How can a person who has created a well-performing business can turn their favorite hobby into another incredible project? Discover in the truly inspiring story by Anton Reznikov, CEO of Vilmate.
Today, our CEO Anton Reznikov will share his experience creating a sports club, using the knowledge he gained managing Vilmate. Anton will tell you how he got carried away with the triathlon and why he even decided to create his triathlon club. Moreover, you'll know how the standard sales, HR & recruitment processes of an IT company helped in its creation.
I started my career in IT 19 years ago as a Junior Developer in a small company. 9 years of study and improvement led to the fact that in 2012 I created the Vilmate company. At that time, 3 people were working on one single project.
Work in IT is, for the most part, an office format. I had a sedentary lifestyle and moved little, which naturally affected my health and led to the appearance of excess weight.
At some point, I began noticing that going up to the second floor is a challenging task for me. And I got used to looking for an elevator whenever possible. That was the time for me to get an inspiration and find a suitable sport for myself that would captivate me no less than IT.
It didn’t take long to search. Two of our partners from Sweden turned out to be triathletes. One was the strongest cyclist, and the other was a multiple Ironman distance finisher.
That’s how triathlon came into my life 4 years ago. At present, I have already completed two Ironman distances. It starts from 3.8 km by swimming in an open pond. Then, an athlete switches to a bicycle and travels 180 km. The distance ends with a marathon race of 42 km 195 m.
The Idea and the Value
After 4 years of training, I realized that it isn’t so easy to find a club in Ukraine that’ll have everything necessary for triathletes. There was always something missing.
Communicating with my friends from Sweden, I found out under what conditions they train and what kind of community surrounds them. All this was many times more comfortable. And I wanted to do something similar here, in Ukraine.
In my head, it was a club where triathletes can not only get everything they need for training but also become part of the triathlon community.
I wanted to make the best triathletes club in Ukraine, calling on my experience in the IT field to help me. I took well-established operational, HR & recruitment processes, including onboarding, team building, retention, etc. And then I put it all together and run it through a triathlon retrospective.
I wanted to create a sports club that would become a mirror image of an IT company.
When I started telling my ideas to my friends, I learned that such thoughts were not only in my head.
Vadim Kovalenko, general director of the Aurora Hotel, Dmitry Garmash, founder of Kharkiv International marathon and IRON WAY, and Sergei Nevzorov, Master of Sports in swimming, are my friends’ team I joined to create the best community in Ukraine for training triathletes. That’s how the Chameleon Club was born.
The Key Concept of Chameleon
Cooperation with any company begins with an interview and first acquaintance. Of course, becoming a member of a sports club doesn’t require going through an interview. However, we agreed that it won’t hurt to meet the club representatives and get to know each other.
After that, it’s imperative to complete a test task – to pass a medical examination to understand to what extent the body of the newcomer is ready and what project-training plan suits it.
An experienced PM coach will assist the beginner. They’ll tell the newbie about the necessary equipment. Also, basic running, swimming, cycling, and triathlon concepts will be discussed.
Together, they’ll reach the first goal set at the very beginning of the journey. Under the professional supervision of a coach, our athlete begins to practice. That’s how beginners get used to regular sports training and exercise.
The Struggle of Reaching Visible Results
From the junior triathlete, there’s a gradual development of the middle triathlete. At this stage, an understanding of the technique and details of this sport is forming. Like a middle developer, a person can do more serious things when experience and knowledge allow them.
Tasks that used to be difficult are now amenable to accomplishment. Morning workouts no longer look like God’s punishment but even bring pleasure. In addition, the technique of performing exercises improves, and the speed and endurance enhance. A nice bonus is that life itself is changing.
The next step is the senior triathlete and the conquest of the world starts. Senior is a senior in any activity. All the necessary knowledge has been obtained, experience has been gained, and the technique has been perfected. They’re ready to start any race, finish it, and celebrate with the rest of the team.
At this stage, the club members are engaged in crossing the Bosphorus, running marathons, and taking part in the Ironman. And during the breaks, they choose a country for the next start. Training is also not forgotten. After all, at each new competition, we want to show better and better results.
Why did the HR department appear to be necessary?
The atmosphere and people are everything. A lot, including a person's success, depends on the environment and the team. It applies to any field of activity. But when the growth is too rapid, new people and projects constantly appear, and the team doesn’t have time to form. In such a case, people don’t have the opportunity to meet and find like-minded people, and there is no feeling that you’re a part of something big.
It’s a situation where HR processes that have long been formed in IT companies come to rescue us. That’s what team building and corporate events are for. Therefore, at least 2-3 events take place annually in Vilmate and Chameleon Club, not counting birthdays.
We go on joint trips to world tournaments, celebrations of finals, and camping. It makes people training in one club a real team that motivates and supports each other.
KPI’s Tracking and Management
In organizing the life of a sports club, you can use the same tools as in an IT company. This is what we do. In Chameleon Club, tasks are tracked in Trello, which allows you to keep them under control 24/7.
Also, we use Google Apps and a CRM system on an ongoing basis for internal management. At the moment, the club has 10 coaches, 2 managers, and 4 founders. Thanks to the use of a CRM system, all the necessary information is synchronized between all of us precisely.
Unique Features of Chameleon
Each member of the club has their own so-called personal card, which stores all the necessary information. Its purpose is to make the cooperation as comfortable as possible for both sides. In addition, there’s an application for all the latest technologies closely related to IT and IoT.
We actively use Garmin devices, heart rate monitors, cycling, and running power meters. The data obtained during running and cycling tests are displayed on special equipment. Thanks to this, we can conduct the highest quality training analytics.
Training and race plans are created with all the capabilities of the IoT for the triathlon. That's why they’re as accurate in assessing the capabilities of the athlete’s body as if the power of the machine is being evaluated.
Any experience can be of use, such as working in different companies on various projects and with numerous teams. Every time we get a new experience that can be applied in absolutely any area, not only in IT.
Speaking of me, 19 years ago I first found myself in the IT field. Then, I didn’t think that the experience gained here would help me create a sports club. Last year, we all had a quarantine, with the beginning of which the Chameleon Club appeared to be a project for the soul.
Plus, a lot of my Vilmate coworkers share my interest in professional sports. For example, this July, me and my colleagues took part in the Kyiv Dragon Triathlon Race together.
At first, it was my pet project, and no one knew what awaited us in this situation. But for the year of the club’s existence, the project turned out to be not so of a pet kind.
9 years ago I started with Vilmate. A year ago, together with friends, we founded Chameleon, where I put all my knowledge and experience gained in IT.
Try this approach – and you will succeed! And if you have an idea for a software development project, contact us to bring your vision to life.
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