Pryvit! I’m Andrii. I’m a hands-on developer with an eye for the bigger picture.
Before building anything, I lay out a development plan for success — from an assessment of requirements to stack recommendations. Once everyone is aligned, I get my hands dirty and execute on whatever is required to deliver the best product to our clients.
In the process of refactoring and redesigning an aging iOS app, I introduced a new underlying programming framework that would help our client scale over time, all while adding the desired features and skins.
In my time at Kunai, I’ve done it all: worked on-site, traveled internationally, and set up remotely from a different timezone (Ukraine). Each client and each project allows for a different lifestyle and I’ve done my best to adjust to their needs.
When I’m in Ukraine, I might start working at 2pm, have a break around 5pm, continue working until 11pm. I love having quiet hours to code during the day and then take the calls when I overlap with my team and clients later in the day.
For me, it all comes down to freedom, and I truly believe remote work results in my best work because it allows me to develop autonomously as a person and as an engineer.
In one way or another, Slack resembles each aspect of the office communication: from emoji reactions to chats and threads, to pinned documents, votes, and reminders.
Standup keeps us all accountable and aligned so we can keep rolling on our work. You can’t underestimate the importance of daily communication among remote teams.
I mostly use Confluence as structured storage for the documentation and manuals of my builds. It's also a great place to track the history of decision making and engage in collaboration.
These tools aren’t for every project but when they’re in use, CI/CD tools are like having a cardiac monitor on your patient while you’re doing the surgery.
I could never count the amount of hours that this tool saved on passing specs from designer to engineer.
This is my go to option when working from coffee shops and other public WiFi spots.
On projects where information sensitivity is high, you can’t unsee the importance of cyber hygiene. I use this for keeping and sharing all sensitive info, both at work and at home.
Every time I open a new tab, this Chrome extension shares peace of mind and inspiration with me.
I like to use English everywhere so a little help when you are stuck with a new word is always appreciated. Best thing about this extension is that you just need to select the word and make one click to see the translation.
This tool recently became useful when I need an extra pair of eyes on text cleanliness. Even the free version provides a lot of value.
Triathlons recently became a very important part of my life. It’s a 3 sports in one: swimming, cycling and running, each a test of endurance. I completed a full IronMan in Italy in 2019 and am currently training for the next full IronMan in Spain (2020). I also did a couple of marathons, half marathons and half Iron Mans in between.
There are so many parallels between endurance triathlons and real life. You can’t succeed without putting in the work every day. It’s not the race day that makes you but all the days before. I must say the real endurance test is not the 10 to 12 hours on race day but to keep training over a year. Long triathlons make you start thinking long-term, value continued work and a disciplined approach.
There are many good ones but I’d like to share the top of my top.
There is so much value in this book. It gives you a framework with which making decisions will become easier and decisions themselves will be more effective. Author defines an antifragile system as one that not only can sustain from impact and harsh conditions but can actually benefit from it. He provides evolution as one of examples of antifragile. But there is so much more in the book.
For me this book was a big help in letting rational thought take over emotion when it’s really needed. Since I’ve read it, I have seen good changes in my life.
A guy who’s by now dead from brain cancer gives everyone the wisdom from his own perspective. The words I will never forget are: “No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.” These words have already saved me a couple of times and I’m sure will save me in future too. Thank you, Randy.
The thing with podcasts for me is that I don’t listen to any of them regularly. Just because there is not enough free time for my ears to be occupied with. I mix podcasts and audiobooks. However I’d highlight following podcasts I’m subscribed to:
“Tim Ferriss Show” and “Joe Rogan Experience” - if there is a guest or topic I’m interested in, I will definitely listen, because I know the quality of show that these guys make will be unquestionable.
“The Garyvee Audio Experience” - Gary is the guy whose voice is nice to have in your life, just to have someone constantly remind you how your actions and so called values are not aligned with your aspirations and life goals.
“Team Oxygen Addict” - Triathlon podcast, where you can listen to interviews with remarkable people in the triathlon world. I often use this podcast as source of news for my own posts in social networks (yes, media market arbitrage!)
“Crushing IRON podcast” - another podcast about long triathlon, lots of useful and practical information. Pure value for athletes!
Sandeep: Tell me a bit about the early part of your career.
Tom: I spent a decade helping to build start-ups focused on application and database software. This was where I learned how to sell and do business development. I was fortunate to be part of one company going public and another being sold to IBM.
Sandeep: What is something you learned during this time that helped you with consulting?
Tom: I began to appreciate how different customers achieved varying levels of success with the same foundational technology. This made me understand just how critical getting your team and process right can be.
Sandeep: This is something I only came to appreciate years into consulting, especially after the sale of my first consultancy to Capital One.I saw teams in different parts of the company trying to solve challenges like real-time messaging. Same corporate culture, same technology, same internal support mechanisms. Night and day outcomes.
Tom: We saw a lot of the same thing after selling our practice to EMC (sold to Dell in 2015). This is probably the thing I'm most proud of when it comes to the teams I've helped to build: the ability to perform well in a variety of contexts, sometimes in ways that inspires the client team to up their game as well.
Sandeep: Yes. It's particularly cool to see your team succeed in individual ways after an acquisition...consulting skills definitely translate into the corporate environment.
Tom: Totally. We have people who've stayed on at Dell and risen up the ranks, while others took the opportunity to become successful executives at other Fortune 100 companies....or to start their own agencies and startups.
Sandeep: We've both been around a while. My first consulting project was a Y2K thing for Cisco back in 1998. You've been around a little longer than that :). How do you think consulting has changed most during the past five years?
Tom: I think because there is so much infrastructure available now, consulting has become more delivery and outcome-oriented. A better blend of strategic and tactical. Public Cloud has also enabled velocity to increase at a pace unfathomable 5 years ago.
Sandeep: What has stayed the same?
Tom: It's still mostly about people. People who thrive on change and are focused on their personal and professional development. I love that this has not and will not change...it's what I love about consulting.
Sandeep: I know you're adjusting your work style to COVID. You're still a dude who clearly prefers to drive an hour for a socially-distanced hike or outdoor meeting over Zoom any day of the week :) But personal styles aside, what is specifically compelling about a remote agency during the era of COVID?
Tom: Kunai has been remote for years, which gives them an inherent advantage. There is something about the communication and management styles that just works in a way that other organizations are still figuring out.
Sandeep: Yeah, I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that remote work isn't just office work over Zoom. it's an entirely new paradigm. There needs to be an understanding for asynchronous efficiency...and this just takes time and effort to develop. How do you approach remote work and family? What are you learning about separating work and personal time?
Tom: No matter what the form of interaction, Focus. Be present. Quality over quantity. The best weeks are the weeks where I proactively schedule work and personal time. Neil (Kunai's Head of Delivery) shared a great quote with me "With discipline comes freedom." When I am proactively addressing the majority of my professional and personal commitments, I find I earn a little flexibility. A little freedom.
Sandeep: Tell us about a business hero of yours that I may not have heard of before.
Tom: Paul O'Neill is someone you may not know. His work in both the public and the private sector created a profound impact
Sandeep: We are both over forty years old :). How have you learned how to work smarter during the past decade or so? What do you wish you knew about consulting when you were 25 that you know now?
Tom: Consultants want to make lasting change. Lasting change is often not the act of a single person. Today I work much harder bringing others along on the journey.
Sandeep: Last question. What are you doing here? :) Why join a small consulting company this late in your career when you could have a cushy job somewhere else?
Tom: I love a good challenge personally and professionally. When I turned 40, I decided I would run a 10K every Thanksgiving weekend and try to have my finishing time be less than my age. With the exception of one year where I did not run due to a health issue, I have met the goal. I also recently completed the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race. So, I guess I'm here because I'm a glutton for punishment :) Jokes aside, our customers have a job to do and I intend to put Kunai in a position to execute flawlessly on their behalf. I love committing jointly to audacious goals for our customers and our business.
When I’m not building fintech solutions at Kunai, I’m often engaged in other types of creative problem solving in my free time. One great example of this is my years-long endeavor to create a simple computerized clone of an old Hasbro board game.
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