An interview with Jan Stelovsky, ICS Professor and CEO of parWinr, Inc.
Hi Jan. What is parWinr, and how did it come to be?
parWinr, Inc. is an IT start-up based in Honolulu with unique technology that integrates Internet video and interactive games. Our technology can be applied to education, advertising, and marketing worldwide, whether on the web, mobile, or Smart TV.
I first conceived the idea of combining video and online games more than a decade ago, and watched as the Internet has caught up to the technology.
We turn Internet videos into games. This provides an engaging way for companies to promote their products and is a fun way for people to learn. And if there is more engagement with the media content, there is more opportunity to learn, to tell new stories, and to “brand”. parWinr games offer a new kind of branding tool for any product or company.
What project is parWinr working on now?
We are working on a “Hawaii Campaign”. We would like to offer targeted Hawaii companies a unique opportunity to gamify their online promotional media content and offer those games, all which have some ties to Hawaii, for our initial website launch. It would be a wonderful way to help enhance the branding of some of our prominent Hawaii businesses and show off what parWinr can do!
What kinds of computer science skills and background are you looking for?
We need web and mobile developers as well as graphic designers who are team players with good communication and personal skills. We need people who are skilled in: jQuery, Ruby on Rails, CSS, HTML 5, user interfaces, data analytics, security, quality assurance, testing, and mobile development (Android, iOS).
But we are also looking for talented people from the social and human sciences as well as business interns to join our team. The company name says it all – we want those who aspire to be “on par with the winners.” Visit us at www.parwinr.com to learn more.
If you could offer a few words of advice to current ICS students, what would they be?
We need experienced employees, so if you don’t have the experience, convince us that you’ll quickly be able to learn and fill the bill. I’ll give you an example: a job seeker approached us at a job fair and asked us what skills we are looking for. We mentioned Ruby on Rails. At the next job fair he showed us how he solved all the tasks in the standard reference book. We hired him. Later we learned that he worked at ICS… And by the way, we have another ICS alumnus on the team!
Go to job fairs, such as those organized by UH and HTDC. Apply for an internship, even if it doesn’t pay much or at all, think of it as a course you don’t have to pay tuition for.
Be professional: a well formulated, well structured resume is a must. Before you submit your resume make sure that it is updated to present. Are you software developer? Include a link to a web site where I can look at your code. Go out and network, go to job fairs, be proactive and search the Web to find the companies you’d like to work for. Call them up and send them your resume. Don’t give up: if we and other local IT companies succeed, there will be a lot of great jobs in Hawaii.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I believe that IT products will be at the core of most of human activities in the future, so there is a lot to be excited about, to enjoy doing, to be passionate about! I believe that future entrepreneurs will be not just MBAs, but be renaissance people again, people who are at the same time inventors, engineers, artists, humanitarians, as Leonardo da Vinci was.
Here is a short video we created about parWinr (please refresh the page if it does not appear):