • The future of Remāngu and Štěpán’s advice to aspiring gaming entrepreneurs

In this episode…

In recent years, there has been a noticeable surge in the popularity of platforms that facilitate connections between remote workers and gaming studios. This trend reflects the growing prevalence of remote work arrangements across various industries, including the highly competitive gaming sector. 

Industry leader Štěpán Kaiser explains one such platform at the forefront of this movement is Remāngu. This all-in-one game development cloud tool distinguishes itself in the competitive landscape by offering a unique approach to connecting remote talent with gaming studios. Rather than simply serving as a middleman, Remāngu focuses on fostering meaningful relationships between freelancers and studios, ensuring compatibility and mutual benefit for both parties involved. Through its unique approach to matchmaking, emphasis on cultural inclusivity, fair compensation practices, and commitment to innovation, Remāngu stands out as a trailblazer in this burgeoning industry. 

Tune in to the latest episode of the Here’s Waldo Podcast, where Lizzie Mintus interviews Štěpán Kaiser, the Co-founder of Remāngu, on the rising trend of platforms linking remote workers with gaming studios. Štěpán delves into Remāngu’s unique approach to standing out in a competitive landscape, navigating cultural disparities, managing compensation in a remote-first setup, and insights into Remāngu's future direction.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Here’s Waldo Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in the video game industry that prioritizes quality over quantity and values transparency, communication, and diversity. We partner with companies, creatives, and programmers to understand the why behind their needs and provide a white-glove experience that ensures a win-win outcome.

The industry evolves. The market changes. But at Here’s Waldo Recruiting, our commitment to happy candidates and clients does not. 

We understand that searching for the best and brightest talent can be overwhelming, so let our customer-first staff of professionals do the leg work for you by heading over to

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Here's Waldo Podcast, where we sit down with top visionaries and creatives in the video game industry. Together we'll unravel their journeys and learn more about the path they're forging ahead. Now, let's get started with the show.

Lizzie Mintus: Hi, I'm Lizzie Mintus, founder and CEO of Here's Waldo Recruiting, a boutique video game recruitment firm. This is the Here's Waldo Podcast. In every episode, we dive deep into conversations with creatives, founders, and executives about what it takes to be successful. You can expect to hear valuable lessons from their journey and get a glimpse into the future of the industry.

This episode is brought to you by Here's Waldo Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm for the game industry. We value quality over quantity, transparency, communication, and diversity. We partner with companies, creatives, and programmers to understand the why behind their needs. Before introducing today's guest, I want to give a big thank you to Conspire for introducing us. It is a meetup in Seattle- game devs, CEOs, investors, it is very interesting. Reach out to Olga for more information or Josh Ayala or me.

Today we have Stepan Kaiser with us. Stepan is the founder of Remangu, a platform for connecting remote people to game studios. He is passionate about fostering a safe environment for game developers to come together and create better games, which he can't wait to play. Let's get started. Thanks again for being here.

Stepan Kaiser: Hello Lizzie. It's great to be here. And thank you for the nice introduction.

Lizzie Mintus: You're welcome. From Estonia.

Stepan Kaiser: Yes, I'm from Estonia. It's the evening here already. I think it's the morning for you. Yeah, it's a very small country. I'm sure that probably not everybody knows it. Only 1 million people live here. It's Close to Russia, close to Finland, like northern part of Europe.

Lizzie Mintus: And can you sell us on Estonia? I was to go to Estonia. What's the one thing I wouldn't want to miss?

Stepan Kaiser: Okay, if you would like to come here as a tourist, then definitely Tallinn is like a beautiful medieval city. In the summer, the sea is actually quite warm, 23 degrees, but it's not as crowded as tourist destinations. On the opposite, in the winter you have half a meter of snow, one meter of snow, so you can like really experience the proper winter. People are nice here. You can get really lost in the woods if you want to, and you can really clean your head.

Lizzie Mintus: That's a very good selling point. I have a three year old and I told him last week I was going to a party and he said, mama, there might be a lot of people there and you might want to leave. I like gatherings, but I also like to be alone. So that's a sell for me.

Can you start by telling us a bit about your company?

Stepan Kaiser: Yes. I think that today we want to talk mostly about the Remangu that I co-founded with my colleague Honza. We are quite a small startup. We launched the platform at the beginning of this year. And as you said, we are trying to create an environment to let game developers to work remotely. Let's say standard remote workspace in other companies is quite like normal right now. But in the game development, there are some like technical differences. And we are trying to solve them using cloud technologies and help companies to be also remote in the game development.

Lizzie Mintus: Tell me about what it took to launch the company. How did you meet your co founder? How did you decide on this?

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah. So I need to say that we are both actually coming from a company called Revolji. You can hear some like similarities in naming. It's like what we wanted to do. And Revolji is a cloud partner of Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. By partner, we are helping companies move to cloud environment, be efficient in these like big cloud providers.

And in this company, I met Honza, who is a technical guy behind the Remangu. I think it all started during the COVID time, actually. Because, it was like 2020, if I remember correctly, there was one client from Czech Republic coming to us.

They're like an animation studio and they said, we got a job from one of the 2K studios. I can show you, they're called Hangar 13. We actually have a lot of good animators who can do part of the job on the new game, but they are sitting around the globe. Right now as they cannot travel, we actually won the deal, but we were not able to do it technically because we cannot get them here. And we never did it remotely. We didn't know how to do it. We didn't know how to use remote computers, how to connect the VPN to the environment of the 2k, et cetera.

They asked, could you help us? And we said, yeah, it should be possible. We didn't know much about the game development at the time. So it was quite like a new challenge for us. But in the end, we did it. There is also a case study. So if there will be like publishing with a podcast, we can add it to it about this whole story. We learned a lot on this project. It wasn't easy, but we did it in the end.

This time we started really looking for other studios with similar challenges, tried to explore the market and the needs of the companies., If this was just the unique case or a need of actually connecting people remotely to the game project is something more and more common.

 It took two years approximately of heavy exploring the market, because as I said, we did not coming from the game development environment. It's something new for us. And when we were quite sure that it's becoming bigger and bigger pain for the studios, and there is no good solution for that right now, we said, okay. Let's try to solve it. That's when we decided to actually start working on the Remangu, which was one year and a halfago when we like decided, okay, let's do that.

Lizzie Mintus: So you helped this initial studio work with 2K in the end, that's great.

Stepan Kaiser: In the end, I think the game was canceled, but it wasn't our fault. It's just happens sometimes.

Lizzie Mintus: That's just how it goes. Lots of canceled games, but the fact that they could work with them is huge. Did you just interview people from other large companies and ask if this was an issue? Did you just cold reach out to them or go to conferences? How did you collect all this data?

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah. I have to say, we had a quite unfair advantage, if I can call it like that. We were working very closely with AWS from the very beginning and they were also actively exploring this whole game production in cloud initiative. We got a lot of help from the very beginning.

They also introduced us to a lot of, not even potential customers, but as you said, people who might be interested, who are just also exploring what are the possibilities. We of course also did some of our outreaches. We attended conferences, just talk to people. My colleague actually studied in the design thinking process, so he helped us to set the right framework and the right methodology to do it properly. Yeah, I have to say that having AWS at our back, it's very big help. Since it's from the beginning and it's still like that. Yeah. Without that, it would be probably a bit more complicated.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, what a lucky partnership, but they continue to partner with you. That says a lot. What would you say, I always think about this in my business too, is your differentiating factor? Why is someone going to work with you versus your competitor?

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, a few minutes ago that we are not coming from the game development background basically. We first started to do it on a project base. Then we delivered about 34 similar projects and then we decided to platformized it and productize it. So I think that right now we are one of the few computer in cloud, I would like very summarize this solution, solutions that are on the market that really focus on the game studios and only on them.

Because there are a lot of these solutions that are doing a similar thing, like remote computer and remote storages. I wouldn't say none of course, I don't know everybody so there probably might be some, but very few are really focusing on the game studios. So I think we found this niche and we also have this knowledge about at least the development part of the game. That's probably like our differentiator. We right now we already know what are the problems, what our studios looking for. And they don't need to explain it to us.

Lizzie Mintus: Yes, I think we have the same differentiating factor. I have a quick funny story about Perforce. My husband works in software too. And he went to this conference and he got this little bee stuffed animal and it says Perforce on it. So now our kid is oh, my bee Perforce. Where's Perforce? It's this little stuffed animal and it makes you laugh.

Starting a company is always so hard. Can you talk about some of the initial challenges or ongoing challenges? I always like at the podcast to highlight that having a company is really hard and there are some great days when you're on top of the world and some days that are darker.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, I agree. I think we have a quiteite an easier position compared to, I would say, standard startups because for now we are fully funded the Trevogy company, the cloud partner. So for us, the biggest challenge at the beginning was to explain that this is the space where the money should go. Yeah, we didn't have to look for external investors.

This was helping us a lot at the beginning, of course. I think it looked all very nice at the beginning. Our idea or our dream was that we want to launch the product at GDC this year, actually. Then it started to be complicated because first of all, the deadline was quite tough. So we needed to do a lot of compromises to have at least something to launch there. We did it. Also, it was like the first, such a huge conference that we ever, maybe not attended, but definitely had a booth there and really tried to do something. So all the setup was like really punk solution.

Actually for some people it really worked, and also until now I'm meeting some people that are saying, hey, you are the pirates from the GDC. Yeah, all our decorations were only like a flex and it's quite simple. And then we found out some technical things that just like the day before GDC, we found out that the registration to our platform, so the first thing that the people see, wasn't working at all. It was like a complete breakdown. So then we had to fix it during the night with our developers. We did it. It somehow ended well. I don't know how, but the last week or last two weeks before GDC were quite stressful from a lot of aspects.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. That's really stressful. And I feel like that's a classic situation to happen. Go into this big conference, it's your big shot, and then the thing you need the most somehow breaks.

But that's amazing your team was able to help out and pull together and make it work. I feel like behind every really composed booth is a struggle. Whenever you're at a conference like that, there's always a lot of fires you have to fight.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, why not to share it, but we are coming from Czech Republic, which is like Central Eastern Europe. The second day of GDC is like, okay, so why not to buy some beers and have it on our booth at the GDC, connecting with the Czech Republic. Why not to do that? And then we had like massive issues with the security there. They're like, what are you doing? It's definitely not allowed here. We're like, why not? Because you need to have the official license for that. We're like, what kind of license? We don't know it. Nothing like that exits in our country. But then they were really nice, so it looked scary at the beginning, but then we made it.

Lizzie Mintus: If you have a conference in Vegas, you might be able to offer drinks. Vegas is like the Wild West, you can do whatever you like there. In terms of drinking, and in general.

Stepan Kaiser: Next time, maybe.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, San Francisco is a little bit more strict, unfortunately.

What are you most proud of through the journey?

Stepan Kaiser: Oh, that's a good question. I'm happy that we are still here. We survived like the first year and like the customer base is still growing. We are still learning new things. It's hard to say, one moment or one thing.

Lizzie Mintus: You can share a few stories. A few different highlights. Being in business your 1st year is a really big milestone. I think there are some crazy stats about how many businesses fail. You should celebrate. You can drink beer in public in Estonia.

Stepan Kaiser: Yes. That's also a good thing. I would say that, I will not share the, share like the name of the studio, I cannot do it with these ones because we don't have any official case study. But a big win happened to us when a mid sized, 50 to 70 people, really implemented the solution. Because we are a on-demand platform. Of course we still have a lot of studios who are testing it or using it for some like edge cases, and some are only for a project base, et cetera.

But, when we found out the first one, okay, so I'm really going towards developing things in cloud and let's say in quite like short term, would like to abandon the hardware and the on premise work, that was nice. Then we realized that it makes sense, maybe I should tell it at the beginning, we are aware of the fact that with this like concept of using cloud desktops, not just the computers for the game development, we are probably slightly early on the market because the most of the studios and mostly the bigger ones are exploring and they know that they need to solve it or they will need to solve it in the upcoming few years.

On the other hand, a lot of them are still afraid of change, which is natural, of course. So yeah, I'm saying that because even that, that we know that we will probably need to survive one, two more years from now and we really believe it when it will be like starting to be more mass adopted, the game development in the cloud.

Even right now there are pioneers who are willing to go like 100 percent into it. That's every studio that is giving us a lot of new energy to keep pushing it forward. This is probably like things that I'm really proud of and that makes me happy.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. I think that's one of the most fulfilling things when you own a business. You have this idea. You test it out, somebody uses it, and somebody uses it and then comes back and tells you what they accomplished using your product. You know you're improving them. That's really fulfilling. Lots of ups and downs along the way.

I wanted you to tell me a little bit more about just cloud and remote game development in general, and how it became so popular. Just some more background if anybody is not super familiar.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, it started to be more popular during the COVID. It wasn't a coincidence for us. The whole concept is, okay I would say maybe differently. Let's say a normal or non game development company, working remotely is usually pretty easy. You get your Mac, you have some like documents online and you are doing most of the things with quite small assets, files. You're writing your emails, you are doing video calls and all these stuff that 95 percent of companies are doing are done without any big issues or big complications from anywhere around the world.

For the game studios, the two biggest changes we see are the requirement for high performance hardware. For the development, you need to have GPU workstations and everything like that. And second thing is the really huge assets that they are working with. So it's not megabytes, it's not even gigabytes. It's usually petabytes of data that need to be somehow synchronized that they need to work with.

These two things are making the remote work much more complicated, compared to other companies. I would say that in last years, the development of the big public cloud, got to the space when actually this is already becoming possible.

So for example, you can have a very cheap hardware in your home. We exhibited it on GDC and we bought the Chromebook for like a hundred dollars at some shop there. And we connected to the cloud environment where we had 32 CPUs, 64 gigs of memory computer equivalent to RTX, 40, 90 GPU card. Everything worked in the cloud, but then we were able to run big Unreal Engine five projects and move there very smoothly without any issues.

And people were like, it's quite crazy that you can actually just stream it from the cloud. And right now, the, that's the reason why I think this approach is possible only with big cloud players. For example, Amazon, it's there like a global network. Basically it doesn't matter where you sit, but usually you are very close to the nearest data center of them. So you don't have any big latency and in 99 percent of cases, you really don't recognize. And by you I really mean like game devs who are very sensitive on any kind of latency. Don't recognize that you are not working on your local hardware, but you are actually using something that is far away from you in cloud and you are just, let's say, streaming the pixels on your screen.

Lizzie Mintus: Can you tell me a little bit about security?

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, that's one of the, one of the big benefits of this and one of the reasons why companies are also looking for it, if I would take aside the remote thing. What we can, for example, do, we can like really set the rules that the assets or whatever it will be, to never leave the environment of the cloud.

Usually I think it can be not scary, you can be afraid that if you are, for example, hiding some freelancers to work on your game. Typical onboarding process looks like that. You will prepare the hardware for them, put there the data, send it to them, wherever they are, Europe, to Latin America, whatever, and they work on that. The data sits on their computer. When they do the job, they will somehow send it back, which of course needs some level of trust. You can of course secure it somehow, but it's never fully . But if the data are in clouds and you can just very easily say, okay, they will not leave the cloud. It's not possible because like you have, as I said, you have the workstation and the cloud, all the storage is there or the versioning system is there. There is no need to actually leaving them to the secure environment there. You have full control. Of course, still people can, whatever, screenshot of the screen or like something like that. But this is the only way how the data can actually leak. And then you have the watermark and stuff like that.

So it's the safest way possible right now, I would say.

Lizzie Mintus: Any other pros and cons to mention?

Stepan Kaiser: So I can say cons, it is expensive or it can be expensive, I would say. Mostly the GPU cards are expensive and they are expensive in cloud, on premise or wherever you are buying them. This is, I would say, one of the biggest challenges right now, because you can buy like cheaper cloud GPUs from smaller providers. But you are losing the advantage of having the global network and then the whole solution actually doesn't make sense because you are not talking about the remote solution about something that works only in Washington States, for example, where you have one cheap data center.

The price can be challenging, but it's not that big issue for these mid sized to higher studios because when you have simply higher demand, you can get much better rates for this from Amazon, for example.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. That's such an issue if you're a small studio, just like anything. Maybe this will be foreign to you, but here in America, we have awful insurance and if you have a large company, you can negotiate this really good group rate, but if you're a smaller company, you'll get stuck paying so much.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah. But on the other hand, I have to say that, again, I don't want to do the big promo here for Amazon, but they are really helpful also for the smaller studios because they are able to offer you credits to cover some like beginning in the cloud. And it can be quite a lot. It can be up to 100 K in credits and for 100 K, you can have a 10 people team actually using this solution for a year very easily. There are also ways to make it cheaper. What I want to say also about the price is that we have a lot of users who are not using it this, let's say I go like full lane, as I said.

But the very typical use case is if the studios are working in a hybrid mode. So they still have the office. They would like to meet in person. They already have the performant hardware, but they also want to spend some time home and co working space wherever on a cottage. And already, if you are thinking about the ROI or you need to buy the hardware two times or even three times, sometimes- in these cases, even if the cloud solution is more expensive, it's becoming actually cheaper than buying the hardware. So there are cases where even the simple math are working right now.

Lizzie Mintus: Do you think you're seeing companies do more hybrid? Is that a big thing? Or you're seeing a lot of companies stay fully remote. What is your clientele doing the most right now?

Stepan Kaiser: I would say right now, the two typical cases are the hybrids. The next one is like a project based cooperation. I'll say, the first example of this animation studio for 2k that you simply know that it's a project for six months, for example. And yeah, like the work for hire studios, basically. This model is very typical for us right now.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. So work for hire is a key.

Stepan Kaiser: Or like a co development or any of these situations. It also makes sense because then the whole calculation is slightly different. If you have the cost of the developer or the artist, then always the technology cost is much smaller if you compare it to the salary. So for now, these are the most often cases. These fully remote and fully cloud studios are more rare right now.

Lizzie Mintus: I did a poll on LinkedIn this week about remote work and so far 3 percent of people say they want to be in the office. I think 35 percent want to be hybrid and then whatever the math is on the rest want to be fully remote. So we'll see what happens in 2024 and beyond, but I feel like the cat is out of the bag and remote work will stay.

And like you said, codev Studios are a huge client for you, but I feel like there are more and more codev Studios popping up. Because it takes so many people to make a game these days. You can't just have your one, 200 persons.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, that's true. And actually, I'm not sure if it was with you or with someone else. I discussed, what is happening with the talents and on the market within the game development. And a lot of companies are saying that it's difficult to find the right people and not easy. I agree. On the other hand, I think there are tons of really skilled people, but usually the problem is that they are not at the right geolocation for you.

Yeah. And that's also what why we believe our solution can help too, not only to studios actually, but also to people to find a dream job. They don't need to move for the job, but they can stay where they like it.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, that's huge. It's life changing.

I read a post yesterday about Amir Satvat. Do you follow him? Probably. He's like a gaming celebrity. Shout out to Amir. He'll be on the podcast soon. But he posted that his kid told him that he gets to see his grandparents all the time, and he hopes to go to college in the same town so he can keep seeing his parents all the time and his grandparents, which is so sweet.

So there's a lot to be said to be able to live wherever your family is living and have your job be somewhere else. And from my post, most people had the preference for fully remote, but a lot of people commented and they said they want to do remote work, but be able to go in and collaborate x times per week, per month, per quarter. Maybe that's hybrid. It depends on what you mean, but people said there's a lot of value in that, but then being able to do what they want on their own time. That's amazing. You can support that.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, and 100 percent agree. From my experience, being remote is great but, once in a while, and I don't know what frequency, but yeah, let's say four times a year, probably even more, to meet in person- it's the best. And then actually, I think also people enjoy it more than if they're meeting every day. The meetings are much more productive.

So with the second co founder of Remango, we are meeting, I would say approximately two times per quarter. And usually we are connecting with attending some conference, for example, or some smaller meetup. What we can then do in like a one day of working together. It's usually like accelerating a lot of things that were stuck and we were postponing them because we didn't know how to approach them. But if we can sit together, it's usually much faster to push it through.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, it is. People also commented, specifically in game dev, at the beginning phase when you're doing a lot of R& D like trial and error, just trying to get your idea off the ground, the collaboration can be a bit more important there. But there are some companies like Spry Fox that have done it 100 percent remotely. Yeah, that's interesting.

Do you think that different countries have different needs? Do you have a specific area in which you serve the most or hope to serve the most?

Stepan Kaiser: Right now we have the most customers in Scandinavia probably. Sweden mostly and the US. We are not that active in the APEC region right now. It's far for us. We simply didn't do any activities towards there. I believe that the needs are also there. There's one, I would say special region and it's Brazil, where our solution makes sense also from a different point of view, because there are really huge taxes on hardware.

It's expensive, so there are some situations where actually our cloud solution, even if it's like without any discounts or anything like that, it's actually cheaper than buying the hardware there. But other than that, I would say US, Northern Europe are the two biggest hubs.

And differences. I would say it's connected with how the people are actually thinking about the cloud in general. I don't want to say that everybody are the same in these countries, but the more east in Europe, people are a bit more hesitant and careful when it comes to the cloud in general. Now I don't talk only about our solution. When you go more West, people are much more open to like new solutions and the cloud, et cetera. So we see like similar kind of like behaviors, but again, you cannot say it about everybody.

Lizzie Mintus: No, even in recruiting, there are themes. We deal with people from all over the world and especially in negotiating compensation, I think there are themes in the way in which people negotiate, the strategies, the mindset. Based on their country of origin. And it's not always the same, you talk to hundreds, thousands of people, and eventually you pick up on some themes.

So it's interesting to work with a company where you do talk to people from all over the world, because there are different cultures, and some places you can drink beer in public, some you can't, but there are some things you can do and say.

I have a friend, Adam Lieb, he was on the podcast, and he runs GameSight. He was telling me in a certain country, maybe somewhere in Europe, if you were to send an email on the weekend, that would be incredibly rude. That would be a big no. But if you weren't in that area, you might not know that because that might be okay in the place that you're from. So there are all these interesting social nuances.

That you have to pick up on.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, might be Denmark maybe or Norway.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, somewhere not in America where they have work life balance figured out.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, it's like I remember one meeting with one of our partners in Norway and we wanted to meet. It was either breakfast or lunch, basically. I was like, yeah, so let's do breakfast. Earliest I can do is 10 to 10:30. I was like, okay, then let's do lunch. So we did lunch at one and it was Wednesday. And then I said, are you going back to the office? And, he said, oh. not anymore. Ending at three, so I will probably go home and just send some emails and I'm done. They can do the like real work life balance.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, not so much in the U. S.. It's different. There are different companies I recruited for a company that was based in Europe and they had opened a branch in the US. Even their benefits, like their parental leave was much longer. They basically had all these European benefits and European schedule in America. So that's what's really interesting about remote work too, because you may work for a company that's headquarters are outside of the US. And then that culture becomes the culture of your work, even if you are in the US.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, that's like philosophical question, how to approach it because it's either you want to be completely equal for everybody, for every culture, everybody is the same. But I think even if you are doing this, there is still some kind of misbalance. Because still some people are actually much better on it than the others. And then, that's the question, if we should somehow balance it with the benefits and stuff like that. I don't have clear opinion on this, I discussed it with a couple of friends. But I don't think there is a right answer actually how to approach it properly, at least from my point of view.

Lizzie Mintus: Remote work is awesome, but there are a lot of questions too. Cultures are different. And then compensation is different. That's a hot topic because you have to make compensation public and the state of Washington where I live, New York, California, all the more progressive states, but more and more, I think in Canada too.

And then the question is, what if I hire somebody in Estonia? Do I base it on Estonia cost of living? Is it a salary that's just the same no matter what you sit? Or what if you live in San Francisco? I hire you, and then you move to Estonia. Do I lower your compensation? Or vice versa, right? It's so hard.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, that's and then, if you actually want to, as you said, different compensation based on the city, then actually the position is not fully remote because you cannot work wherever you want. Of course, you still need to be like tied to the basically to the location where you can afford to live.

Lizzie Mintus: But if I hire you in Estonia because you're great, in theory, and then it's also very affordable for me. If you move somewhere very expensive, it's not really the same equation. So from an employer perspective, it's hard. And then I have to open up a business entity in another location, which is a colossal pain.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah, you are fully right. It would be nice to have really global countries sometime in the future that, we can really work from wherever place we want. We don't need to worry about taxes and stuff like that. It will be somehow globally covered.

Lizzie Mintus: That's a dream. I think it is nice to work with people from around the world, though, because you learn about their culture and the way that they do things. And the way they approach a problem is really different.

I want to talk a bit about your degree. I saw you have a degree in geographic information science and cartography. Can you talk a bit about your background doing that? How you led to your last sales job? And obviously you talked about how that led you into games.

Stepan Kaiser: Okay. I didn't expect that. So I studied, the subject was called geoinformatics. So as you said, it's like the combination of cartography, geodesy, if it's the English word for that, and information systems.

For example, the stuff we were doing was quite fun. We were writing the test algorithms to actually read the GPS data based on the raw data that we are getting and everybody can get the raw data from them to set the real location. So it was like a lot of programming, In the context of the of the location. And I liked it a lot. I also had a dream job. I wanted to do this and actually do this for the state that time when I was young. I saw a lot of good use cases that you can change the way how people live in the future or helped the nature in this information technology aspect. But when I realized the salaries at the time in Czech Republic, I said, that wouldn't fly.

So then I wanted to do sales, but I still stuck to these geolocation solutions, because we were doing a consultancy and solutions with the Google maps. That's where I first get in touch with some cloud solutions. From Google maps, I started to explore what Google cloud is, because this was the time when the Google cloud was announced, complete beginnings of it. Then I switched to the Revolji and it was more about Google cloud and AWS as their competitor and our partner too.

Yeah, so I did sales for sometime, and I actually moved to the product role and now to co-founding Remungu, if this story makes sense.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah. I'm following along. And if not, someone can just check out your LinkedIn and then it'll all make sense.

What is the future for Remungu? What can we look forward to? What is your vision for the next couple of years? What do you want to roll out?

Stepan Kaiser: So I will mention like two, two things. First one for next year, we really want to be like, showing the world, what it actually means to make games in cloud or make games remotely. We realized that without that, it will be very difficult. We really need to have our brand connected with this motion. We want to spend much more time on talking, doing some marketing activities. Be more educative.

We have big plans for content because we believe that the product in the current phase is like good enough, I would say. We of course have still some product roadmap, but there are no huge chunks of things. So we want to focus more on this part.

If I should say one product, I am quite realistic and I don't think it'll happen next year, but we would like to add to the technology business we are doing. So the cloud platform, also something that is closer to you. Our vision here is that when we have enough people on the platform and by people, I mean studios and users, we can also help with matchmaking and actually connecting them.

It can be some kind of matchmaking platform for studios and people, how to find a person to work on my project. And then ideally I just click here, I do the connection and we can start working. So that's our vision for the coming a couple of years.

Lizzie Mintus: So like a lot more sophisticated of a Fiver. Very specifically, I need this outsource animator and they can sit anywhere in the world and then your platform will connect them.

Stepan Kaiser: Yes.

Lizzie Mintus: Cool. I like that. Exciting. I have one last question before I ask it. I want to point people to your website, r e m a n g u. com.

The last question is if you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, somebody who wants to start their own business, they could get funny and start it within a company like you did, anything like that, what would it be?

Stepan Kaiser: I would recommend to start as low cost as possible and really have this, fake it till you make it approach, Push this as far as possible. Ideally pushing that far that you are really signing the contract with Blizzard or someone like that, and then you are sure that, okay, I really need to actually deliver them something.

Of course, it's not that easy to make it like that, but at least have this mindset and really don't estimate the exploration phase. I believe a lot of people have like amazing ideas and you can be almost a hundred percent sure that your the one will be the idea. But I think still it's really good and well spent time and money to validate these hypotheses with the customers and spend time to do it properly, and not just rely on this like false positives that you will tell it to a couple of your friends. They will say, yes, that's a great idea. Let's do that. So yeah, probably these two things I would recommend.

Lizzie Mintus: That's great advice. Yeah. It's easy because you think your idea is great. It's just like reading the news, right? More of what you believe and it's easy to be like yes, this is what I think. This is the truth. But starting your own business is just facing a lot of hard truths over and over.

Stepan Kaiser: Yeah. And I have to be honest, if I would do it again, I would've wait much longer before actually starting the development itself. Even the GDC part, I wouldn't be even afraid to do their a fake launch or something like that. I think it would have similar impact. It would save some money in the end. I'm not saying it's the only approach, but I think it's that one.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, it's easy to put a fast timeline on yourself and think you're going to get it done. Will you be at GDC this year?

Stepan Kaiser: Probably no. I decided to limit a bit of the traveling this year or next year actually. I am thinking about attending DICE in Vegas actually. So I heard about few friends that it's a good place to be. So maybe this one.

Lizzie Mintus: Yeah, I'll be there. We'll see yeah. We've been talking to Stepan Kaiser, founder at Remangu. Where can people go to contact you or learn more about you and maybe listen to your podcast?

Stepan Kaiser: Okay. So you can find me on LinkedIn. The web of Remangu, Lizzie already mentioned it. It's remangu. com. And yes, a couple of my colleagues and I have a podcast. It's called Cloud, Do You Do. It's similar as to this one. We are talking about cloud technologies with people who are using cloud technologies. It's more light weighted so we are not going into super technical details, but more the benefits of it from the high level. And you can find us all the platforms. So on Spotify, Apple podcasts. We are publishing it through some of the magic solution that is publishing it everywhere.

Lizzie Mintus: Me too. Yeah. It's Cloud Do You Do?

Stepan Kaiser: Yes.

Lizzie Mintus: How do you do, but with cloud? Clever. I like that. I just named my podcast, Here's Waldo Podcast because that's my company name. It was easier.

Thanks for being here.

Stepan Kaiser: Thank you very much for inviting me. It was nice to be here.

Thanks so much for listening to the show this week to catch all the latest from here's Waldo. You can follow us on LinkedIn. Be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes. We'll see you next time.

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