Hi! My name is Ivan Ralchev.

When I was a kid, my father bought me a mechanical model construction set — lots of metal strips and plates, wheels, axes and belts, electric motors, nuts and bolts in a small cardboard box. I started with cars, but I was not happy with the designs I could come up with — they looked ugly and served no purpose. Furthermore, I did not make any use of the electric motors in the set.

Then one day I figured I could find a job for the electric motor. It would open (and close, of course) the door of my room on my behalf. I added red woolen yarn to the set and used it as a rope (I still remember my grandma’s face when I told her what I needed it for.). And I built it. The first working version of the door-opening machine could open the door. The second could open and close it.

A few years later I turned my home computer into a server. I found out I could publish my thoughts online and share them with friends. This is how my first blog was born in 2004. I met many of my friends around that time — Bulgarian bloggers weren’t that many 11 years ago.

Now I am an economist, a marketing practitioner, a part-time lecturer and a part-time entrepreneur. I love building things even more.

I graduated in Sweden, but came back to Bulgaria, because I was offered the chance to work for one of the largest Bulgarian banks – Fibank. I was responsible for its online presence by managing its social channels and creating content for its blog. In a few months Twitter was developed into a customer support channel for the bank. Fibank's blog described the services of the bank in a friendly way and delivered extra value to the customers of the bank. My strong interest for technology let me work on projects such as Fibank’s current website and the first version of its iOS mobile banking app. I was part of the team that introduced the contactless banking cards to the Bulgarian market together with MasterCard in 2010 and 2011.

One day I decided I needed more challenges and more things to build. This is how I ended up in NEXT-DC — a highly technical digital creative agency — as a Digital Project Manager. Our clients are Heineken, Telenor Bulgaria, Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia, Lidl and a few more and almost all of our projects and campaigns are digital.

We build online and technological experiences that amaze, entertain and achieve clients’ targets. You can read about them on our website. My role is to facilitate the processes of data acquisition and analysis, creative ideas generation, planning and development. By working closely with our clients, our creative and development teams, it is my responsibility that every project is launched effectively on time and delivers value.

A year ago I was promoted to Deputy Client Service Director. My responsibility now is to set the tone and direction of the way we work with our clients. This is why my goal is to further improve on all processes (external with our clients and internal with our creative department and development department), so that we are able to focus more on what is really important — the creative proposals that are thought to solve clients’ needs. An important part of my duties is business development — managing connections with potential clients and creating proposals. I have relied on my marketing and digital background and thus introduced new practices to the creative department — regarding tracking of activities within our campaigns and optimising for higher results.

In my spare time I failed at building a media company, but am a proud partner at a shop for custom bicycles in Sofia, Bulgaria — 1bike.

Ivan Ralchev