Symphony Personas: Andriy Pestov

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There is no one right way to approach your life and career. That’s why we are so eager to talk to Symphonians about their personal experiences, exclusive insights, and intricate wisdom that comes in a form of somber life stories or lighthearted jokes. We find it fascinating what vast and complex new worlds we discover in each and every Symphonian and want to share their stories with you.

We have talked to Andriy Pestov, Head of Design office here at Symphony Solutions, about his exciting stories from life and work, what to expect in the future for design, and how he found a new family member and travel buddy in his dog Night.

1. You work at Symphony Solutions for 8 years already. What would you say about the journey so far?

Frankly speaking, I can’t even believe that all this time has passed. Maybe it’s the lively events, all the different people, projects, occasional sabbaticals. I remember these 8 years in time spans and occurrences, it was all so different over the years. So, when you’re asking about the 8 years as this one big chunk of my life, it’s hard to wrap my head around it:)

2. Do you remember your first day? 

I don’t remember the first day but I do remember my first party at the House of Scientists where no one had any idea who I was so it was quite an awkward albeit fun experience.

3. What are some of your fondest Symphony Solutions memories of the past 8 years?

Last year, when we still had business trips and visiting clients wasn’t considered excessive, I got to go from Italy, where I was on vacation, to Amsterdam, spend the night at the airport, rush to the hotel to shower and go straight to the client meeting.
That was a startup working in travel and flights business and the on-site was really awesome. I like to joke that my experience helped me better relate to user issues)

4. Going through so many different projects over the years, what do you consider your biggest achievement/success?

It’s difficult for me to pinpoint that one greatest achievement because there was always something worth remarking in each project although on a different scale, yet right now they all look minuscule. One of the most recent ones was helping with the Speedtestcorona project that won a tender from the Dutch government and will help millions to go back to their usual lives, safely visit events without an imminent danger to their health. 

5. You have recently been promoted to the Head of Design Office. How are you enjoying your new role?

There’s a lot of unknown ahead of me and that prospect is exciting😊 I’ve worked in design for a long time so I understand my colleagues and their needs.
Now, I have so many activities to cover and it’s quite unusual to disperse myself to manage so many different tasks simultaneously. I’m getting used to it)

6. After being with Symphony Solutions for so long, you have probably observed the company change and transform. What is different from when you first joined?

I have watched the company rapidly grow from a small one where everyone knew everyone yet our values and spirit always stayed the same. Then the Covid crisis happened. The company somehow managed to withstand that and know we’re getting back on track.

7. Did you always know that you wanted to be a designer? How did you come to choosing this path? 

When I was a kid, I really liked playing with legos (not following instructions from the box but coming up with something myself😊 I could probably say that my love for building things stems from back then. Apart from that, I studied Graphics and Design so the transition to IT came to me naturally as it was something familiar. 

8. What is it like working with clients at Symphony Solutions? What projects do you like the most? 

Symphony gives an opportunity to work with different clients, from startups to huge enterprises. This helps stay in shape and never dwell in the same place for too long.
What I like most is how I can influence the business and the product, suggest solutions that improve the user experience and are efficient for the business, when the client recognizes and values your work.

9. What makes a designer good?

The right mindset:) That’s a trendy word that means a lot of different things and can’t be attained through courses or training. You can’t get a certificate for that. It requires years of experience, observations, mistakes… All this accumulates into the designer being able to find the right approach to solving a problem or a task.

10. What’s the hottest topic in design at the moment? What design trends do you see in Ukraine and in the world right now?

I’m happy to say that in Ukraine many designers are now transitioning or trying to transition to the kind of product that is not just a “pretty picture”. It’s not enough to just draw an interface. You want to bring value to your user and business. You want to work in iterations: analyze and improve.

11. What do you think about design without designers? 

That’s an actual possibility! In fact, we can already see it happening in parts, especially in data-driven products.
It’s been possible for some time now that you can build a website or take a cool design system and just “pull” it over your product or even simply make a logo with the help of AI. It all progresses before our eyes, however, I believe that it will take some time till we can see AI solve a complicated problem.
So, even now we can see design systems do the work that in the past would take a designer five years to complete.

12. There are a lot of traditions – from having coffee in the morning to special Friday parties. What’s your favourite office tradition? 

Lunch break:) And to be fair, it’s not all about food. Over time, it grew to something more. We discuss so many interesting topics during lunch, from work-related to something more global like ecology or AI. Lunch is when colleagues can meet up with no obligations and just have some quality time together. That makes it a cool tradition:)

13. We know you like travelling and once had a sabbatical leave to the Canary Islands. What’s the most interesting story from your trips? How do they help you in work?

Tenerife is the perfect place for a sabbatical. It has practically everything – all climate zones, from tropical rain forests to deserts, and a volcano that looks like the surface of Mars.
Too many stories.

14. You have recently adopted a dog from a dog shelter. How does it feel to have a new friend?

We were very lucky with Night as she fit right into our life just like a puzzle piece:) Night is a very calm and well-behaved dog. Just like us, she likes car rides and running, and sometimes she just wants some peace and quiet. I sometimes take her to the office with me and she’s no trouble at all.

15. What are your hobbies? Besides running with your dog:) 

I’ve always loved hiking and from my most recent discoveries, a new experience – mountain running. When in a limited time frame you can relive the same emotions just faster. You can go over the weekend and run for many-many kilometers.

16. What 3 pieces of advice would you give yourself when you first became a designer?

Have no fear, finish what you start, invest in bitcoin.

17. Could you recommend some podcasts, books, or anything else that inspires you?

I think that podcasts are the most efficient way to gain new knowledge when it comes to professional development.

Потестим в проде is about product development, technologies, and just in general, the hosts are cool professionals that always have something interesting to share.
Дій. Подкаст про бізнес – this one will be interesting for readers from Lviv. 
Projector online library – I’d recommend getting a subscription for this online library. 
Большая Рыба с Александром Колбом – this one is about IT entrepreneurs and their business.
Джобери is about people doing their… job.

Want to learn the essence of Symphony Solutions that are Symphonians? Stay tuned and look out for more interviews in the near future!  

But, for now, get to know our Symphonian Slawomir Umpirowicz and read about his insights here

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