Table of contents:

“You don’t have to compromise with yourself” - interview with Mikhail Osin,
“You don’t have to compromise with yourself” - interview with Mikhail Osin,

About how important a team is, belief in success and customer care.

“You don’t have to compromise with yourself” - interview with Mikhail Osin,
“You don’t have to compromise with yourself” - interview with Mikhail Osin,

What do you do in your work?

I am the CEO of Joined the team in spring 2018. Now we are making a more convenient product - a mobile application and a website. The current version of the service was developed nine years ago together with the Art. Lebedev Studio, and it was a real breakthrough. And still, among the main reasons for choosing, people note the convenience of the site.

Nevertheless, progress does not stand still, and now we are completely redoing many things: both outside and inside. After a while, we will present the updated product to customers. Until I reveal the specifics, it will soon become visible (smiles).

But you came to OZON earlier. Tell us what you did in the company before?

He came to the company 10 years ago - in PR and marketing, grew to the head of the department, then took up commercial projects: digital sales and international expansion. At some point, one of these projects turned out to be mobile applications, then a mobile site, and then a desktop one.

This is a story about how important it is to believe and want. Despite the fact that in 2014 they already talked about the mobile future, there was no mobile culture in Apps in sales accounted for less than 1%, and the team consisted of three developers who remained after being downsized as unnecessary. I then went to my new boss, Danny Perekalski, and asked if it was possible to take an application for myself and pick up mobile developers from IT. Danny replied, "Yes, take it."

Mikhail Osin
Mikhail Osin

It was a great time. The first thing we did with the team was to start ordering ourselves only through the app. Forgot about the site. Sounds simple, but we stumbled upon a bunch of "low hanging fruit" - improvements to make life easier for users. Conversions, installs and, accordingly, sales of the mobile application began to grow rapidly. At that time, did not have a mobile site, and we decided to raise this topic at a meeting with IT. The answer was disappointing: it takes at least two years to complete it. As a result, we decided to take it upon ourselves and involve outsourcing.

Nobody believed it, but we launched a mobile site two months after we thought about it. Frankly speaking, when I came to the company, I could not even think that I would be in charge of the development of the website and mobile application. Now, as the CEO of, the skills that I acquired at help a lot.

Does your college education coincide with what you do?

I was born in 1981, and now it is difficult to find peers around me who would work in the profession indicated in the diploma: the world has changed a lot, and this is so great. At school he was a techie: he was fond of mathematics, physics and computer science. And I have a higher education in the humanities, I studied international relations: it was fashionable and in demand. I learned several European languages, but now I speak fluently only English. In short, the key takeaway from the previous answer is that the best university is the job itself.

You seem to love your job and believe in it. What do you think is the key to success?

Yes, creating a user-friendly product and service that is used by a large number of people is a very pleasant feeling. It really energizes and helps to get out of bed even on a dark cold morning, in addition to morning rituals with children, of course (smiles).

Product creation means hundreds and thousands of small victories. People often look for the "silver bullet" in the hope of crushing all competitors. But in reality, success is daily hard work on yourself, improvement after improvement.

For two years, we have jointly improved the conversion to by 2, 5 times, which is quite good for this size.

I also think that it was very cool at some point to realize that a person is quite capable of doing different things for himself. People set their own limits. You ask, for example, a commercial person, how would he promote this service, and he replies that this should be asked marketing, he is commerce. It's as if there are not people like him working there in marketing. A person can do more than it seems. And not only at work.

What do you consider to be your main achievement in your work? was launched in 2009, and today we sell the most air tickets among Russian online agencies. If a person wants to buy a plane ticket and opens the airline's website, he sees only its offers. On the website of a travel agency, he can choose from among many options what is more suitable for the price, time and duration of the flight. We also sell train tickets, and this segment has grown decently this year: Russian Railways is developing well.

Our achievement is the customer care that he feels.

Tver has a team of experienced operators who help customers by phone or chat if they have questions or problems. We don’t quit in difficult situations and don’t move the arrows. Any question should not go unanswered. What is the best way to get to Berlin the day after tomorrow? Need to reschedule dates? Did you make a mistake entering your last name? Have you changed your passport? What documents should I take for a child? Can I bring my laptop bag for free on this flight? And the kitten? There are a lot of questions, and we are always trying to help, improving this process every day.

This is perhaps the most important achievement that the company has been striving for for many years. However, it continues to improve to this day. Directors from the Moscow office regularly travel to Tver to understand how else they can improve the client's life.

Let's talk about the difficulties. What have you encountered or continue to encounter, how do you solve them?

In any company, especially in a technology company, the most important thing is the people and the attitude of the team. has long been the largest Russian online travel agency, which for some employees was a kind of signal: success has been achieved. Alas, this is a very insidious condition, which entails the danger of stopping in one's own development. We had to update the team by more than a third, while we hired many specialists not from the travel industry at all to bring in new approaches and ideas.

Another interesting challenge: we are literally increasing our IT team several times over, recruiting young and talented developers. Now the demand is great, it is not enough just to post a vacancy and watch You need to look for ways out for good developers, sometimes you manage to hire whole teams that have worked well.

It is important to offer interesting projects, normal free relationships in the team, well, coffee, food and other goodies are required. We have recently moved to Moscow City, there is an excellent office with a beautiful view. For some, this is also important.

This is not the first time you have mentioned your team. Tell us what skills a successful candidate should have?

Mikhail Osin: Teamwork
Mikhail Osin: Teamwork

First of all, it is important for us that a person is interested in what he will do. Work is not just a line on a resume, it is a big part of life. The company needs people who enjoy the result - we are looking for such specialists.

Choosing between an experienced specialist tired of life and a person with no experience in the travel industry, but with a great desire to develop, we will choose the second one.

It is also important for us that the person is the “general director” of his direction. If you are responsible for the development of customer service, then it is completely yours. Do what you want, the main thing is to make the service better.

How do you rate the performance of your employees?

We have a common KPI for the entire office, these are key business indicators. There is no such thing that different departments have competing or conflicting KPIs. Sometimes this raises questions: it seems like a person is engaged in some specific direction and is not in his power to influence the overall performance of the business. In my opinion, this is a wake-up call: every employee must contribute to the development of the company, otherwise why come to the office every day?

What can you say about your mistakes on the way to success?

Don't compromise with yourself. If you don’t believe in a project, you doubt whether to take a person into the team or not, you should not say to yourself: “Okay, let's see.” In most cases, this will not work.

What will be relevant and in demand in your field in the coming years?

We live in a very mobile world with insane competition. In all areas, projects grow like mushrooms after rain, and in these conditions it is important to have a simple and reliable product. In order to create it, it is extremely important to find developers and product managers - these are the key people in business in almost all areas. As for the future trends in the travel industry, the topics of personalization and machine learning are still poorly covered.

In order for a client to notice your service among several dozen similar ones, you need to issue an offer based on the preferences of a particular person, be able to predict. Imagine that you have a friend in the agency who always helps you buy tickets and solves any issues related to this. Only now this friend is your smartphone or smart device. I want to come to this.

What does your workplace look like? What gadgets do you use?

Mikhail Osin: Workplace
Mikhail Osin: Workplace

I have a regular MacBook - I spend most of my time with it. It is very lightweight and is sufficient for everyday tasks. There is still a PC on the table, but I rarely use it.

Phones alternate: iOS and Android, to be as in the subject as possible. Now I have a Google Pixel 2XL - and it's really good. There are many different programs installed on the phone: basic travel applications, almost all applications from Google, taxi, car sharing, banks, running, music and, of course, a bunch of instant messengers. As a result, I hardly speak on my smartphone.

I use Liters and Audible for audiobooks. For reading, it's a second generation Kindle, and it still works great. I travel more often by subway than by car, so I opted for the Bose Active Noise Canceling Headphones for podcasts and audiobooks. I tried many different fitness bracelets and smartwatches, and in the end I wear simple Casio G-Shocks on my wrist. They don't sit down, distract, or break.

How do you organize your time?

I love the topic of time management and planning and am actively interested in it. It so happened that the first book on this issue was "" by Gleb Arkhangelsky, after which there were a dozen more books. Tried all known apps from Wunderlist to Google Keep. It’s probably worth going through all this, but in the end it became clear that:

  1. It is important to write everything down and form lists.
  2. These lists should be reviewed periodically to highlight the most important tasks.
  3. Perform important tasks first.

It would seem that everything is simple, but this is how it works. It doesn't matter which app you use.

I definitely devote an hour a day to self-development - from reading articles and watching courses to playing sports. The day fills up very quickly with business and appointments, so it's best to always have an hour booked in advance for yourself. The most interesting thing is that it is at this time that most new and interesting ideas come to mind.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite pastime?

We work most of our lives, so time with family and loved ones is the most valuable now. Just walking in the park, going to a restaurant or meeting at home is best.

Mikhail Osin
Mikhail Osin

I also like to take pictures: I used to carry a DSLR and several interchangeable lenses with me, but now a smartphone is enough. Running and swimming help to reboot.

Life hacking from Mikhail Osin

At some point, the realization came that humanity has accumulated enough knowledge and understands how to act. The key challenge is to do it. In other words, today's success is largely dependent on the quality and speed of execution.

Some people live in anticipation and search for a super idea. I don’t deny it happens, but it doesn’t guarantee success at all. Apple did not come up with the smartphone, but it was this company that performed it at the highest level.

A burning desire to do something and systematic movement towards the intended goal is what is most important.


Recently reviewed all available videos with Simon Sinek. This is really cool!

Perhaps this is what deserves attention. I was also very impressed with the graduates of William McRaven - everyone should see it.


  • "", Phil Knight. Not the only, but one of the most notable books about the difficult path to success. It inspires a lot with the passion and perseverance of the founders, and also reminds of how much in life depends on the circumstances.
  • "", Ed Catmell. Even a tech company employs a lot of creative people: the developers who write the code are also creative. An excellent book on how not to kill the feeling of freedom at work and achieve high results without using authoritarian methods.
  • "", Daniel Kahneman. A recognized bestseller on the paradoxes of thinking. Suitable for anyone looking to understand how neurophysiological traits affect decision making and success.
  • "", Denny Perekalski. Everything is simple here: I saw with my own eyes that all these principles really work.


With films, I have an interesting story: with children, there is an opportunity to live everything anew and pay attention to what passed by before. First I discovered Pixar: my son is watching, and you spend time with him at the screen.

Then the son grew up, we moved on to Star Wars, and I am very pleased that I revisited both at this age. I even wrote down a few quotes from Master Yoda, for example: “Do. Or do not. There is no try."

In other words, if you take on something, then live with it and do your best. For some reason, many live by the principle: "This is not mine, I am here temporarily, but then I will become someone and everything will be serious." No, it will not. Either you are here and now, or you are not here.

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