Odesa Survival Guide. Cover your bases

Welcome to Odesa! Whether you came here for a perfect summer getaway or to find a new home, be sure Odesa will welcome you with the open arms. Over one million people, 150 nationalities, fourth largest city in Ukraine… This list can be continued with many interesting stats. But it’s not the numbers that matter, it’s the people and memories that touch our souls. So, let’s set our sails and start exploring.

Odesa .jpg

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Movies: Cigarettes and coffee, man, that’s the combination

imageWhen Edith Piaf came on stage, there were no fancy decorations, half-naked back vocalists or exploding fireworks. Amazingly, one woman in a black dress with a beautiful voice could filled up the whole stage and capture d the audience with her performance. You don’t need much decoration when the essence is there. You don’t need big budgets to make a good movie either. And Coffee and Cigarettes is a solid proof of that.

Simplicity of the film making. Black and white scenes with minimalistic decor help bring to front the most important, and often forgotten nowadays, – the art of conversation. 11 dialogues between relatives, long-time friends and sometimes complete strangers are all very different, yet you can find something amusing and even relate to most of them.

One of my favorite scenes is with Cate Blanchett who meets with her cousin. Having the same roots, two ladies ended up in very different worlds. Sophisticated vs shaggy, fame vs lack of appreciation, money vs no money, and lots of pretension on both sides. Two cousins have finally met after all this time, but the chasm between them is growing larger and larger with every minute. Shelly, the shaggy one, brings up an interesting point: “It’s just… funny, don’t yah think, that when you can’t afford something, it’s like *really expensive* but then when you can afford it, it’s like, free? It’s kinda backwards, don’t yah think?” “Yeah, well… the world is a bit like that, I guess, in a lot of ways,” says Cate.

As a person who has never smoked in her life, I observed the many smokers around and was always wondered why there is something fascinating about cigarettes and the smoking process altogether. You light up a cigarette, lay back and then your thoughts start to wonder. That glowing light in the dark, smoke slowly takes shapes, you start to relax. No matter whether you go deep into your thoughts or just stay here and now, focused on a present moment, cigarettes literally create a smoke screen from an outside world. Maybe, that’s why people who smoke never seem to be alone. Time for a cigarette? As Iggi said: “The beauty of quitting is, now that I’ve quit, I can have one, ’cause I’ve quit.”

Coffee has a similar effect. You order some coffee, the conversation unfolds just like the taste of coffee. It can be classy and it can be lousy, hot and steamy or rather plain, dark and rich or soften with milk. At some point it comes to an end, but the aftertaste stays with you. “Cigarettes and coffee, man, that’s a combination.”

Thoughts about simplicity in art and importance of having a decent conversations led to me to thinking about what I deal with everyday – tech, Internet, websites. Here is an essay of a great Canadian blogger Justin Jackson about the words and the world wide web.

Books: “The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht

tigers-wife-coverThis book came in very unexpectedly into my life. Actually, a novel was recommended by my colleague, a software developer. I read it in less than a week of traveling.

After reading business literature for the past year, it was like a breath of fresh air. Fiction, war, death, family, tigers – it’s all mixed together in here. I was captivated with how modern-day, scientific, & political life is intertwined with the mythical, folkloric past in the Balkans. Sometimes it was even hard to stop reading. And, of course, the animals. They play a big part in the whole story. Often they portrait relationship with people, sometimes it’s just there honesty that amazes you. It was like seeing Chagall in words instead of pictures.

Altogether I was surprised how vividly I could see the pictures the author describes: mountains, villages, zoo, city bombing, crazy gypsies in the vineyard… It all seemed like a parallel reality, yet a very real one. Continue reading

The Smartwatch Market: Where Do We Go From Here?

If you are into mobile, you are probably thinking about a smart watch as well. After smartphones, smart watches and smart bands are leading the way in tech world being the most popular wearable devices sold, with Pebble being #1 choice among smart bands for consumers.

“How Pebble got to the top and what are the current smart watch trends out there” was actually the topic of my post for Stanfy blog, who recently, by the way, dived into smart watch app development.

The article got also published at the Best Smart Watch Compared which was a really nice surprise. So, should I get Pebble as well?

Pebble smart watch

Find Your Dream House in Kyiv

One evening over 6 years ago we were having a cup of tea my friend and fellow Toastmaster Eugene. At that time he was having some trouble arranging an accommodation in Kyiv for his foreign friends. Having traveled all over Europe, I often stay at hostels, hence, I was surprised to find out that there was no decent hostel in Kyiv at that moment.

Time has passed and recently I was even more surprised with the great news that not only had Eugene opened a Dream House Hostel in Kyiv, but his hostel made it to the TOP 10 best large hostels worldwide, according to the Hostelworld ranking.

Dream House Hostel

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How many daily downloads does your app need to be #1 on the App Store?

Recently I have joined Readdle, a mobile app development company that creates cool productivity app. In the previous posts I’ve already mentioned how Readdle’s apps got to be featured by the App Store numerous times. 

Recently our marketing director Denys Zhadanov has been working hard on this latest marketing campaign, which turned out to be very successful. Now he has counted the number of daily downloads by country and revealed what it took us to get to the top Apple’s charts.

The marketing campaign was aimed at our app Printer Pro for iPhone, which lets you print from your iPhone to a wireless or USB printer. It’s regular price is $3.99, however, dropping the price to a free app helped us to skyrocket the to #1 on the free apps charts in many countries. 

Printer Pro

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Mobile first, Android second

With Stanfy we’ve been in the mobile business for over 4 years now. During this time we’ve seen lots of trends rise and fall, both on the market and in people’s heads. Among the highlights are – greater emphasis on value and better user experience, a clear separation of smartphone and tablet audiences and products for them, and most of all – mobile first. Nevertheless, Android still goes second! Either an established company or a startup which tests their idea with an MVP, business owners start with iPhone, sometimes iPad, and only then comes Android.

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