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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

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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