Ready-made solutions # 1. Dorji Tsydenov

    Away - Dorji Tsydenov
    Presenter - Sergey Gorshenin

    Hello, friends, colleagues! The INFOSTART.RU community team has prepared a surprise: today we present a series of podcasts called "Ready-made solutions." As part of this program, we will invite experts from our industry to our studio who will share their secrets and professional experience. And today I am doubly pleased to introduce our guest. Many know him under the nickname Support, many know him as the general director of Infostart, and I know him as Dorji Tsydenov. Dorji, hello!

    Hello Sergey! Hello colleagues!

    Chronological note

    Tsydenov Dorzhi Valerievich was born in Leningrad in 1977, studied at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Physics, since 2000 - 1C programmer, subsequently manager of major automation projects, including the Alliance leather goods factory and Velikoluksky Dairy combine ". In 2006, he founded the community INFOSTART.RU, General Director of Infostart LLC, lives and works in St. Petersburg.

    Start preparation

    Dorji, I have a first question for you: do we know that you are the founder of the company, do you know that you are the General Director of Infostart LLC, tell us about yourself and what happened before?

    I, like all the main participants in our community, started as a 1C programmer. In the last courses of the university, he went to work in a franchisee firm and automated a small business, faced with a retail network of pharmacies, automobile enterprises, and construction organizations. Gradually grew up as a specialist, and this became my profession. Then I went into larger projects. The first such large-scale project was the automation of the Alliance Leather Factory, and the last was Velikoluksky Dairy Plant.

    That is, can you say that even then you had the idea of ? was initially launched as a commercial project. Moving from one project to another, I programmed, one might say, a universal reporting package, as well as a database tool. And from project to project, the tool was being improved, and at some point I realized that I want to make a circulation solution that can be sold. Then the Internet was just developing, and I realized that this is a new sales channel. This was the impetus. I searched for a name for a long time, looked for a free domain so that the domain name and company name match. Although the Internet was small, all pre-letter domains of popular words were already taken. Even Artemy Lebedev did not disdain this, was engaged in cybersquatting, took the domains “spoon”, “plate”. Two-letter domains were not yet occupied, so I took information technology - the word “Info” and “start”,

    About the advent of the Internet in Russia

    We have now touched on the topic of the Internet of that time. Do you remember when you first came across the Internet?

    This is a unique technology, as you know. Even science fiction writers could not assume that this would happen. And this, it turns out, was the end of the 90s. And I studied, just went to university. My friends and I, three friends, took off $ 100 each and bought the first computer for three, that is, I had it for one week, my friend for one week, and the third for another week. And then the Internet had to go through a modem, dial up to some phone number, buy a card from the metro. Then for the first time we discovered the Internet.

    Yes, it will be difficult for our children to believe this when they have three or four gadgets. And what was Infostart dedicated to then, was it rather a thematic site, or a tool?

    It turns out that Infostart as a company was registered in 2004. Already 10 years ago. For two years I was lying on my desk, but my product was being prepared, and I realized that my main expenses for making it run were not in the actual programming, but in the promotion of the solution. Competent marketing - to deliver a product to the end user in a quality manner - was expensive. It was this understanding that gave impetus to the creation on the basis of the website of a certain community, in order to unite all commercial authors who will place their software products within one platform, and to attract potential consumers to this platform already.


    Did you have a team, or were you one for all?

    You could say that it was practically a hobby, because it was the main job: automation of enterprises, only at that moment I was engaged in food distributors, and in parallel I had a project site on which my own solutions were sold, and other solutions also started to be sold third-party developers.

    Do you remember any difficulties or difficulties at the initial stage?

    Difficulties? I can say that there were no particular difficulties. At first, a bet was placed on the sale of advertising, but it turned out that the audience of programmers to advertisers is not particularly interesting. In general, the industry was just developing, and as such sales over the Internet were rare. Income was not enough for normal development. For several years I have been building up some potential, that is, creating a user base, a development base. And only, probably, in 2012 I was able to monetize all this.

    About the first successes

    Monetization is good, but maybe there were some other successes in six months, a year? Anything to say "yes, we have achieved some success." Perhaps a certain number of visitors or a certain number registered on the portal.

    Well, of course! When I launched the project, we rejoiced at the first 100 visitors. When the counter outgrew 100 visitors per day, we even had a celebration and celebrated. Then the number of visitors exceeded 1000 people a day, and we also noted this, and then, when there were several thousand ...

    Sorry, but what about 100 visitors? Is it registered or logged in?

    Visitors throughout the day. 100 people visited the site a day - this was an event for us.

    I am a programmer in the past, and I remember that in addition to Infostart, there were a number of other similar sites. There was a forum that still lives, there was a forum of Stanislav Mitichkin “”, there was a forum Proclub. How did Infostart differ from all these sites?

    At that time, all of our colleagues on the Internet mainly talked on forums, but we provided a platform where you can post files and communicate, and moreover, in 2006, several social know-how was applied, which are now considered standard fact. I say that initially in 2006, when we opened it, we immediately came up with a “like” system: one user could give the other one point (“+1”) for publishing it. Surprisingly, it worked.

    As far as I remember, these were stars.

    We displayed them in the form of stars, or pluses. You could put +1 or -1. It might not surprise anyone with such technology now, but at that time it was quite difficult to get these votes, it was a kind of asset that could not be repeated. A person is registered on the site, places the program, someone likes it, they vote for the program. How many “pluses”, so many people cast their votes, and it’s impossible to fake it.

    In fact, this is a system of a certain rating, moreover, a social one.

    There is still this rating on our site, there are TOP-100 authors. Since 2006, they accumulate these "pluses". As experience and time have shown, thanks to this rating system, quite interesting and unique solutions come up.

    About community cohesion

    You talked about the community before. Infostart differs from many similar portals by cohesion. As far as I remember, you even spent club trips, with the guys you went out somewhere for a vacation, held meetings in St. Petersburg. Can you tell a few words about this?

    Yes, when we started to unite all members of the community, we held meetings not only on-line, but also in off-line. We went out for picnics, rode a catamaran in the Gulf of Finland, even arranged the first bowling championship with the name "Do not automate the balls to ride."

    That's very curious: because when you launched the portal as a commercial product, you had to imagine the image of a potential audience. Was that image very different from people with whom you already met live?

    My main audience is 1C programmers, just like me, so we speak the same language. In general, I think that programming is creativity, in any case, I attribute programmers to the creative class, because these are people who, from nothing, like artists and sculptors, create a certain object - a program. Not for nothing that in the fourth chapter of the Civil Code, programs are equated with literary works, and it would probably be worth mentioning Leo Tolstoy, who said "If you can not write, don’t write." So a programmer, he cannot but write programs. He always creates, he is a creator who, like an artist or sculptor, creates some kind of entity.


    Based on the foregoing, is it possible to compare Infostart with a certain gallery where the results of creativity are located?

    Yes, Infostart is at the initial stage, and now it is a gallery for programmers, where they, as artists, come and exhibit their work. The launch site offered users after registration the opportunity to place their program on the community court, which was in demand, everyone accepted the rules of the game and began to participate.

    On moderation and the "Court of Public"

    You just said that you can submit your development to the public immediately, that is, there was no moderation?

    There was no pre-moderation, there was a certain post-moderation. I was looking through new material, and if there really was any kind of spam, I deleted it. But at that time there were neither “trolls” nor “haters”. The new platform for communication was received with a bang, no one really hooliganized, so moderation was minimal.

    From Web 2.0 to the Edge of Progress

    By the way, I just opened the About site page on the portal and it says that Infostart is a professional automation community. We addressed the issue of community. Can you tell when the site and users really grew into a community? After all, the community is something more.

    Yes, Infostart was originally just a development catalog and was built on the ideology of Web 2.0: it was a fashionable name in the last decade for sites that are organized according to the principle of user content generation, that is, users fill it themselves. That is, any user could register on and add their content, which other participants discuss. We tried to be progressive and I understood that there wasn’t enough personal messages, groups for further communication ... Participants demanded more functionality, so when we switched to 1C-Bitrix, and 1C-Bitrix then released a special module “social network”, we were the first to take Beta version and on this Beta worked out their Infostart. And when the official release of Bitrix came out, the next day all the functionality of Infostart were rolled out, and even in the first Bitrix social media module press releases, our company was featured as an example. In general, Infostart has always been at the forefront of progress, even now we have launched a redesign based on an adapted site. Now not all sites have adaptation.

    Can you tell us more about this?

    An adapted site is a site that is built on the principle that it looks correct on any device.

    Well, that is, I will have a tablet, it will look correct, if I have a phone, it will adapt to the phone.

    The same optimized for iPhone, on a laptop - this is the third view, and on a large monitor you can make a fourth. And all this at one address. That is - there is no mobile version, there is no regular version. One version that adapts to any device.

    About baggage of accumulated knowledge

    Returning to the topic of the differences between Infostart and other similar sites, the question arose: there was a moment when you announced that all banned users can return to the site and continue communication there without any repressive actions. Where did these banned users come from?

    At first, communication was, so to speak, chamber. We were few, we placed programs, developed. In order to grow further, it was necessary to use other methods, that is, those who wanted to share their programs had already shared, and there was a situation that the content accumulated on Infostart was no longer appreciated, because it was free and available without restriction. And then I came up with a kind of system that called for "sharing your own, to get someone else's." In the end, now all the authors who are present on the site who created their publications, fully get access to all the accumulated knowledge. Not everyone understood this moment.


    Do I understand correctly that this should have become a kind of driver for further growth?

    Yes. It has become a driver. Something like the principle of an early torrent: "give it away to download from others." This is about the same, only Infostart has a virtual currency, and a certain measure: what you shared, you can download as much from other users. Just this served as a growth driver, but divided the community into 2 camps: those who suddenly began to hate Infostart, and those who adopted the new rules of the game. Naturally, as history has shown, this was the right decision. Now in the Infostart catalog there are more than 30,000 reports and processes, one way or another accumulated during this time.

    As I understand it, this is not counting the various thematic articles and threads on the forum.

    It is all together. There can be several files in one publication, but there are just articles, without files. A total of about 30,000 files. And all are complete, ready-made solutions that can be downloaded for your task.

    About the new INFOSTART.RU services

    Good. Continuing the topic of innovations on the site: I remember that not so long ago you presented new sections on the site: “Jobs” and “Companies”. Can you tell us more about them? What is it, and most importantly - what can it give end consumers?

    We are developing further as a community, and a long time ago the question arose of opening a section for job search, and we opened 4 new sections: “Jobs”, “Resume”, “Projects” and “Companies”. I recently wrote a detailed article about this on Infostart, but now I will briefly say. "Vacancies" is a classic service of vacancies, naturally, with the specifics of searching for specialists in 1C.

    That is, this is a certain local site for finding vacancies on Infostart.

    Yes. The resumes that we have posted have a social rating that has been accumulated over the years. And all the profiles have turned into a portfolio of applicants. In the section “Vacancies” there is a search for specifics of 1C, that is, you can specify the platforms for which you are looking for an employee, the configurations that he needs to know are the same in “Summary”. Then a whole section "Projects" for freelancers, there you can leave applications for remote development, as well as tenders, contests. We are developing in different directions.

    In 2006, you focused mainly on programmers, and who is Infostart now focusing on? I understand that not only programmers are users of the site.

    Yes, it seems that almost all 1C programmers know about Infostart, and are registered there anyway. Confirmation is the fact that every year we gather a full room at the conference. 2 mailings are enough for 500 people to come from all over Russia and the CIS countries, and therefore we want to further popularize the entire accumulated knowledge base, the entire catalog, towards the user. Just recently launched new tariffs, just user-oriented. For example, the Accountant tariff plan includes technical support from our side, that is, we are ready to advise on the solution found, select a solution from the catalog for the existing task, and even this is not all: Infostart is ready to help with the installation and implementation of this solution.

    About INFOSTART EVENT: how to gather 500 people in 2 months

    Now you mentioned that you invite 500 people to the Infostart conference. Not many even large Internet portals can boast of such a large-scale event. How did you manage to make such an event?

    We really did not plan. Previously, as I said, they met offline, but these were informal meetings. I understood that people have a need for professional communication, and at some point the idea came to bring together all the industry experts. To bring together virtual experts who are popular on the portal, and invite participants. I thought we’ll recruit 50-100 people, and this is the glory of God. But when we announced the start of sales, literally in a week we had 150 tickets sold out, and people continued to call and leave applications so that we would accept them. And the room where they planned to hold the event was not designed for such a number of guests.

    I remember that it was a whole movie theater.

    No, at first it was a small coworking center on Ligovsky. Then, when we realized that demand exceeds the number of seats in the hall, we quickly found our way around and found a nearby venue, it turned out to be the Colosseum - a concert hall on 100 Nevsky, which seats 600 people. We continued sales and literally in a week brought together another 150 participants, and then another 150. It turns out that the first conference was assembled in a month and a half. This is from idea to implementation. That is, a month and a half we discussed the idea, prepared, two weeks later announced a set, and a month later we had 500 people.

    Translated into business terminology, the payback is very high.

    500 people came from all over Russia, Ukraine, from Kazakhstan, from Kyrgyzstan.

    So you can say this is even an international conference?

    Yes, I even said so at the opening address. It can rightfully be called the first international conference.

    About discontent and haters

    This is an example of some very positive innovation, which was accepted by the community with a bang, but were there situations when some innovations had to be canceled due to massive discontent?

    Due to massive discontent? That's when there was monetization, when the “startmani” virtual currency was introduced, then I realized that the unit of exchange is money invented by humanity. They haven’t come up with anything more universal, so inside of my world I came up with virtual money - “start money”, and this was the very currency with which it was estimated how much the file was in demand. Download from you, which means you can download the same amount from others. And then, when the internal structure of the entire catalog was breaking down, then, of course, supporters and opponents appeared. Most accepted, but some did not want to accept.


    Is there still some kind of division, or have opponents got loyalty?

    I was worried about this, but then I read the words of Guy Kawasaki - this is the evangelist and ideologist of Apple. He said that the world must be polarized, otherwise there will be no product, it’s okay that there are those who do not like this product, because on the opposite side there are those who love. And those who love your product, they will love even more, because there are haters.


    In fact, without one there would be no second.

    Yes, therefore, the polarization of the world is, one might say, the business task of any brand. I once read one message on the forum: “I used to visit Infostart every day, talked on the forum, and now only to find something for work.” So he wrote me in reproach. But in fact, this is the best praise, because I created the resource that he needs to work. In order to communicate and read jokes, there are tons of other sites. But if the site is needed for work, you will use this service. That is, I created a certain value that will be used regardless of my attitude.

    About the Blue Oceans

    I can’t disagree here, because one of my colleagues recently asked me, having his nickname and account, to simply download a file to him, that is, a trifle, it would seem, but probably nice. In general, you, as a founder, have already passed the ten-year milestone of your “child” ...

    ... I want to note that not 10 years, but 8 more, because the official opening was in 2006. In 2004, the company was registered as a legal entity, so I still consider the date of birth of the site as a community 2006th. In 2 years, there will be 10 years for the community, and we will probably be celebrating this event. But it’s too early to speak, we must live.

    Well, imagine that you are celebrating a decade and a young beginner asks you a question: “Is it difficult to create a website or a startup like” What would you answer him?

    This is a difficult question, of course, now there are different budgets. The only thing I can advise novice startups is to look again for the blue ocean. Brand new niches that are not occupied by anyone. We, too, are not far behind, for example, we launched this series of video podcasts, take an example from us.


    To the question of the blue ocean: I remember that for a long time the Beta logo hung on the site, now it is not there. Is it possible to say that the site has reached its peak?

    Well, the Beta badge is such a fashionable chip. There was an ideology that we never stand still, develop and never become a finished product, and we always have a beta version. It came from America.

    It is rather the ideology of a programmer. I remember when I was a programmer there was always a feeling that there is something that can be changed and improved in your product.

    Yes, any software product can be called Beta. The site is also a kind of software product, we also created it, it was also in a state of Beta. Fashion has passed - we removed this icon, but still we continue to constantly develop, do not stand still. Almost every week we release a new feature to improve the functionality and appearance of the site; recently, for example, we made a mobile video section. I just recently launched not just a newsletter, but a blog where I will share news.

    About personal blog

    So this is a personal blog?

    I’m writing something all the time: either articles on the site, then messages on social networks, then I talk about innovations in the newsletters. But all this is rather fragmented, and I thought that I need to create one channel through which I will communicate with my users. Well, since I am the first person of the company, I will personally tell everyone on my own behalf about what's new and write on my own details: why it was done, how it was done, for what.

    About Thanks

    And, perhaps, perhaps, the last question for today - can you recall two or three moments when someone said words of gratitude to you - namely gratitude - for the fact that Infostart was created?

    In general, you rarely hear gratitude, but ... No, why? It was. Infostart actually changed a lot of fates, because at a recent conference a colleague came up to me and warmly thanked me, saying that thanks to Infostart he had developed, found a niche for his commercial product, quit the company, and started selling his commercial product, created his own company, hired employees already and now he came to our conference to learn how to manage them.

    That is, in fact - he found his blue ocean.

    In principle, any commercial development that exists on Infostart is a small niche, many small niches in which the authors of these solutions find their implementation. Again - any software product can be improved, because there is no limit to perfection. For example, there is such a product on the site, called the “Alcohol Declaration”, taking into account all changes in the legislation with alcohol. The author released this product one of the first and very successfully occupied this niche. And indeed: it is almost a large software package that solves all the problems associated with the alcohol declaration: unloading, downloading, reporting, automatic updating, etc. You just need to find this niche. Each development on the site is a small startup.


    Today, the guest of the studio was Dorji Tsydenov, the founder of Infostart. The Ready-made Solutions program was with you, and I, Sergei Gorshenin. The end of the procedure.

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