Updated at 14:03,27-06-2022

Social Networks for a Millionaire. What IT Businessman Viktor Prokopenya Writes about on Facebook


Social Networks for a Millionaire. What IT Businessman Viktor Prokopenya Writes about on Facebook
Viktor Prokopenya
Artificial intelligence, books and girls. These are the top 3 topics that famous Belarusian IT businessman Viktor Prokopenya covers in his Facebook account. Today, social networks are an accessible, effective and simple tool - at least at first sight. They can be equally used by a young hipster, a bored white-collar worker or a forward-thinking IT businessman. Let's find out what the prominent investor is concerned with.

“Facebook posts, tweets, videos, sites and blogs, to name a few, are all forms of stories. People may not accept logic, but they are good at understanding stories. Social networks have enabled effective ‘many to many’ communication, which has reshaped the world. According to statistics, in many countries people spend more than six hours a day consuming media content on Youtube or Facebook. As a result, today every company has become a media company,” states Viktor Prokopenya.

Nowadays, all businesses are media companies to some extent and everyone is a journalist, whether they realise it or not. Every business and craft have their own rules. What happens if they are broken? Or ignored? This results in problems, misunderstandings, the loss of people, resources and opportunities.

"An acquaintance of mine always pays attention to the stories that his employees tell outside business meetings. His personnel decisions are based on how intimately these stories are connected with what a person does," says Viktor Prokopenya.

Once I asked him:

"Why have you fired that person?" He said: "For six months he hasn’t told a single interesting story related to his work." In general, this is quite an unconventional attitude. Prokopenya continues: “He also says that if a manager makes obvious mistakes, maybe he or she no longer believes in the story of a company."

The main thing is not to go to extremes. Sometimes it seems that particularly concerned and active ‘media managers’ are too quick to dismiss an employee, who liked something wrong or off-brand for the company. Or, let’s say an employee hasn’t left a glowing review on the company’s page. This may result in his or her dismissal. The manager is obviously going too far, but, sadly, this is a reality that changes the lives of the employer and employee.

Even today, we can’t help but study a person’s profile on social networks before negotiating with, dating or hiring them. “In London, I met hedge fund managers who follow company executives on social networks and decide to sell or buy shares of the companies based on the stories they read on Facebook. I met businessmen who believe that present-day IT business is nothing more than a pure show or media business," notes Viktor Prokopenya.

Viktor Prokopenya himself writes about his work willingly and frequently. And most importantly, he addresses a wide audience using plain language. For example, here’s a post about the advantages of technologies based on artificial intelligence. "Robots are much better than us in terms of productivity and efficiency. We (humans), on the contrary, we are very good at procrastinating. In the future, robots will be used universally for efficiency. Robots are never distracted, they just do what they have to do," writes Viktor Prokopenya.

So, for those who haven’t yet bought my idea, google ‘artificial intelligence’ until you are replaced by some smart robot invented by some very smart IT guy. Here’s another of Viktor Prokopenya’s posts:

"In a few years the companies with no AR-based strategies will lament, just as those who didn’t include mobile devices in their strategies five years ago do today. Over the next five years, artificial intelligence will change the world just as dramatically as mobile devices or the internet have done."

"The amount of information we have to process has grown thousands of times over the last couple of decades, but our brains have remained the same. This is the reason why entertainment mobile apps are gaining popularity at such fast a pace. Moreover, if 100 million people laughed for 5 minutes, this would remove some amount of their stress and make their lives a bit longer.”

“Multiply those 100 million by the number of additional minutes of life. The figure will equal the population of Bobruisk! And now an advertisement: join our Banuba Development team :) Well, in general, develop IT products that make people laugh! This is a MEGA trend! :)”

So, there is a trend that can be monetised and used for personal and business development. Speaking about the social networking tools that enable users to create content, Viktor Prokopenya notes that photos and videos have a greater storytelling power than texts. "Consider why Facebook Live, Snapchat and Prisma are successful. All these mediums are ‘civil journalism’ tools. Such tools become popular at a blistering pace. They are now a super-hot trend and this trend will continue," Viktor Prokopenya believes.

However, social networks show our lives only in a glossy version. Online, we are all successful, healthy, happy and hard-working. Is it reasonable to make serious decisions and conclusions, relying on ostentatious and vain images in social networks? Well, an experienced person is able to spot play-acting behaviour, whether you lie in an interview (it doesn’t last long and no one can keep up their best acting skills for long), or bluff in social networks.

Indeed, Viktor Prokopenya suggests assessing a person's writing skills in their social networks. “The authors of the book ‘Rework’ say that if you cannot decide between two candidates, choose the one who writes better. Another exciting book to read is ‘Trust me I am Lying’. It offers great insights about how modern media works," recommends Viktor Prokopenya.

Viktor himself quotes different books, from the widely read economic bestsellers to the classics, such as "Collapse of an Empire" by Yegor Gaidar, bringing to light complicated things.

Let’s take one of his most shared Facebook posts about the pheasant and its tail. It's about the book ‘The Mating Mind’ by Jeffrey Miller, a professor at Stanford University. Even if you are not interested in academically grounded evidence of the evolution of the pheasant’s tail, you may like Viktor Prokopenya's arguments about the evolutionary logic of choosing a male with a big tail: "since the pheasant has such a big tail, his body definitely had the energy to grow all other organs. Thus, this is a sign of a healthy individual, which means that the offspring will be healthy, too.” This post provoked a flurry of comments.

Do you think that everyone understood what the comment was about, and how Victor Prokopenya saw the connection between pheasants and venture capitalism? Absolutely not! While annoyed men raged in the comments, the first female commentator noted, ‘Viktor, thank you for the congratulations (the post was written on International Women’s Day - March 8) you have a beautiful tail’. So, from this one post (and its responses) it's immediately clear who has complexes and is tedious, and who has a sense of humour and evolutionary thinking.

"Our dear women! All this progress is thanks to you! :) But for you, we would still flee from the leopards across the savannah and wash ourselves only when it finally hounded us into the river! Drones, artificial intelligence, computers and all the stuff we have – it all appeared ONLY thanks to you!"

Viktor Prokopenya says that in the science of business there aren’t many techniques that work. “Storytelling is one of the best ways to achieve results with minimal energy input. To create a Facebook account or not isn’t the question. In my opinion, the question is how to build the right media culture within the company to use the power of storytelling in everything that the company does," Viktor writes.

“Successful entrepreneurs have many stress management techniques. They are also convinced that stress affects their lives and know when going to the swimming pool can still help and when it’s time to escape to the taiga.”

However, with all the impressive opportunities of social networks, they can also cause a lot of problems. Haters in the network can organise a large-scale campaign with no reason whatsoever. Viktor Prokopenya makes another valid post about stress: “It's better not to talk too much on topics that cause stress. Such conversations won’t lead to results. [...] The mechanisms that turn on when we’re stressed are short-term, but they can kill us when we are exposed to them for a long period of time. Therefore, it’s good to be able to make final decisions and seal the deal. In fact, when you don’t act, you maximise the level of stress.”