Hello world / Readme.MD

Posted: February 09, 2023

map showing location of Orenburg

Today is the day I finally made this blog so looking forward to chatting with you all 🙂

My name is Vlad. I’m Data Scientist living in London. My hobbies are playing piano, reading books (science fiction, non-fiction, etc. depending on the mood – you can find the list of books I’ve read in the recent years here), birdwatching, board games, PC games and walking around exploring the city and the surroundings. I love going to concerts and hope to visit more in the upcoming years.

I’m originally from Orenburg, Russia – the small town that’s famous for a couple of reasons:

  • Being the place where famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin was in exile;
  • Standing on the border of Europe and Asia.

That’s pretty much sums it up. That’s oversimplification, of course, and local museums and books would tell many more interesting facts about it. But in general people outside of Russia (and sometimes even inside it) don’t know much about Orenburg. Even WordPress editor now highlights this word as an error and suggests “Oldenburg” instead. Nope, sorry WordPress, I’m not from there.

Then I moved to Moscow to study in Financial University, met my future wife there, spend some very fun years in the university, studying / writing rap songs / playing computer games which I missed in the latest years because my PC in the hometown was almost 8 years old by that time.

While studying at uni I started working in the small consulting company, where I learned how to SQL and how to be nervous before the meetings with client, and also remake the presentation for 1000 times. Fun stuff.

Then after a couple of years at GX-Lab the company shrinked as the client base, so I moved to Lamoda where my knowledge of SPSS (omg) helped me since it was the part of the stack. I haven’t even known Python by that time, so we were deploying some pipelines and even ML pipelines using Windows Server and SPSS Modeler. The fun part about it was that there was a limit on number of layers and neurons for Multi-Layered Perceptron and you couldn’t change the whole bunch of parameters easily. But as for the upside I learned how the cardigan is different from sweatshirt and how to distinguish loafers from topsiders. (tbh seems that even WordPress spell check doesn’t know that)

After couple of years of tinkering and reinventing bicycles at Lamoda I moved to Yandex, where at Market we were automating human labelers processes to optimise the creation of clean product cards. The time at Yandex was a bit short, but I enjoyed quite cool office, had a chance to celebrate 20 years of the company and stay at home for a day when Putin was visiting the office.

Later there was the time to explore how another major Russian IT company – Mail.ru (now renamed to VK) – works. There was a new project – Pandao – which was aiming to be the Russian competitor to AliExpress (and eventually formed the not-so-successful joint venture). But back in the day it was a lot of fun, opportunity to dig deeper in all the aspects of how the startup-inside-the-big-company functions, collaborate with product designers, mobile/web/backend-developers, marketing specialists, and C-suite, which was big fun. Also we had some fun sale days with 50% discounts on iPhones and had a lot of fun with bloggers marketing videos:

But the joint venture happened, I had no idea how to fit in the new structure, so moved to the new startup formed by the CEOs of Pandao – Motify, which was smaller, cozier, and fitness-oriented. We were developing app for athletes to train, count calories, and for the coaches to earn money for their videos. Then Covid happened and with it came the pivot to the business model, now it was aimed on 1-1 trainings at home, which were hard to implement and by the time the product pivoted people were already very sick of sitting at home and have waited to return to gym. So the product haven’t flew as high as we hoped, the post-covid sadness was a bit lacking adventures.

I decided to go to local hiking school (yeah, that’s the thing in Russia). And then Meta happened. I wasn’t sure if I would make it to the final hike and that I will pass the interviews, so I sticked to both for some time, and then when I got an offer, had to skip the remaining hiking lessons to prepare to moving to London.

So then the move to London happened, and I’m still here and still at Meta. The story is not ended and I’ll cover some of fun facts about the relocation and other stages of my career and life in the separate articles. For now that would do for the summary, see you on the blog!

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