Julia Solovieva at the Moscow office of Google
YULIA SOLOVIEVA: 43 years old, a graduate of Moscow State Linguistic University and Harvard Business School and one of the most impressive resumes in Russian business. Among her achievements are the director of development at NTV-Plus, director of corporate development at MTS OJSC, president of the ProfMedia holding, chairman of the board of directors of Rambler Medi and a member of the talent pool of the president of Russia.
- Favorite city: Moscow
- Hobby: tango, interior design
- Favorite brand: Celine, Brunello Cucinelli, Converse
- Favorite online service: Google Voice Search
What did you dream about as a student?
I didn't have big career expectations. Moreover, then, in 94, women did not have a career, they had a job. And I had a job: I studied in Ying-yaz and from the 4th year I worked as a translator for groups of foreigners who came to Russia. In general, I was planning to get married and leave for America. I had a fiancé whom I met when I was living there on an exchange. When I returned to Russia, I was already engaged to a ring. So I thought I was coming back for a little while.
And what about the wedding?
It did not take place. After graduation, I got a job as a translator for a commercial director in Moscow cellular communications. And everything spun so that she stayed here for a long time.
How are stunning careers like yours done?
First, you need to be motivated. The worst thing in life is not wanting anything, not being interested in anything. It is advisable to choose big goals for yourself. Formulate and visualize them. If the motivation is gone, do not give up the case halfway, but first find out what happened and why. And remember: you don't have to explain anything to anyone, you just have to go and do it. The main thing is to agree with yourself. In Moscow cellular communications, I started with an assistant. Six months later, I came to my boss and said that I wrote a new job description for myself - I can, they say, do this and that. And after a while she was already engaged in hiring and training people in the regions. Then she wrote another job description - she began to establish business processes and the work of commercial departments. In general, everyone then studied in the fields, and if you spoke English,it was easy enough to grow both within the company and find new jobs. It was incredibly interesting to me - I bought books by telecom, billing systems, sent myself to trainings.
What did you spend your first serious salary on?
A crazy business suit. It was yellow and cost a lot of money at that time - $ 400. At that time, he seemed to me terribly fashionable. And before that, my grandmother sewed skirts and jackets for me.
How did you get to Harvard?
I realized that I lacked business education. Plus, there was the 1998 crisis. I had three months to submit the documents, so I acted quickly and using the carpet bombing method: I applied to seven American business schools - the top three, three secondary schools, and one more - so that they would definitely take it. In general, I threw all my strength into this project. I wrote to myself in Excel what to do step by step. I studied all the time, spent every free minute preparing for the difficult GMAT exam. For three months in my life there were no discos, no parties with friends. But I made a huge bet on this, because after Harvard, the question of where you want to work is no longer in your life. You choose, not you.
Are your expectations confirmed?
Quite. After receiving my MBA, I worked in Amsterdam for two years in consulting. The fact that I am in Russia now is my choice, not because I cannot leave. I want to be here. I am periodically invited to England and other countries. But I'm more interested in home. I believe we still have plenty of opportunities. Russia remains a country of growth.
Are you sure about that? But what about the crisis?
From a business perspective, any crisis creates a ton of opportunities. Especially the tech business - technology is cutting costs. Whoever races correctly - will order the situation and will win. We have survived five crises and will survive! By the way, the crisis of 1998 and 2008 also began for peace, and ended for health. It's all about our emotional expectations. We often see the situation worse than it actually is.
How is Google doing now?
When I came here to work two years ago, the market share was 23%. Now it is 32.5%. Moreover, there are few countries with such strong local competition - there is Yandex in Russia. Therefore, it was necessary to immediately set the speed.
Is there a lot of turnover in this company?
No, many employees have been working at Google for 10-15 years, but they constantly change jobs within the company. Because we need a new incentive, a new drive. If you do the same thing for more than three years, you risk becoming a professional half-corpse.
I heard that Google interviewed you for six months before offering you a job. What have you learned since you came here ?
Organize your time clearly. I work in three parts of the world: In the morning I deal with Moscow, then Paris wakes up, then California rises. I’ll be late for a minute - 20 people will sit and wait for video calls. Therefore, I clearly structure the day and prioritize.
Are you a humanist or a techie?
Perhaps I belong to the third category: business people. Although yes, I am very structured and can think pragmatically in stages forward. And in everyday life it is very organized, everything is always in its place, things are hung by color. I love order very much. It helps in business too. If you break the task into its components, into stages, the solution of problems will no longer seem global.
How to learn to make quick decisions - especially in stressful conditions?
Take the minimum information you need and act. Otherwise, they will definitely overtake you. In those five minutes while you sit and think, a lot of things will happen in the world. In Silicon Valley, there is such a thing as pivoting, which means changing the trajectory. Many startups out there exist without a five-year business plan. Because there is a Pivot - a sharp change in the direction of activity, audience, product type, etc. The world has changed a lot and requires a quick response.
Imagine a situation: a subordinate comes to you and asks for a raise. When will you meet halfway?
You don't need to do this from scratch. If you've been given twice as much work, prepare arguments as to why you deserve more. And it's better to focus on the result. It is important to know your market value and maintain relationships with recruiters, even if you are not currently looking for a job. Or you can look for it and, having received an offer, come with it to the authorities. But be prepared for what you will be told - the cost of a tablecloth.
Did you end up getting married?
Not. But I did three times. Every time I changed my mind. And in each of the three cases - I don't regret it a bit.
Do you even have time for your personal life?
If there is a passion in life for something or someone, then there will always be time for that. When I got into tango, my whole day was built around that. I always found time and danced even at night. And, by the way, she did much more. The main thing is not to re-want to want something, as they said in the film “What Men Talk About”.
Could it be that not having a family is the price of an impressive career like yours?
I do not think so. Absolutely. It is a great success to meet your man. And it doesn't depend on whether you work in a library or run a company. A business plan won't help here. I know for sure that I don't want a family for the sake of a tick. I am a self-sufficient person. I have hobbies, friends, money, men … Why do I need a stamp in my passport? I need a partner. If I meet such a person, I'm ready for a lot.
Are you attracted to alpha men?
It is important for me that a person has a passion in life, that he be successful in something. And how it is rewarded financially does not matter. I am interested in communicating with people outside of business, whose life is very different from mine. And so that the person does not take himself too seriously.
And who is more comfortable to work with? At Google, as I understand it, your colleagues are mostly men …
By the way, no. And it's super comfortable for me to work with women. Because they have a little less ego. They are perfectionists, they see more details. And, unlike men, they play less in politics. Women are more flexible, adapt better, listen more to other people's opinions. And more cunning - in a good sense of the word. For example, the most comfortable situation for me was when one of my former bosses believed that the idea was his. Even if I came up with everything and before that I had been fucking his brain for a long time. But then he gave me complete freedom to implement it.
How do you rest, replenish energy?
I used to love extreme recreation: I climbed the mountains in New Zealand, climbed glaciers in Alaska, in the canyons of Utah. And now, with such a crazy schedule and constant business trips, I learned to appreciate simple things - take a walk on the weekend with the dog, cook food and invite friends in the evening. Now I started another renovation - I love to build and between diamonds and a new kitchen I will choose a kitchen.
“If there is a passion in life for something or someone, you will always find time for it. when I got into tango my whole day was built around dancing."