Who taught me a lot


Recently, I met with the person from whom I learned a lot about company management, dedication, and community building. He was just as cheerful and approachable as when I first met him more than 23 years ago.

It was thanks to András Sugárthat I eventually moved to Budapest in 2000 after receiving an offer from Westel900 that I couldn’t refuse.

András was the first leader who truly inspired me. It is a genuine startupper from an era before zero-calorie cola existed.

He surrounded himself with people who achieved the impossible, all for a common goal. The community he built is so strong that it still lives and thrives today, possibly because of the shared core values, quality, and dedication.

The invitation came from Andras Nyiroto form a new team at Westel900. One of my conditions was receiving a Nokia 7110 upon joining. I had already written two articles about it, but I had never held one in my hands.

I remember my first day as if it were yesterday. I received a top-of-the-line Motorola model, but I was very disappointed. This wasn’t what we had agreed upon.

I worked at the company for about two hours when I was introduced to Marianne Langsteiner, one of the company's deputy managers. She asked if everything was alright. I explained that everything was fine, but this wasn’t the phone I had taken the job for.

I hadn't even finished my sentence when she took the Nokia 7110 from her hand, removed the battery and SIM card, and handed it to me. Naturally, I didn’t accept it. But this was the attitude that was fundamental at Westel.

The next day, I received my own 7110.

I was a deputy director at a company with thousands of employees, where there were many directors and deputy directors, and even the management team consisted of dozens of people. Still, when I left Westel, by then renamed T-Mobile, after four and a half years, András visited me at my new workplace, and I showed him around the A38 Ship.

I wonder how many large companies in Hungary today have the kind of community, shared goals, corporate culture, and cohesion that were present at András Sugár’s Westel?

Picture of Kaprinay Zoltán

Zoltan Kaprinay

I'm Zoltan Kaprinay, a serial entrepreneur, innovator, builder of several successful businesses, and founder of index.hu, Bónusz Brigád, and CreativeDock Hungary. As a business sparring partner, I help senior executives, businesses, teams, and top leaders develop skills and achieve business goals.

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