2018 — the US-based startups
In early 2018 I was granted O-1 Visa (individuals with exceptional ability) and moved to New York City to join Scentbird, an online fragrance subscription service with over 300K active subscribers (Y-Combinator alumni, $27 mln. raised in 2018). For the next two years, I led the product team and focused on user retention. I improved information architecture and built an ML-based fragrance recommender.
2012 — Head of design at Alfa-bank
Alfa-bank invited me to join them in 2012. During the next intense six years, I participated in one of the most impressive and scaled digital transformations in Russian fintech. Alfa-Bank is one of Russia’s biggest non-government commercial banks, with 15 mln retail and 400,000 corporate customers.
In 2012 people were using mostly branches instead of online. I launched a nationwide advertising campaign to address that issue. The campaign was a massive success as we saw an increase in our mobile and online banking usage by early 2013. It was a significant contribution to online banking revenue and savings on branches.
I've built a design department from zero to 30+ product designers and UI engineers. By 2016 my team was recognized as one of the Top-5 design departments (according to continuous research by Mail.Ru in 2017 and 2018). Our retail and corporate apps and online banking were permanently recognized as the best in their respective classes according to various fintech ratings and a growing user base.
My success as a design manager was based on my approach to design processes — I’ve kickstarted a design system development that eventually was adopted by the whole organization. Developing a design system in code was revolutionary at that time. My team was the first in the banking industry to develop such a codebase and scale it on an industrial-grade level. This development helped us to increase time to market, directly impacting the revenue from digital channels. Design systems are now widely adopted in major companies, following our example.
As a teenager, I was in love with computers and gaming, which led my classmate and me to create an app for computer gaming clubs in 1998. By 1999, I sold more than 100+ copies. Our small venture grew into a Soft5 company with two developers and five salesmen by 2001 and exists to this day, with over 1250 active customers in 12 countries. I left Soft5 to focus on web design and development and founded my design studio. By 2009 it had nine employees and became a well-known web production in St Petersburg. In early 2010, I negotiated with Molinos ad. agency, and my studio merged into their structure, becoming its web production department. The first major public success was a website for Sobaka.Ru, one of the most popular lifestyle magazines in St. Petersburg. It was awarded in 2012 as one of the three best websites in the Mass Media category.
Besides my primary jobs, I always had some design-related projects.
- Conducted an extensive research of 240+ product designer resumes with published results and personal feedback to participants from 15 hiring design managers of the top product companies.
- Launched a successful course on Digital Product Design at the British Higher School of Design in 2017. The first iteration of this course kickstarted full-time courses on Product Design at BHSD. Every year I read lectures for new students there.
- Proud supporter of the Design Weekend initiative, which helps designers from Russian regions advance in design areas. I personally funded or helped raise funds for several events since 2016. These conferences are free for attendees.
- Published a book on branding in 2013, made it available for free as a website after all printed copies were sold.
- I was invited to dozens of conferences as a speaker on design matters. E.g., Dribbble meetup and Design Weekends amassed 1000+ attendees each, the19th World Festival of Youth and Students (an international festival that attracted 20 000 people from 180 countries).
- I developed a consulting program for product designers to advance their careers. Over 80 designers participated since October 2020.
As of now, I am working on my own startup, a designer training platform.