- Sum up your leadership style in three words.
I can say it in three key points: you need to listen, set clear goals and monitor the implementation. That’s the most important.
- What was your first paid job?
I was born in Georgia and started my career there. I used to study plastic surgery at the Institute of Medicine, but quickly realised that it was not for me and transferred to the Faculty of Journalism. My first paid job was on a Georgian radio and TV station as a radio host. I remember very clearly that my first paycheck was about $50, and I had no doubt about how to spend that money. It was a new pair of shoes.
- How would you define the role of the CEO?
I think that the main characteristic of the CEO is strategic thinking and not looking at the situation from a "local" point of view. A capability of strategic vision divides people in two categories. As Ayn Rand wrote in my favorite book "Atlas Shrugged", there are prime movers and those who just use the results of their labor.
- What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
There are no goals which can not be achieved, there are just people who give up halfway.
- What’s been your biggest achievement?
I think my biggest achievement is yet to come. All awards and prizes that I received are such a honour but essentially, they are in the past. I think its so important to be focused on the future and that is where I set my goals. Only new goals make life truly interesting. Of course, I'm proud of my achievements, but there is no use in looking backwards. If you want to do something worthy you should look forward.
I would say that for now, my business goal is to have a company that is worth $1 billion. Today money gives you the freedom and possibility to realize your ambitions.
When you have vast amounts of money, you can embody all the extraordinary plans and ideas that nobody else believes in. When you reach a certain level of welfare, the objectives change, you begin to think more on a large scale. Me and my business-partner create business which aims to change people's lives, we educate professionals who want to develop the country and change existing reality.
- Who is your business hero and why?
My business partner Vasiliy Brovko, who is the shareholder of our company "Apostol". We have been working together for 4 years. I know exactly how his career is developing and I have seen his success with my own eyes. There are probably lots of amazing stories about great businessmen who are celebrated around the world, but I haven’t seen their journey with my own eyes and seen how those people developed themselves, how they built their career step by step.
- Do you have a favorite business/management book?
I love to read and during every period of my life, different books have been defining for me. But if we are talking about people who are at the beginning of their career I would advise "Trilogy of Desire" by Theodore Dreiser and the biography of Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City.
- What is your biggest business challenge right now?
The shortage of resources and professionals. I am in no doubt that employees are the main resource of any company. However, you can hire a lot of people, spend a lot of money on their salaries and it can all end up being absolutely useless. Only good professionals can help a company to increase income. I try to create a competitive atmosphere in my company. I explain to people in my command, that if they are able to carry out my plan, that will be able to implement their own too.
- What’s your favorite restaurant?
It’s my restaurant in Moscow "Tinatin", which I opened 2 years ago. The restaurant serves Georgian cuisine and most dishes are prepared according to recipes of my mother.
- BlackBerry or iPhone?
iPhone, because there are so many other gadgets to go along with it- iPad, iPhone, iPod, Macbook.
- What possession could you not do without?
I couldn’t live without my phone; I need to stay tuned all the time.
- Where is the most interesting place you have visited?
Well, the most recent experience I can recall is my trip to US. There is so much to see, but I was really impressed by the legendary road between two giant and influential cities – Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Between these two cities lies an isolated desert that is completely untouched by human civilization. I have seen that same road so many times in movies but is really impressive when you see it with your own eyes.
15. When was the last time you were truly relaxed?
A mother always relaxes when she comes home and spends time with her children. You couldn’t come home to your children tense and with work on your mind. For me, the way I always relax is communication with my family.