We continue our series of interviews with Travelpayouts employees. Today, our guest is Nikita Gurovsky. You have seen Nikita in our webinar, met him at conferences or in the blog. If you have long been in the affiliate program, you may probably remember how Nikita responded to your tickets.
What do you do at Travelpayouts?
I joined Travelpayouts five and half years ago and my job then was to respond to tickets. My functions changed after Lena Kosmynina, Egor Abramenko and Ivan Baidin joined the team. I’m now Head of Affiliate Relations at the company.
In general, I search for new affiliates and partnership networks, and also engage in promotion of our affiliate program. Since I live in Samara, I often attend conferences accross Russia and meet potential partners.
Of course, I also search for new offers for our affiliate network. Our network is available only in Runet for now. In the near future, we will offer our foreign affiliates the opportunity to earn on car rental, selling of excursions and train tickets, priority pass to airport business lounges and other offers.
I was in charge of the Travelpayouts blog, but now I write our newsletter. I hold webinars with the participation of affiliates and advertisers and I also make offline presentations at conferences.
My job is not only to attract new partners, but also to help them earn more. Since we started this work, we’ve managed to recruit 150,000 affiliates and as a result — many cases. I’m even amazed at the content of such cases and we try to convey this material to you through our blog.
How many foreign affiliates are in affiliate program now?
Out of the 150,000 partners we have, 25% of them are foreign affiliates. When we attend conferences abroad, other partner networks share their statistics, it turns out that we have more partners than they do. Although Travelpayouts have a quite narrow theme, we could not enter the foreign market.
Conferences help to spread our name abroad. We attend the Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas once a year. A couple of years ago, we went to the Affiliate Summit in New York but it turned out not so interesting and did not attract many participants. We’ve also been at a conference in Amsterdam, but we did not like it there either.
What were you doing before you came to Travelpayouts?
I started working in the Internet in 2006 when I was still in my 10th grade at school. My friends and I developed sites on game theme and learned about link exchanges. Then, it was easy and quick to promote the thematic citation index. Today, you can in 5 minutes make it the way it is now unlike before when such could be achieved in a couple of years. I earned money by selling links. There were other more interesting things that would take a long time to talk about. For a short time, I even managed to launch my own affiliate program. So I fully understand the wishes, fears and needs of our affiliates.
How did you come to Travelpayouts?
I saw Max Krainov’s message at a local echo conference (Fidonet). I sent my CV for the position of a marketing specialist in Aviasales. Natasha Kosenko contacted me and offered the position of an assistant to me. I’m very grateful to her for this.
Why didn’t you move to Phuket?
I dreamed of living on an island, especially then when I was engaged in my projects. And when I saw a message from Max, it couldn’t believe that Aviasales was on the island.
I was supposed to have a one-month probationary period, but a week later, I was offered to move to Phuket. It seemed to me that I was more motivated at home and I didn’t want to travel far away from home. I agreed with the company to work remotely until summer. After that, I was able to agree with the company not to move to Thailand at all.
Since I worked before from home, I don’t lose my productivity. I easily interact with customers in different time zones and I can participate in business processes at night.
Apart from Phuket, we also have an office in St. Petersburg
I periodically visit St. Petersburg, where we have a mobile development office. I know many guys there. There was a time I returned from Samara to St. Petersburg and immediately bought a return ticket. I wondered why I should be dashing back and forth when I can live in St. Petersburg.
I spent autumn, winter and spring in St. Petersburg. Many of my friends from Samara moved to St. Petersburg. I’m pretty comfortable there. Yes, the weather isn’t that good, but when compared to other Russian cities, winter is almost severe everywhere in Russia.
In St. Petersburg, there is good infrastructure, lots of activities, colleagues and friends. So all these make you immediately get used to the Russian nasty weather.
Why did you return to Samara?
I returned in summer because it’s 32°C here in summer and you can swim and relax on the beach. I also bought a drone and started shooting local attractions.
Samara is located on one shore, and on the opposite shore we have the Samarskaya Luka National Park that can be reached by boat in 5 minutes. Winter here is of course worse than in St. Petersburg. Therefore I prefer coming here only in summer. You can go on a bike trip or ride along the Volga.
How often do you go to Thailand?
I go once a year when the company celebrates its birthday.
But I really miss the team. We have many experienced guys there who have been in the company quite for a long time, far before I joined them. They all are very friendly, and they help and support each other.
Tell why are you afraid to fly?
The irony is that someone who works for Aviasales is afraid to fly. I graduated from an aerospace institute and got a degree in aircraft engineering. Another problem is that I started to fly late. My first flight was after I have clocked 20 years old. We went on a trip to China for a month — we visited the country’s most developed part (Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin (close to Hong Kong), a mountain reserve, Xian). The Chinese were very friendly and were constantly of help throughout the journey.
How do you endure flights?
I prefer taking the train if it’s a short trip. If necessary, I take a flight but feel uncomfortable. For example, the Moscow-Los Angeles flight lasts for 13 hours. I can’t fall asleep throughout the flight — I watch every movie onboard.
Do you often go on vacation?
I rarely take vacation. For my five and half years at the company, I’ve accumulated 35 vacation days. Of course, the finance department and the boss aren’t happy with that. The last time I had a full vacation was in 2014, when I shut my computers and flew to Europe. But I usually keep in touch even during vacation whenever the need arises and continue to conduct business.
Many go on vacation to change environment. But I work remotely, and so I can easily change my environment.
And by the way, I’m glad that we don’t have long New Year and May Day holidays at our company.
My work is my hobby. It’s like a game — going to conferences, collecting business cards, inventing tasks and achieving goals.
Apart from work, what else do you do?
I regularly visit the Luxury Fitness gym near my house. I find it hard to exercise by myself so I work with a trainer for better efficiency. I also like to take a steam bath and steam off.
What’s your typical day like?
I get up at 8.30 AM and by 9 AM our team gathers for a stand-up meeting, where we discuss what we did yesterday and what we will do today. Then I answer my e-mail inquiries. These activities get me carried away that I sometimes miss my breakfast. So I often combine lunch with breakfast.
Since I work from home, I spend just a little time on lunch. Sometimes I prepare chicken or turkey in a multi-cooker. At lunchtime, I sometimes go to the gym or to the swimming pool. In the evening, I go out with friends for a walk, and at night I return home. And in fact night is the most productive time for me; I can work quietly because nothing distracts me. I go to bed by 2 am.
Do your colleagues at work praise you?
Oh sure. I constantly come up with new ideas and tasks. For example, I can propose we hold a conference for our affiliates. By the way, we will discuss about that in detail later in our blog. Sometimes, I do come up with the idea of searching for foreign advertisers. And it’s nice when these tasks are executed.
You have an apartment in Samara. What about a car?
I once wanted to buy a car and told my colleagues that I want BMW X6. After that, colleagues started trolling me. In Samara, it is extremely important to have a solid BMW or Lexus car. But I changed my mind after getting my driving license.
In general, I am opposed to buying cars or apartments. It’s better to be mobile and be anywhere whenever possible. Why get yourself attached to one place? The world is changing. I have many friends that bought flats but left. Renting out an apartment is not that profitable.
Where should one invest money today?
You should invest in yourself. Going to the gym is good for health. Healthcare is expensive in Russia, and there is no free medicine as such. Therefore it is important to engage in sports regularly and monitor one’s health.
Enrol into training courses to improve your skills. By staying mobile, you can move to new places and find interesting work for your skills.
It’s important to save for a rainy day, and it is necessary to plan for your retirement now. In fact, in Russia no one owes you anything — neither free medicine, nor pension. Once you understand this fact, it becomes easier to live in Russia. You need to rely only on yourself.
Advice for our partners
Before creating a project, write down your skills and resources on a paper. It could be monetary and administrative resources or acquaintances. You need to see what you have, and everything will turn out smoothly.
Let’s take an example. You know how to develop mobile apps, and you have a friend who is a good copywriter and lives in Istanbul. You also have a friend from a mobile agency. He can tell you where to start promoting the app. The result would be much worse if these guys sold ice cream.
Do not hesitate to ask Nikita some questions in the comments section.