Core professional skills

Project Management, Operations and Business Organization

I’ve founded and operated a business modeled as a project-based organization. We had dozens of clients each from different industry. We would solve unique needs of each client.

The company provided import and export trading services, logistics and consulting for european manufacturers working with Chinese markets.

I was acting as a company general manager and a COO. I was in debt when I started the company and 2 years later we had 15 employees and around 20 mil USD of annual turnover with margins varying from 1% to 50%.

Customer Service and Satisfaction

With above mentioned project-based organization I had to have personalized approach to each client. That meant results driven, always on communication with client team members.

I would only make money if client needs got met, so I couldn’t afford to take on clients who’s needs I could not meet. That approach leads to 100% satisfaction rate of all the clients I have ever had.

Team building and managing

The key takeaways I’ve learned from my experience hiring people as an entrepreneur are:

  • Best interview is the one that has practical real world tests with measurable results. These interviews need to be repeatable by multiple candidates to measure each candidate fairly.
  • One successful hire usually represents 0.1% of all the candidates applied. I have experienced this time and time again. From each 1000 resumes you’ll receive only 100 will be good enough and only 10 of those candidates will be good enough to invite for at interview and only 1 or 2 of them will meet your requirements.
  • Employee performance is tied with employee satisfaction. And employee satisfaction comes from organizational transparency and fairness.

Logistics, Purchasing, Import/Export Operations and Supply Chain management

I’ve setup and operated a trading company with it’s own logistics license. Each month we will ship around 60 containers world wide. We would also ship products in bulk vessels and use bulk storage terminals throughout Asia. My clients included big names like Pertochina, Sinopec, LG Chem, Goodyear, Total and others.

Marketing

While basic principles of marketing arguably are the same for all industries, each industry and clientele has it’s sales channel that works best for that market.

In case of my B2B sales experience, sales and marketing strategy that I’ve developed for my business was based on reaching my potential clients through reputable and respectable intermediaries and my clients already trusted. For example, I would arrange a call or a meeting with a potential client through national chambers of commerce, offices of high profile individuals, lawyers, or politicians. This approach helps save a lot of resources needed to build reputation across a particular industry. I would learn about challenges my potential clients were facing beforehand to reach to them with solutions through reputable channels.

In case of Yulia’s online school business, selling online courses requires the use of channels like seo, targeting, blogs, newsletter and social networks.

Technical skills

Electronics and computers is one of the biggest passions of mine. I’ve been tinkering with things since my dad brought home an IBM desktop with 800MB hard drive and 300MHz CPU.

Web dev

I’ve build my first website in 2002. You can find it on Web Archive My favorite tools:

  • Gitlab and Gitlab CI
  • Firebase
  • Google cloud
  • Hugo SSG
  • VSCodium

Networking and Back-end

I’ve built and connected networks of two of my offices in Beijing and Shanghai by setting up private VPN between our routers. Our networks included on-premise CRM suits and NAS servers that I have setup and maintained myself. It was not the best use of my time as a general manager of my company, but I loved tinkering with it all.

Privacy, Security and Decentralization

This is a passion of mine. Favorite tools include:

  • Qubes OS
  • Tails OS
  • GrapheneOS
  • Zero-knowledge service providers
  • GPG and other forms encryption
  • VPNs
  • privacytools.io and others

Media production

I’ve been making occasional private youtube videos since 2005. Nowdays I help out Yulia, my wife, shoot and edit audio and videos for her online education project happypeople.school, her youtube. I understand color correction and sound design. My favorite tools:

  • OBS (Open Broadcaster Software)
  • Lavalier microphones
  • Lighting equipment
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Adobe Audition
  • Adobe After Effects

My next big video project will be done in DaVinci Resolve.

Personal skills

Learning

I believe I can learn anything. I was lucky to grow up in the growth mindset environment. I am learning something new every single day and have been doing so since I’ve been a baby.

Barbara Oakley’s book Learning How to Learn is my favorite book and the subject. She also made an awesome coursera course about it.

Mandarin Chinese, English and Russian languages

I grew up in China as a Third Culture Kid. I’ve been learning and using Chinese, English and Russian in my daily life all of my life. I consider my written and spoken Chinese and Russian language skills to be on a native lever with English coming in next on expert level.

Communication

I’ve learned how to communicate any idea or a message effectively through out my experiences as a translator, interpreter, social events organizer and an entrepreneur.

Trust

I value my reputation and trust that people have in me. I strive to transparency and honesty in my relationships with people.

Recently I’ve learned that my #1 strength is love. I’ve learned that from completing a survey on personal strengths from VIA Institute of Character.

That means that relationships are central to my happiness. We all know that great relationships are based on trust, one way or the other. Therefore I always work toward cultivating trust in my relationships with people.

I’ll write a separate blog post about my full strength profile from VIA Institute on Character, someday.