Name: Denys Zhadanov
Education: Bachelor’s degree in foreign economic activity, Odesa Mechnikov University, master’s degree in business and management, Aston University (United Kingdom) Profession: Vice president at Readdle
Did you know? He says he mastered his English and teamwork skills by playing the online game World of Warcraft.
Denys Zhadanov was only 19 when he started to work part-time at Readdle — a small software company established by his elder brother Igor Zhadanov and his friends — graduates of the Odesa Mechnikov University.
Ten years later, the Odesa-based company now has 120 people on staff producing mobile applications that are sold on Apple’s App Store. The company focuses on time management and productivity apps, making documents, images, books and PDF files easier to read, edit or share. It already has over 75 million downloads worldwide.
Over the last 10 years Zhadanov first followed in his brother’s footsteps and also graduated from Odesa Mechnikov University. But then he felt the need to go further, so he sold his car, borrowed some money, and in 2010 entered Aston University in the United Kingdom, earning a master’s degree there just a year later.
Now, at the age of 28, he is vice president of marketing at Readdle. His schedule is a roller-coaster of meetings, business trips to Silicon Valley, Europe, and to U.K. tycoon Sir Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean.
“Hey Denys, wanna join us, and go meet Richard Branson and possibly Barack Obama on Necker Island?” Zhadanov’s friend said, inviting him to the island.
While his life seems like a dream came true, it actually took a lot of work to make it a reality. Zhadanov spent years mastering his art of writing letters to business partners and talking to big audiences. Now through marketing campaigns he attracts new users, gives lectures around the globe, promotes new apps, and searches for partners.
“Everything seems so easy from the outside, and my trip to see Branson — everybody knows about it,” says Zhadanov. “Yet successful people have lots of worries no one sees. If a problem comes up, you can’t share it with others because you’re in charge, and you take all the decisions.”
Readdle continues to develop new mobile applications. His current project Spark — an e-mail client for professional users — is already up and running. A new version, Spark 2.0, an e-mail client for teams, is to be launched next year. Zhadanov is very proud of it, and all of Readdle’s developments.
“If a company has a good product, nothing will stand in its way to being commercially successful,” he says.
“Our time gives us unique possibilities. You can be anywhere around the globe, and if you have made a good product, you can post it on the App Store, and in a blink of an eye it will be popular worldwide.”