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Michael Kechinov: ‘It’s All About Motivation’

Published: March 28, 2014 (Issue # 1803)



  • Michael Kechinov uses HackDay to bring together the Russian tech community and help drive innovation forward.
    Photo: For SPT

Michael Kechinov is the founder of REES46, an Internet service for e-commerce and co-founder of Coffeelab, an early-stage internet-startup accelerator. An expert in recommending systems and personalization services, Kechinov posses a wealth of experience and often acts as a CTO for the various companies he is involved in. His development studio has played a remarkable role in the development of the Russian startup-community as the organizer of HackDay, a marathon 48-hour event where participants workshop prototypes of projects before presenting them to colleagues, experts and investors.

Michael Kechinov’s Web Development Studio has been involved with HackDay from the very beginning — uniting managers, designers, interface developers, programmers, marketing and PR specialists, and all those who have ideas for Internet-based projects but no team to implement them.

HackDay is a high-pressure project development lab that has attracted many adherents with its no- nonsense aim of fast and effective project development. The events typically start on a Friday evening when participants announce their ideas and assemble the teams they will work with over the next two days. Saturday and Sunday are devoted to prototype development and discussions with mentors, and on Sunday evening prototypes are presented.

Always challenging, HackDay is a necessary right of passage for anyone interested in cutting-edge technologies and has helped foster a thriving innovation community in Russia.

The St. Petersburg Times sat down with Mikhail Kechinov, whose studio has been involved in the event since it first launched in Russia in 2009.

Related: Spartak Sobolev - Raising Risk Awareness

Q: How did you initially come to be involved in HackDay?

A: The first HackDay was brought to Russia from the U.S. by Yury Livshitz of Yahoo. We were mere participants. After that first experiment, everyone was so excited that Yury offered anyone who was interested to continue the experiment and see where it would lead. There were 14 co-organizers at the beginning, all ready to commit resources, but only four of them remained on board by the time the second HackDay rolled around. The second HackDay was a tremendous success. Over 400 people attended the event at ITMO [the St. Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics] and it was amazing to see all those folks coming in to work for free on their days off. That was the beginning of the new format, back in December 2009. It was a pure IT event, with people from various spheres: accountants, university professors and so on.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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