His story is like an American dream that comes true in Ukrainian realities. In 2003, Taras Dzhamalov began his career as an ordinary electronics retailer and in 2017 he was appointed general director of LENOVO in Ukraine, the world’s leader in the manufacture of computer hardware. “Nothing is impossible!” – it is Taras’s life motto, which has become the key to his success. Taras spoke about the future of computer technologies, social projects, virtual reality, “jumping from a flying plane” and motorcycle tours in an interview with MILLION.
Computers and technologies are always interrelated. And there are always trends to their development. What trends do you personally see and predict to emerge in the future?
Technological progress and the development of computer technologies always go hand in hand. Almost everything that we see around us is done or improved with the help of computers. Everything is calculated, modeled and checked using computers.
I believe that the trend is obvious - we are on the way to global computerization. Almost all things will soon be equipped with sensors, microchips reading out information and transmitting it to some devices and systematizing thereof. Then information will be processed by means of cloud technologies, on supercomputers and remote servers.
Before computers were huge piles of metal with plaited wires, now these are thin plates with a large number of functions that are several times more powerful than their bulky predecessors. What's next? What are the computers of the future?
Now, we can only fantasize on that subject. Everyone is talking about the integration of computers in a person or vice versa, but I would not talk about it - at least now. Let’s better talk about closer perspectives. In the nearest future, computers will evolve as follows: in the consumer segment, they will become even more compact, and their battery life will increase. Everything goes to the fact that computers will work on the principle of “always on” i.e. always available and in touch.
If we talk about the corporate segment, the main trend is virtualization. Especially it is typical for corporations and large companies. What does it mean? Large companies are increasingly using low-power computers as a means to connect to machines with much higher performance. And major calculations will be carried out using cloud technologies or the most powerful supercomputers.
What does supercomputer mean?
Today, supercomputers are a true trend in information technology and science. The world is now just in a boom of manufacture of supercomputers. And it is especially pleasant that since August 2018 Lenovo has been the world’s leader in the supercomputers design!
In fact, a supercomputer is a large number of computers combined into a single computing device.
We’ve built one of these supercomputers in Barcelona. It combines several thousand processors running a single operating system and making “numerous calculations”. These are very expensive and technologically complex devices. Such “monsters” are used for supercomplex computing tasks, e.g., for space exploration. They are also used to build climate models in order to predict possible hurricanes or droughts for agriculture.
There is a well-established stereotype that “virtual reality” is used only for online games. Is that true?
When virtual reality was just emerging, it was created for the gaming industry, and most manufacturers “thought” that they were creating the device primarily for gamers. But today, only a small percentage of users use a virtual reality specifically for games.
VR is still a very young technology. And the younger the technology, the more resources it requires. The presence of a VR helmet or VR glasses is not all that is needed to work with virtual reality. This requires a truly powerful computer that not every gamer can afford.
Therefore, to date, the percentage of gamers who can afford to constantly use virtual reality solutions is very small. Perhaps the situation will change over time. Now VR technology is very popular in business. In particular, it is interesting for those who are engaged in real estate business - the design, sale and rental of real estate, as well as tourist services. Using VR helmet, you can show the client in which particular hotel room he will live, what the view from the window will be and on which beach he will sunbathe.
Augmented reality devices (AR) are interesting for technological companies that produce or maintain sophisticated equipment i.e. large industrial machines or ordinary cars we drive. It is assumed that using AR glasses you can avoid mistakes of engineers and technicians who assemble and maintain cars, cause glasses will tell them what kind of tool to take, where to put it and with what effort to pull.
Together with the Sensorama Lab Company and “Interesting Kiev” you’ve created a virtual tour around Kiev. What is the purpose of this project?
This project is not commercial at all. We did not sell it, do not sell and do not plan to do that. We pursued several goals. The first is the implementation of social responsibility. After seeing the virtual tour, tourists will want to come to Kiev “for real” and visit these places live. And, of course, we want to promote Ukraine and Kiev among foreign tourists. That is why we have made this application in several languages.
Our second goal was to popularize VR technologies as such. We have shown how even ordinary places familiar to many people of Kiev can be revived using VR technologies. And we are actively trying to promote this innovation!
The third goal is to show ourselves and the whole world that besides making high-quality products Ukrainian companies can also work wonders. We hope that we will manage to persuade people that Ukrainian companies and modern technologies do deserve real support from them.
Do you have any social projects? If you do, tell us please about them. What is their objective and purpose?
Our company as a whole and our Ukrainian office in particular understand the importance of social responsibility. In Ukraine, we showed it in various fields, to include charity. In particular, several years ago, Lenovo Ukraine made the largest one-time contribution to the “Tabletochki” Fund. There were other charity projects, but over time we understood that the main sphere of social responsibility where we wanted to invest was training. In Ukraine, we focused on training not only students, but also representatives of small and medium businesses. We show them how to implement technologies, how to apply them and raise efficiency. An example of such social projects is the Sensorama Academy. This is a joint project of Lenovo in Ukraine and Sensorama Lab Company. Here, Ukrainian programmers are trained to create virtual reality products. In fact, we encourage this platform to bring up future programmers.
Lenovo in Ukraine also supports various student and field hackfests. In addition, the company is always open for ideas - when we receive interesting proposals for participation in social projects, we always consider them, and if they are really useful for Ukraine and the society, we do support them.
Is this the Lenovo’s global idea for the implementation of such projects or of the Ukrainian team only?
It’s all the Ukrainian team.
Does your position involve wide responsibility? How do you cope with stressful situations and keep yourself sharp?
My team helps to keep myself sharp. We do not allow each other to relax and support one another at the right moments. Also, the goals that we set for ourselves help to keep sharp and if the goal is ambitious, then you cannot, but be in a good shape.
As for stress, the best way to deal with it is not to create stressful situations for yourself. This is where planning helps and, again, a team that will always secure you at the right moment.
Do you have time for yourself, your private life and recreation?
Yes, I do. My work directly affects the distribution of my time. On the one hand, I manage my time myself, but on the other hand, there are no business questions that would not concern me personally. Any problem that occurs (with a product, a service) concerns me directly. My schedule is free from points. I have to be ready to work any day of the week, but I can also have a day off any day of the week as well. Here, as in any work, it is necessary to keep balance between business and rest. I understand that and always find time to relax.
What do you do at your leisure? Do you have any hobbies?
I have a few hobbies. In winter, I play chess a lot. I really like this game, cause besides entertainment, it makes you think logically. I can spend hours studying various aspects of this game, playing with other opponents live or on a special portal “online”. In the warmer time of the year I do parachuting. I belong to those people who can jump out of the “normally flying aircraft”. I also enjoy motorbike trips and try to get out for every vacation somewhere. If I go on vacation in winter, I go to warmer lands to travel there by motorcycle.
What are your personal TOP-3 books you’d recommend to read?
I think that every person should understand how his body works and brain in particular, therefore I recommend reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow” scientific book by Daniel Kahneman. It covers some aspects of the work of our brain, explains how we make decisions and how we think.
I would also recommend reading all materials related to game theory. This is one of the maths sections. Everything we do, modern game theory can describe. One of the best books on this topic is “Theory of Games and Economic Behavior” by John Neumann. This book can be divided into two parts. The first one, where the game theory is actually described is written quite scientifically good. As for the second part, then in scientific terms it is no longer relevant, cause there are quite a lot of factual errors and inaccuracies.
The third book is artistic one i.e. “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. This book gives you a chance to take a look at what society can come to if economic relations are regulated too tight. In particular, the consequences of how the instruments of “regulation” falling into the hands of people who are not involved in the processes they control are well shown in this book.♥