We talked to Slava Podmurnyi of Visartech about its 3D application development and COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Slava Podmurnyi: These times are difficult; indeed, luckily, all my family and friends are more or less OK.
Despite the disease fears, it is definitely harder for everyone in terms of work. Everything has shifted to the remote mode in a matter of days. I’m happy that in my company, we have established remote collaboration with our team members before the lockdown. I believe it helped many families to avoid big health and financial issues.
During the first few months, it was really hard psychologically. But on the brighter side, I spent more time with the family. Our house rituals were adjusted, and we’ve found a balance between work and family joy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Visartech.
Slava Podmurnyi: I’ve started my high tech career at the University. My first job was devoted to iOS apps development, Having a master’s degree in computer science.
After a few years, I’ve realized that making flat, simple apps is too boring for me. It was a hard time for my soul. I love engineering, it is in my blood, but I’ve realized that I cannot do this routine anymore.
That’s why I’ve started to seek inspiration in art. More precisely in 3D art, because 3D graphics allows you to remove the gap between reality and the online world. Supplementing it with special effects like AR, VR, or gamification, you can completely recreate the online user journey and make it as organic as possible. This is precisely the interactivity that inspires me now, and it’s a great way to express something complex in the easiest way possible. The biggest benefit is that you can share emotions.
Visartech Inc. was founded in 2010 and continues to grow in various directions: team, services, and global clientele. Believe me, no crisis can stop this tendency!
How does Visartech innovate?
Slava Podmurnyi: This is a pretty simple question for us.
As we do, innovate! Moreover, it is the core value of our company. This is exactly what makes it possible for us not only to stay in the market but to grow in such an uncertain time.
As a matter of fact, when we wanted to increase the involvement of all team members in the company life, we have developed our own application – Wizardtech. It includes gamification elements and allows every employee to gather bonuses for extra activities that eventually could be exchanged for presents. Also, we have configured various chatbots related to vacations, day-offs, etc. At our core, we always use the latest technologies available on the market.
Our company maintains a similar vision to our clients and business partners. Basically, we help businesses to transform processes into the digital world. So innovative technologies are the inevitable choice. It would be weird to do otherwise, as no one buys an older car when it is time to update a vehicle – we all try to buy at least a younger one or even a new car. Some companies transform the businesses entirely, some try to avoid bottlenecks, but all those projects are united in a passion for using something new, futuristic, experimental to improve the current situation.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Slava Podmurnyi: To be fair, this year has been the most dramatic one in our business life whatsoever. So many emotions, smiles, and tears.
I think it is better to make a small retrospective, to show the whole drama.
The Q1 was really good and promising. The forecast showed pretty good growth.
But the Q2 has turned everything upside down. We have lost a few key projects, and there were no new inquiries, maybe only a few of them. Because of fear for the future, several core engineers have left. This situation has created a vacuum at some points.
Q3 was the weirdest calendar quarter of my life. We were in a pretty big mess at the beginning of it. In the middle, we’ve signed a lot of new deals – there were so many inquiries. Everyone started to overwork a lot, as for some reason, it was hard to find new talents. To be honest, it is still hard. The overwork was too high. I saw how people are burning out. That’s why we’ve started to build better processes than we had before, and it helped to optimize the flow a lot.
In Q4, we just proceeded with what we’ve started at the end of Q3. Let me be honest, so far, the achievements are great.
Actually, the company grew two times.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Slava Podmurnyi: Speaking of this year, it is exceptionally representative of many business and personal choices. Business is a complex path. It is connected to risks and full of difficult choices. This year we took a bunch of them. In a matter of seconds, there were so many fires and unexpected events that I just decided not to be nervous. You see the problem, solve it, no emotions involved. Such an approach helped a lot. When you work for 12-16 hours a day, you treat issues as just tasks.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that we are all humans, and sometimes we require a small reboot to just enjoy your life as it is. I’ve personally been burned out a few times, and I saw how other extremely strong players were burned out as well. But those occasions motivate us to change operations, remain focused and productive, and at the same time avoid overheating. We’ve reviewed the whole business concept. Now we help our talents more than ever, as only together we can make it through. It gives confidence that you’re not alone, and there is always someone who can help you rescue from any situation.
I think it is a common thing during any crisis, especially this one. We are not the only ones; most companies made similar moves towards assisting and teaming up with each other.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Visartech in the future?
Slava Podmurnyi: Haha, stress, anxiety – never heard of it…It is not true, though.
This year has been really scary, never cried for so much as during this year.
But I’ve found a good recipe for any problem – just work through it, do something and resolve it or try at the very least. If you cannot solve it immediately, switch and come back for another trial in a while. You can also team up with everyone who honestly wants to help.
Regarding the future, I think it is bright. Hopefully, the corona crisis will be over soon enough. At least we know what to do with it now. The vaccine will take some time to go into effect. But we have it, right? Isn’t it the good news already?
For our company, I’m pretty sure that the lessons we took this year will help us to grow and deliver better services in the future. From a technology standpoint of view, we are solid. Things like VR/AR, AI, Social networks, Interactive apps, and backend ecosystems will soar according to all forecasts, with pretty good CAGR values. For example, VR/AR will have a growth rate equal to 77% over the next five years, from $9 bln in 2019 to $140 bln in 2024. And this is only one of the directions in our company.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Slava Podmurnyi: We have competitors; it is a pretty big market. But to be honest, it is hard to call someone a competitor in our field.
I try to destroy that stereotype; it is better to be partners rather than competitors now. There is so much work outside that the only way to help our clients is to unite and help each other. As you can see, it is a totally different ascent of the game.
Our challenges are not to find work; our challenges are to sustain the same quality level as we had before the crisis. The whole market has realized that the digitalization of our everyday life is an inevitable process. That’s why we witness this growth. But at the same time, our mission is to help those companies to succeed because, in their field, you can easily die if you do nothing.
You can definitely be thrown out of the game, though only if you don’t care about your customers. Sometimes I exchange knowledge with some of our competitors over mutual meetings. It is way more efficient than to stay silent. No need to duplicate mistakes; it is better to avoid them.
Your final thoughts?
Slava Podmurnyi: It’s a tough time when we all should cooperate in order to stand out in these obstacles. No matter what’s happening outside, it is the only way to reduce the damage that we already experience.
We are still in the middle of the crisis. There are so many challenges ahead, but I hope we’ve learned our lessons, and it will help all of us to sustain.
I wish everyone to stay healthy! I believe that we will make it through!
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