Ever wondered about the people behind your favourite games? Our “Meet the team” series of interviews will give you a glimpse of the team hard at work at AbZorba. Last week we interviewed our resident Android ninja, Nikos Kollias, this week we present to you our iOS guru Harris Spentzas:
1) Introduce yourself (name, job title, etc).
My name is Harris Spentzas and I am 27 years old from Athens, Greece and work as an iOS developer for Abzorba Games.
2) What is your background in development? How did you get started with developing mobile apps/games?
Everything started when I was 6, or maybe 7, years old with an amazing (if slightly broken) PC. Of course I was not programming at the time but “serious” gaming! So I deicided that “I will not be an astronaut, I’ll become a gamer”. After that the choice of what degree to pursue was simple. I wanted to continue playing games so I studied computer science. After actually studing for my CS degree, my love for gaming gave way to a love for programming. First came a passionate interest in image processing, and then Apple announced iphone! Seriously, who didnt want one?
My first major project “Iphone Iris recognition”. Then I had a choice to make: work in image processing vs iphone development. Well, here we are… I developed a real passion for mobile application development, and after a lot of research I found Abzorba — Since then it has been an amazing journey, creating tons of titles and reaching significant milestones with a very small greek team.
3) What is your role in AbZorba and in its software development process in general?
My role in AbZorba is what’s keeping me here. Except from being responsible for the iOS department, I’m giving a hand in everything Abzorba needs to become number one, it is fascinating.
4) Off to a slow start in the late ’90s, the Greek startup scene seems to be catching up nicely. As someone seeing the new developments from the inside, what, in your opinion, made the younger generation reevaluate entrepreneurialism, startups, targeting the global market and so on?
With unemployment at record highs across the nation, entry-level jobs that typically attract teens and the college-aged are now also being sought by older people. So much of the energy and the passion of the younger generation now targets entrepreneurialism and startups.
5) What made you, personally, decide to work for a startup such as AbZorba? What do you see as some unique advantages in working for a startup, versus a more conventional career choice?
The advantage of working for a startup is the huge responsibility you have — and being able to do a lot of different things within the team.
6) How does it feel to be part of a team that has had international success with its products? Tell the readers some of the highlights of your experience working for AbZorba.
Developing a product without knowning if it will eventually succeed feels amazing. The suspense of waiting to see how much attention our products will grab is very enthrilling.
7) Do you keep up all the activity and buzz concerning the modern Greek tech scene? Which companies and/or efforts would you choose as more interesting or successful?
The Greek tech scene is very successful, despite the economical issues Greece has been facing. Besides AbZorba, many other Greek startups are doing very well. For me, Bugsense’s acquisition stands out from the greek startup success stories.
8) The last few years, there have been several promising EU and Greek state attempts to turbo charge the startup economy. Are there any changes you’d like to see (e.g regarding infrastructure, policy, education, etc) to further the cause of entrepreneurialism?
At my opinion education is the most important thing needed in order to turbo-charge the startup economy. To build a house you must first lay the foundation.
9) Where do you see the products you work for (and AbZorba in general) a couple of years from now? Any future plans you can reveal to the readers?
The only thing I can reveal to the readers is that Abzorba will never cease producing amazing products and will never stop thinking about the gamer. Our aim is for our games to feel just like being in a real casino with all your friends.
10) Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Working at the mobile game industry, of course. Its like a virus, I cant get it out of me!
11) Anything you’d like to add, closing remarks, etc?