Bloodlust: an interview with the founder of DonorSearch

    “Miracles happen when you risk everything for the sake of a dream that no one except you can see. You just need to believe. ”
    - Clint Eastwood, film“ Baby in a Million ”.
    Hi, Habr!

    I want to introduce you to Ruslan Shekurov , a graduate of the first philtech-accelerator flow, who, I think, solves the “impossible task” - to bring common sense and IT to the donation system in Russia.


    - How many liters of blood donated myself?

    - I myself have long been a donor. Due to the absolute contraindication - when to donate blood is no longer possible. To be a donor - you need to be healthy. The first time I donated blood as I was 18 years old. An exit team arrived at the university, and I thought it was a good opportunity to do something useful for society. Then he did not give in for a long time and did not even know about the importance of regular donations. And then I turned in again and they banned me — elevated bilirubin.

    - How and where are you looking for strength / energy to move forward? What do you feed your will?

    - This is the most difficult, there was a period in 2015-17, I constantly asked myself where I am - the road will be mastered by walking or the horse died - it fell down. But then he coped with the depression and worked out the rules that I follow when deciding how to respond to a new situation. I even speak with my lecture, but for now it is damp.

    I love science, and the candidate of chemical sciences himself. For myself, I have taken the following approach to life, which helps me to go forward and not worry already. All of us, humanity, are based on the discoveries of generations before us, and thanks to those people who invested additional capital in the knowledge of humanity. And in this I see the meaning of life - to actively create and promote ideas that you believe in. Or support the ideas of others who share. Actually, one way or another, we all do it in society. In active or passive mode. When we buy Nike sneakers, we quote thoughts from books, we attend exhibitions or concerts - we vote with our resources for ideas that we like.

    DonorSearch is my contribution to humanity. Probably erroneous (I may not be able to solve problems with donation), but this path may be the starting point for other solutions. How I rely on the work of such projects as the donor direction of the Gift of Life Foundation or Advita Foundation. As well as the fact that as students we did in Kazan - the base of students in XL, which we planned to ring up during requests for the search for donors. It was a distant 2008. Then there was a VKontakte boom, and in November 2010, he created a group to search for donors and until 2013, DonorSearch was only part of the VC.


    - What is the DonorSearch project?

    - At the moment, DonorSearch is an attempt to optimize the processes of involving and keeping young people in the ranks of regular donors. We have come a long way from the idea of ​​solving the problem of finding donors, when there are requests in runet to the largest community of blood donors in the post-Soviet space. And now the final stage of the project restart, which began in 2017.


    In fact, everything is quite simple - the visitor enters the site, magic happens and a desire to donate blood awakens in it. He registers on the site, goes to the blood center, donates blood there, leaves the blood center, uploads a photo of the donation certificate in his account — he gets access to bonuses from partners, virtual rewards and joy.

    - What is the next step in the project?

    - I would like to come to an online platform demanded by all participants in the blood donation market. From the citizens themselves - potential and existing donors, to the blood centers themselves, the Ministry of Health, NGOs and initiative groups in the regions, as well as businesses interested in promoting blood donors or simply supporting this important area.


    - What kind of help can you need from programmers / IT managers from Habr?

    - There are a lot of ideas and ideas on the project, both private solutions of problems on the okolononorskoy theme, not directly connected with the platform, and closely integrated into the DonorSearch project. These are the most varied tasks - from landings for testing hypotheses, and applications, preferably using the id service from DonorSearch, to processing data files using machine learning, predicting user behavior.

    For example, the main site is now landing, which does not work so well for the main task - user registration. And it would be good to create many different pages to run A / B testing. I want it to be not just a landing page - but an interactive page with useful dynamic information. And of course, the main thing is to be able to check how much the users like.

    The task of machine learning comes from the idea that you can find a common donor. Find what unites people who donate blood. What is the difference between regular and irregular donors? And using our impersonal data on users, their number of donations, learn to predict who will potentially become a regular donor and who will not.

    There is no money for everything, the project does not have monetization, and good specialists cost money, but amateurs sometimes take a lot of time, which also costs a lot. But I believe and sometimes I meet competent teams or single specialists who are interested in the task and they close the project question one-time.

    For example, a volunteer chat bot for VC helped us, now we have already updated it for the Facebook cart, but we can expand it further. To help us Happy Santa made an application to the day of the donor . Now, together with the Armenian team ArLoopa, we are preparing for VK Fest with an interactive game using augmented reality. It is a lot of ideas, there are no resources for all ideas.

    - How do you feel about open source and do you use this paradigm in your project?

    - I like the idea of ​​open source. I hope as soon as we finish the main functionality in the project, we will be able to lay out the source code, which can be improved and used by third-party developers. (While we settled on gitlab). But they also need to be viewed, and these are also separate costs, to monitor the repository. And I hope the community of developers will join the improvement of the code and the addition of new features.

    Now we are preparing API (authentication + GraphQL) and demonstration programs that use this API. At the moment, the API is currently available only for our own internal services (applications and bonus program). But in the future we plan to open it for third-party developers.

    - What are the 3 main problems with donation in Russia?

    - Fragmentation of blood centers. On the one hand, competition is the driving force of progress. On the other hand, the state has a monopoly on the admission of donors. And if in the regions, usually all blood centers are one, then in Moscow there are blood centers of urban significance, federal, transfusion stations at the hospital, regional. This leads to the need to choose which blood center to donate to the donor, although it would seem that since it is a monopoly, then why not make a format where the donor simply donates where it is convenient at the moment, then do not bother with certificates for collecting an honorary donor . But the lack of a unified system leads to a simultaneous shortage and an overabundance of blood even in one city. Because of this, novice donors may lose interest in donating. It seems to me that it is more logical that blood centers freely exchange information about donors and blood supplies among themselves.

    The same problem of fragmentation leads to another difficulty: Moscow is the most famous example. Honorary donors of Moscow can be obtained only by donating blood at the city level in the centers. And the privileges of the Labor Code are much tastier, and the main thing is to get it before the honorary donor of Russia. As a result, purely logically, it is more profitable for Muscovites to take in urban centers, from which the centers of the federal level, of course, in more difficult conditions. It is good that there are those who donate first of all for the sake of the desire to help.

    And an important problem that we are already solving is the ineffectiveness of communication with citizens. Over the years, it has become much better - positions have appeared on working with donors. There are very cool blood centers that work with their donors. But as a state structure, this part of the customer focus of the blood centers is slack. And we just undertake this task of engaging, retaining and communicating with donors (both existing and potential), because blood centers are transfusiologists who know their business very well, how to take, store and process blood, and load their relationship issues are not always logical.

    That is why we hope that the Blood Service in Russia will make the API open to third-party organizations. We have a motivation mechanic that includes analyzing user donations, and we check them manually, each donor certificate. It would be quicker if the donor could give consent to us to transfer his data on donations from the Blood Service to us. But while the Blood Service is against. Difficult when monopoly.

    - What is good with donation in Russia? In comparison with another world. What are you proud of, why aren't you ashamed?

    - In the country, more than 98% are donated. The World Health Organization recommends a transition to this type of donation. And the developed countries of Europe switched to this format. This means that the money allocated to the donor for donating blood is small and to compensate for food and travel. The transition to the free-of-charge system was not so simple and the difficulties of 2005-2010 were over.

    And, of course, people who work in blood centers. I communicate with different blood centers - and increasingly, these are pleasant professionals who understand and believe in the importance of their work.

    - What are the foreign analogues? Related projects?

    - I did not find any analogs by building a community of donors. But related projects of course this is the Blood Service - - a government project that has huge financial resources.

    There are also many foreign ones:

    Ukraine. - well done guys, in 2014 they created a complete analogue of our version of 2014, but then they went their own way, solving the same problem, in the context of their country.


    In India, startups that solve problems with donation appear and die each year: business-internet / start-up / 4546-poisk-donorov-krovi-cherez-facebook.html




    The project has been working since 2014, making the platform, but the results are still less impressive - only 7,500 participants. However, even such indicators allowed them, with the help of angel investors from the Startup Eskivel accelerator, to spend $ 50,000 to develop the platform. ($ 20,000 in the Startup Studio Monterrey Incubator). About the project wrote Mexican Forbes .

    In fact, a lot of projects. Some at the Red Cross of their country, some kind of state. In the UK, Australia, in general, in developed countries, everything is generally good with donation.

    - What interesting articles read from Habr?

    - I regularly read Habr, I love space, science. Occasionally, near-Donor themes will be posted later in DonorSearch ( one , two , three ). For example, news like Peter Thiel invests in a startup rejuvenation through blood transfusions of young donors.


    But I believe more in rejuvenation, through the editing of the genome. Old age is a program that is important for the survival of a population in the context of natural selection in changing conditions. And the renewal of the population is an important driver of such evolutionary selection. Humanity has emerged from this paradigm of progress, we ourselves can already adapt and adapt the environment to our conditions. This means that aging can be turned off.


    We also launched a bonus program for donors.
    And each company can give promotional codes with special offers that you can’t just google. We divided into three levels of bonuses - for all banned, for beginners (irregular) donors and for regular ones. Soon we introduce for the honorary.

    If you have promotional codes for your products or services, this can be a special discount, trial period, it can be games, free coupons for paid applications in the AppStore or PlayMarket. Glad to all.

    I hope to live when blood transfusion is no longer required.

    - Name the top 3 interesting articles on your prof. activities.

    - It is important to clarify - that my prof. Project activities are not blood donations (we do not deal with blood, we are engaged in the involvement and retention of donors, we motivate them to donate regularly). And I myself, in fact, the product owner and my task is to find resources, choose the direction of the project, collect feedback.

    Therefore, favorite articles are in the field of behavior psychology and management:

    I love the lectures of Professor Robert Sapolsky:

    - What science fiction books do you like and why?

    - I love space. I like the world of the Strugatskys, where humanity opens worlds, but does not interfere with their development. Almost like in the Star Trek universe. Only it seems to me, it is unlikely that civilizations that have entered the stage of colonization will suffer such nonsense as the war for the survival of biological sources of reason. We are already on the way to singularity, cloudy immortality. It would be naive to believe that in 100 years it will still be relevant for civilization to wage wars, we will rather destroy ourselves here if we cannot cope with this measles of the youth of civilization.

    - Fast forward to the future, in a positive scenario, in 20-30 years, how would you ideally be doing with the donation in your opinion?

    - My scenario is that blood transfusions from donors will no longer be required at all (it will be easy to synthesize blood, as well as organs).

    And before that there will be a period when platforms such as around the world will come to the format that every day the right number of donors with the right blood parameters for this blood center for this day will be brought to each blood center. What we strive for.

    - Which IT employees or technology entrepreneurs do you respect and why?

    - I have everything standard. Ilon Mask is my idol in the field of contribution to the technological development of mankind. Peter Thiel is also cool. If we talk about the Russian - at the hearing of course the Durov brothers. But it is important to note - I do not know much about these entrepreneurs as people. I can only admire the effect on society of their creations, without taking into account how and with what methods they have achieved this effect.

    - Tell an interesting case related to the DonorSearch project

    - Once Sergey Zhukov (“Hands Up!”) In the distant 2013 gave 6000 rubles for a project. It was very great that Sergey Evgenievich believed in the project.

    And more recently, we have received Prometheus at VK for a post on the topic Hip about Buckwheat and Coin .

    - Describe your most epic failure.

    - At the end of 2016, they finally quarreled within the team with the main developer, which nearly killed the project. I lost a lot of money and put all my money in order to move from the 2014 self-written platform to the modern framework. But it was important to transfer all the data correctly. I found a command that promised to restart my “simple project” in a couple of months. As a result, they spent half a year, launched a lot of data, in June 2017 instead of April. And I lost a few million traffic from VKontakte to the day of the donor 2017.

    Fortunately, other developers helped, a stronger team. Now we work with them and this spring launched a new version of the site.

    As a result, due to internal conflicts in the team and the search for competent and responsible performers, the project lost 2 years of life. Very sad and, of course, this is my responsibility as a project manager.

    - What role did philtech accelerator play?

    - For me, first of all, the accelerator is a new connection, networking.


    Meet new professionals who have seen many startups and teams. And therefore it is important that there is personal contact. First of all, people support people, and only then companies invest in the ideas of the founders.

    Filtech was distinguished by the fact that I heard least of all "this is not about money." The most frequent thing I was told when I participated in other startup startups. And here gathered experts who knew the specifics of the teams in advance, and it was useful for me to listen to their vision.

    150k that the Rybakov Foundation gave us at the end of 2017 helped me a lot by allowing us to close debts on the project. At the right time and the right amount.


    - What would you like to say to potential / future investors of the project?

    “From the experience of communication, I understand that this project is not a potential Unicorn.” There will be no type history to invest a million to get a billion.

    But I know for sure that the project has the potential to cover all the donors of the RuNet first, and this is already about 6 million people. And then the whole world - the problem is urgent for developing countries. In India, the potential is 4% of billions of people. 40 donors per 1000 population recommends WHO countries for a sustainable donation system.

    Now my task is to make the project financially sustainable. Learn to engage a business that is interested in working with donor audiences.

    But these are people older than 18 years old and, more often, more responsible, kindly conscious ones than the national average.

    I believe that the main thing in investments is people - the team and active users. And by supporting the project, you support the people who believe in good ideas and are ready to change with the light of new technologies. It is important that whatever happens, we always know what to do:

    - Thank you, Ruslan, it was nice to talk!

    - welcome.


    #philtech (technology + philanthropy) is an open, publicly described technology that aligns the standard of living of as many people as possible by creating transparent platforms for interaction and access to data and knowledge. And satisfying the principles of filtech:

    1. Open and replicable, and not competitive proprietary.
    2. Built on the principles of self-organization and horizontal interaction.
    3. Sustainable and prospective-oriented, and not pursuing local benefits.
    4. Built on [open] data, rather than traditions and beliefs
    5. Non-violent and non-manipulative.
    6. Inclusive, and not working for one group of people at the expense of others.

    Philtech's social technology startups accelerator is a program of intensive development of early-stage projects aimed at leveling access to information, resources and opportunities.

    Chat in Telegram A
    community of people who develop filtech projects or are simply interested in the topic of technologies for the social sector.

    #philtech news
    Telegram channel with news about projects in the #philtech ideology and links to useful materials.

    Subscribe to the

    PS weekly newsletter

    Also popular now: