Everything started when Tom was 6 years old. – Back then, nobody knew what it was, but I already had my first computer – says Tom Dobrowolski. That was the Commodore 64.
“Here you go son, do some tinkering”
– The thing is, it caused me nothing but trouble from the very beginning. My dad is an electronics designer, so he gave me a screwdriver and said: “here you go son, do some tinkering”, and that’s how my journey with computers began, with their innards – Tom reminisces.
The beginning of this journey, a long beginning lasting 15 years, was an adventure with computer games. Computers have changed, and so have games, but there was a real gaming “boom” at the time.
- When everyone else had the popular Amiga or other hardware with color screens, I still had a black-and-white display. But what hardware that was! I already had my first, fully professional PC. It was a typical box, that I started to take apart, of course. The effect was such that, when the first computers appeared in schools, which in my case was my junior year of high school, I attended computer science classes not to learn but to teach the teachers how to use these computers – Tom Dobrowolski laughs today.
But that doesn’t mean that it was easy. – Nobody knew anything, there was no one to learn from, there were no books. This knowledge trickled through for years, and in addition, there was a huge mess – Dobrowolski recollects.
Since books were mentioned... - No, I was never really one for school. In high school, I was constantly reprimanded by teachers because I preferred the computer to books. After my final exams, I took a break, then I finally decided to go to college to study psychology at the University of Warsaw, because that still seemed somewhat interesting to me. But I didn’t last long there. After half a year, I got a telephone call, and I heard the words: “we’re doing GDP”. And that's when I said: “well then I’m getting the hell out of here”.
But GDP wasn’t his first job.
“At my first company, I met most of the disco polo stars”
- I was 16, working as a junior network administrator at STD company. STD was a publisher of disco polo music. There, I met most of the stars at the time. That was fun – Tom remembers.
Then he took up graphics and worked as a freelancer. When the Internet was born, he began to learn html immediately. Again, he got a full-time job at some company, but only for two years. Why only two? - Because I met Tom Kuzak. That was 18 years ago, and I’m still here – says Dobrowolski.
That was when he joined GDP – a company founded by Tom Kuzak, among others, which was a software house at the time and the progenitor of Inquise Inc.
- I did everything there. Somebody needed to handle graphics, I did graphics. Somebody needed to program something, I programmed it. Today, I’m not a programmer, but I understand the language. I am also not a graphic designer. Who am I? I am a person who is addicted to the Internet. I am a person for whom the computer is life – Tom Dobrowolski confesses.
Who is he today at INFORMATION DESIRED? A library of knowledge is probably the best description. Tom took part in creating IDMS – our original content management tool. He also co-created the concept of preparing and publishing “Information Desired”. Nobody knows the company’s internal workings, every one of the work tools we have and our system like him, nobody knows how stuff works and how people work like him – because he’s also a specialist in procedures and people.
A couple of metalheads from a cave and boiled chicken with pumpkin
How can one identify the head of the technological department? At other companies, maybe by a flannel shirt, but here, you can tell him apart by his knee-length bovver boots, regardless of the season, dark graphics on his T-shirts and the mohawk on his head. Yes, that’s Tom Dobrowolski.
– When I was 12, maybe 14, I thought that I should probably pick some music to listen to. I borrowed some tapes, I played something by Phil Collins and... nope, that wasn’t for me. Then I discovered metal, and I felt it. I began to look around, found hard techno, electronic and machine music – that pulled me in and grips me to this day – Tom says.
If you see someone on the street who might look like Tom but is walking next to a woman in a pink shirt – that’s definitely not Tom. – I used to go to a lot of goth parties, I perfected techniques, photographed people, and there, I discovered that such dark women are my type. But no, that’s not where I met my wife, Paulina. I met her on the Internet, of course. We were, are, like a couple of metalheads from a cave, with the difference being that we like dietetic food instead of cats – Tom jokes.
They were so happy that they indulged one another without a care for the world around them, also in the kitchen. – And so we gorged ourselves. I didn't feel good in my own skin, I wasn't wearing the right clothes, I wanted to look different, but I was so fat that one could roll me with a stick. Until I finally said “stop”. I got a PhD in healthy nutrition and stopped eating junk. I went from 130 kg to 74 kg without even exercising. My boots helped me with this – one of them weighs about 2.5 kg, so when you're wearing 5 kg on your feet all day plus a chain on your neck that weighs another 2 kg, you don’t have to go to the gym anymore, because you're exercising all day – Tom explains.
For several years now, he and his wife have stayed away from fast food, always watching their carbs and counting their calories, and they feel great doing it. – Today's breakfast? It was yesterday’s dinner, because I made extra: cooked Blue Hubbard pumpkin and water-boiled chicken with sesame oil. Healthy? You bet! But also crazy delicious. I made it myself, because the kitchen is my domain – Tom says. INFORMATION DESIRED’s technological department is another of his domains. There is no room for compromise in both of them. Perfectionism in every field is mandatory.