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Michael Kechinov: ‘It’s 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 Kechinov’s 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

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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