When you work at a company named Marvel, you know you’re in for quite a ride. And when you partner up with Extreme, amazing things are bound to happen. Our next hero has seen it all – from Florida to Kamchatka. Let’s discuss working from home during Covid times, Russia’s most beautiful destinations, magic and… how to survive an encounter with a bear with Evgeniy Kudryashov from Marvel Distribution!
This May we were all supposed to meet in Warsaw at TechTalks 4.0 but… we all know what happened. How are you hanging there? Staying safe, we hope?
Yes, I am still working from home. My trusty laptop with remote access, good internet connection, safety masks, gloves – these are my best friends now… :) But jokes aside, in my mind, this whole situation feels like a one, long business trip. My job takes me around Russia a lot, about 20-40% of my working time, so I don't see my colleagues very often anyway. However, this particular business trip is actually more comfortable. I can stay at home, there are no long flights, no hotels. Oh, and I get to see my wife, too!
Has the current situation pushed you to seek additional knowledge or skills? And what do you do to kick back and stay positive after hours?
I have more time that I can spend on learning more about new products and passing all the necessary exams. One idea is to study a new language – I was thinking about Spanish, actually. The other thing is that I can exercise at home a lot more often, usually 5 or 6 times per week, thanks to the online Fitness Class training programs. Gives me a lot of energy to power through the day.
You’re a bit of an outdoorsman, aren’t you?
That's right, I do like to travel around the world, trying to mix my journeys in Russia with other countries. I skated on Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and oldest lake, I even saw five volcanoes of Kamchatka, the easternmost region of Russia. Very exciting. And speaking of Far East, my last wonderful foreign journey was to Japan.
Nowadays all I can do is make plans for the next trip. This time my target is Kislovodsk, the best place for hiking in the Caucasian mountains. I hope that the quarantine will ease up this summer so I can be there. Just thinking about it, planning it – that makes me happy.
When you travel that much, some unusual situations are bound to happen every now and then. Got any particularly memorable moments from your trips?
It happened during our hiking tour on Kamchatka. When we were setting up the camp, our guide told us to be careful because apparently some people had seen a bear in these parts the other day. After dinner we went to our tents to get some much needed sleep. Somewhere between 2 and 3 a.m. I was awakened by some outside noise. We knew it was him! Bears have a keen sense of smell so he went after our camping food storage, making a lot of mess in the process. Our guide tried to scare him off with some flash grenades and a chainsaw noise. The bear wouldn’t give up so easily, as he made several attempts during the night. We didn’t exactly hear his steps but we could definitely feel the ground trembling when he was being chased away!
Sounds chilling. Did the bear cause any more trouble? Hope nobody got hurt!
Around 4 a.m. the guide says the bear’s gone, it’s over. But my wife couldn’t sleep anyway because she was too anxious to see what had just happened. So we and a few people from our group decided to go meet the sunrise. The bear did a number on our camp, litter was all over the place. We tidied it up and once we were done, we wanted to go and have a look around. I think there were like three other camping sites within 10-15 minutes walking distance and between them and us – meadow-grass fields, about one meter high. Suddenly, we hear a cry coming from the nearest camping site, and a few seconds later – some people running towards us, screaming “a bear! A bear is coming at you!”. Next thing we know, we see the bear coming out of the grass, some 10 meters from us! My wife lost her calm and broke the main rule of encountering a wild animal, which is “don’t run”. So she ran and cried “bear, bear, bear”. If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, please, don’t repeat her mistake. :)
So what did you do?
I remained calm, stood still, with my hands raised slightly. There was like 10 meters between me and the bear. He looked around, stared at me for a second and then went away.
Sounds like you had your share of thrills! So let’s cool our jets for now. What would be your dream destination? Or perhaps you’ve already crossed that off your to-do list?
Pretty close to Japan: Vladivostok. I’ve already crossed that from the top of my list, but will be happy to visit it again. I just love to travel, visit different cities, meet new people.
It’s a bit of a paradox, but being separated may prove an opportunity to… come together. Which current networking technologies do you consider crucial for keeping the connectivity during this whole pandemic situation? And what do you think the future may hold for the networking industry – both from the business and technical point of view?
I believe that videoconferences and conference calls with other companies are the future. Today my colleagues and I communicate with each other via videoconferences and chats. It seems to me that the future of network infrastructure is services for customers. The next step would be the wireless network as a subscription. Access points, the equipment, they are not that important for the customer. You see, what matters most, is the quality, safety and data security that the particular vendor provides.
We love to stay in touch with our partners and customers via online tools, but wouldn’t you agree that nothing beats an experience shared with others? Tell us about your fondest (or weirdest!) memory with an Extreme event that you participated in!
After the Extreme conference in Orlando we were treated with a surprise parting gift – a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. We had the entire theme park reserved just for us! For me, who grew up on Harry Potter books and movies, it was like revisiting my childhood. This magic, fairy-tale atmosphere was all around us… I enjoyed unlimited access to incredible rides and attractions. I couldn’t help myself but to repeat them several times!
And speaking of marvelous things… You’re working at Marvel Distribution. What are your duties here? And what do you like the most about your job?
I’m a pre-sales engineer. It means that my job is to explain why the Extreme Networks solutions are special and how to best work with them. Sometimes I am a speaker at various webinars and conferences, I’ve also prepared some free practical courses with switches, access points, XMC and other elements for the customers and partners in Russia.
On top of that, for the last seven years I have worked as a technical support engineer for Extreme Networks. I explain the differences between our products and solutions from other vendors to our customers, helping them choose the right equipment, test it, set it up in their networks and customize user's experience.
The best thing about this job? Finding the right technical solutions that really works and makes people happy. And sharing this joy with other people.
Your company is one of the biggest broad-line IT distributors in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, which includes such large countries as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, among others. That’s a lot of ground to cover. How are you managing to do that?
My main focus is Russia. Since the other countries have their own local support teams, customers usually tend to contact them first. However, if anyone calls me and asks me anything about Extreme, I’m always glad to help and answer all their questions. Most of the times it happens when we’re in the same project. What can I say, I just love talking about Extreme technology. :)
What do you value the most in your partnership with Extreme?
For me, the most important factor are the people. People who help me with my cases all the time, people who will never say: “it’s not my problem". And then there’s the tech. Extreme provides the best technology in the market, hands down.
What was your journey to the Extreme Hero program like? What made you want to join this club?
Kirill Zhukov send me a link by e-mail and that’s how it went down. :) I’ve been working with Extreme Networks for about 10 years now, during which I have participated in a number of different programs. Having this community is a really good idea because we can help each other out, give some advice and turn new ideas from our partners into reality.
Do you feel like a hero at work sometimes? :)
Sometimes, of course. Especially when I take on a difficult task with some complex solution, such as switches (Extreme Fabric), plus wireless, plus XMC, etc. Just like in a computer game where I take quests from customers and then work hard to solve them. And when said project "comes to life", I actually feel like a Hero. :)