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Interviews — 10 Jan 2023
Vladimir Pokidko, Affise Reach Development Lead
Behind every success is a great team and an outstanding leader. Today, we want to introduce you to one of them: Vladimir Pokidko, the Affise Reach Development Lead.
Six years ago, Vladimir was one of the first Affisians on board. Learn more about his career path in the tech industry and how he helped build Affise Reach, a partnership marketing solution that supports brands worldwide.
More than six years ago, I was looking for remote work in Kazakhstan and found an affiliate programme, called “Clobucks,” founded by Dmitri Zotov. He knew many people and had several ideas to grow the programme into a business. I got involved as a back-end developer in similar projects like marketplaces or product feeds.
Months later, I joined the HQ team as the company grew. I felt support and confidence from the people working with me. I love adventures! “Clobucks” gradually evolved into more than just an affiliate program. A few years later, it became a solution to simplify partnerships, Affise, and welcome new horizons. But I have gained invaluable experience to keep the fast-growing company afloat.
A few years later, I moved to a new position as a product manager, where I helped start to understand customer needs, define product development across the lifecycle, and coordinate and manage trade-offs between engineering and design. I liked communication, decision-making, and cross-functional problem-solving, and I decided to move to the management level.
Then, as the development team grew, the capacity of the product team needed to be increased. We expanded our team with experienced professionals and grew to eight people in the product team.
I coordinate the processes between development and product, design and analysis, drive product and feature launches, and collaborate with senior management, product development, and operations to deliver impactful results to support business growth.
In 2021, we introduced Affise Reach, an end-to-end technology that helps brands and advertisers to find and team up with the best affiliates, content creators, and influencers to partner with, build relationships and manage affiliate marketing campaigns.
As a back-end developer at Affise, I had good technical experience with high-load and big-data systems, so I started making the architecture for Reach, combining two positions where possible. We started hiring a new team, and for a while, I had two teams to which I could not fully dedicate myself.
As the team grew, there were more than ten of us, and we had to decide to assign me entirely to the Reach team as development manager and leave the product team in good hands. For me, Affise Reach was a great opportunity to build a solid product and an efficient and productive team from scratch. During the launch, we faced many difficulties and tight timelines as a team that we had to solve and overcome. This time taught us to be stronger.
Trust and coordination. People are different; everyone has their own goals in life, at work, on the road, wherever – it’s tough to find like-minded people, and it’s impossible to force someone to think like you.
But if you are open-minded and your own goals and those of the company are transparent, it is easy to spread your vision, show what the team stands for and enjoy shared successes.
I like playing football and often compare it to product development. Let’s imagine that the defenders and attackers of a team do not trust each other; what will happen? Will they pass the ball to each other? Will they win? Suppose the defenders do not know why they are on the pitch; will they stop the opponent? This may seem obvious, but it is important, and I often see a lack of it. We are all in the same company, but there is only one difference: at Affise Reach, we have a small team, which lets us be more flexible and friendly.
My story above is representative enough to say: it’s not what you do or where you are – it’s what you like and want.
In psychology, there is a term “mindfulness,” which means to observe one’s thoughts and feelings. By observing ourselves, we can understand what state or position we feel comfortable in or what we are mentally running away from. We need to pay attention to our feelings when we want something.
Of course, desire alone is not enough, but in my opinion, it is more important than external factors.
As for our opportunities, great professionals take that place as soon as the opportunity arises. All my colleagues know that Affise success and growth depend on product growth and how a customer uses what we have introduced and what we are developing. The company and its success are not just about writing code.
I would not say that an international team brings challenges, but working remotely does. I worked remotely seven years ago, and I remember how hard it is to feel a sense of belonging when you are a thousand miles away.
Just be me! The team sees me as the same employee, but they know where I can help, solve and support. I’m convinced that there is no “artificial way” to increase trust by playing to someone or listening to them just because you have to – that will not work. So my method is simple: I care about my team and want to help if I can. In this case, if you are honest, trust comes by itself.
The biggest challenge, I see, is its suitability as a tool for different types of businesses. Some companies need additional integrations; others need more advanced analytics. We can only develop some things at a time, and we have to find a compromise between implementation, technical constraints, and business needs.
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