Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Filip Poutintsev, a man of many talents indeed.
Filip is a business consultant who specializes in getting startups off the ground, a pioneer in direct marketing strategies with a honed craft in finding the most innovative ways to do business.
His credentials speak for themselves. Filip has worked with some of the most prominent business entities from Europe and beyond. Finnair, Booking.com, match.com, and Sykes are among his clients.
What drives you to do what you do?
When I first started out on this journey, the monetary incentive. But now I do it because I honestly like it. Business for me is like a hobby. When I wake up and switch on my computer to check messages, I do it because I want to, not because I have to. I’m actually interested to see what has happened while I was asleep. I don’t even call my work “work”. I just do what I enjoy doing.
You have a specialty: growing your clients’ business. How do you approach your clients, and how do you manage their own ideas and idiosyncrasies?
The plan is actually pretty straightforward: get as much exposure as possible, and then monetize it. The problem, however, is that there are millions of ways to do things wrong, and every client invents new ways to ruin it. My mission is to identify them and keep my client from making those mistakes. Luckily, I have noticed that if something works for one client, it tends to work with others too. You may have to slightly adapt and tailor the strategy, but the core idea remains the same because all clients are people and they make their minds up and behave similarly. They may be buying a car, researching a trip, or investing on an ICO. The human mind always works the same way. It’s all about delivering trust, positive visualization, and enabling their feeling of superiority.
Tell us some of the most unusual challenges you’ve encountered while dealing with your clients.
I don’t think they are exactly challenges, but most problems appear when a client has mismatched and unrealistic expectations of what they want, and what they are willing to pay for it. Some things simply cannot be done, no matter how much money they have. Let’s assume for instance that a project is simply not viable, so much so that it’s unlikely to see any investment. Even if the client offered me half of what investors will put forward, I wouldn’t be able to find anyone to work on it. It’s not always about money alone.
What defines a successful project, in your opinion?
That’s a very difficult question. There are a lot of aspects and a lot of answers. But based on what I have seen, I have to give a very demotivating answer: money. There is huge competition in every industry, so merely having a great idea and motivation will not do it. Executing your business idea and promoting it costs a tremendous amount of money, so you won’t get far without the necessary funds to back it up, at least at a high level. But on the other hand, if you have a lot of funds you can always hire a great team of specialists who will polish your idea and make it happen. Investing a lot in your project also means that you are more serious about it, because you become heavily involved and bear a higher risk. This is an important consideration when proposing other investors to join you. Money goes where money is, and in order to make money, you need money. This is why, when some industry giants launch their projects, no one can compete with them. Even in the ICO industry, the most successful ICO was Telegram’s, because financially they are on a completely different level than most ICOs.
One single sentence can summarize all of the above, really. The more money you have, the more mistakes you can make, which otherwise you could not afford.
You talk about ‘overcoming the valley of death’, when referring to the process that startups go through at the beginning of their existence. Define that for us.
That issue is mostly related to traditional start-ups only. With ICOs there is usually no valley of death, as they either don’t raise enough money so the business does not even start, or they raise enough to cover the next few years. But back to the original question, I had a rule in all my business ventures of making a profit within the first three months. If there are no profits after this period, I would abandon the project and move on to something else.
You’re heavily involved in blockchain technology and ICOs. What is the future of both?
I’m very confident that blockchain technology will replace all old-school structures we currently use. Not only will Bitcoin replace fiat money, but blockchain will also make obsolete all current voting systems, registries, and databases. Even legal agreements could be replaced with smart contracts, which will ease the burden of judicial institutions arising from legal conflicts. And I think that very soon, traditional equity investing will decrease, as more start-ups will do an ICO. Other changes will take longer, as governments and other institutions like banks are trying hard to slow it down. But global changes will come, sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time.
You studied computer science, law, business management, and other disciplines. How can you relate your academic experience to your professional experience?
I guess the biggest benefit of my education was the acquisition of broad knowledge about those subjects, so that I can now combine that knowledge in my business and manage different fields.
How do you help startups to get ahead? What’s your strategy?
I mostly advise them with effective use of their funds. The biggest part is planning their marketing strategy, as most of their funds are allocated to that. But it also means choosing the right service providers. The most expensive ones are not always the best. I provide consultation services for startups in every aspect where they need help, but smart use of money usually comes first with all clients.
Work-life balance: how do you manage?
I follow the Pareto principle and try to do only the 20% that brings results and skip the useless 80% completely. On a practical level, this means choosing the right projects and skipping everything that will turn out to be a waste of time. So far, it’s been working great for me, and I have quite a lot of free time compared to my colleagues. I also outsource most of the boring, hard and technical work, and only manage people. The only thing I do completely myself is consulting my clients, of course.
Without jinxing it, what exciting projects are you working on right now?
There are lot of interesting projects, but they all have one thing in common: they are working on utilizing blockchain technology to benefit everyday life.
Thank you very much Filip for your time.
You’re very welcome, my pleasure.
You can contact Filip via: