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Diana Ivanova Customer Care Manager 15.09.2014

Insideout: Artem

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well… I am 29 years old and I’ve been with Binary Studio for almost 10 years. We started this company with Anton in 2005 studying in Donetsk National University (Math Faculty). If to speak about hobbies starting from my childhood I extremely liked football: I mean literally everything about football - I like to watch the Championships and to play in real time and at Sony PlayStation of course 🙂

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What club is your favorite?

Shahtar-Donetsk used to be my favorite club, but due to the political situation… I mean I still like it, but not as much as before. Out of European clubs I think I can choose Arsenal – London.


Did you think about devoting your life to football?

When I was little I used to skip classes at school to play football, so all I had in my back pack was a T-shirt, shorts and snickers. As a child I dreamt about becoming a football player, but something didn’t work well and I went to the university to study science.


How did you choose to study science if you never wanted to?

I can’t say I didn’t want to – I always had good grades (at school I was an “A” student). At that particular moment I thought about sports as something unreal (too competitive) – getting in is was extremely tough. It seemed that to build a good life by being a football player was next to impossible plus my parents insisted on going to the university. I graduated the school with Honors, so I had to continue studying.


Math? Interesting choice.

I chose Faculty of Math because…. To be honest I have no idea why I did that 🙂

Mathematics was never like a dream for me or something that I’d like to do, but it was a way to get the computer. When I was a child I really wanted a computer and most of my friends and classmates had one. For some reason I was so sure that when I enter the university my parents would buy me one. I’d be a student and they would have no other choice and that’s the reason I applied.


Tell us about your student years. Was it a lot of fun?

Frankly speaking the situation was very interesting - by the time all of my classmates entered the university some of them had already been programming, others at least read something about it and I didn’t have any idea on how to insert the floppy into computer 🙂 Of course, everybody laughed at me and I couldn’t understand why teachers never told us how to do that.


What about your first job as a developer?

First, let me tell you how I got that job. I saw an ad at the dormitory: guys with some development knowledge needed.  I decided to call them and I was invited to the interview. When I arrived I saw the sign: “Funeral Services” on the building which got me really confused. I walked around the house, looked for the right company (there were no cell phones yet, so I couldn’t call) and couldn’t find it, so I had no other choice but to enter that strange building. The house appeared to be divided in two parts – at one side there were funeral services and at the other the company I was looking for.

What exactly was your project about?

It was one of the Startups in Donetsk at that moment – Andrey and Stas (two brothers) organized it.

We were working on one of the first real estate databases in Ukraine. At those times: in 2002-2003 when the internet - 256 KB was a real win, I used to save HTML pages to take the floppy/usb home to read offline.

So, they had an idea to build a database for the real estate agencies of course nothing of the kind ever existed in Ukraine. I was responsible for development of the application – offline database - since the internet was not used so widely. We developed a system and it is still being used nowadays. I mentioned my private e-mail there and I still receive letters with support inquiries etc.


How many people were on your team?

I was already working there as a developer when the project was expanded, so I called Anton who I knew from the dormitory and invited him to join. I am still very glad that I met him and we started working together, because he is very smart and responsible. Despite all the other things as a partner he is very reliable. It would be impossible for me to find such a great person as Anton. I think that but for his support and sarcastic attitude we would have never built this company. From the very beginning the team consisted of 5 developers including us, as one of the most experienced I was promoted to a Project Manager (we all were students).


Why did you decide to work with foreigners?

At some point I got the feeling that I have to move on. Somehow our (my and Anton’s) economic gut lead us to look for customers abroad. That was the time when I made a decision to start working with foreigners. I surfed Internet for a while, read a lot of forums where we found our first customer from Finland (we are still working with this customer) – that’s how our company started.


What was the company like at the very beginning?

Our first office was a simple 2 bedroom apartment actually. In the morning Anton would go to open the door for guys while brushing his teeth. I didn’t really see that because I was still living in the dormitory - some time later I also moved to that apartment. We were working at one part of the apartment and living in the other one. In the end of the working day we would all meet up to watch football together and to drink beers. I‘d say the challenge to build and grow the company at some point became one of the main motivations for me, as also the development of IT in the region.

Why did you decide to develop IT in your region? Did you think about moving to other city?

The situation with IT companies was terrible, there was actually just one company everybody knew and it wasn’t providing the high quality services, so not a lot of talented guys wanted to work for them. A lot of my friends had to move to Kiev or other cities for this reason – I didn’t like that.  So we started looking for projects and offered them to our acquaintances (2 of my stream mates are still working with me).  We started in the university, but at some point decided to grow and expand.


What do you like at Binary Studio now?

People – atmosphere. From the beginning we wanted to create a place for work/place for fun environment. We wanted it to be something really cool and fun for people. I was comparing everything with one of my previous jobs (McDonalds) which was a very negative experience in my life.


Why was it so bad?

There was a huge misunderstanding between regular employees and the management team – they were Gods and we were “nothing”. I knew that I had to change something, bring in some friendly attitude, however it never worked out. I didn’t like working there not because of a small salary or tough schedule, but due to this entirely unfriendly atmosphere. It was more like exchanging my time for money – that wasn’t something I wanted in my life.

At my next job (real estate project) I kind of had a chance to build a great team. However, since I wasn’t the head manager I didn’t have all the rights to influence the company.

So, when we built our company as a place for work/ place for fun I finally had a chance to create everything the way I wanted – and up until now I like when the company organizes some corporate trips, parties or celebrations. I like when people feel comfortable in the company – what the most important is spirit. I could say that the main goal of our company is to build the spirit.


Can you share with us some bright memory from your life?

I don’t know why (maybe because I am very tired now) but the first thing that comes to my mind is my vacation at Philippines. It was a very cool reboot of consciousness – first of all - Asian culture, second – sun and water. They are a kind of new democratic society.  As a tourist I didn’t have to worry at, all – problems disappeared. It is the place where I’d like to spend more than just a week: a heaven on the Earth. This memory is the brightest one the past…hmm…. a lot of years.


Can you name 5 things that you can’t imagine your life without? Something that would characterize your personality at the moment?

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Car (1) – it gives me freedom: I can always get in the car and drive wherever I want. It is more like a way to overcome the distance: if I want to go to the sea I just jump in my car and go there. What I enjoy a lot is driving abroad – the roads are amazing.


How do feel about car brands?

I don’t think it matters much for me now – there were times when I liked German cars then Japanese. By now I get the understanding of being “ok” with any car as long as it is safe. I am not fond of repairing cars – it is not my hobby at all, so when I buy car- I buy freedom, not slavery.


What are the other 4 things that matter for you?

Laptop (Mac). I’ve never considered buying a Mac (2) before and this one I got as a present for my birthday from Anton. However, now I am in love with this laptop and not because of the brand, but because the battery holds up to 8 hours. If there was some other laptop with more powerful battery (10 hours charge) I would consider buying it, because this is my freedom. I also like traveling a lot and considering this fact I could name my third thing – my passport for going abroad (3). Actually, I’ve got a couple of those.

PlayStation (4) – 95% of the playing time I chose football (FIFA) as I’ve told you before I like it a lot. Next - my headphones with noise reduction (5), I can’t imagine my flights without these headphones, because they help me abstract from screaming kids behind and plane noises – so I can always get some rest in a quiet atmosphere.


What are your main priorities in life?

Freedom – freedom of thoughts, actions, movement. If you ask me to name one thing that I’d like a lot (apart from regular things like health and so on) it’d be no visas anywhere in the world. I’d like to have an opportunity to travel to other countries without any issues like getting a visa – that’s my main concern. I like doing things I enjoy. I could say that I am a happy person because starting from my company I do what I like. I come to work and see people I am happy to meet who are like my family and I feel very comfortable here emotionally which is another of the main priorities in my life.

As a conclusion I could say that atmosphere is extremely important for me… I love working with interesting people who motivate me.


The easiest question of all – what did you have for lunch? 🙂

I had fried eggs with bacon, salad with cucumbers and tomatoes. Drinks - kvass and Americano, plus on top of all that I ate an ice cream.