We talked to Marina Gluschenko of Vizart about big data visualization during the pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marina Gluschenko: The whole family feels great at home. Of course, it is not easy for those who live alone, especially for the elderly. But keeping the schedule and fitness workouts make you feel more energized.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vizart.
Marina Gluschenko: Back in the day, I decided to leave the corporate world and started my own business. In 2016 we opened an office in NY, and this did not require lots of investments. Over the years of work in broadcast television, we have accumulated knowledge and contacts that allowed us to start creating graphics on our own.
How does Vizart innovate?
Marina Gluschenko: We follow trends, generate ideas, hire programmers, and create new products, specializing in data visualization, augmented reality, and VR.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marina Gluschenko: COVID-19 did affect our business, I am afraid. We had to lay off several employees. Others moved home their workstations and comfortable armchairs. We lack synergy in communication. The number of projects has decreased significantly. We did some pro-social work – developed a map of coronavirus pandemic spread, and we publish the data every week. We created a video for Halloween with a healthy dose of irony. We are writing an educational program on data visualization. And most importantly, we are supporting our friends and colleagues a big time when they are ill.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marina Gluschenko: The difficult choice is to fire people. Parting is hard for us because the team has grown over the years with an increasing trend. And now we cannot offer positions any longer, and we cannot support our colleagues, unfortunately. As far as lessons learnt – you need to do everything you can to act very quickly while it is relevant, treat your time as this is the last day of your life, breathe deeply, enjoy everything that’s possible to enjoy, and love what you do and people around you.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Marina Gluschenko: We throw Zoom parties, we drink alcohol. We read and watch lots of movies. We are passionate about professional growth and generate different ideas and proposals. This leaves no time for anything else but sex, of course 🙂
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marina Gluschenko: Competitors are the same studios as us. Many of them are not in business since November, and this is very sad because there is strength for growth in the competitive struggle. We are not planning anything at the moment. We are just working and looking for projects, talk on the phone and Zoom, and the hope is with us. And obviously, we had to reduce salaries by 30% for those who stayed in the company…
Your final thoughts?
Marina Gluschenko: We could never imagine that we would put ourselves in a cage out of fear and illness, that our connections will collapse and that aggression and apathy will grow at the same time. And no one had the experience of how to deal with all of this. Especially children, they are separated from the communication environment, and they have to study remotely in order to receive knowledge. On the other hand, the families got to know each other better and started to take care of their kids much more. And most of all, the dogs were lucky. Their owners are constantly home, others were picked up from the shelters and were given a new life, and home and I hope this will last beyond the pandemic period.
Pharmaceutical companies were lucky, and those who quickly began to adjust in that industry as well – manufacturers of masks and vaccines, those who opened laboratories for tests and received government contracts and funding. But we are looking forward to the joy of trips to our favorite countries and resorts, meetings with our friends from other continents. We’ll get through this with some oats and toilet paper in stock. Mild forms to us!
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