“You Should Not Be Afraid To Change Industries” Words Of Wisdom With Dmitriy Loveyko Of Animaccord

“From my experience, I can certainly say that you should not be afraid to change industries. The main principles of management are the same everywhere. You should be able to delegate the work, be able to listen to clever people and always achieve your goals. “

I had the pleasure to interview Dmitriy Loveyko the managing director of the group of companies Animaccord. The group is international and has subsidiaries in USA, Russia and Europe. Animaccord promotes the brand “Masha and the Bear” on the international level.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I was born in 1965 in a little town Balkhash, USSR. At school I participated in the Science Olympiad and thanks to the great results from Balkhash, I moved to a school in Akademgorodok, Novosibirsk. In 1981 I went to Novosibirsk State University. In 1984 there was a high shortage of draftees in the Soviet Union army so the Government started to take students. Thus, I went to the army and was in the Soviet Union’s air force for 2 years. Later I finished university in 1989. In 1992 I decided to leave the sciences for business as my wife and I were expecting our first child and I needed to earn more money. At the beginning of 90s there were big opportunities for starting a business. In the company “Nonolet” where I had been working as a managing director (we founded the radio station (Europe +) in Novosibirsk), we established a Nissan distribution center, and we also distributed Intel computers. Later I became a marketing director in the food industry for a year in Novosibirsk. Then I got a promotion and became a commercial director of a fats and oil company in Novosibirsk (it was number 5 in the Soviet Union by the products output volume). Also I was working as a CEO of a grain processing corporation. Back in that time I thought I would be always working in that industry.

However, in 2005 colleagues with whom I started my first business in Novosibirsk invited me to the capital of Russia with a special offer: to take a position of a director of business development in the aviation company. I had been studying in Moscow State Technical University of Civil Aviation for a year and got the necessary certificate. The company “Vzlet” was doing an experimental aviation. We were innovators in the industry in Russia. Our utility helicopter operators performed a wide variety of external load work such as: construction works, conducting geophysical research and helicopter logging to remove cut trees from forests by lifting them on cables attached to a helicopter. In 2007 my fellow from the Novosibirsk University, Sergey Kuzmin, introduced me to Oleg Kuzovkov. Oleg had a great background in animation and he had a work experience in Russia and USA as well. Oleg had a very bright idea: to make a 3D CGI animated cartoon for children about a little girl named Masha and her friend Bear. He was searching for an investor for quite a long time and in the end he found Sergey Kuzmin. Sergey agreed to invest the certain sum into the project as soon as the first episodes were ready. Oleg brought to the project painters, technologists, 2 directors and a producer. While Oleg was managing the production, I was responsible for establishing a legal entity, finding a studio and the necessary equipment. Moreover I was responsible for the financial part of the project.

In the titles of the first episodes of Masha and the Bear there is Andery Dobrynov as a producer and I am standing in as director of the studio. Oleg was managing the whole production and I was managing business issues. In 2010 Andrey Dobrynov left the company and together with Oleg Kuzovkov we decided to become co-producers of the show. This is how I became a producer and started to monetize the content. The first episodes were highly popular and I understood that the brand has a high potential. I organized the marketing structure and licensing structure of the company that we have now.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Well, first I find it funny that I began as a CEO in the food industry and aviation, and currently I am CEO of an animation company that is in the 104th place in the rating of the top licensing companies in the world. I see it as an irony. I have never thought that I somehow would be related to the show business or entertainment and here I am — CEO of Animaccord.

Moreover another interesting story happened when I went to Taipei, Taiwan. I was invited to visit a Halloween show for kids. The event was held in one of the biggest arenas in the city, Taipei Arena. During the show I saw that several hundreds of children were singing Masha’s songs in Chinese with hand clapping. Then I realized that the idea that was only in Oleg Kuzovkov’s head several years ago has been implemented at its best and now it is a popular international cartoon that Chinese children adore so much. Incredible, isn’t it?

So how exactly does your company help people?

Animaccord is a mono-brand company that owns Masha and the Bear. We produce a cartoon and also give a license to our partners who produce toys, goods for children, clothes for kids, food and beverages. I am happy to be in the business that brings so much joy to children and their parents.

We have subsidiaries in the USA (Miami) and in Europe. We have plans to create a joint venture with one of the largest Chinese media holdings for Chinese market.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

As a licensing company we work with only one brand. Moreover, we don’t have support only from one media company. This is what makes us so special. We are on Kika (Germany), on France 5 (France), Treehouse (Canada), Universal Kids (USA) and Netflix broadcasts us almost everywhere. We are the first Russian brand that develops the promotion of Russian content all around the world and this is what makes Masha an international phenomenon.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

There are about 150 employees in our company. Our success would not be possible with each and every one of them, and we owe them all our gratitude.

Of course, Animaccord would not exist without Oleg Kuzovkov, the author of Masha and the Bear. He is a very goal oriented, talented and persistent man. Thanks to these qualities, the project became real and we are all happy to participate in it.

Another person to whom I have a deep gratitude is Sergey Kuzmin. On a certain stage of the project he believed in it, supported it and invited me to become a part of it.

And finally, I am very grateful to my wife. She was the one who supported one of the most important decisions in my life: the move from Novosibirsk to Moscow.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Animaccords’ team is trying to make a good product and make happy all the people that know us, work with us, work for us or watch us. We bring joy and laughter to children across the world. That is a thrill for us.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1.A CEO should not think that he is smarter than everyone. On the other hand he/she should hire and lead clever people. That would increase success.

2.If you have to say goodbye to your employee — always do it gracefully. You never know when he/she will come back.

3.Always react gently to the mistakes of your employee. We all make mistakes.

4.From my experience, I can certainly say that you should not be afraid to change industries. The main principles of management are the same everywhere. You should be able to delegate the work, be able to listen to clever people and always achieve your goals.

5.This advice does not refer to the industries like: aerospace, chemistry, and sport where 100% results matter. In those industries where you can not define what is a 100 percent result, you don’t need to aim for the 100 percent. 90% is going to be enough. Just be happy with the result that is higher than 80%, and look for a variety of determinations for success.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this

This is a wonderful opportunity. I would say that I deeply respect the man, who gave the chance for projects like ours exist. It is one of the founders of Google — Sergey Brin. We are almost from the same generation as him, and Animaccord is a big YouTube partner. Our episode “Masha+Kasha” got more than 2.5 billion views and we are in the top 6 of the most viewed videos of all time on the platform. We have 10 official Masha and the Bear YouTube channels in different languages! I have many thoughts that I would love to share with Sergey Brin during a private dinner if he would be so kind as to join me.

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