Aleksandr Konotopskyi is a serial entrepreneur. At the age of 21, he launched an online security equipment store, secur.ua. In 4 years, his company became one of the leading distributors of security equipment in Ukraine. But that was not enough for Aleksandr; he decided to create a product that would represent his country on the world stage.
Aleksandr was greatly influenced by a business trip to China. He saw people “in slippers and with a soldering tool in their hands” creating high-level technology there. This inspired him to think that he could create things in Kyiv that are just as good — for example, a smart wireless security system that would replace the faceless “white boxes” on the walls. That is how the Ajax system was born.
Now, at 32, Aleksandr manages an international multi-million-dollar business and proves to the whole world that a Ukrainian product can compete with even the world’s most well-established manufacturers.
- Aleksandr admires technology since he was a child. In school, he won many contests and competitions in radio electronics.
- Did basketball and professional shooting, but now considers business as his main passion and dedicates all his free time to it.
- Speaks Chinese.
- Loves “The Dark Knight” and “300” movies as well as Sting’s songs.
- Never gets up early. Usually, Aleksandr’s business day starts after 10 am.
- Before starting his own business, Aleksandr worked as a journalist for the business newspaper.
- “Novoe Vremia” magazine included Aleksandr in their rating of “The people most effective and brightest moving Ukraine forward in 2019.” Nomination: “For conquering the world!”
- Loves Shenzhen and considers it as one of the best cities in the world.
Sources of inspiration
I am greatly inspired by what I do. Also, by smart people who surround me. Thank God, I’m very lucky with the team, and we have very cool professionals coming to work with us. With them, you become smarter and stronger in what you do. On the top of that, I am really inspired by the positive feedback from our clients. It is very important for me to have a positive impact, to do something that matters. When I see that users like our product, and it is important for them, or that someone wants to open a business in Ukraine and, like us, reach the international level, then I understand that my life has meaning.
I go to work because it really excites me. I don’t do anything besides business. I absolutely found myself in business, because we make a very diverse one. You can travel and talk to people, and the geography is wide: from Europe to India or China. There’s engineering and production. And if people sometimes don’t have enough excitement in life, then IT-business in Ukraine is so much hardcore that it is difficult to imagine.
What changed your life
When my dad took me to basketball class as a kid. It was not clear why; I didn’t want to play basketball, was far from it, and not really that tall. After all, I come from a family of engineers, where everything was calm, and nothing happened in my life. Sports started to drive me, motivate me. It made me realize that I have character. I played in the playmaker’s position, played with broken fingers, broke my hands four or five times, had two head injuries. But I don’t regret it, because it’s a real story, which is pleasant to remember for a true man.
Favorite business book
“Good to Great” by Jim Collins.
Now, I read less; one book I read starts me off for three years. Endless inspiration is harmful. You understood something? Then go and do it. Often, business consists of simple, boring, repetitive things.
What would you like to discover
I personally wouldn’t discover anything I think, but I can build a team that can make that discovery. And I’m talking about a technology with a global brand name. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Jeweller. That would be cool to see Jeweller on the same list with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Then, I will consider my life a success.
How to organize a day for a young or beginning entrepreneur
The only advice: work hard. I mean, do a lot of business. Not things related to business but business.
It’s like in that joke:
“We’re interviewing a man who manages to do it all.
– Tell me how do you find time to do everything?
– Fuck off, I don’t have time for this.“
This is what a story about how to organize your day can be like. Take important things, don’t take unimportant things. What time to get up or not to get up, I don’t think this matters at all. Because people are different; somebody needs a lot of sports to be productive, somebody needs a lot of sleep, somebody needs to get up early, somebody – late. And everyone lives differently, and so each person is motivated by something completely different. For example, I have to do sports two or three times a week. If I don’t do it, I feel bad. I can’t take more than five or six flights in a week, or, if a flight is more than four hours, I would definitely need a half or a whole day to recover and get back to a productive mode. I somehow started to realize that time is overrated. Energy is more important.
I believe that trends are the journalists’ work. They often have nothing to do with reality. So, we’re being told, “This is the year of the Internet of things.” And then, we have a Blockchain year. And then, an Artificial Intelligence year. And note: every year, we have a certain topic. A lot of money goes in there; a lot of things don’t work out. But, if you look at the facts, you can see that those who are successful in artificial intelligence did not start building a business in the year of artificial intelligence hype. For such people, it is twenty years of life; they have been doing it for a long time.