Dmitry Malin co-founded Novakid, an online English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) learning platform helping children learn English.
Dmitry’s role as a CEO of Novakid is responsible for building and managing a remote team that produces results based on five continents.
Novakid: Where did it all come from?
Novakid’s journey began five years ago. Max Azarov, my good friend and partner, and I wanted to create a voice-controlled device that anyone could use to learn the language.
We wanted to create something that could replace a teacher of language.
We felt that this idea was too ingenious and made us feel like we were on a “pill for eternality.”
We then went to Shanghai for a client search. We saw many billboards advertising an online English school on the subway, popular in China.
This was when we changed the concept of a “teacherbox” to a digital platform that uses the most recent Edtech technologies.
We connect ESL students from around the globe with native-speaking English teachers, adapting the curriculum to each child’s individual needs.
We decided to upgrade the idea to a “teacherbox.”
How do you stay productive?
When I’m not on business trips, my daily routine is this: I get up at 8 am to take my oldest son to school.
I then spend some time with my daughter, aged two, and return home around 8 pm. My work hours start at 9 am.
I work at home or in a nearby cafe, depending on how I feel.
I take time to exercise or go to the sauna and coordinate family activities. I finish work from 6:45 to 8:pm.
I then spend the remainder of the day with my family and friends.
Good rest and sleep, smartly planned tasks, and balance between family and work is crucial to productivity.
It is equally important to create and follow a daily routine to formulate and execute your strategies.
By chance, spontaneity and dependence upon emotions and moods can make a difference.
I have never been disappointed by good, rational planning.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I share my ideas with my friends and colleagues when I have them.
People make the common mistake of waiting until they have a better plan to share their ideas before sharing them.
This leads to many ideas not being shared and many missed opportunities.
Instead, I will share my idea, analyze reactions and gather feedback.
Next, we will create a plan within our group, assign roles, and then implement it.
We all come up with different ideas, but it is possible to work together.
What’s your favorite trend?
Because I am passionate about history, I closely follow how museums and historical institutions use new technology to deliver historical knowledge and visuals.
These places make history interactive and fun. Digital projects use QR codes often to discuss a topic for several hours.
It seems like augmented reality is the future trend. This will be in real-time immersive experiences and reconstructions on the phone screen.
An example of this would be an app that allows you to turn on a street in Paris while you are there – your phone will show you the road in the 16th century.
What habits make you productive?
My superpower is my ability to manage my time and ensure I take care of my mental and physical well-being.
Flexibility and the ability to think differently about specific topics relaxed passively can help you work more effectively and make business more enjoyable.
What’s your advice for the Noob?
It would help if you weren’t afraid of making mistakes.
If you want to start your own company or expand an existing one, be aware of how the internal processes are organized.
Avoid chaos and try to keep things in order.
It would be a pleasure to make all the mistakes and difficult decisions over again.
What I have been through has helped me become the businessman I am today.
What is one thing we can all agree on?
There isn’t anything I believe that nearly everyone agrees with me.
It seems that every successful entrepreneur will discover the same truths as I have from personal experience.
Howbeit, if I had to pick, I would choose my rule that business should not take over personal time.
While I find the “always hustle” mindset to be popular, it doesn’t help me achieve lasting success.
What do you recommend as an entrepreneur?
Anyone interested in personal development should improve their soft skills, learn non-aggressive communication, and develop empathy and emotional intelligence.
It is essential to keep learning new things, especially in this digital-oriented age.
You need to continue your professional development, read books, and take specialized courses to stay on top of the latest trends.
Recently, I organized a workshop on management skills and MVPs for Novakid employees. Right now, I am also working on a seminar on critical thinking.
What’s your rich strategy?
My strategy is to delegate and hire skilled specialists.
The main problems and tasks of the company are also my focus: strategy execution, recruiting the best people, and motivating the team.
Effective delegation allows me to concentrate on the bigger picture.
This also shows my team that I trust them to manage the details invest in our success.
How do you overcome Failure?
Entrepreneurship is an ever-changing school of life. One of our most recent failures was with recruiting.
An experiment has taught me that even though a manager can manage 40 people in a country, working for an entire team with 100-1000 people is challenging.
This is the so-called pain in growth.
Not all employees can deal with it. It is crucial to test the specialist’s abilities at the new level and not rely on small but more successful results.
In addition, I was an idealist when I started my entrepreneurial career.
My team and I worked hard to create a product that would evaluate the team’s productivity for the recruitment process.
We didn’t launch an MVP to gauge interest from the target audience, but instead, we created a very advanced product that was not well received by the market.
We had to make a lot of changes.
However, this is what I have learned: When Max Azarov started Novakid, we only spent three months developing the online learning platform.
This was a lot faster than our previous mutual venture. We didn’t make it easier or more functional.
It was easy because we knew it was better to have a working model in place so we don’t waste our time on features that won’t be helpful long-term.
Can you share a business idea?
I’ve been contemplating implementing one idea for some time.
But I don’t have the time.
Maybe readers will get infected.
VR and AR reconstructions could be a trend in education and sightseeing.
The ability to see and feel history will make it more interesting, vibrant, and memorable.
This idea isn’t new. VR and AR projects were first created before 7-10 years.
This idea is now closer to being implemented than ever, thanks to the level of mobile hardware, 5G, and positioning technology development.
This idea can be brought to life by being a visionary and a pioneer.
What’s your recent best buy?
It’s worth spending money on lifelong education.
This approach is something I love.
It has been in a nonfiction book or on an educational course.
Because the brain is a muscular organ that requires constant exercise, I recommend data analysis and learning foreign languages to help you keep your mind fit.
What are your favorite Softwares or Apps?
To be more productive, I use two apps. Calendly is the first.
Calendly is where I plan the most important meetings and the tasks for the day.
It is easy to see what has been accomplished and which issues remain unresolved for the week.
Agenda is another tool I use. Agenda is a text editor that supports markup.
It allows me to highlight important thoughts and ideas for my subordinates and employees.
Which book would you recommend?
Right now, I am reading “no Rules Rules: Netflix, the Culture of Reinvention” by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer.
It would be a pleasure to recommend it to my community.
Netflix is an excellent example of a company that has a great product and an inspiring corporate culture.
This is a perfect opportunity to learn from others’ experiences.
What’s your favorite quote?
Two years ago, I was inspired by the book written by Yuval Harari: Homo Deus.
This story shows how a person can be transformed from a modern, digital look to a completely digital one.
It is an example of how an entity can hardly be considered a person.
I recall one quote: “Corporations and money are only figments in our imagination. We invented them; why should they be sacrificed for our lives?
TL;DR by Dmitry Malin could offer to Enterprenuer readers?
- You will not be disappointed if you plan rationally.
- Do not be afraid to fail and to embrace the possibility of making mistakes.
- It is a rare superpower to be able to split your work and personal schedules.
- Entrepreneurship is an endless school of life. Learn to love the lessons it offers.