Artem Astakhov of heartbeat about how they work with companies in fintech and edTech to define and achieve goals through design.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Artem Astakhov: I haven’t seen my parents for almost half a year. But, thanks to modern ways of communication were getting along just fine. They live in a different area, and as you know, there are certain limitations regarding traveling, which makes it a bit more complex for me to see my family in real life. My parents are retired, so the pandemic didn’t seem to impact their financial well-being. Right now, they’re most likely chilling in their summer house by the sea and drinking wine while watching the sunset.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined heartbeat.
Artem Astakhov: I joined heartbeat a bit over a year ago while looking for a job in Odesa. I started as an intern helping with copywriting and translation tasks. It took just a couple of days for me to conclude that I have entered a pond of opportunities. In the beginning, It did, however, feel a little overwhelming. I wasn’t completely aware of everything that was going on in the startup world or how much impact a good design has on a digital product. The heartbeat team felt really inviting yet challenging, and I knew I was in the right place. I like the work rhythm between the teammates and the fact that everyone is on the same page. If I had a design or product-related question, chances are it would be answered quite swiftly. Right now, I’m responsible for the Account Manager role and help with establishing a common vision between our team and clients. Besides that, I help with marketing, content creating, “growthacking,” and other fun tasks.
How does heartbeat innovate?
Artem Astakhov: We innovate by helping SaaS companies reach a desired web presence on the market. Our clients find that investing in their Brand capital helps them look more credible to their customers, investors, and team. We also create interfaces for fintech and edtech platforms and mobile apps that feel familiar to the user or easy to get the hang of, even if it’s something completely new to the market.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Artem Astakhov: Since we’re completely remote, I would say that we’re feeling just fine. There is a variety of tools like Zoom, Slack, and others that clients feel confident with. Although, when it all started in 2020, we did see a negative mood shift. It was a rather scary moment since, at that point, no one knew how exactly it would affect the digital world. There were only assumptions, and people needed some time to adjust to this new life scenario. In the end, things started to untangle as everyone soon realized that there are already a ton of solutions for communication, cooperation, and collaboration online. Businesses changed their mode of operation, now focusing more on remote work.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Artem Astakhov: Not really. To be honest, the only difficult moment was at the very start of the pandemic. No one really knew what to expect. Some of our clients felt the same way, and we lost a couple of them due to these circumstances. It did take about 2-3 months for that uncertainty to ease out.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Artem Astakhov: I will, of course, mention Figma. This is where all the magic happens. We love Figma for its versatility. It’s accessible for both parties and makes it so easy to collaborate. All you have to do is click on one link, and off you go. Whether it’s the client’s side or heartbeat, everyone can access a project file at any point in time. It’s also simple to update and maintain. For project management, we use Click Up, which in my opinion, has a functionality of a monster. The notion is used as more like our internal Wiki for storing strategic info or refining the way we approach sales, marketing, design, etc. Zapier is used to automate minor things between the services. Slack, Zoom, and Google Meet to communicate with our clients. Pipedrive is used as our main CRM.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Artem Astakhov: I will not point at any names, but there are many of them. Some of them are trying to be jacks of all trades. But we picked a specific niche that we are really good at and help digital product owners build and scale their visual identity to create a better user experience.
Your final thoughts?
Artem Astakhov: When speaking about the digital world, I feel that the pandemic gave it a considerable kick in the butt. People were forced to adapt their daily lives to this new reality. Our online medium has experienced a surge of new services, products, and business models that simply came because the ones in the real world needed to be replaced. And, of course, I would like to wish everyone to stay safe, healthy, and resilient.
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