I got interested in IT, as most people at that time, playing computer games. I had a ZX Spectrum connected to TV and working through tapes, then my first PC, and a lot of other PCs later as it was the age of gaming. I caught the Internet’s predecessor (Fido) when connection was not synchronous. To keep it simple, you had to download everything first, introduce changes, and then upload the data back. This was an elaborate network, with two main process participants, points and nodes. The latter were treated with utmost respect. You had to make a deep bow to them to get a point, and you had to come with somebody’s recommendation. Naturally, all this was amazing.
Later, the Internet and Internet providers appeared, and the world clearly changed, as by that time parents had stopped giving money for me to buy hardware. At first, I tried to earn money myself by writing articles on computers for newspapers, and repairing PCs of people I knew. After that, I tried to do web development business, always fighting with cash gaps, without cash however. We didn’t have much income. We were renting an office space, and there was a man working on the ground floor with whom we agreed on using his Internet once a month on a commercial basis. One day my partner found out that it was possible to connect to the network without any limitations at all. I liked the idea, and we used the Internet for the whole month without paying. When the time came to pay, the man told us that according to the billing system data, we had to give 50 rubles (the cost of a Coca Cola bottle). After that, we were denied access to the Internet. We realized that our behaviour wasn’t examplary.
After that, I worked for a couple of companies, and I met Alexander in one of them. For three years, I was employed and simultaneously created a web development company focused on multimedia projects. We were developing them for companies whose marketing was based on impressions. This was all about building up brands. Our customers were restaurants, shops, and all the businesses where you had to do something bright and eye-catching.
We didn’t have regular budget or resource planning. Our work was based on the principle “Take it and do it quickly”. That’s why we had to constantly to fill some gaps. That said we were growing very fast, and had to find bigger office space. Once, we discovered a whole well-forgotten floor the owner didn’t know about in the building we worked in.
Then the crisis took place, and we started to turn to something more practical. It was important at that time to meet in the face-to-face format, otherwise nothing important could take place. We started to sell projects in Moscow, I was moving from Rostov to the capital and back many times, and all this was pretty exhausting. At the same time, I had to be engaged in current projects ordered by our key customers, as regular employees didn’t manage alone. These were very interesting customers, and I didn’t want to lose them. At some moment, my body understood better than myself it was high time to refuse from this pattern of working. Once, I had a flight at 7 AM, and I was going to a bus getting passengers to the plane, and decided I would breathe some fresh air before getting on the bus. Eventually, I didn’t board it; instead, I fainted, and recovered only at the airport medical center.
I took the hardest decisions when I had stepped up a gear, seemed to become “big”, but at the same time, it wasn’t clear whether I was really “big” or using credit. There may be costs not covered with current revenues, and you have to scale down the business. I was constantly fighting for the business to remain large-scale.
Then I heard a phrase, “Now many guys take a decision to become small, in order to grow big again later”. This helped me, especially when I had to fire people. It means you passed through some stage, but actually you did not, and you have to come back. The most difficult thing for me was that “I have not proven everything to myself”. It was a rather immature wish to maintain the status.
At the moment, I believe that the best thing I can do is to invent. I understand it quite well how to implement what I have invented, and this is very valuable for an entrepreneur. At the same time, I am driven mad by a need for doing things like trade brand registration. Everything which is not about the movement forward must be delegated, and you must come back to the implementation of your ideas.