Interview with Igor Shoifot, Fotki.com

by Murat on June 22nd, 2011
Interview with Igor Shoifot, Fotki.com

Igor Shoifot is our first guest who kindly agreed to answer our questions. He is a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of world’s largest independent photo site, Fotki.com, used by millions of customers to store billions of photos and videos.

We first met with Igor when developing the PicaJet Uploader for Fotki.com.


Bio

Igor Shoifot is the Chief Dude at Shoifot.com, adviser at several startups, and adjunct of business and marketing at UC Berkeley.

He was most recently a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of world’s largest independent photo site, Fotki.com, used by millions of customers to store billions of photos and videos. He was CEO of Microsoft WebTV’s largest site, Epsylon Games and founded start-ups in online games, VOD, VoIP, photo sharing, social networking, document management and storage, published articles and interviews at The Wall Street Journal, Venture Beat, San Francisco Examiner and many other publications.

Currently, he is working on the book “101 Viral Growth Tools”. He previously taught business at New York University for many years and recently guest-lectured at Stanford. He holds PhD, MBA, MA and BA degrees from Universities in Boston, Budapest and Moscow.

1. What are the qualities needed to succeed in business?

  • Focus
  • Energy
  • Good personality
  • Communicability
  • Sense of humor about yourself and circumstances
  • Absence of negativity

2. What are the people that cause you most respect?

  • Socrates and Nietzsche among philosophers
  • Einstein and Sakharov among scientists
  • Bezos and Wozniak among entrepreneurs
  • O’Henry and Babel among writers

3. Top 3 of books you had read?

  • Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey
  • O’Henry Full Stories Collection
  • Reich’s Supercapitalism

4. Your goals for the near future?

Finesse the art of starting up, helping others with their startups, and finish and publish my Viral Marketing book.

5. What mistakes should be avoided by novice businesspeople?

  • Don’t forget your role as a cheerleader of the team! Do NOT ever share negative emotions with your team – but use every opportunity to share the positive. Watch for the negative tendencies in the team – and fight them off, try to neutralize negative people, get rid of them if you can’t – make your team happy, not only business-wise but about each other and what they are doing.
  • Don’t worry much about the battle plan when you are starting – it will change 100 times (if you are really good and successful) – look at any successful startup…
  • Don’t forget that huge majority of startups fail not because the product was bad, the customers didn’t want it, etc., but because they ran out of cash.
  • Not enough depth in your team will make you weak – focus on building incredible teams – and they will build incredible businesses.