Well hello there, and welcome to the next piece in the "Under the Hood" series. In these posts, we're talking with the team behind Carmoola, and sharing with you what we find out. And, no, it's not going to be a dull interview with a bunch of boring questions. We're digging deep, and getting up close, and personal with the team. So if there's a burning question you'd love to ask, drop us a message in the comments and we'll put it to the team 🙌 Are you ready? This week we're chatting to the incredible Roman Sumnikov, Co-CTO and Co-Founder at Carmoola!
So, the app is starting to look really cool and we can tell how busy you must be, so are you ready to get started? 😁
Give me a min for one more git push and I am ready to go!
Amazing! So we're going to ask some pretty personal questions 😉 are you ok with that?
Clearly this is more fun, let's do it.
That's the spirit! So a good place to start, is to learn a bit more about you. Let's pretend we're on a first date 💖 and I say "so tell me a bit about yourself, Roman".
32, married and two kids so probably not the best match for any first date haha! To brief: love my family, have a beautiful wife and amazing daughters that never leave me alone ;) love my work and Carmoola team is the best group of people I have worked with in my life. I believe Bezos is right about the phrase "work-life balance" being misleading: productive work is what fuels me to be a good husband/father and then my family inspires me to be great at work. But those two indeed take 100%+ of my time, and then the other things I try to fit in my life are enjoying music and playing guitar once in a while, science and technology vlogs/documentaries, and then also some time to get out for jogging. More recently started to like UFC fight nights, also so disappointed that Joshua vs Fury bout fell apart!
So, some of our readers may not know that you and the rest of our engineering team are based in Lviv, Ukraine. What's the best thing about Lviv?
The comfort of a medium-sized town (around 1M), quite a few parks, and nice historic areas. It also feels like you know every other person in like 2 handshakes, so quite strong local communities. Other than that city has pretty positive dynamics in infrastructure, city & real estate development. I think it's important to feel things are going in the right direction in general no matter where you live and Lviv is doing well in this sense.
We'd love to know, what values do you live your life by?
Hm, here are a few that come to my mind:
- Grit: always applying persistent effort to move forward
- Empathy, win-win, and synergy: take other people's feelings and motivations seriously then aligning with them to achieve great things together
- Honesty: no bullshit, keeping your word, getting stuff done
- Patience: all big achievements are done in steps, also if once in a while you can't change the situation then stay calm and change your perception of it
So, what does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts with my younger daughter bugging me to get up, she is my alarm clock every day :) Quick breakfast, driving to school and kindergarten every morning. It's actually a good time as I spend time with my daughters, also driving is the time we listen to music often singing along together. As you might imagine, a workday is super intense, trying to save every other minute to be productive. Evenings are the hardest part as there is always a need for digital detoxification and quality time with family but my mind wants to keep "problem-solving", this is what I think I should get better at.
Everyone has good days and bad days. What makes it a "great day" for you?
I feel empowered when I come up with new and better/faster/easier ways of accomplishing my goals + in a great day I have found time to have fun with my kids as well as do some exercise and jogging
If you had to be a cartoon character, which one would you be and why?
Hard one, maybe one of Madagascar penguins lol, I'd like to believe I am as courageous and determined as they are!
So, which book have you read 📚 that you think should be added into mainstream education, and why?
Traditional education becomes obsolete so fast. I would recommend anything that teaches how to think critically, problem-solve and understand yourself well. What comes to my mind atm is: Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman, 12 Rules For Life by Peterson, 7 Habits by Covey. I also admire philosophical and social discussions by people like Sam Haris, Christofer Hitchens and similar, and I think education is all about broadening your understanding of things and building ground to generate new ideas.
And what are your top 3 movies, the greatest of all time in your opinion?
Hm, I would point out some best of its own time:
1. Back to the Future: due to the amazing and fun story plot
2. Shawshank Redemption: grit, persistence, and struggle, I love dramas and nuanced characters
3. Interstellar: just because of a great science-based SciFi, I went to watch it alone at night in a cinema which made it impressive!
Bonus one! Everything is Illuminated: not an "all-timer" but just a fun and special recommendation with Elijah Wood and Eugene Huts (Gogol Bordello) touring Ukraine in search of adventures
What is the most important thing you've learnt in your life, so far?
Relationships matter more than anything else. One has to value them and not take things for granted.
What is something you think is fundamentally wrong?
I believe there is significant inequality of opportunity in the world across the globe and hence loads of potential in humanity to unlock.
If you could have one superpower for a day, what would it be, and what would you use it to achieve?
Superpower like being able to traverse spacetime, get back to the origins of the universe and get some answers to big WHY questions. I think it's much more interesting than down-to-earth things going on on this specific planet lol!
What's the craziest thing you've ever done? 🤪
Erm, stage-diving into the crowd and falling on the ground instead of on the crowd!
Imagine yourself as an old man 👴🏻 looking back at your achievements. What do you see?
Firstly, my kids are one of the biggest investments in my life so I hope to see them being successful and happy in whatever they choose to pursue. I hope I'll be able to look back and say that very little time has been wasted on non-meaningful activities and most of the things I did had an impact, doesn't have to be "Elon Musk"-level impact!
What are some cool things on your bucket list? 🪣
Skydiving is one thing, will probably do next time I go to Dubai. I also want to go to really distant places from Europe like Latin America, Asia and learn how people live elsewhere. Make it a long trip where you don't plan your days in detail but rather live a moment and improvise what happens next. That one would require taking a gap year off at some point.
If you had to live in a different city, which one would it be and why?
I enjoyed Barcelona multiple times and I think it's a great one to live in. You get a combination of many things: nice sunny but not too hot climate, chill by the sea and relax, great food but also some interesting things going on and events. Other Mediterranean places are also nice like northern Italy and Southern France, especially those places not too far from the Alps so you can enjoy mountains as well.
Can you cook? If so, what would you cook to impress your friends at a dinner party? 👨🏻🍳
I can make a cartoon-shaped omelet! To be honest not really, although something for the future, maybe when I am an old man looking back at my achievements!
What's your guilty-pleasure hangover cure food?
Honey and Lemon Tea
Last week we interviewed Igor, can you tell us something funny/embarrassing/shocking about him?
I know Igor for many years but unfortunately, when he's drunk he doesn't do too much crazy stuff! It's funny that I remember Igor as a young (and hairy!) metalhead headbanging at concerts 😆
Tell us 2 truths and 1 lie 😜
- I have crowd-surfed playing guitar at the same time
- I have coded for 2 days in a row without sleep
- I have had Coronavirus 2 times already
When Carmoola launches in Ukraine, which car will you buy?
I very much enjoy driving but wouldn't go crazy here, and would likely pick something family-practical but sporty at the same time, Audi RSQ8 in black color would be nice :)
Lastly, tell us your thoughts about Carmoola!
Super excited to get it live, it's just the right time for Carmoola to "happen" to the market because of so many reasons. It is being built with love, care, and customer in mind on all levels. So you'll see how stress-free and friendly car finance can be!
Do you have more questions for Roman? If you do, please drop them in the comments below and we'll get them answered for you. Until next time, look after yourselves and drive safely 😁