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Million Dollar IT Sale…..Lost

Reading time2 min

Lose Your Sale) How to lose an IT project sale. 

My name is Paul Karol and I work as a director in a Russian IT company that mostly sells their products into the American Market. What we will discuss today was so costly for that company that I want to share this knowledge so that it doesn't happen to other Russian IT companies. 

Case Study

Today I want to tell you about a sale that almost was. I was Consulting for this one company and they were involved in selling software to the United States. This one particular client was in contact with the sales manager for 2 months.

Now this sales manager was very good at their job and they had a lot of charisma on the phone and in the text messages. However they specifically did not know something that cost them a large contract. 

1. In Russia it's respectful not to talk about your personal life because you feel that you're wasting someone's time if you do not know them well. 

2. In the United States once you have been talking with somebody for a couple of months you would start to consider them sort of a friend. 

The Russian IT sales manager had not been in contact with this client for about a week and this was unusual. 

They were worried. 

Then the text message came that said this. 

"I'm sorry Marina that I have not been in contact with you for some time. I took my family and kids to the Lakeside and we enjoyed some time by the beach." 

The Russian IT sales manager did not know how to think about this and they asked this question. 

" So, do you want to buy our product?" 

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Total votes 3: ↑2 and ↓1+1

After sale IT support for American and Western Companies

Reading time2 min


After sale IT support for American and Western Companies 

Let’s have a case study. 

A Russian IT company sells software to a western country like say America. And you are working as an application developer on the support side. 

One day, there is a problem with the program, and the program has stopped working. 

You must contact the company now to inform them that the program is off-line. 


The way, the two cultures operate in a situation like this are very different and it will have everything to do with how easy your job goes for you.


Russia : “we have a problem”

“What is wrong?”

“I don’t know”

“When can it be fixed?”

“I don’t know”


USA: “i’m just giving you a real quick call to let you know that there is a problem with the program. 

I’ve already put my team on it and we will have it up and running shortly. 

I will let you know more by 3 o’clock today what is going on”

It’s not important how long you think it will take you, but I will always tell them a few hours from the time that you informed them of a problem.

I understand that you have no idea how deep the bug is and also whether it will affect any other systems.

But it is important to set a time window very close to when you inform them that you will bring them more information. 

This also works very well if you don’t know something that they ask you.


“What can we do to fix this problem?”


“I understand what you’re saying. I will look into it and get back to you in two hours.  By 1 PM today.”

in this case, it’s important that you: 

1. Take responsibility for yourself and your team.

   2. Communicate that you understand this responsibility.

   3. Gives strict timelines. (if it’s not possible, you can always say that there is a problem, but do it before the deadline.) 

    4. Use certain key language.

“ I understand you”

“ I understand what you were saying”

“ I wanted to inform you”

“ we are working on it right now”

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Total votes 2: ↑1 and ↓10

Your Name: Why it’s Important in American Sales and Marketing

Reading time2 min

This is one of the most important articles I’ve written. 

In this article, I’m going to dive deep into one of the largest differences between Russia and America pertaining to sales and marketing. 

1. You must use your name. 

2. You must have a personal approach. 

3. You must show that you are involved. 

4. You must show that you care about the needs and desires of the client. 

Recently, I was faced with an interesting problem. I was asked to call clients without making it personal. 

So let’s go back to when I was in America, living and working as a sales person. The company I work for, was very large, and had multiple branches around the Washington DC area. They had offices in three states. 

They put me through a sales training course. 

The biggest “take away” from the course….. 

You’re not selling the product/ 

you’re selling yourself. 

It's important to use your charisma and your genuine caring for the customer to win them over. Once they understand that you're actually trying to help them, then they will seriously consider the item you are telling them about. 

I also want to say, very clearly, that it's not a prideful approach. It should be a professional approach. You're responsible to tell the customer/ the client all the benefits of the item and how this item will help their business.

Everything above pertains to sales in America. So if you are approaching America as a sales manager this is how you should craft your approach. 

Now I've spoken to my colleague,

Kristina Pashnina and we have agreed upon some stark differences to the Russian sales climate. Here she will begin to tell you how the Russians see sales. 

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Total votes 1: ↑1 and ↓0+1

Building an IT website, aimed at America and the West

Reading time3 min

My last article stirred up some definite comments and even questions about different things in business. I’m going to keep giving you as much information as I can so that you can continue to do business as IT professionals outside of Russia with other countries. 

How do you design a website that will be viewed in the west and appreciated by the people there?

What are the most important elements

for, America and other western markets?

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Total votes 1: ↑1 and ↓0+1

Marketing your Mindset

Reading time2 min

Information shared below is exactly how I work with my IT professionals who are going to be participating in pre-sales to America. I tell them exactly this, and it helps prepare them to successfully sell the the United States companies.

As developers and IT companies, we must sell our software.

What can give you an edge in this very competitive market place?

Please, if you would allow me to let me explain why this is important and how this can make your company more successful. There’s a certain type of thinking that is conducive to working as a software developer. This is a very practical mindset, but it goes beyond that. If you have the mindset of direct thinking.

Here are examples:

I see the target a target and I don’t see obstacles

Вижу цель, не вижу препятствий

This is an example of the practical mindset, how is approaches the problem of development. It makes people who have this mindset, the best developers in the world.

Example of mindset:

Problem……………… find a solution………… No problem.

Notice how this looks exactly like a line of code?

This is well-known around the world in places where you would like to sell your software, the United States, Germany, Belgium, and the Middle East.

Countries where people have this mindset have the best developers.

now let’s talk about your competition:

Americans: during the center process, “find a solution” Americans are overly concerned about responsibility. This slows them down in the decision making process.

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Total votes 1: ↑0 and ↓1-1

The key to Sales Conversion of an American CEO or CFO

Reading time1 min

i’m writing this series articles to spearhead the new marketing campaign for into the American market. I will be covering a wide range of topics that will allow us to position the company in the proper way so that is excepted as a provider of High-quality software in America.

The key to converting an American CEO or CFO is the trigger point for the American business culture. The trigger point for America is responsibility.   This means in business you must be responsible. You also look for business partners that are responsible.  

But let’s take this into the newest more powerful view that we need to have now.  

The scene from the point of you of the CFO sitting at the head of the financial controls of a large hospital conglomerate. Put yourself in the mind of the CFO. What are they concerned about?  

As an American CFO they will be very concerned about whether they are being responsible in their job and responsible to the hospital, staff, shareholders, patients and the management above them. 

And this is how we get our foot in the door in this American niche market. If we present ourselves as offering something that “May” give an answer to specific problems that they know that they have, they must give us a chance to present a Presale. The reason is because they are responsible, and if there is a solution as an American Director you must explore that solution.

It would be irresponsible to not explore a potential solution.

Then it’s a simple case to actually give value in the presale meeting and convince them that we can deliver some thing that will benefit their business and profits.

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Total votes 6: ↑0 and ↓6-6

Dealing with sanctions and the other difficult question

Reading time3 min

In our last article we covered the anatomy of a presale meeting gone wrong. In that article we posed some questions for everyone to think about. What exactly does an American company wanting to hire a Russian custom software development company, feel about this Russian company? What are they afraid of? What are their concerns?

In the end we came up with five concerns.

1. Is the company a fly by night company, is the company a one-day company?

2. Will they be professional in supporting or developing the software that they've sold to us?

3. Will they have proper data security?

And now the two new ones that are because of the mess the world is in now...

4. Will they be able to complete the project on time? This includes proper internet access an infrastructure to support IT.

5. Where is your team located? Are you still located in Russia?

Now we're going to look at the last 2, number four and five.
However let's look at number 5 first.

Many IT companies today if they want to work with the United States or even Europe they must not have their developers located inside of Russia. Matter of fact it goes so far that if a developer is located in Russia and they're using a VPN and somehow the VPN is breached the credentials are canceled for that developer to work on the project.

It's for this reason that Russian IT companies are opening offices around the world. Let's look at Armenia as an example.

Wait a minute I have to go back for a second...... We must discuss how countries look to America Canada and Western Europe. I basically give them a score based on questions that are brought up in the mind of the American company or European company.

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Total votes 4: ↑2 and ↓2+2

The anatomy of a pre-sale meeting to the USA

Reading time5 min

My name is Paul Karol and I work connecting Russian IT with their customers in the United States. Please find on Hbar my previous article for a complete explanation of my credentials.

Today we're going to look at a presale meeting that was not successful and we will explain exactly how the Russian company lost this business. Please take a look at this photograph.

Going into this presale meeting the client (large American chain store) had worked with the software for a little more than a month and we're pretty happy with the result. From all indications they were going to buy the software this day. The sales manager had a good relationship with the American managers of the company. There was lots of buying sign that was known to the Russian company prior to this presale meeting. Suffice to say that they believe that they would have an easy sale today.

There was some very specific things that the Russians did that cost them this business.

We will be using this as a case study and we will discuss exactly everything that they did as a mistake and how to not do these same mistakes for your company.

First we must do some brain work. A thought experiment, if you will. What do you believe are the concerns of an American company doing business with Russian IT developers today. The current situation between the countries does make it more difficult but the same exact concerns are still there from before maybe slightly more amplified and there may be one more concern that wasn't there prior to the difficulties in Ukraine.

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Total votes 1: ↑1 and ↓0+1

Russian speaking IT presales and passing interviews to the West

Reading time6 min

Russian speaking IT presales and passing interviews to the West

I'm Paul Karol an American and I've been living in Russia and working internationally with businesses for the last 10 years. My first client was a Gazprom high level director and we worked on international communication and connections with the West and China.

I am the keynote speaker in many events and also give companywide training for companies that interact with other countries. I have been working deeply with The IT community of Russia for 6 years. My job is to make them pass their project interviews. Also I work with the presales and make sure that the company gets the projects that they want.

I'm the expert on Russia, Chinese and the  Western cultural relations.

First: if your company is just beginning to approach the Western market including America you want to have success in the beginning. If you're successful at passing the first few presale meetings or project interviews your reputation will be established. If you fail a few interviews or presales then you start to develop a reputation.

Total votes 2: ↑1 and ↓1+2

Everything you always wanted to know about human memory (but were afraid to ask)

Reading time5 min
Having a good memory is advantageous, even as people stay home amidst the pandemic. Our memories help us maintain an intellectual connection to the world, and keep us from mentally deteriorating.

Today, we’re launching a new series of articles on memory enhancement, starting with a short overview of how our memory works and the basic training you can undergo to improve it.

Total votes 7: ↑7 and ↓0+7

Self-Development: How I Couldn't Wear Two Hats and Found Third One

Reading time18 min

Hi all! I lead antispam team and several machine learning teams at Mail.ru Group. The subject of this article is self-development for team leads/managers. But in reality many techniques and recipes do not depend on the role at all. This really concerns me because machine learning is developing extremely fast, and it takes a lot of time to stay up to date. So the question about what should be done for development and how is quite topical.

Of course, the content of this article is not the ultimate truth but just a description of the results of my continuing quest. It tells about approaches based on books and workshops, trials and errors, which have worked for me. It'll be good to have a discussion with you in comments.
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Total votes 26: ↑26 and ↓0+26

Ambient music and its effects on writing code

Reading time6 min
In this post I’d like to talk about our background music choices for writing code. The developer soundtrack, if you will. To narrow it down, I’m going to discuss one specific genre, ambient music.

Homo laborans and music

Today the effect music has on all living creatures, humans included, is a fairly well-researched topic. It’s been common knowledge for a while that classic music helps people to calm down and relieves stress, while high-energy tunes of various genres can make your workout results way more impressive.

Plenty of scientific papers have been published that explore this phenomenon, especially by medical researchers and psychologists (use of music as a part of treatment plan, the way different organs respond to it, etc.). Naturally, many of those you gotta take with a grain of salt as there’s always the risk of crossing the line into pseudoscience, but there’s no shortage of reliable sources that confirm that link.

You don’t need to go further than Habr to find plenty of insightful articles that talk about the influence music has on a working environment and attention span of the workers. But this particular one has a slightly different intent.
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Total votes 20: ↑19 and ↓1+18

On higher education, programmers and blue-collar job

Reading time13 min

“Sometimes it happens that a man’s circle of horizon becomes smaller and smaller, and as the radius approaches zero it concentrates on one point. And then that becomes his point of view.”

David Hilbert
“When I thought I had hit rock bottom, someone knocked from below.”

Stanisław Jerzy Lec


Does a programmer need a higher education? The flow of opinions on this undoubtedly urgent topic has not dried up, so I have decided to express my view. It seems to me the general disappointment in education is due to the numerous processes and changes in the profession and it needs serious study. Below I will discuss the most common misconceptions, myths, and underlying causes of the phenomenon.
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Total votes 23: ↑22 and ↓1+21

Time management in real life

Reading time3 min

no problems

Have you ever noticed that you were busy all day, however, you've done nothing or at X-mas evening you experience an epiphany that nothing was done during the year? If your answer is "yes", you should improve your time management skills. According to Wikipedia, time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. Nevertheless, how can we deal with it?

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Total votes 19: ↑18 and ↓1+17

How to learn English

Reading time4 min

One one hand I don't want to be the final authority, but on the other hand, I'd like to share my point of view on how to learn English. The English language is not secret knowledge; it is just a lot of hard training. One of the most important bullets is constantly improving English. You should do it from day to day if you want to approach result. It must not loathe torture for you, It means that you should find out something interesting in that process.

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Total votes 17: ↑16 and ↓1+15

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