Founder Tips. Kirill Novikov, Founder and CEO of Kodix Studio

    “Founder’s Tips” once again introduces Megamind readers to the stars of the Russian IT market, the founders and managers of their own business.

    Today’s hero of our regular column is Kirill Novikov. As he says himself, his biography is short and does not contain high-profile stories and cases in large companies. From 2003 to 2008, Cyril went from being a content manager to head of web development at various web studios. And in 2008, together with classmate Ivan Pipchenko, who had gone through a similar career path, founded the Kodix studio , which partners are developing to this day. Kodix today is one of the market leaders in custom web development with core competencies in auto-retail, e-commerce and corporate portals.

    We talked with Cyril largely because such a rapid rise web studio has not seen for a long time. Over the past year, Kodix has significantly strengthened its position in industry ratings such as Runet Rating , AdIndex and Ruward .

    Stay at the start of the journey

    It seems to me that this is the main driver of business development. In 2008, there were two of us and we just wanted to make a couple of cool sites, get a couple of regular customers and modestly earn a living without working “uncle”, and calm down on that. After a year, 20 regular customers and 5 employees already seemed childish. And then this was repeated from year to year, despite a steady annual growth of 50% -100%. Having reached the TOP-10 of web developers and under 50 employees in the seventh year of Kodix’s life, which was not even a plan a year earlier, we again believe that we have not achieved anything yet and our journey is just beginning. Squeeze the experience from the path traveled, but convince yourself at every moment of time that you are more likely to set off than have already arrived. Do not let past successes let you relax, feeling like a business guru.

    Go to the goal

    Business without a goal is a walk, business with a goal is a journey. Both options are possible, the difference in scale and significance for you, for the team, for the client. In fact, the goal can be almost any, I do not believe that there are right or wrong goals. The goal is just a spark that kindles motivation, concentrates efforts, allows you to make the only right one out of a hundred possible decisions. Or wrong, but ultimately no less valuable. One thing is true: the larger the target, the greater the spark.

    Learn from mistakes, do not try to repeat success

    Failure is a much better teacher than success. Moreover, personal failures teach better than strangers, and examples of others' successes are more insidious than their own experience. The child, having burned himself on the stove, will know that this is no longer worth doing, and, quite possibly, will save his life. But after successfully taking 12 steps into the river, on the 13th he can get into the pit and drown, and will do it even more cheerful and confident if someone crossed this river in front of him. Be inspired by someone else's success, but do not try to repeat it. Move at exactly the speed that will allow you to be aware of your mistakes and draw conclusions from them, and they will form your unique path in business. Never repeat mistakes twice and demand the same from your team.

    Don't be afraid to say no.

    Often, success lies not in doing something, but in abandoning something. Feel free not to take on projects that are uninteresting to you or will not lead you to the goal, say “No” to clients or investors who do not value your product and believe that you should work for free, say “No” to careless employees who are incapable or unwilling to develop together with the company. Myself, too, often say “No”, whenever you want to do less and even more than planned, as well as something that does not bring you closer to your goal. As Peter Drucker said: "There is nothing more useless than effectively doing what you don’t need to do at all."

    Count money honestly

    It’s important to consider the money in the smallest detail from the very beginning, to understand your own cost, to understand where you earn and where you lose. Clearly consider your costs in order to know how much this or that project or product cost you. Firstly, it is very disciplining, and secondly, it helps to quickly understand what you do best, what you should refuse, and what should be pumped. In a competitive environment, the temptation to make concessions, lower the price, or even do something for free is high. However, working on the verge and below the level of profitability, you run the risk of sinking, for which the client who received the discount is unlikely to thank you. If you still do not count money, comforting yourself that it is coming — know that up to half of what you are doing now brings you net losses. At the same time, you should not work only for money. This approach will almost inevitably build your processes bypassing the creation of value for the client, which will not lead to success in the long run. The temptation is great to cut loot with a margin of 1000% for technology that no one has yet mastered. You will earn, but others will soon master it, make it better and cheaper, and you will remain overboard, because too far gone by the “expensive and bad”, and your title of pioneer will not save you. Rolling out a double price for a project is simply because you have become famous and the “client is free” - the path is also fraught with great disappointment. Superprofits corrupt. and you will stay overboard, because too far gone by the “expensive and bad”, and your title of pioneer will not save you. Rolling out a double price for a project is simply because you have become famous and the “client is free” - the path is also fraught with great disappointment. Superprofits corrupt. and you will stay overboard, because too far gone by the “expensive and bad”, and your title of pioneer will not save you. Rolling out a double price for the project is simply because you have become famous and the “client is free” - the path is also fraught with great disappointment. Superprofits corrupt.

    Part with people

    Imagine a football team where the striker looks cool, but runs slowly and cannot score a goal, the goalkeeper is kept only because he is a friend of the coach and went to the same kindergarten with him, and the defender can never come in time for the start of the game. What are the chances for such a team to reach the final of the major league? For a long time, we were also under the illusion that a poor employee can prove himself, change or make a breakthrough in his work, you just need to give him time and motivate him correctly, because finding him a replacement will not be easy and he knows the product / technology / client / just so well guy and worked in the company for X years (underline as necessary). Bullshit. Years later, I had to admit that people do not change, the old dog cannot be taught new tricks, and if you have doubts about someone, they will come true. So be decisive and quickly change the team of those who do not live up to your expectations. Thus, as a result of cruel natural selection, only those who truly share your philosophy and keep your pace will remain under your banners. This is your team, and it is these people that should be motivated and invested in their development.

    Limit yourself

    Advice is extremely important for founders - immigrants from developers, as a frequent example. Many inspire respect for stories about people who worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course, we started with this, but if I knew then what I am aware of now, we would grow much faster. Your task is not to redo all the matters, controlling everyone and completing everything for everyone, because “you want the best — do it yourself”, but to build a working structure and processes in which employees are completely responsible for the entrusted piece of work. The more you control a person, the less he thinks for himself. Almost never this is immediately possible - for a long time you will have to combine many roles, but it is important not to miss the moments of transition to a new level - both yours and yours - and after not returning back, not rushing to add code for the developer, invoice for the account, no matter how burning hands do it, they say, "Now all my labors will collapse." Without limiting your own resources (in particular, time), you unconsciously, under the guise of “management,” begin to make decisions for employees and thereby undermine business growth. Proper management is to ensure conditions in which everyone can achieve goals with their own mind, and the price of possible errors will be as low as possible.

    Look in the mirror

    A manager of any level is the reason for the successes and failures of the entire part of the company below. The project failed not because of a poor developer, but because the manager did not recognize his worthlessness on time; not because of a bad manager, but because of the inability of the department head to develop his skills; not because of the poor manager of the department, but because of the director, who set the goals incorrectly and motivated him.
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