We have done several reports from major international events.
DrupalCon in Barcelona, Amsterdam, New Orleans are just a few
examples. Today, we are moving on to the Canada-Ukraine
Branham300 Launch Event. Let’s discover all its secrets first hand.
Ukraine and Canada are closer than ever. Thousands of kilometers of distance? No, thousands of nice connections and a wealth of vivid impressions! And all of them are from Canada-Ukraine Branham300 Launch Event for ICT companies in Toronto, which InternetDevels founder Viktor Levandovsky visited. We’ve talked to him a little and discovered plenty of new things.
What were the nice and unique moments of this meetup? Who brought people to tears with an inspirational speech? Under what circumstances did Viktor Levandovsky fall in love? What is the most important thing in web development — programming languages, technologies, models of cooperation with customers, or something else? What do web solutions and cars have in common? Find out it all this and much more in this interview.
So, Viktor, you’ve visited Branham300 Launch Event. What were your impressions?
I am impressed with the fact that the Canadian government organized the trip. This gesture facilitates business cooperation between Canada and Ukraine. At the Canadian government’s invitation 15 Ukrainian companies were selected, with us among them.
In Canada, we had a very warm welcome. The meetup was attended by Canadian businessmen in the areas of IT, medicine, and financial technologies. Their interest in working with Ukraine was noticeable. We had personal meetings where we discussed our potential cooperation. Furthermore, there was an official part in the form of presentations and a drink reception.
And I was pleasantly surprised that the delegation included government officials. On Ukraine’s part, it was Assistant Minister of Economy, Natalia Mykolska. Her speech was absolutely gorgeous. The audience was delighted with it. Natalia talked about what we were up to here in Ukraine, about our achievements, and about where we were heading.
Was the speech in English, with no interpreting?
Yes. The Canadians were simply amazed when listening to it. A Canadian from an IT company standing next to me started crying, he was so inspired by this speech. This is all really awesome, because, by doing these things, we promote Ukraine and facilitate better business ties.
And the best part here is that this involves governments. Finding customers on our own is one thing and going with an official delegation is a completely different level of trust, as well as a completely different level of reception on the whole.
The event was attended by very serious people who are otherwise not available because they are very busy. And here they are, open to communication and ready to discuss our cooperation! This was the most impressive part of this trip. We talked to high level people and everything was organized brilliantly.
The IT sector is one that Ukraine can really be proud of. How are Ukrainian IT and Ukrainian developers perceived in the West?
If we are talking about Canada, there are lots of Ukrainians and plenty of family ties. In addition, one of Canada’s outstanding features is that there are Ukrainians in the government. So, of course, we are known and appreciated there. They make every effort to enhance the cooperation and make us as competitive as possible. In other countries people also know us and our capabilities, and think highly of us.
It’s a known fact that Canada has a large Ukrainian diaspora. Have you met with its representatives?
The diaspora has been very numerous. In fact, it was the Canadian diaspora that received us. There is a public organization called CUTIS (Canada-Ukraine trade and investment support project), which was co-organizing the event.
InternetDevels were among the chosen companies for the trip. What was the selection based on, how did you manage to get through, and are you proud of being involved?
Of course I am proud. I know that there were really many volunteers. Moreover, it was a grant, so the trip was paid for us. This trip, together with CUTIS, was organized by the Branham300 Company, which has been working on the market for decades. Its CEO and founder came here to Ukraine, held his interviews and selected 15 companies that he thought were the most promising for cooperation with Canada.
He has business connections in Canada, and is a very famous person and networker. He looked among his contacts for candidates that it would be great to bring together. It was important for him to know what the companies were doing and whether they would be interesting to his circle of acquaintances.
So have you made interesting acquaintances?
Yes, absolutely. We’ve discussed very interesting proposals, and I strongly hope for further cooperation. These were people from well-known companies, who are worth learning something from and are interested in working with us.
Promoting the development of Ukrainian IT seems to be kind of like your karma. You are the Ukrainian IT Association’s Vice President to work with small and medium businesses. In addition, InternetDevels Company regularly sponsors and organizes IT activities. And this time, you’ve helped presenting your country abroad?
If you carry a mission, you carry it everywhere. If you do certain things, you feel certain goals and you understand what it is all for, you do it everywhere — including being part of delegations of this kind. I hope it has its impact on the society.
Because the most important thing is not finding new contracts — after all, you can do that via the Internet without ever having to travel. The most important thing with such events is building new ties and acquaintances, which are really long-term. We can recommend each other. We get closer. Despite the great distance between the two countries, our ties get tighter. This lets us communicate in the future, and it is strategically very important.
Canada is the world’s technology leader. What do you think should be done so that Ukraine’s IT sector catches up with Canada?
First of all, we need to study, because Canada has a very advanced education system. They teach fantastic professionals — be it programmers, engineers, or managers.
The latest things are taught there by experts from well-known companies. They hold their lectures, tell their life stories and share their expertise. The information is presented in the right way.
Universities aim to teach tomorrow’s, not today’s technologies. Their students study “the future” and write their theses about it.
Graduates are completely ready to work. They do not need to learn extra things. And here, unfortunately, our education deals with the things that were popular a while ago. In this respect, we have a lot to catch up on.
So Canada’s universities prepare programmers who do not need to learn, say, a new programming language?
You need to look deeper. It’s more than about a programming language. Institutes should teach not only how to write code, but also how to properly approach code writing. You need to understand the architecture and be able to make decisions. This is the engineer level.
Have you talked about the technologies in IT? Which of these are the hottest for today?
Today's IT world it is not about technology, it’s about solutions. Technology is secondary. It is a matter of implementation. A customer’s attitude is like this: I have a problem — give me a solution. They may be interested in technology, but it is not the key point.
However, there is a trend in technology — it's open-source. Just like there is a trend in cars, whereby if someone wants a car, it should be an electric car, even though electric cars may have different characteristics. Similarly, IT solutions can be based on different technologies, but they should be open-source.
Anyway, even open-source is not as important as the product’s ability to solve some business problem. We should give a hint to our customer about what kind of car would be good for them and what characteristics it should have. As engineers with technologies in our hands, we have the task of saying: "let’s make this car for you using these technologies because we master them and we believe that they are the best."
Today, the world is ruled by applications and devices for specific business tasks. For example, Amazon solved the problem of ordering detergent. A washing machine has a special button. Click it — and Amazon will deliver some washing powder. No need to look for a tablet, go to the website, choose the powder. So, the future is not just coming to us — it is already here!
What about cooperation models for working with customers: outsourcing, outstaffing?
Everyone is interested in just one model of cooperation: share my pain. Become a part of my team! Everything else is secondary. Everyone wants to be a true partner. It must be like "something happened — and we have a sleepless night together solving the problem."
Is InternetDevels Company like this?
We do our best. Yes, this is our ideology.
You also have Drudesk Company. Have you presented it there?
Have you discovered the demand for website support? Of course, we presented it and Drudesk caused a lot of interest. After all, people need high-quality support to work with small tasks. The presentation was great because we had lots of things to tell about. There is a deep story, as well as a broad story: the deep one is about the years and the broad one is about our achievements.
You’ve been in many countries — you are hard to surprise. Anyway, how did you like Toronto?
Toronto is a delightful city. You feel some kind of freshness, harmony, and mildness there. The city seems to never be in a hurry, but every detail is well worked-out. And, unlike many other cities I’ve visited, it is very clean. You feel positive vibes, and people are open to communication.
Nearby was the Ontario Lake, which captivated me. I absolutely fell in love! Every morning I went there to swim — the Canadians were surprised because it was cold. And I answered them that I am from Ukraine, and I want to swim in this lake because it inspires me somehow. This lake is very large — you stand there and cannot see the other shore. It is simply fascinating. Also, I went to Niagara Falls, and that’s another cool place. So I really liked them all a lot: Toronto, Ontario Province and Canada in general.
We hope you find plenty of things that inspire and fascinate you, as well as plenty of excellent contacts and business ties that you want to strengthen and develop. Branham300 Launch Event is just the beginning. The best things are yet to come!