Boris Dyakonov’s talent and entrepreneurial spirit have seen him taking a rich variety of banking industry positions in the past 21 years before founding the Tochka bank for entrepreneurs. He told Efma’s Boris Plantier about his life and work.
Boris Plantier (BP): Tell me a little about your background
Boris Dyakonov (BD): My career has had quite a few twists. I have been a nurse assistant, a Methodist pastor, a programmer and a systems administrator. For the last 20 years and more I’ve been working on internet banking solutions for SMEs and individuals.
In 1998 I joined Severnaya Kazna bank, where I worked as an internet technologies engineer before heading the information system support department and then the innovative technologies department. In 2002 I was invited by Sergei Lapshin to become a co-owner of UralContactBank, which he had founded, and which later became Bank24.ru. I took several executive positions at the bank and helped to coordinate projects including modernization of the bank’s information system, creating its own card processing and the launch of the entrepreneur-oriented intra-bank startup Knopka.
After the bank closed I was appointed senior vice president of the Khanty-Mansiysk bank Otkrytie. I brought 350 Bank24.ru employees with me and started to create Tochka, a service for small businesses which we launched in 2015. By 2017, Tochka led the Markswebb Rank & Report banking rating in three categories: Bank for self-employed entrepreneurs without employees, Bank for trade and service companies, and Bank for companies engaged in foreign trade activities.
BP: What does your workplace look like?
BD: My workplace is a mess. Or, as I travel a lot, sometimes it is just an iPad on the airplane seat.
BP: Could you describe your usual working day?
BD: Every day is different, so there is no ‘usual’ working day for me. But most days will include a bunch of video calls, emails and personal meetings.
BP: What is your favorite food?
BD: My favorite foods include almost everything Georgian and Italian, as well as Israeli cuisine.
BP: What do you do when you need a break from work?
BD: When I need a break I go for a walk, do a workout, go running or go swimming. If I need a longer break, it is definitely sailing as I very much enjoy yachting.
BP: How do you build a successful team?
BD: I don’t believe there is a perfect recipe for building a successful team. I trust a lot, and I expect a lot.
BP: There is a saying that we learn more from failure than success. Tell me about one of your failures and what you have learned from it.
BD: I don’t think you learn from success at all. Success makes you arrogant as if you’ve achieved it all. Failure makes you a bit more humble, if you are lucky. The most important thing I’ve learned about failure is that it is not final until you give up, and that getting up is more important than falling down.
BP: What advice would you give to someone who wants to succeed in financial services?
BD: Love your clients, rethink the processes and love your job. Working in financial services is a great opportunity to impact people’s experience with money.