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Michael Kechinov: Its All About Motivation

Published: March 28, 2014 (Issue # 1803)



  • Michael Kechinov uses HackDay to bring together the Russian tech community and help drive innovation forward.
    Photo: For SPT

Michael Kechinov is the founder of REES46, an Internet service for e-commerce and co-founder of Coffeelab, an early-stage internet-startup accelerator. An expert in recommending systems and personalization services, Kechinov posses a wealth of experience and often acts as a CTO for the various companies he is involved in. His development studio has played a remarkable role in the development of the Russian startup-community as the organizer of HackDay, a marathon 48-hour event where participants workshop prototypes of projects before presenting them to colleagues, experts and investors.

Michael Kechinovs Web Development Studio has been involved with HackDay from the very beginning uniting managers, designers, interface developers, programmers, marketing and PR specialists, and all those who have ideas for Internet-based projects but no team to implement them.

HackDay is a high-pressure project development lab that has attracted many adherents with its no- nonsense aim of fast and effective project development. The events typically start on a Friday evening when participants announce their ideas and assemble the teams they will work with over the next two days. Saturday and Sunday are devoted to prototype development and discussions with mentors, and on Sunday evening prototypes are presented.

Always challenging, HackDay is a necessary right of passage for anyone interested in cutting-edge technologies and has helped foster a thriving innovation community in Russia.

The St. Petersburg Times sat down with Mikhail Kechinov, whose studio has been involved in the event since it first launched in Russia in 2009.

Related: Spartak Sobolev - Raising Risk Awareness

Q: How did you initially come to be involved in HackDay?

A: The first HackDay was brought to Russia from the U.S. by Yury Livshitz of Yahoo. We were mere participants. After that first experiment, everyone was so excited that Yury offered anyone who was interested to continue the experiment and see where it would lead. There were 14 co-organizers at the beginning, all ready to commit resources, but only four of them remained on board by the time the second HackDay rolled around. The second HackDay was a tremendous success. Over 400 people attended the event at ITMO [the St. Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics] and it was amazing to see all those folks coming in to work for free on their days off. That was the beginning of the new format, back in December 2009. It was a pure IT event, with people from various spheres: accountants, university professors and so on.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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