interviewed the founder of the company Evernote
(as well as the legendary ParaGraph and Parascript), evaluation of which has already exceeded $ 2 billion. dollars. Very interesting person with an interesting history, which has a lot to learn. Exclusive interview where, among other facts, Stepan Pachikov first shares his business failures
: Russian innovator, co-founder ParaGraph Intl., Parascript, Evernote, which made a great contribution to the development of handwriting recognition and Technology VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language, a standardized file format to demonstrate the three-dimensional interactive vector graphics, most often used in WWW). First businessman USSR, whose firm (ParaGraph) was awarded a contract with Apple.
Ivan Tsyba: Let's talk first about the Silicon Valley. Do you have a great inspiring article "Silicon Fever" by 95-year in & quot; Ogonek & quot ;. How was it written? Under any impression? Something happened? Some stage in getting acquainted with the Valley? B>
Stepan Pachikov Valley I know from June 90, when I first got there, and then in '91 we started to cooperate with Apple, opened an office in Cupertino ParaGraph next to them (this was one of the conditions of the contract) - and a dozen of the key developers of recognition Handwriting moved to the Valley ... They [Apple] is very worried about the project. Try to be aware of all the details, but did not tell us why they need a handwriting recognizer. And it was one of the fundamental errors of Apple - we worked blindly, only the specifications, it is wrong, because when doing artificial intelligence, there are lots of nuances that are important, and knowing that recognition will be done hand-held device that modifies the way algorithm development and influences the development.
I began to spend more time in the Valley, so in '92 moved there his wife and children. Sasha was 12, Ksenia - 8. In Moscow, I certainly spent a lot of time, but about the same as in the valley, and the same on the road.
At that time I became a weekly column "Looking from California" in the journal «Kompterpress" Article for " Spark » - it was my understanding that is a valley at the time. I like this article again came to mind when they began to organize the "Skolkovo", and when they tried to declare the "Skolkovo" Silicon Valley - Medvedev continues to call it Silicon.
IC: How changed over time related to the Valley? B>
SP: You know, the Valley - has always been my favorite place, and I especially loved the 280 th street, and always talked about it and drove guests to the airport for her. Attitude to the Valley, as another home. Any truth claims, and some to the valley at the end of the last century. I thought that with so much money and capital, and with so many interesting, intelligent and educated people, educational institutions, cultural life in the Valley could be more intense: theaters, conservatories and other museums. And it seemed unfair that there is such a concentration of smart, educated and rich people, and such a low intensity cultural life. But now the situation is changing, I hear from friends and acquaintances that, in general, things are changing for the better, but again, everything revolves around San Francisco. I do not consider part of the San Francisco Silicon Valley. San Francisco - a single large event. Although, perhaps, now and SF can be included in the Valley. Relationship to the Valley I basically good. But the desire to move to the Valley from New Yorka- no.
IC: So you claim from a cultural point of view, I've lived in New York, and I understand that in the New York cultural life richer. Tell us more, why moved to New York from the Valley. What influenced the move? B>
SP: There are 2 reasons. The first - rather funny. In '97 Silicon Graphics bought my first company ParaGraph, and it so happened that I gained a certain amount of money - more than what you used to spend in trying to learn how to spend money on the toys I was interested in Hi-End equipment (tube amplifiers, electrostatic speakers and so on), it's very expensive, tens of thousands of dollars. It so happened that until then I was not a fan of opera, but since we had a very good equipment and very nice, wonderful trucks for laser discs, my wife began to buy Opera on laser discs, and so we began to listen to opera and other classics and quickly fell in love with opera and began to look around. Began to ride at the Opera House, San Francisco, Seattle, we liked New York and his opera, and I jokingly said to my wife, in 2000, that instead of having to constantly fly to New York, let's move out there. And, quite quickly, we did it. Bought an apartment in a 15-minute walk from the Metropolitan Opera, in the western part of Manhattan. In general, we just fell in love with the city, when they began to fly continuously for opera performances. So the reason we moved to New York to become a laser videodisc player.
The second reason why I do not like to tell: it turned out that I organized at Silicon Graphics fairly successful new division Pen and Internet, it quickly began to develop. but by this time Silicon Graphics started to arise financial difficulties, problems with management, they began to get rid of non-core businesses as well, which I headed department, together with the team continued to develop the technology of handwriting recognition. SGI has decided to sell our branch company Vadem. I spent almost a year in Vadem But, it happened one day, CEO John Zhao called me and said - that here you will now work for Microsoft, we will give your department with all your Microsoft patents, the entire technology team with everything. It was a big shock for me, not because I have a bad attitude to Microsoft, I treated with the utmost respect for Bill Gates and his company, but that it was done a little bit dishonest way behind me, I have put before the fact, therefore, I refused to participate in the transaction, slammed the door, left the company a year and a half was depressed.
Moving to New York was kind of way out of this state. Microsoft bought the patents "Para" and for many years I entertained the audience that when I showed handwriting recognition on phones Microsoft, asked: "Here, write" Pachikov "with any degree of recognition as you want, no matter how fast, and so on." It is always recognizable because my name was in the dictionary, and the technology has been sharpened by the recognition of my name, because during the demonstration, I often wrote his name - it was like an Easter egg, which our programmers did. In general - recognition technology has moved to Microsoft, I moved to New York.
IC: It is clear, that is, New York has become a kind of outlet for you from some not very pleasant events. And how often do you go now to the Valley and for what purpose? B>
SP: I am a board member of Evernote, which I started in 2002 - it was a New York company, but the main team (these were people from my team of paragraphs), all lived in California, and I began to fly to New York for the weekend. And then, when Phil took over the company in 2007, I had already ceased to fly to California and flew only on board meeting.
IC: When you lived in the Valley, which were then Russian community in the Valley and how they communicate then? B>
SP: 92 until the end of the century, the main Russian-speaking company which has been available to me - they were former employees ParaGraph, which was very much, we moved to Silicon Valley for more than 25 families, so most of the Russian-speaking people, friends and acquaintances were associated with ParaGraph. Of course, there are other Russian-speaking community, but I was not much involved in them. It is clear that if anything like AmBAR («Business Association of Russian-speaking professionals" with headquarters in Palo Alto - Ed.) Were not.
IC: You re-registered company in California and at the same time participated in the conference SVOD (Silicon Valley Open Doors) - how do you get there? Referred by Alexei Fedoseyev previously presented there the startup, which he later sold to Motorola? B>
JV: Alexei Andreev and invited me to meet people around the conference, and I met with Fedoseyev much later. It so happened that I invested in 4HomeMedia and even to make money when they sell Motorola.
IC: How do you personally began to develop after the registration of Evernote? B>
JV: After we released in 2004 beta for Evernote on Windows, it was necessary to develop the business, it was necessary to meet with partners, with the press, investors. I was a SEO company and 24 hours a day engaged in business of the company. And, of course, I spun less in all areas, I met with investors, giving interviews, met with the press, newspapers, magazines, radio. I did the usual SEO work. No special Russian way get-together did not occupy a special place in my life then, but most of the team was a Russian-speaking Evernote. This has its pros and cons. The downside is that, will not will, had to communicate in their native language in the company breynstormy more comfortable in their own language. And it imposes a stamp, created a feeling that it is a Russian company. But this is not so, Evernote was originally an American company, although a large number of Russian speakers gave her an aura. Now this is not. It is now clear to everyone that is 100% American company. But CEO (Phil Libin) speaks good Russian.
IC: I know that Round And Evernote attracted investments, including, and from the "Troika Dialog", from Russian investors. B>
SP: It's already been at Philae. "Three" offer the most favorable conditions at the time of money.
IC: You have begun to raise such a company, and it is now one of the leading companies. And why in a previous interview you rate yourself as a mediocre entrepreneur? B>
JV: The natural modesty:-) You see, when so much time in business, when you meet with a large number of businessmen of the highest level, then quickly realize that your place is not in the first one thousand. For example, Phil, a brilliant entrepreneur, businessman, and I think that if I was lucky to meet someone earlier on his life's journey, I would have learned a lot. Phil is not just a brilliant businessman, but also a brilliant teacher. Just see how his team learn a lot, it makes them cool professionals. Actually, he is a born teacher. He is really talented teacher. And I think that over the years we have learned a lot from him.
IC: Tell me, what did you do to Evernote - which were important steps in your history as an entrepreneur? B>
SP: The first stage occurred in the 67-68 year. I, as a student of the course 1-2 Suggestion Novosibirsk University, organized the first Siberian rock band Black Lines. So far, I think is one of the most successful events that I was able to "knock out" 5000 rubles rector Spartak Timofeyevich Belyaev on the drum kit (manufactured by "trolls"), and I managed to buy it by wire transfer, although it only sold for cash. The first month of "knocking" on the drums, I then found a talented guy, and then I became a manager of the group, gave concerts, played at weddings, at a dance in the dorm. I still remember all of it with pleasure and I believe that this is my first entrepreneurial success.
The next milestone in my home organizing activity was a scientific seminar, which is organized in my apartment and where they discussed a wide range of issues. First Kohl Yatsenko ("Kolyaba") for several months telling nontrivial concept of Civil War history, about how graduates of the Royal Academy of the General Staff helped the Bolsheviks win the Civil War. Then a few months we have been analyzing the theory of Fomenko Abuse dating history. Eugene Paletsky pretty neat and critically analyzed approaches Anatoly Fomenko. It so happened that at the workshop, it was held on Sunday, going about 25-30 people. It was a purely male company, even his wife left. There were various rumors that are going to men and do not drink vodka. There were a lot of interesting topics, Sasha Semenov - talked about music and what logic is the basis of musical perception. And for the first time at the workshop, I felt like a leader and manager.
The next step - a children's club "Computer". It so happened that in '84 strong inspirations of personal computers. I got to get and read the different foreign computer magazines. I quickly became a specialist in personal computers and I was invited to the group "Temporary staff of the school under the President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR." Led them Velikhov, but the team leader was Lesch Semenov. I pretty much learned there.
In the 86th year we have organized "Moscow children's computer club." And Garry Kasparov then strongly in this case helped because the club gave batch of computers Atari - about 50 pieces. It was the largest concentration of personal computers in the entire USSR. Gary signed a contract with Atari but instead of money taken from them greyhound puppies - computers. Gary became a co-founder of the club. And the club was a bright page in the life of Moscow 80s. Taught the children programming - free of charge. Become a member of the club could only one who gave lessons to children.
Around the club had the notable community of enthusiasts in the USSR. Quite a lot of bright people there were. And we began to think how to organize their own company. So a firm ParaGraph - a joint venture, then registered in the US as ParaGraph International based in Moskve.Tak got that out of all sorts of projects that we wanted to do, we decided to do OCR. And that there were several reasons, one of them - the minimum necessary equipment: a computer and a scanner. We were lucky and the team guys, which I drew very quickly made a very good version, which shows that we can read the handwriting without training. Of course, we could only read plain text. With this went to COMDEX (when it was the largest IT-conference) in May and June 90th of the year. The airline lost our luggage, and we had no computers at the booth, no scanners, but the people and helped put together "with the world on a string." Dali computers, scanners, printers, we hung the flag of the USSR. We were a queue. Then CNN made a report from our booth and our demo. This coincided with the arrival of Gorbachev, the interest was huge.
And in the autumn, we have been the most famous Soviet firm. Shows not only scanning, but also demonstrated the technology using the tablet with a digital pen. And one of the people, then known - founder of the "Lotus", a look at our demo, called the GO (firm Jerry Kaplan, who invented the idea of pen oriented OS, and it really came up with Tablet PC) and said to them: «It really works!» Autumn 90go we returned to California, met with Apple, began to show them our technology, they began to write the words, but nothing worked. We explained that we just did not have a digital English Dictionary and we made ourselves taking as a basis the floppy disk with the lyrics of the Beatles, which gave me a friend from England Then people started writing with Apple different words of the songs Beatles, and it worked. Condition for the transfer of the contract was the key engineers in Dolinu.Apple we paid 6 million. The essence of the contract was to develop a technology handwriting tool, as it became clear for the Apple Newton (tablet computer early 90s - "grandfather" of modern iPad - Ed.) And I have a nostalgic love for the Apple Newton, although this product has failed in the market . All due to the fact that the notorious marketing Apple made a few mistakes, which can lead to a textbook on marketing. One of them was that they were too hard strip pulled up from the standby unit. People really believed that the machine will recognize the language better than they do themselves.
I remember we were at a conference, and someone in the audience loudly cursing our recognition. I told him that if you do not like - turn off, do not use. But he said that he could not make out your own text and therefore bought Newton. He really believed that the computer needs to do it better than him. And it was one of the major punctures Apple. A second mistake - this is what Newton very much ahead of his time. Processing power nalodonnika really not enough. iPhone came on the market in time when you need to, and all other devices premature paved road. Apple Newton - a very important step.
IC: So you are to this board at the right time in the right place? B>
JV: In business success is very important. Too many people are in the right place and time, but do not notice it.
Sign , please.