Mike Yan: I feel like home in Armenia

Ayb School students hosted a meeting with Mike Yan, the Co-founder and CEO at ManyChat, a $100-million popular chatbot builder that is used by more than 1,000,000 businesses in 160 countries. Mike Yan is the son of Ayb School Co-founder David Yan. The meeting focused on a number of important topics like startup creation, ways to business success, the power of modern technologies and others.

— Is the modern world technologically equipped?

Don’t think that the revolution in the IT world ended with the creation of computer or the internet. We are just starting out, as we are actually not living in a technologically equipped world. For example, I don’t know your names, how to contact you or send you a mail. The virtual reality is longing for innovations and hasn’t yet become an inseparable part of our life, like it’s in case with mobile phones used by everybody.

— Does the world really need more technologies?

Is there an alternative? Since the old days, people have developed technologies and there is no strength to stop this process. For the ancient people, technology development implied creation of an instrument that could substituted claws and sharp teeth. Compared to the animal world, we, humans, are weak and slow but we learned to use own main advantage – the ability develop and create instruments that make us stronger and faster. According to a research, in terms of energy output, a man in inferior to animals, however, a man riding a bicycle is a game-changer.

— How to create a startup, which is destined to success?

Looking for ideas for a startup, you should understand what you are most all interested in. As a rule, projects become successful in case there is a wish to do something, even if nobody pays you for it yet and things have a rough patch. The biggest challenge is to move off and unabated enthusiasm is what you need here. If you want my advice, I will tell to take keen interest in what you are doing, never stop learning and mastering your skills. As a result, you will become a specialist, see the problems and offer smart solutions to win the customers’ hearts and get profit.

— Is education a necessary condition for doing business?

Spending several years to learn a theory about how to do business doesn't seem a great idea. There is no better education than encountering real problems in real life, trying to solve them and winning a victory. When Steve Jobs employed a team of licensed professionals, the workflow was irreproachable but it yielded no result. As a matter of fact, they did not realize that the true goal of a business is the creation of a valuable product that would please the customer. It’s better to pass a winding road and create something that will not please everyone than work diligently and smoothly without any result.

I am by no means against higher education. I got a diploma in psychology at the Moscow School of Economics and now have the feeling that the education I received is now applicable in my everyday life and business. It’s because the human factor is the biggest and the most important. We do business to solve people’s problems.

You shouldn’t think that every university graduate starts a business. Another myth is that all entrepreneurs are young. On average, the owners of successful business are in their forties. Do not hurry. If I know one person, who dropped out of the university but managed to create his own business, it means that I know a hundred of similar persons, who failed. Startup is a risky niche. Statistics shows that the majority of startups end in a failure.

— How to create a valuable product?

The only way to understand the value of your product is a constant conversation with your potential customers. For example, if you intend to create an online recipe book, go to your mother and ask whether she will use it. And your mother will tell you, “Of course, I will. I love you and will support you in any beginning.” You may erroneously think your idea will score a big win. However, the problem is that you will never get a plausible response to a question asked in a wrong manner. So, it’s better to ask your mother when she last opened her recipe book and if she says ’20 minutes ago’, you will understand that you don’t have any problem here. No problem, no business.

— Which human quality is the most important in the 21th century?

For me, the first and foremost is the ability to think for themselves. One of the technology development consequences is that we gradually immerse into a virtual reality under the influence of our phones, computers and social media and loose the touch with the real-life world. This is a destructive phenomenon, because you risk spending your life as the public demands instead of being your own man. To put it shortly, you should comprehend what is the most important and interesting for you and go for it.

— What do you feel for Armenia?

My granny – my father’s mother – was born and raised in Armenia. My grandpa is from China. Armenia and China met at Moscow State University. For the first time I was brought to Armenia, when I was one year old. I don’t remember this journey but it undoubtedly influenced my life. Although I am as much Chinese as Armenian, I don’t visit China every year. The reason is my grandmother. To be more precise, my grandmother’s sister, but for all my Armenian relatives and me, she is the grandmother. My parents were very young when I was born. My mom had to leave the university and take care of me. To help her, my grandmother, Esma, came from Armenia when I was 2 and spent most of her time with me till I got 6. For me, she is the ideal image of an Armenian granny.

I never lived in Armenia for a long time, but every time I come here, I feel like home and enjoy the warmness of this land and people living here.

Mary Ghulyan, 11th grade


Tag Blog Tag Բլոգ

Tweets by AybSchool