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How To Run a Ukrainian IT Enterprise When the World is Falling Aside | by Alex Yelenevych | Apr, 2022


A hearth was attributable to a GNP hitting a high-rise house constructing subsequent door to mine. Picture from the Fb web page of the SES of Ukraine.

The principle product of our firm helps folks from many nations be taught Java on-line and grow to be builders. Proper earlier than the warfare began, issues appeared fairly good for us. The variety of customers was rising, and we have been engaged on a brand new product referred to as Java College. We had formidable plans: after the launch of the free model in China, the EU, and the USA, we began making ready the content material for the paid model. We have been additionally desirous about making a platform that may join college students studying Java with mentors who might help them remedy issues. We have been contemplating attracting investments and increasing shortly and extensively. All our concepts appeared so thrilling, and the long run appeared so vibrant.

We had heard the information about Russian troops close to our borders, and we have been feeling pressure and anxiousness. However, as unusual as it could sound, since 2014 (when Russia began sending its troops to the jap areas of Ukraine and annexed Crimea), now we have gotten used to those feelings and the hazard coming from our so-called “neighbor”. We hoped for the most effective. None of us thought such insanity might occur.

I reside (I don’t need to say “lived”) in Kyiv, on the left financial institution of the Dnipro river. On February twenty fourth, round 5 am, I awakened due to sounds I’d by no means heard earlier than: photographs or explosions. “Perhaps it’s nothing,” I stated to myself. However then got here the subsequent ones. I reached for my cellphone. The information was overwhelming: many Ukrainian cities underneath assault, missiles flying, bombings. It was the tip of my plans for the day — and the start of our new actuality.

Throughout the subsequent a number of days, I stayed in Kyiv and tried to attach with my colleagues. A few of them left the town for the villages within the suburbs; others have been operating a lot additional. Individuals have been anxious about cash and the long run. My workers saved asking me: what if I left? Would I be capable of work? Would the corporate survive?

My spouse was additionally asking me whether or not we must always go away or not. I didn’t know what to do. However then our military shot down the cruise missile, and it fell one block from our home. So, we determined to go away Kyiv. My mother and father refused to go along with us. “It’s our metropolis, and we’ll stick with it,” they stated.

Yet another picture of the ruined home close to my very own. Taken from 24tv.ua

After leaving Kyiv and discovering a safer place, I needed to act quick to maintain the enterprise afloat. This big activity required a number of steps.

Security

We made positive our workers additionally got here to protected (or not less than safer) locations. At the moment, each Ukrainian has a narrative: scary, tragic, and unhappy. Our workers do too. A few of their tales are very uncommon. For instance, one in every of our colleagues left Kyiv for Vynnytsya (the town within the middle of Ukraine) by bicycle. In a single day, he rode 50 km, discovered a spot to remain in some village, labored for a number of hours, and resumed the journey the subsequent day. Ukrainians are unbreakable!

Instruments

We did our greatest to supply all of the units folks must work. A number of the workers managed to take laptops from the workplace (fortunately, we had some there). A number of PCs on the workplace nonetheless are on, so our builders can hook up with them by way of the interior community. The principle infrastructure is in AWS, and the servers are positioned in Germany and the USA. So, our merchandise are secure and work with none issues.

Most of our workers have been utilizing cellular web for the reason that warfare began. Their smartphones have grow to be entry factors, and it permits them to work.

Communication

Positive, there have been some communication issues as our folks have been unfold round Ukraine and overseas. For instance, our designer remains to be within the village close to Kyiv. She has a laptop computer, however the web connection is terrible. She discovered a spot with a barely higher sign — and has to go there at any time when she must ship or obtain some information. And it typically takes a very long time.

Resuming work

Regardless of all of the difficulties, we resumed work. We need to attempt and proceed paying out salaries even in these horrible circumstances. However due to the warfare, we misplaced an enormous a part of our earnings. So, we wanted new concepts. We met on-line and began brainstorming. Perhaps the rationale was the adrenaline rush, however we got here up with options in a short time.

For instance, we began a promo marketing campaign with no deadline: 50% low cost on our Java course. We’re very grateful to all of the folks from Europe and the USA who’re shopping for subscriptions. They assist us assist our workers who needed to go away their lives behind and hold our firm alive. Our greatest concern is closing the enterprise we’ve put all our efforts and hearts in. Our outdated and new purchasers are saving us from the worst situation.

Earlier than the warfare, we have been actively increasing to the Chinese language market, and now we’re nonetheless pursuing this objective.

Additionally, we determined to launch Java College. As an alternative of 12 months, as we initially deliberate, we’re providing three months course, “Java Fundamentals”, with mentors’ assist. We hope it’ll enhance our income and stabilize our monetary state.

Psychological well being

We knew our folks have been experiencing huge stress and wished to assist them cope. Our recreation designer can be an skilled in psychology. So, to assist our workers, we performed classes on the finish of each assembly. Everybody might share their feelings, fears, and ideas. It made folks really feel they weren’t alone and lowered their anxiousness.

At the moment, all of us hold serving to the nation to battle. Ukraine should defend itself on two battlefields: bodily and informational. We are attempting to do as a lot as we are able to on each. As early as attainable, we despatched emails to our customers in a number of languages (Polish, English, German, and so forth.) with details about the present scenario and methods to assist Ukraine. We assured them we’d proceed supporting our merchandise, so they might be taught Java no matter the place they have been. In any case, we have to keep in enterprise to rebuild the Ukrainian economic system after our victory!

The response we’d gotten extraordinarily touched us. Our clients from quite a few nations have been writing to us providing assist. They even steered accommodating our workers! It felt like our customers stood with us and supported us on the darkest time. They gave us religion that we might survive, keep collectively, and hold our enterprise.

Screenshots from our assist workforce present the response of our customers to the letter in regards to the scenario in Ukraine.

Then, we targeted our efforts on three tasks:

  • Donor.ua — his venture accumulates details about blood donors throughout Ukraine and coordinates the blood donating course of. We’re serving to them with the commercial for potential donors and cash assortment. This group wants funding, and we’re doing every thing we are able to to draw overseas investments.
  • The venture “Ми поруч” (“We’re close to”) — gives psychological assist for youngsters throughout the warfare. Youngsters are very susceptible immediately. They could be fearful of listening to sounds of alarm sirens, or explosions, staying in bomb shelters for days, seeing horrible issues. This venture connects youngsters with therapists.
  • Dostupno.ua — The venture which objective is to evacuate folks with disabilities from sizzling spots.

Additionally, many workers be a part of completely different volunteer tasks by themselves and assist unfold the details about what’s actually happening. A lot of our workforce members are serving to the military and refugees with medication, gear, and so forth.

Yesterday, we have been builders, designers, and managers. We lived our strange lives: labored, went for lunch with colleagues, made Friday evening plans with pals, and booked tickets for the subsequent journey someplace.

At the moment, everybody in our firm isn’t just an worker but in addition a volunteer. We work to guard our enterprise, our folks, and our nation. And we received’t quit till we win.

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