08 October 2021
What was your big career break?
This would have been when I moved from being a developer to the CEO position at Parallels in 2003. At that time Parallels was a start-up and when I needed to run older OSes on newer PC hardware, I developed a solution which later became Parallels Desktop for Mac - a way to run Windows on Mac without rebooting. When Apple switched to Intel-based Mac computers in 2005, Parallels Desktop became famous virtually overnight.
One of my most memorable career moments was during a meeting with Apple to obtain approval for Parallels Desktop to join the Apple sales channel. Initially, some of the top execs were hesitant, then Steve Jobs joined the meeting and after firing some questions at me and my colleague, he simply said: “I think we should do it!”
Who was your hero when you were growing up?
When I was a kid, my hero was Bill Gates. When I was younger, I was always interested in computers and programming, which was something Bill Gates and I had in common. Like me, he wrote his first computer programme as a teenager and he went on to build the world’s largest software company and now works for good causes around the world through his foundation. He is an inspiration.
If you could live anywhere, where would you choose?
It might not be an exciting answer when you think of all the amazing locations around the world where it’s possible to live and work, but I’d have to say that I would always prefer to stay where I am based, in Moscow, Russia. It might not be Hawaii, Tokyo, Manhattan, Paris or Sydney, but Moscow is my hometown, it’s where my family live and it is the place where I learnt to code and built my career. It was in Moscow that I got an early career boost when I won the Russian National Software Development Competition at the age of 14. That was a memorable day!
What would you do with £1m?
I find technology start-ups very exciting environments to work in, so if I had £1million I would love to become an Angel investor and invest my money into a few early product start-up companies. It would be great to be able to work with them and hopefully see them succeed and then know that I was able to make a difference.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
If you’re in the middle of a heated discussion, the best advice is to pause and think again, especially if you feel like all you really want to do is to reply to your opponent(s) with hard words. If you don’t take this advice, you’ll probably regret what you said later.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked?
Probably to jump out of a plane. It was not something I ever had a burning desire to do but once I did it, I caught the bug and have since become a certified skydiver. It’s an unusual and exciting hobby!
If you had to work in a different sector, which one would you choose?
I think I’d always work in technology but if I had to choose a different sector I’d probably be working in the automotive industry. This is because it’s an extremely interesting area and has many similarities to software engineering. Vehicles can be almost like complex computers nowadays and I think I would enjoy the challenge.
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Both are fantastic and legendary bands, but I am definitely more a fan of the Beatles, although I couldn’t possibly tell you which is my favourite song as John and Paul wrote far too many great ones to choose from.
What’s the one thing you must do before it’s too late?
I don’t really have a ‘bucket-list’ of things I feel I must do before I am no longer able. I am lucky because for me, the most important thing to do is something that I already do every day, and that is to kiss my wife and daughter, so they always know how much I love them. My family is the most important thing in the world to me and when I’m not working, I spend all the time I can with them.
What law would you most like to change?
I’m going to go with a slightly out of the box choice and say Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the law states that every physical mass attracts every other physical mass by a force acting along the line intersecting them. The force is proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Make sense?