My Early Digital Ventures

It’s hard to believe I’ve been on LinkedIn since June 2005. This makes it my longest-used account on any social network, with Twitter and Facebook following much later. It seems like a lifetime ago, yet I still recall certain aspects of those early days.

In 2005, I launched my first stand-alone blog, focusing primarily on business, technology, and the energy sector. I managed to break a few significant stories which resonated within the industry, and it was incredibly fulfilling to witness my work gaining recognition. Then, an investor noticed my blog, recognising the potential in my content and vision. I decided to sell it, hoping for further growth under their stewardship. However, the project lasted only briefly as I struggled to maintain my authentic voice on a platform now owned by someone else. What is the lesson here? It’s better not to sell your personal blogs, kids!

Concurrently, I embarked on another thrilling journey by establishing my own communications agency. Initially, it was a solo endeavour, but I secured projects with clients such as Sakhalin Energy and a burgeoning $50-million retail business. In one case, I organised weekly press events for a month, each generating substantial publicity for my client.

It wasn’t until 2007, however, that my venture really soared, thanks to the addition of two partners, Alexander Feoktistov and Ilya Stakheev. We redirected our focus towards public outreach campaigns in the renewable sector and orchestrated high-profile events for technology companies. In a matter of months, we became the go-to firm for major corporations to manage their public relations campaigns in Siberia and beyond. The takeaway? Partnerships are essential for success: with a team, you never walk alone.

Also noteworthy in 2005 was another significant chapter in my career. My colleagues and I completed the second edition of our student program, taking on roles as mentors and educators. We taught young enthusiasts about the nuances of management and communications, bringing together a group of talented and driven individuals. I had the privilege of acquainting myself with exceptional experts like Alexander Laryanovskiy and Ilgiz Valinurov. Many of them later became friends or clients. When you give something to the community, you often get much more in return.

My current fascination with content, communications, and teaching has its roots in those formative projects of 2005. The experiences from launching my blog, running a communications agency, and mentoring in the student program shaped my professional trajectory and kept inspiring me all these years.