managing Partner at Standart NV Investment Banking, CEO at WEFUTURE LIMITED, show4me

Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Danil Privet

show4me x

Please tell us a bit about your background, what projects besides Show4Me are you working on?
There will always be projects, the ways of the Lord are inscrutable, as they say. Although I am not much of a religious person, I’m more prone to science and the scientific postulate of thought. I worked as a banker all my life. The events in Ukraine forced me to halt my investment banking activities a little, and I’ve decided to turn back to things that I was into during my youth – I really enjoyed IT. So I’ve decided to be a creator. Investment bankers are not exactly creators they only help to create. I’ve always had a dream to get my company to the New York Stock Exchange. And in order to do so, you first have to build your own business. And it should be, accordingly, a world-class business. The Show4Me idea emerged from a combination of factors and circumstances. My friend, a promoter from Britain, said to me: “Karen, you are an investment banker, invest in a retro gig of the nineties in Kyiv. We will invite renowned performers from the nineties like Dr. Alban, Coolio, and so on.” As an investment banker, I started to analyze the risks of the concert industry, and I realized that it’s one of the riskiest businesses in the world. According to statistics, 3 out of 5 concerts are unprofitable.
A few weeks later, another friend of mine said that there was this thing called “crowdfunding”. He checked out Kickstarter and said: “Oh! Let’s create the analog of Kickstarter in Ukraine”. It’s not interesting to make analogs, as you won’t go far with analogs. You can’t build a unique company with that approach. But I had this idea in my head – why not create an OnDemand Event for concert promoters? Meaning that fans would buy tickets in advance and the concert is only confirmed if enough tickets are sold. It’s a win-win: the fans would get what they want and the promoter would avoid all the risks. This model has proven to be successful.
At that time, I was completely involved in my banking business. I went to my best friend Anton, with whom I’ve been friends since the age of 3. I said: “Anton, come on, we need to do something. A well-established business turns into a routine, and the brain craves novelty and adventure.” Of course, I had to put a little pressure on him, but now he is grateful. We went to a company that was developing resources but with its own rather narrow-minded vision of show business and the music industry. We said: “We want this, let’s make it happen.” During the process, we gradually delved into the concert industry. By the way, in my opinion, it might as well be called the most unstructured industry in the world. The deeper we got into it, the more we realized that so many things could be improved and structured for all the players in the music industry: musicians, fans, managers, concert promoters, record companies, and so on. At this stage, a couple of my friends joined Anton and me. We created a pool of investments, scraping together 600,000$. We invested what we could. The seed was planted and, let’s say, with a round of angel investments, we went ahead. We launched the first version and held more than 40 concerts. We had very good feedback from musicians and realized that we had to move even further. Users began to write to us, mostly fans who bought tickets, asking, “Why can’t we share photos from the concert? Why can’t we listen to the music of this musician on your platform?” The users themselves guided us which direction to take. And we made a radical decision to create a Music Interaction Network – that’s what we called it. That is, a network of musical interaction. It was a new chapter for Show4Me. At the moment Show4Me is 6 years old. We have already outgrown all the transitional stages of any startup. We haven’t gone bankrupt and nothing broke us. There’s so much more ahead.
Speaking of other projects… Recently, we accidentally launched the Harvefy project – a service farm that deals with a direct supply of eco-friendly goods. It’s a side project. And, of course, I continue to work in investment banking. It’s my life’s main business and my specialty. There are a couple of other projects I have in mind, but these are currently confidential. We will launch them soon.

How do you manage to combine everything?
Only yesterday I was talking with my partner friends. They say that you can’t do business with friends but all my partners are also my friends. If the friendship is real, then you need to do business with your friends. No one will try to push anyone out of the business, no one will deceive you for the sake of one’s own benefit. Justice above all. So, getting back to your question, yesterday I talked to my friends. I had a very hectic day. I woke up at 9 am and before 2 pm I had six online negotiations. Thank God, the Internet makes things a little easier. I spoke on the phone 10 times, and discussed 20 different issues: an agronomist applied to Harvefy, a client entered the stock exchange, trading in financial assets, a musician stumbled and fell, another musician cannot receive payment, our economic director choosing which apples to buy for the office – green or red. Or which soap is better for the office: with a melon or with an apple scent. Some said the soap smelled like machine oil, and thus an argument ensued. So when I was sitting writing emails in the office with all these things happening simultaneously I was sure that I was going to lose my mind. I said: “Enough! Go elsewhere to discuss the soap dilemma and leave me out if it!”.
It’s hard to combine everything. This is probably why they say that the most difficult work is mental work. It would seem that it’s very hard if you are digging a garden, working on the ground. Yes, it’s hard physically, but you sleep like a baby after that. And when you work with your head, you lie down and cannot fall asleep. Thoughts and responsibility just break your head. When I was a hired employee at the beginning of my career, I thought that someday I would start my own company, I would be a big boss, I would come at 2 pm, hand out tasks to everyone, everyone would say, “Yes, sir!” and everything will be done accordingly. But when I started Standart NV, an investment banking company, it turned out that a) a manager works twice as much as a hired employee; b) a manager is responsible not only for himself but also for all his subordinates.
And if you are a person who treats your employees conscientiously, then it takes a toll on you morally. Because whether you have enough money or not – the employee is not interested in that. You are obliged to pay his salary, to let him go on vacation, you are obliged to do everything that is stipulated by your agreements. Then you get used to such a workload, and you think that now this is your lifestyle, that you are moving forward towards some bigger goal. And in order to achieve it, you set smaller goals for yourself.
Probably, it also depends on the character. There are different people – there are those who are satisfied with what they have, and then there are those who want more and who want to go even further. I probably belong more to the second category of people, so I somehow combine it.

Did you ever suffer a burnout?
It’s my favorite topic. I don’t believe in “burnout” at all. Maybe because I’m reaching 40. But

when young employees at Show4Me, especially in the IT department, come to me and say: “I’m feeling a burnout, I need to go to Bali for a month.” I just don’t get it. I accept the new generation perspective, but there is no such thing as “burnout” in my reality. Work should be difficult. That’s how I was raised, that’s how my father was raised, and my grandfather.

In work, you achieve things only through perseverance and hard work. And work implies diligence. It doesn’t have to be easy. Therefore, I do not believe in the concept of “burnout“. Of course, I get tired. The last time I was on vacation was 5 years ago. And somehow I don’t experience burnout. It’s just another buzzword for me. Maybe it does exist, I do not reproach anyone for the fact that someone perceives it this way. And I think it just means that you are tired. You need a good night’s sleep, you can drink a glass of wine or whiskey, relax, watch a movie, go fishing in nature, get everything out of your head, and then resume work. It’s impossible to do otherwise in the modern world. You face a lot of competition.
In the same way,

I don’t believe in success stories. Therefore, after reading how Mark Zuckerberg achieved success, or Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk, you will never be the same. Because all success stories tell the story of the person’s last project which happened to be successful. Yet how much they went through, how many times they fell, got up from their knees, and moved on in order for one of the projects to become successful. No one talks about it.

I believe that it is more important to ask and learn from people through stories of their failures. These will give a better understanding of what actions to avoid, what aspects may entail failure. Success stories are the easiest.

Can you share someone’s story of failure that impressed you?
There are many. How about the case of a very popular company – Instagram. The gentlemen, who first came up with it, reworked the concept several times from scratch. At one point, they had to give up their main jobs and go full in as it became impossible to combine the two. They were turned down by more than 2,000 funds at the initial stage. They didn’t give up, and they did it. They created an international company that Facebook bought for billions of dollars. The main criteria are that they made the decision to quit their jobs and devote all their time to their own business. And this is always very difficult at the beginning because when you are an employee, you have a payday and you can at least survive. Whether it’s good or bad is the second question. And when you go into private business, you become responsible in the face of the self. They dug the road to gold. And many do not. A lot of people break.

What inspires you the most in all of your projects?
Creation. I think the main motivator for me is creation. I do not believe in God, as I mentioned, but I believe in some of my principles. I seek them in books, in some historical facts. I really like the history of the Vikings and their understanding of life. Why were they such brave and fearless warriors? Because, firstly, they were fatalists, they believed that there was a holy stone on which the fate of each of the Vikings was written, so they basically had no concept of “fear”. They were mentally imprisoned in such a way that when they died in battle, they fell, in their perception, in Valhalla. And they rested there from everything that is earthly. And the second thing that impressed me very much is that the greatest achievement of any Viking was that they were recorded in the annals. Vanity, yes, but at the same time, it is creation. That is, they became great warriors.

The “Great Warrior” in the modern world is not about big muscles and not about the ability to fight. It’s about achievement. Everything is measured based on different criteria. Before, a man had to get food, go to war. Now it’s the same, only in a different format. We get food in the form of money, we go to the office instead of going to war.

Obviously, people who are starting their own path, or just want to start the path of a private entrepreneur, as a rule, don’t understand this.

What are you most proud of?
It’s a tough question, really. On the one hand, it’s a subjective concept, on the other hand, it’s very complex. I’m definitely proud of what we’ve done at Show4Me. I am definitely proud of my achievements in investment banking. But perhaps most of all … I am proud of my ancestors, I am proud and will be proud of my non-existent children. As yet non-existent. I am proud of the friendships that I have. This is probably what I can apply the word “proud” to. Achievements that you can be proud of at the household level, such as building a company, earning millions – a household level of pride. I’m probably closer, after all, to the Vikings. In my understanding of life, it\s impossible to be proud of material things, to be proud that you are driving a cool car. It’s a broader concept, it’s multifaceted, which should be applied to moral things rather than material ones.

It’s the second time you’ve mentioned friendship. What is your definition of friendship?
For me, friendship is, probably, after my parents, the most important thing that can exist. Because we live within a society, that’s what makes us different from hermits. A human is a social being who needs communication. And in the modern world, friendship is about support and also happens to be a personal psychologist in our Slavic area, and a person who will come to your aid, and to whom you will gladly come to aid. Because a friend is part of your family. For me, my friends are part of my family. My family is small at the moment. There’s my mom, my grandmother and me – 3 people. And my friends are a continuation of my family, for whom I will get into trouble, and together with them reach any goals and share this success, this everyday pride, and material achievements. To share it without sticking out at the headlines, but to celebrate within a small group of friends that you have achieved something. But this is no longer a material feeling, it is more like in football or any other sport – “we won”. This is pride. Maybe my perception of this matter is strange but it is as it is.

What concept of happiness have you derived for yourself, and based on this concept, are you a happy person?
I am definitely a very happy person. I love life. I adore everything that surrounds me, even the bad aspects of things. Because if there were no difficulties and no problems, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish between what is good and what is bad. I definitely consider myself a happy person, but I probably cannot break down the concept of “happiness”. Because it is, first of all, a feeling. It’s like love. How can you explain what love is and why do you love someone? If you can explain why you love, then you no longer love. Happiness is a complex concept. And I don’t know how to describe it.

Freud tried to describe love and said it was a mental disorder. Then, perhaps, happiness is also a mental disorder. But I am happy to be among the people who live with such a mental disorder.

What’s it like to be you?
Probably, it’s fun, sometimes I feel a little off. But having surrounded myself, as they say, with friends with the same mental disabilities, I discovered myself. And in this beautiful artificially created, or rather even spontaneously created a small community of people with the same mental disabilities, in this book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” we play cards, we play backgammon, we go fishing, we create, we are proud of each other’s achievements, we fight, we drink together and confess our love. This is probably happiness, and at the same time, the feeling of what it’s like to be me.

If you had the opportunity to travel in time, where would you travel to and why?
If I had the opportunity to go back in time, I would just go 20 years back, when my grandfather was alive. It is perhaps the most important thing for me. Where would I like to be in the future? Nowhere! I don’t want to know the future, it’s not interesting. I love the surprises that life throws at me.
I am not the type of person who distances himself from problems, on the contrary – I like to solve problems. It makes me happy, it gives me the full feeling of life. But being a typical person on the street is not about me, it’s not my character. I don’t want a life without problems, hardships, and difficult tasks.

The more difficult things are, the more interesting it is.

Does the magic fade when you realize how everything works? For example, at the beginning, you said that with show business it was unknown territory and you had the chance to explore all of its faults. So does magic fade with experience?
The magic increases for me.

Why so?
Probably because of my curiosity. I’m interested in everything. When I was 4, my mother gave me the book “I want to know everything” and it was my favorite book. And now every single day my curiosity makes me go forward. I don’t want my life to be flat, unemotional, I don’t want to make my life about thinking about having enough food, going on vacation a couple of times a year or buying a car. Swings are more interesting. You fall, you get up, you take off, you fall again. It’s great! It’s a game. 

What is the difference between a goal and a dream in your understanding?
A goal is a very mundane part of the plan. And a dream is probably everything else. It’s also a plan, sort of, yet it cannot be calculated in certain steps. But at the same time, for me, a dream has never been something abstract, unattainable, incomprehensible. For me, dreams have some sort of background. They have an essence. And a goal is probably about tactics.

A dream is a strategy and a goal is a tactic.

Where do dreams lead?
Dreams lead you to the feeling that you were added to the Viking chronicles. Dreams lead to interesting life events. Dreams lead to the processes in which you live and the path that you walk. I think there was one phrase in the book “The Art of War” (I may be wrong): “the main thing is not the goal, the main thing is the path that leads to the goal.” And this is probably the most important thing for me.

How would you like to be remembered? 
I don’t have a goal to be remembered. And never had. For me, the goal in itself is to create something. I understand that having created something significant, I will be remembered either way, but this is not an end in itself. There is, again, a very good phrase: “Outstanding people do not strive to be famous, they strive to perform outstanding deeds.” This is perhaps my life slogan. I strive to do outstanding things, rather than just be famous.

Speaking of books, in which book or film reality would you like to temporarily find yourself in?
Interesting question. I’m a movie geek. I have a lot of favorite films.

Then pick a few.
I’ve already mentioned “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” today. This is both a book and a film. This is one of my favorite films in the history of cinema.
It would definitely be interesting for me to be there, without staying. I also really like “Fight Club” and the book by Chuck Palahniuk. I think the book is more interesting than the movie. It breaks down stereotypes imposed by society, which lead us nowhere but to suffering and self-flagellation. When people try to compare what kind of car they drive – BMW or a Toyota. BMW is supposedly cooler. They envy each other. Material things are for many people a very important, even perhaps the most significant part of life. People are competing. There is a very good moment in the plot where Tyler Durden sits on the plane with his alter ego. And the alter ego gets up and says: “And now the question of etiquette, how to turn to you, with my ass or my scrotum?” This is such an exaggerated example of those stereotypes. No one actually knows which is better haha. It is customary to turn the scrotum, but that’s not always good.

What films or books would you recommend to read or to watch?
It’s a very subjective question. It’s a matter of taste, it’s even a matter of gender. I’m by no means sexist, though. It is not fashionable now.

Those that impressed you personally.
What struck me personally was Dreiser’s trilogy “Financier“, “Titan” and “Stoic“, I became a financier, an investment banker thanks to that. It’s my favorite trilogy, I’ve read it 2586 times. It is clear that Dreiser is, overall, interesting to many people. Basically, these are, let’s say, more “boyish” books. But they are interesting anyway.
It so happened that I was brought up on Russian classics. My grandmother is a linguist – Russian language, Russian literature. And in my childhood, I was always told: “You won’t go outside until you have read 50 pages.” Therefore, I read a lot of classical literature, from which, probably afterward, I began to re-read works that I did not understand at that time. Now I can give a lot of examples. Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Bulgakov, and a lot of other interesting writers. My favorite piece is, surprisingly, “Eugene Onegin” by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. I believe it to be the most modern piece in the world.

“From widow Clicquot and from Moët,
the draught whose blessings are agreed,
in frosted bottle, for the poet
is brought to table at full speed.”

The same stereotypes, the same drinks, Veuve Clicquot or Moet.

“Meanwhile, attired for morning strolling
complete with broad-brimmed bolivar,
Eugene attends the boulevard,
and there at large he goes patrolling
until Bréguet’s unsleeping chime
advises him at dinner-time.”

This piece is very modern and very cool in its essence. And it can teach you a lot of things. I would advise people to reread Eugene Onegin thoughtfully as an adult.
It is impossible not to read “The Idiot“, it is impossible not to read “Ivan Vasilyevich is changing his profession.” But many do not know that Bulgakov wrote it. Everyone knows the film, but the book is no less interesting. There are also foreign writers, like Dumas. I really love adventure. My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo. It always inspires me, I’ve also read it many times. There are a lot of books. There are also modern ones. Chuck Palahniuk, Ken Kesey. There are books that I don’t like. For example, I have never read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I have never read Harry Potter, although even some of my peers read it now.

There is fan fiction based on Harry Potter. There are a lot of scientific terminologies, and he made Harry a smart boy. It’s filled with finance, mathematics, and physics. Very interesting. “Harry Potter” is too childish, and the fanfiction is for adults.
There are pieces of work that, overall, I do not like, which I have not even finished reading. For example, Paolo Coelho’s “Alchemist”. I do not understand what the essence of this work is. I started reading it, and I read half of the book just like some sort of pulp fiction. Maybe this, again, is due to the fact that I grew up in complex literature. It’s a matter of taste, some like Murzilka, and some like Mickey Mouse. I’m more of a “Murzilka” person.

What about films?
Cinema is a very big topic for me. I have a collection of films. There are tons of films that I watch and respect. I probably watch dramas the least. Because love is a mental disorder, and the mental disorders I have are more than enough for me. My mental disorder is enough for me in fact.

Do you mean the mental disorder of happiness?
Happiness, yes. There are many films. Absolutely different ones – starting from old Soviet films, which I watch with pleasure, like “The Irony of Fate”, “Garage“, “Beware of the Car” and so on. Also science fiction, drama, and thrillers. Of course, I can single out interesting films. “Seven” is the best thriller ever in my opinion. With Brad Pitt. I also love historical films – for example, “Gladiator“. I love inspiring films. At the same time, I really like the movie “Meet Joe Black”. I also like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. It’s completely different. I like some of Tarantino’s films. I like almost all of Cameron’s films, almost all of Ridley Scott’s films. If speaking about directors. I really love science fiction, only high-quality science fiction, not fairy tales. Films are a part of my life and they motivate me and give me the opportunity to relax and give me the opportunity to distract myself from life.

Have you seen the Japanese movie “Departure”? 
No. Currently, I’m watching Korean films.

In the likes of “Oldboy”?

They have this film «Shi», which from Korean translates to “Poetry”.  
Yes. I’ve seen it.

It’s very good.
Yes, it’s cool. They started making very interesting high-quality films. The Chinese have not yet caught up. Basically, I watch different films. I don’t have a thing where I only watch Hollywood films. I can’t say that I like or dislike festival films. You experience completely different sensations with different films.

Also, that film we’ve spoken about during our last meeting, “Searching for Sugar Man” about Sixto Rodriguez, a musician with a super strange fate?
What an interesting and strange fate. I can’t say that I would watch it again. Just like the case with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. I watched it at the cinema. There was so much marketing involved, there is such a stellar cast of actors. But it was boring to me. The humor was pretty flat. It was on the verge of black humor, but it wasn’t a parody, it’s not like “Scary Movie“. It had a claim to some kind of festival philosophical cinema, but at the same time it ended up being somewhere in the middle. Stuck in between.

How would you comment “Woe from Wit”?
A Griboyedov reference. It’s when a person thinks too much and does too little, in my understanding.

There are people who, out of idleness, begin to dig inside themselves. And the smarter they are, the more they delve into themselves. The mind must be directed, probably, to the outside world, and not the self. You need to analyze yourself when you make mistakes and try to work on yourself as a person. But for this, you do not need to get lost in the jungle of your subconscious and engage in self-digging. This creates problems for people. Problems out of nothing. It’s not worth it. When you are a more or less educated person, you probably understand more aspects of life.

I’m currently writing a book called “The Theory of the Hexagon“. It’s a theory that helps in making any decision. For example, when a person sees 2 facets but does not even suspect that there are 4 more facets and if 2 facets out of these six are positive and give a positive conclusion, then he makes a positive decision on his category of thinking. But he does not know that there are 4 more faces, which all could be negative, and, accordingly, the decision will be incorrectly made.
But I will clarify that 6 faces are an exaggeration. There may be many more of these facets, but this describes the essence of the difference in people’s understanding of various issues. You will never explain to a native in Africa, who lived his entire life in a tribe, that a Ferrari is cool. And for us it’s cool. He doesn’t know what a Ferrari is in general. You will tell him: “Here is a Ferrari, take the keys, and here is a spear with a gold tip.” He will go for the spear with a gold tip. Because he does not possess this category of thinking at all. He doesn’t know what a Ferrari is.

It’s a different value system.
Because everything evolved in an entirely different way. And no need to use the example of native tribes, just look at European history. Heretics during the times of the Church Inquisition, the Crusades, and before that there were Greek, Roman, Egyptian deities who had their own multi-deities in different directions. Before that the Mayans, the Chinese had Buddha, Shiva and everything else. Therefore, once someone developed further and said: “Oh! The thunder struck and it didn’t kill me. Everyone else is afraid of thunder. I’ll just tell everyone I communicate with the higher powers now and people will bring me a lot of food, a lot of gold. You need to make a sacrifice and I have a direct line of communication”. The management of the masses, the management of society, does not differ in any way or form from the so-called democracy, and from capitalism, and from communism, and from socialism, and from religion. We don’t have to go far, even the iPhone is a religion, Steve Jobs is a religion, Elon Musk is a religion now. Someone is comfortable with this paradigm. Probably not me, because for me the essence is more important than a superficial perception.

Who would you like to have a conversation with, be it a real or fictional character?
With the Count of Monte Cristo from the book by Dumas. It would be interesting for me to talk to Bismarck. In fact, I would like to talk to a lot of interesting people. A lot of fascinating personalities existed. It would probably also be interesting to talk to Korolev. I would talk to everyone. From Stalin to, I don’t know, some Egyptian Pharaoh. I would like to talk to Nefertiti or Cleopatra. They say they were beautiful haha.

How do you see the future of humanity?
Humanity is on the brink of a completely new stage of development. These are not my words, these are the words of many. And I fully support these words. It depends on which region. Humanity as a whole, of course, will try to evolve in a technological direction. I think there will be a bigger divide in the control system between smart and non-smart people. I think that there will be a universal basic income for people, which will be paid by the state (regardless of whether you work or not). And it’s understandable that I think that the future belongs to space technologies. Such enthusiasts like Elon Musk, as well as other companies, both private and public, who conquer space, will sooner or later get to Mars and to the Moon. Whether we see it or not, we’ll see. Someone, I don’t remember who, said that the Earth is a cradle, you can’t stay in a cradle forever.

If we would not have evolved we would still be running around with sticks and throwing excrement at each other.

If you could give a piece of advice to humanity and know that everyone would take it, what would you say?
The main piece of advice I would give is for people to educate themselves more, read more, think more. It’s basic. I do not want to see degradation. But I, unfortunately, see it. Degradation is beneficial to large companies, degradation is beneficial to advertisers, degradation is beneficial to those who control the masses. Although this is utopian, if humanity eradicates some of its, shall we say, vices, such as greed, anger, envy and everything that spans from it, and at the same time add education to its lives, I think that we would develop much faster, and much more efficiently. Therefore, educate yourself, study, study and study again. I will not say who emphasized this thought as it is not fashionable.

What was the wisest thing you heard or realized in your life?
The wisest thing I’ve realized lately is that it’s impossible to demand from people an understanding of what you yourself understand. Because it’s like the Papuan tribe and the Ferrari. It’s tyranny. You think that a person will comprehend a certain thing and within your paradigm it’s simple, but in the Papuans’ paradigm it is not that easy. All he wants is a spear.  Therefore, to each his own, I do not want to offend anyone by calling them Papuan, this is just a metaphor. But the point is that just as I may not understand something that someone else understands, in the same way the other person may not understand what I understand. You cannot demand this understanding, you need to learn to put people in the positions in which they can improve themselves. Otherwise, as a manager, you engage in tyranny. It took me a long time to come to this notion. Because in my paradigm it was like this: “Well, it’s so obvious and I’ve explained it 10 times already, but a person still does not understand that this is Ferrari, and that is a spear.” No, they still want a spear. Well, okay, you want a spear… This is probably the coolest thing that I understood for myself and accepted as a postulate, as a dogma.

How to live with this understanding?
Surround yourself with people who are closest to understanding you. Thank God, I succeeded in doing that, but there are different areas of business, which we talked about earlier.

You will not hire all the employees who will understand you. I used to be angry that the employee did not understand something, then I asked myself a question. If he understood as much as I understand, he would not work for me. That’s all. But it was pretty hard to realize it.

What was the most beautiful thing you have seen or experienced in your life?
Probably the most beautiful thing that I have seen is the mountains, mountain peaks in Georgia, or in Armenia, in the Alps too. But the tops of the mountains are always the most beautiful for me. I believe that there is nothing more beautiful than snow-capped peaks at a ski resort. Probably, it’s the genetics talking. I’m half Armenian after all.
And the most beautiful thing that I felt … It’s hard for me to answer this question, because for me beauty is not a feeling. Beauty is, after all, something that I perceive externally. The beauty of sensations is a more metaphorical understanding for me. The beauty of sensations can be sought in a wonderful wine bar with friends who are all beautifully dressed in suits with beautiful ties, and you hold an elegant glass of wine, while communicating with people. The beauty of the sensations, yes. But this is a metaphor for me, because it consists of many small beautiful parts – a beautiful glass, beautifully dressed people, a beautiful interior, delicious wine. All together – this is the beauty of sensations.

We end our interviews with this question. What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would you answer?
I would like to hear the question: “When will you go on vacation?” This should be a starting question, because it should motivate me to go on vacation after all. And I have to answer this question as follows: “I will think about it and let you know,” because I don’t know.

Translation: Elena Savlokhova