Meet: Pavel Murnikov – VP of Engineering at Inkitt

We sat down with Pavel Murnikov, Inkitt’s VP of Engineering, who runs Inkitt’s engineering and data science teams and we learned about his day-to-day work, his enthusiasm for start-ups, his love of motorcycles, and more!

Part of Pavel’s multi-faceted job is to make sure the department scales efficiently, with the proper management structure in place. He identifies the roles needed, and he recruits the new hires. Since he joined Inkitt six months ago, his team has grown by more than fifty percent. 

Thanks so much for chatting today, Pavel. First off, how did Inkitt recruit you, and why did you say yes to the job?

At my last job, I had an executive coach, someone I hired myself to work on my own executive skills. While working with her, I developed a ten-year plan. One of the things on the plan was to work for a European company, maybe think about moving to Europe, but I didn’t act on this part of the plan. Then, totally out of the blue, a recruiter from London reached out to me and said there was a job opportunity in Germany. I connected the dots and said I’d be interested in talking. He introduced me to Ali, Inkitt’s founder. Ali is very passionate, and he was awesome at conveying his vision. It was huge. I liked that. 

My previous job was with Major League Gaming, but gaming felt like younger me, me in my twenties. Publishing, and taking creative content to other media, that interests me now. It’s what attracted me. Inkitt is this disruptive company, with good leadership. It was pretty easy to close the deal once I met the team, and I’m definitely a start-up guy. They came to me at the right time.

Are you an avid reader? 

Yeah, I read a lot. My dad actually published a book when I was younger, and I was his editor. He’s a Russian speaker. He knew enough English to write the book in English, but it was far from perfect. I was still learning English back then too. He self-published, and it was a really tough journey. It took a lot of time, a lot of energy. 

So, in a way you have a personal connection to Inkitt’s mission. 

I love Inkitt’s mission, and the fact that we are discovering talent and empowering talent. We get to help people make a career out of their passion, while building a community and a business that’s really needed in the world. I’m doing what I am familiar with and what I know, but in this context, it’s great.

What do you like best about your work?

Well, I’m an engineer, so I always enjoy solving engineering problems and building things. My team services requests internally, from the product, content, and marketing teams, as well as serving the actual users. 

I also love working for consumer companies, and Inkitt is a consumer company. Having a product that we deliver to an end user, where we can see the impact quickly, is rewarding. I also hear about problems quickly, but that’s a good thing!

Inkitt’s business model evolved quickly. Innovative employees identified a challenge, a piece that wasn’t working, and shifted the focus of the company. As you’re building your team, what qualities do you look for that fit well with this kind of work culture?

I tend to look for people who are smart and hungry, people who are driven to succeed themselves. Basically, we’re creating a jolly band of people who’d be trying to succeed at something anyway, and now we’re all trying to succeed together. I look for a proactive mindset and ambition. We’re people who do what needs to be done. We don’t wait for someone to tell us to do it. That’s not atypical of a start-up. 

We’re growing. Our priorities change quickly, and they have to. We’re doing new things every day, and there’s a lot of exploration. Some engineers thrive in this kind of environment, some don’t.

You live in California, and Inkitt is based in Berlin. Has working remotely been a challenge? 

Out of the last eleven years, I’ve only worked at an office for two of those years. I’m super comfortable working this way. I actually prefer it. No commute. I have a family, if I need to take a break I’m able to. I’m much more productive myself in this environment. 

For my team, it is extremely efficient. We don’t need to be in one room. We can accelerate the work because we have people around the globe working in multiple time zones. It is mind-boggling though that I actually haven’t met anyone in person. I’d love to meet everyone, but we make it work.

Tell me a couple of interesting things about yourself that are non-work related.

I run marathons. Running a marathon has zero purpose, but I have to do it, and I have to do better every time. I explore the city by running. If I’m talking to someone, and find out they’re a runner, it’s an instant connection. 

I also have three motorcycles. This really impresses my team! In the movie Tron, the main character parks his motorcycle in his living space. I’d always had this vision to park my motorcycle inside where I live. With a wife and kids, that won’t fly, but sometimes I work in the garage, so it’s like I’m halfway there! When people see the motorcycles, they’re a great conversation starter.

Thank you for being part of our journey, Pavel!

At Inkitt, we believe that every author in the world should have an equal chance to succeed. That’s why our mission is to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Join us on our mission and start the next chapter of your career with us!

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