We are all familiar with the social network Vkontakte, but not all have seen it from the inside, in this post we suggest you read some of the secrets and mysteries of this corporation.
In the center of each house of Peter - a monument. Therefore, with Vladislav, head of the press service of the social network "VKontakte" we agree about the meeting is under the monument. We meet, we go to the other side of Nevsky Prospekt, 30 meters go into the entrance (or rather, the front) of the business center, greets the guard, waiting for the elevator, go up to the office.
Vlad tells how on the eve of late returned from Moscow, where he spent a week, running from one conference to another. Work Office "contact" begins at noon and lasts until the closure of the subway. Pavel Durov, who agreed to answer my questions, will arrive in the late afternoon, as the day he was doing.
Pavel Durov himself.
One sunny spring evening two and a half years ago, we sat in the editorial "Vebplaneta" on Novy Arbat and argued about whether there is a naturally occurring phenomenon of Pavel Durov. Editorial divided into two parts: some said that there is, others argued that it was a hoax, a virtual personality is hidden under a cap on your avatar. The mystery enveloping the creators of one of the most influential and fastest-growing resources Runet, seemed very attractive.
Administration of the "contact" do not talk to the press, did not give any comments, no light on the specialized conferences. Conflicting fragmentary facts "Wikipedia" and the stories of the inhabitants of St. Petersburg that "my brother knew a guy who said he knew another guy who studied with Durov on the same stream" did not clarify, but rather - adds to the mystery.
Meanwhile, in one of the apartments on the Nevsky Prospekt, a few people sat and worked hard to make millions (later - the tens of millions) of users can stay in touch with your friends, draw graffiti on the walls, to raise the rating to each other and comment on photos. It all began in the summer of 2006: Pavel Durov then engaged in the project, which grew out of the now St. Petersburg State University students. West boom of social networks has come to Russia, and Durov, keeping pace with the progress screwed to the child social function: the ability to make friends, photos, profiles with real names, search, group, and so on. It became clear that the evolution of the horse will not make the vehicle, and that further development is necessary not to add functionality, and trim. And the best - to start from scratch. Work has begun to boil.
At some point, I came across an American social network for students of elite universities, at that time - closed (Facebook opened registration for all inhabitants of the planet Earth over 13 years 26 September 2006). Now compare the two resources are constantly accusing Russia of excessive similarity to the US.
Why look like? On the one hand, Durov says, "In Contact" from the very beginning sought to do something new. On the other, there are basic things. The photo should be to the left, and user information - the right friends - mutual, blue and white - neutral colors (well, not in the same social network Red paint?). The simple truth can not be avoided, even if this has already been implemented competitors.
Now resources are developed in parallel: something first introduces Facebook (for example, a button "like" and real-time alerts, chat), something - "VK (virtual currency, advanced search for people ruble accounts). Durov convinced that, as the starting point at the same project, will eventually and there, and there will be everything.
Another photo of Pavel Durov
"We do not need to be confused, we Leningrad»
The first users of "contact" in autumn 2006 were students of elite universities of St. Petersburg. Pavel Durov remembers this time with nostalgia: it was possible to publish news in a blog, and then read the comments, as one written on the competent Russian with properly spaced punctuation marks. There was slang, profanity, spam. However, from the beginning of the project authors were afraid to remain a local resource, calculated on the federal level, the action was carried out in Moscow universities to gain a foothold in the two capitals.
Already in 2007, it became clear that the number of visitors from Moscow broke the cultural capital, but the site for a long time continued to consider St. Petersburg project. "Contact" did not mind: here are proud of their origins, they find it a competitive advantage and a good opportunity to disengage from the mainstream, which exists in Moscow, to be different.
However, the protracted blacklist of journalists and a complete lack of the public life of the founders of "contact" - is not part of the program «Be Different», the reasons for such behavior in the other wing. Firstly, on support for the social network until the spring of this year, there were about 5 people (plus a "freelance" developers, plus the lawyers, accountants plus). The office was located, as already mentioned, the apartment and the time to communicate with the press and attending conferences was not simple.
Second, the creators of the site would not attract too much attention to their persons - and would easily move around the city and ride the subway without spending, again, time to chat with fans and critics alike. It should be noted that this reluctance to "shine" in the end turned into distrust, the emergence of dozens of myths and legends. A subway Pavel Durov (who prefers the subway cars) and his colleagues quietly move today.
Pavel Durov has gone out to journalists
The day came when a cozy den on Nevsky beginning to reap the shoulders. The audience and attendance rose to the ceiling, on the plans for the future cracked walls, keep up to realize all our plans worked. Developers launched 5 projects, and colleagues from the United States, has a lower productivity, but more resources - 10. It became evident that the pace be a catalyst for progress does not, and should either disappear or change. The second option seemed more likable.
With the advent of the "normal office" the company was able to take on the work of all those who have long wanted to take. For six months "contact" released dozens of innovations (including that caused a mixed reaction of the audience) - many people associate it with a marked increase in popularity in Russia Facebook - they say, "the smell of fried." In addition, closed to the public the team finally decided to build relations with the outside world, not impersonal press releases, since people do not believe in abstraction, but by a living person.
He worked in the company of people downloading it not easy not like: the developer has to be a little "antisocial" and insulated from outside noise to keep your head clean and to express themselves in writing. On the recommendation of the journalist "Business Petersburg" Elnara Petrova for the position of "living person" and press secretary took the journalist of the newspaper Vladislav Tsyplukhin. Man of the media parties, it operates a portal between two worlds: the population explains that "we are not evil," and to the employees of "In Touch" conveys the position of the press and the public.
"When I'm with someone talk, I try to emphasize that no action was taken, I do not write the code, and the glory should accrue to those who work on the project. But I speak and write on their behalf, knowing that I can make a mistake. To my mistake, if it happens, is not recorded on the account of the whole team. And I will be just to fire or replace, "- says Vlad.
"The atmosphere startup»
In the main office of "In Touch" has about 25 developers, the average age - 23-24 years. They are carefully protected from communicating with managers who sit in another office (the only "non techies" who were allowed to enter the holy of holies - Vladislav and his colleague Tatiana Plutalova). According Durov, developers and managers of different systems of values, managers and financiers - the traditional paradigm of people, far more than the programmers exposed to the mechanisms of the consumer society. "The traditional paradigm of" managers - it is certainly not a crime. But if people from one world will affect people from other developers - distracted from affairs, and managers - to offer their designs, nothing good will come of it. For the productive work required isolation and preserve the atmosphere of a startup.
What comes to mind when you read the phrase "startup environment"? Perhaps the image of American movies: a basement or attic space with bare walls, scribbled not understandable to mere mortals signs, piles of packages from the fast food, crumpled beer cans, clogged with cigarette butts ashtray and red-eyed, who had not slept for the last couple of weeks people in flip-flops. Nothing like in the office "contact" no.
The spacious room, floor-to-ceiling, 20 rooms and a great hall, 2 meeting rooms - large and small. Cleanliness, sometimes even emptiness.
In a large peregovorke - Puzzle forgotten: their loves to solve one of the staff, and Pavel Durov for him to buy them in batches.
On the stand in one of the rooms - picture user page "contact" with an attached photo of Catherine Deneuve.
Slippers available - on the part of employees, some are placed at the corners. There are shower, rest room.
For the whole team - all three poppy (the third came on the day of my visit, along with a new developer of applications for iPhone).
In the state of listed florist, and this is no joke: a girl named Tatiana than just water the plants, and wielded weird instruments, measuring the acidity of the soil in pots and humidity.
Employees of "contact" at the office going to the 12 day work to night, and even stay overnight (one developer even has a bed). Often they come at the weekend: on Saturday the atmosphere is much more relaxed, and the feeling that he has come into his spare time, work goes. Dates for the implementation of innovations are very short - on Monday you get the job, and by Friday must submit results to colleagues. Lunch at nearby cafes and restaurants (there are several to choose from) paid by the company. In the office, there is always the oranges in a juicer, water, biscuits and melon.
There are also limitations. "In Contact" is not accepted to raise your voice and curse with colleagues, use slang and speech mat. Pavel Durov strongly against the use of alcohol and smoking, so no working smoke breaks during the working day is not, and can not be, and corporate celebrations employees drink juices. These rules relate directly and career: Vlad Tsyplukhin admitted that he once warned - about any increase will not go out of the question until he quits smoking.
"Sportswoman, Komsomol, beauty»
Many creative people such a harsh statute can be confusing - but embarrassing in "contact" and not wait. Here, many people do not wait: the criteria for selection of staff by subjective opinion journalist razgildyaya, really hard. People come on the recommendations they are given the test task, probation. It happened that at the same time took three men and two after some time leaving the team. According to head of development Andrew Rogozova (by the way, he's only 22), in the state of charge, as a rule, only standouts - so that if the man was achiever at school, at work he showed himself no better.
The founders of the "contact" - Pavel Durov and his brother - the best students, and all who accept into their ranks, too, have to be perfectionists. "In Contact" is funding a championship sports programming, which are popular in Russia, the US and China, selects the brightest minds, the winners of competitions, krasnodiplomnikov. In principle, where people studied: elite schools in St. Petersburg a bit of good universities (like matmeha St. Petersburg State University and Polytechnic) - too. Equally important, a man from a good family. And then, as he says - according Durov, it can be seen immediately, even if the person has no data.
Sometimes it comes to the ridiculous: at the entrance to the office, visitors are welcomed empty reception, because the office manager there. It was, but not for long: take a beautiful girl with a diploma from St. Petersburg State University, but "not consulted" and dilute the high intellectual level of the team does not like. Recently there's candidacy: the girl with the red diploma, an average score of 5.0, stipendiatka Prize Potanin, head of the trade union organization of the faculty, KVNschitsa, runner-up and the system administrator. Such an amount of merit and "orders" on the chest, apparently, does not contribute to the Secretary to go to work - but there is as it is. The staff here - not only an effective worker, brings the maximum benefit for the money he is paid. He is obliged not to hinder the process, share interests and aspirations to be a member of the team. Teams, families may sects Corporation. Corporations do not smoke and do not use foul language and krasnodiplomnikov standouts.
But people still want to work, "In Touch", and not so easy to leave. This, says Andrew Rogozov, of course, not a "dream job" in Google and "Yandex", because the "contact" himself as an employer is not PR. In addition, the same Google come directly for a long time, and "contact" no such guarantee: not voleshsya in flow - fired. But the working conditions are better and wages higher than the average for Peter, so people come on their own. And most importantly fun for programmers is the degree of responsibility and power: each of them is responsible for an average of 1 million users daily visit "contact". And this, according to Durov, an unforgettable experience. Perhaps this sense of responsibility is steeper than the effect of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine.
Pavel Durov - the father of the social network Vkontakte.
"While heart for the honor alive»
Responsibility - it is also a problem. "In Contact" reluctantly and through the power of rolling out the changes, which can cause frustration especially conservative users. This, including the recent global changes have left users without the usual static and the "wall" - the compulsory introduction of microblogging. But this move has caused a wave of protest was necessary: in order to move to the new paradigms of information exchange, to get used to something new, without the inconveniences in the short term can not be progress in the long term.
Durov recognized that reform was made too quickly, and regrets that this "psevdotragediya" all happened. However, the microblogging - the only way to deal effectively with the role of conductor of information and catch up with Western competitors.
The question arises: if the administration of the social network really understands the degree of responsibility, and thinking about the fate of millions of people, and at the same time all the staff attended this in the best universities of the country, why until now nothing has been done in the field of large-scale public education? Seriously, when "VKontakte" hidden powerful resources, and it confirms almost all indifferent to what he is taught, a student. Students often save their skins during the sessions simple search on the groups: giving up the abstract on the topic - get the fans of this topic, and they will tell you everything. But someone is able to search, and someone - no, and they can be useful pulling resources from the depths.
The Ministry of Education is thinking about large-scale federal project that "contact" will be used as a tool with which you can reach out to young people. The social network is working with charities. Perhaps, after a while "contact" will be a system of recommendations that will help users find the information they need with the same interests, helping to socialize with like-minded people, learn something new and grow in those areas that are of interest to them initially. But these innovations are only under discussion - there are other, long-planned works, which should be implemented.
But the problem remains. Members poorly written in Russian, are not able to perceive even those records, which are written in the official blog, while the advanced people to simplify the wording does not satisfy (at one point it was decided not to lower the level, keep the bar and the rest, "let catching up "). Durov, hereditary representative of the "layer Petersburg intelligentsia" and the son of a professor, not even worried about the level of education of people, and their system of values: education, culture, language and reading impaired, and it is for him - a wildly.
On the other hand, deal with messianism - and inefficiently compared with the activity of the TV channel "Culture", which broadcasts, but who looks?