Book Talk with Gennady Batrakov, Founder of BubblesPlanner, StriveChat and Blogely: I plan my time for reading just like a meeting. Dedicated time is important.
Gennady Batrakov is the CEO & Founder of Blogely, Strivechat & BubblesPlanner. BubblesPlanner (I mean, how awesome is this name?) helps you monitor and manage tasks, projects and goals. Strivechat is an AI-ready SaaS platform for customer communication management. He also created Blogely, a blogger`s writing and research tool. Gennady thinks you can really increase productivity by using automation, simplification and organization. The reason for these beliefs is that his personal experience showed him that success can be a matter of a slight edge in a person`s efficiency. This is why he strives to create software that makes complex processes a lot simpler. The most important thing, though, is that Gennady feels his company`s efforts will make a difference in someone`s life. When it comes to books, Gennady says they helped him improve his consistency, they made him much more organized and focused. I feel the same, so I really loved this part of the interview.
What’s your favorite book and why?My current ratio between business and non-business reading is about 90/10. My favorite book in the non-business category is The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. In the business category, my #1 book is Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. It has been over 20 years since I read the book for the first time. I reread it a few times since. I even keep extra copies of this book on my bookshelf to give away to my friends.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell us about it?The self-help category subject is dear to my heart since I view it as the most effective way to learn and grow. Tony Robbins` book Awaken the Giant Within has helped me in many ways. It aided me to deal with the habits I wanted to stay away from. It was easy to quit smoking after reading that book, even though I had many unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking in the previous 20 years; however, after reading that book - it was just natural. I stopped “cold turkey” and I never looked back since (21 years of non-smoking life… Yay!). I gained some understanding of how to run the brain to achieve results. It helped me to focus on the goals through some rough time and the tragic losses throughout my life.
What books had the biggest impact on you?Books taught me a great deal about productivity and results. They made me a much more organized and focused person. Right… and yet I still have a lot to work on. Reading improved my self-discipline and consistency. It helped me to focus on the right things. This book, in particular, opened my eyes to how extraordinary results can be achieved – The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. I’ve decided to change the approach to my priority management behavior and narrow my focus. At that time, I was building software that integrates with the accounting system, juggling 200+ tasks, and had no clear comprehension of what exactly was on my plate. I’ve decided to build a system that helps to visualize priorities. Exactly right… Management of priorities is the primary key to the successful completion of any endeavor. Or a simple project. Or a simple tasklist. This decision-making process of what comes first and what is second... - we do it every day. The tricky part is to focus on the tasks that provide the most significant value. And this is where things fall through the crack. Having clear visibility is everything. This understanding pushed me to create an addon for Jira transforming my tasks into objects and lay them into “bubbles view.” Subsequently, it led to the creation of BubblesPlanner – visual task manager. It is now completed web application after over a year of development.
What books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why?Reading is challenging your imagination, strengthens convictions, and inspire. These are a few books that made a great deal of impact on my life:
- Awaken The Giant Within, by Anthony Robbins (I cannot praise it enough!)
- Atomic Habits by James Clear (habit-building insights)
- To-Do List Formula by Damon Zahariades (The best book I`ve read on To-do lists!)
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams (self-explanatory ?)
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss (Extraordinary collection of Tactics, Routines, and Habits of successful people)
Is there any way that you try to handle information overwhelm or manage social media?It is nice to know that we are all connected to social media; however, its overuse clearly can make anyone unproductive and overwhelmed. I do not pay attention to Facebook or Twitter. I only check it no more than once per week. I think it is enough. I keep Linkedin in my radar to discover influencers and relevant content.
How do you make time for reading? How often do you read? What format do you prefer?I like hardcover books for pleasure reading, but if I need to take comments and notes, I find Kindle extremely valuable. I plan my time for reading just like a meeting. Dedicated time is important. I wish I could spend more time, but I try to read at least 1 hour per day even if I am busy.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?Yes, the best one for the notes collection is Evernote. Also, I am using my BubblesPlanner bookmarks manager to collect and store information into posts. They can become actionable at any time. BubblesPlanner Collections are designed to have a good organization of data in its condensed visual format.
How do you choose what books to read next? Do you prioritize books recommended by certain people?I often stumble on interesting persuasive information or recommendations. I check the book title on Amazon, and if I like it, I put it on my list of the next books to read. I keep this list on my iPhone mobile app, so it is easy to add anything that comes along.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?My next huge task is to work in the best marketing strategy for our new customer engagement app – StriveChat, an advanced version of BubblesPlanner. For me, marketing has been the most challenging part of the business. I am currently reading Purple Cow by Seth Godin. I find it fascinating. I realize what I have done wrong in the past, mistakes that I made. It makes me entirely rethink the approach to marketing. Links where you can follow Gennady or find out more about his projects:
- The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
- Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! , by Anthony Robbins
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear
- To-Do List Formula: A Stress-Free Guide To Creating To-Do Lists That Work!, by Damon Zahariades
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, by Scott Adams
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Tim Ferriss
- Purple Cow, by Seth Godin