#IStandWithUkraine

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About me:

It gives me joy to deeply connect with other human beings on the path of self-discovery and awakening.

Living the truth of the present moment with curiosity and surrender. 
Compassion for our human struggle with our true nature.

Some observations about my core energies:
  • There is deep curiosity. Beliefs are wonderful creations of this brain and thoughts are light flowing speculations of the moment
  • Understanding and explaining are wonderful and limited tools. The power of compassion without the attachment to understand is infinite.
  • Life is arising as everything, in its unknowable unstoppable flow, with deep peace, love and joy underneath. Breathing and opening to here and now with gratitude, compassion and curiosity. Stories might arise as complex extrapolations of the perceived past into worries and fantasies about the unknowable future. Sometimes there is contraction, resistance and suffering. It’s still the same what is. Our imaginary cages are made of fears and we are always free. 
  • We are all imperfect and unique, always doing our best. Its freeing to share shadows, fears, shame, joy, love, silliness, everything, with no attachment to being heard or understood. Our stories are dreams, models and pointers, not the truth. it's joyful to share the models that support recognizing freedom, peace and love 
  • Life is fun, silly and fascinating. We can enjoy humour and laugh at the current situation and our human reactions, even in deep pain and confusion.
  • Tiny steps happen in the now as fears are felt deeply, those drops flow into the mighty river. they are the handrails that help us remember how to crawl when we forget how to fly.

A quick snapshot

  • Serial Tech Entrepreneur. Founder of three multi-million dollar businesses, including the non-profit focused software-as-a-service (SaaS), Wild Apricot, which serves over 20,000 small non-profits.
  • Proud father of Vitalik Buterin - creator of Ethereum. (I can’t help you with in-depth insights of blockchain tech; I have a decent level of understanding but I am not a blockchain tech expert. )

Contact me:

Twitter

LinkedIn

My business learnings and philosophy

Here are some of the learnings acquired over the years:

  • Business results reflect the personal beliefs of the team, especially those of the leaders. If you want your business to grow, you have to identify and grow out of your limiting beliefs. This is hard!!!

  • Key tools for personal growth are:

    • Ongoing learning on your own — books, conferences etc.

    • Having an awesome group of peers and a way to connect and share with them deeply.

    • Working with the best coaches and mentors. I am grateful to many amazing people who have helped me in my journey, including Colin Collard and Philip McKernan

  • If you want to build a great business, attract great people. They will not stand for politics and other bullshit. Culture is key. Building a good culture is a long-term process. It’s not about posting a bunch of fancy posters about your mission and core values around the office.

  • You can only achieve great business results if you focus on what your customers want and help them solve their problems. Many businesses seem to be going at it backwards —  focusing on a particular revenue/profit/growth number and thinking of customers as an afterthought.

  • Most startups overcomplicate things and have very complex and fragile business models built on a mound of assumptions. I am a big believer in finding a very specific set of customers who have a specific problem and then validating your assumptions about the problem and your proposed solution through a series of iterations.

  • Successful businesses of the future will be built on new organizational models which help everyone in the organization to be their best. (One model I really like is Teal, featured in the book  Reinventing Organizations. We have been implementing Teal at Wild Apricot since January 2016. It has been hard to do, but very rewarding.)

  • A living, growing business has to be a learning business, which requires everyone in the business to constantly learn and grow, professionally and personally.

  • Great businesses are transparent. Everyone working there understands the full context and has full access to information, including good news and bad news.

  • Nonviolent communication is a great framework for better communication and conflict resolution, whether in a personal or business context.

  • People always overestimate what they can do in the short term and underestimate what they can do in the long term.

  • You can't help the world without helping yourself first. I don't care how smart you are, you will never achieve your full potential without self-awareness and emotional intelligence to collaborate with others

Short bio

I grew up in the Soviet Union, in Grozny, Chechnya, then moved to Moscow at the age of 17, to study Computer Science at the Moscow Institute of Electronic Engineering (MIET).

In 1994, I started my career, working briefly at DialogBank as a software engineer, then at Arthur Andersen Business Consulting as a computer systems consultant (ERP/Financial systems).

In 1997 I co-founded my first business, Columbus Russia, a financial software reseller and consultancy. I have been a serial tech entrepreneur ever since. Each venture has been bootstrapped, and I have never raised outside capital.

Three of my businesses have reached 7 figures in revenue (Columbus Russia, Bonasource, Wild Apricot), and one of them 8 figures (Wild Apricot).

At the end of 1999, I moved to Canada, and have been living in Toronto ever since.

From 2006-2017 I have been running Wild Apricot, SaaS serving over 20,000 small non-profits. Wild Apricot has been acquired in September 2017 and I have transitioned out of the business in December 2017

I’m a proud father of three —  my son Vitalik and two daughters.

My current focus

  • Supporting Ukraine in her fight against Russian invasion

  • Sharing, mentoring, learning.