May 22, 1978 |
Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, France
|Occupation||COO of The Priceline Group|
|Board member of||Edenred|
All the big online retailers are looking at how to enter the Russian market.
My advice to anyone would be to focus on your current job and be the best at it. The rest will take care of itself.
It simply isn't acceptable for the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, which amass data by the terabyte, to say, 'Don't worry, your information's safe with us, as all sorts of rules protect you' – when all evidence suggests otherwise.
The fundamental vision hasn't changed. What does change is how you get there, because there are still problems you have to figure out.
Once in a while, I still witness occasionally sexist behavior and comments from men (which experience has taught me you should always deflect with humour rather than anger). Old habits die hard, after all, and it's unrealistic to expect dinosaurs to fall silent overnight.
The Russian customers don't feel very comfortable with online transactions.
Investors have finally woken up to the fact that there is something called the 'Russian Internet' into which you can invest.
Competition is good because we need to educate customers, and Ozon.ru itself will not be able to do it.
When a handful of tech giants are gatekeepers to the world's data, it's no surprise that the debate about balancing progress against privacy is framed as 'pro-data and, therefore, innovation' versus 'stuck in the Dark Ages'.
Within Internet users, you have a big chunk of people who can convert to online shopping.
The Priceline Group is a truly globally-scaled digital e-commerce Fortune 500 company operating world-class brands. I look forward to contributing to the Group by identifying new opportunities and operating synergies that enhance its already strong track record as a global digital pioneer.
Ozon.ru is made up of four businesses. Ozon.ru is an online retailer, O'Courier focuses on shipping, Ozon.Travel, and our most recent acquisition, Sapato, the leading online shoe and accessory retailer.
The problem is Silicon Valley, which is an amazing ecosystem, also ends up being an amazing bubble, with white guys talking to white guys about white-guy problems. So it's great, but you kind of miss a lot of things around you.
That's the mantra I use when the team tells me something is too complicated. People keep saying, 'We need more prioritization.' I say, 'Guys, what you want is less work. And that is not going to happen.'
Russians are not a very friendly people. It's hard to get them to speak nicely to the customers. It's just not in their culture.
I can tell you that when you're counting every penny, knowing that you are a single bad decision away from bankruptcy, you inevitably lose focus on what really matters for your business.
E-commerce is applicable to Russia, just as it's applicable to any other market.
Money, while clearly helpful in solving myriad problems, can often conceal a business's real flaws. It can also risk rigidifying a company's business model at the very moment it should be in 'customer discovery' mode or iterating around market opportunities.
Not only is self-regulation largely a fantasy, but repeated scandals across multiple industries have proved that companies are fundamentally incapable of self-regulating for the greater good.
At Ozon, salaries are evaluated every year based on market benchmarks which are gender neutral.
Consumers learn the value of being sure that what you want to buy is what you buy.
The biggest deficit in terms of gender equality at Ozon lay in our IT department. So we made a decision, along with our key IT leaders, to remove all filters and systemically interview all the women who apply.
A great deal of energy is spent daily on pushing the Russian e-commerce boom along while managing all aspects of growth and development along the way.
I tell my colleagues that it is actually all right to make mistakes, and I am worried when they do not make them, because it means that they either hide them from me or are not trying hard enough.
The pickup points are a natural additional network for delivery. For me, the surprise is that Amazon didn't come up with that idea.
From the consumer perspective, what happened in the U.S. 10 years ago and Europe five years ago is now happening in Russia. People are beginning to understand that e-commerce is easy and safe.
The general message would be to say to all these young people: If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, there is money, there are consumers, there is a huge market. The only thing you need to do is to go there and start doing things.
There is very little room for relaxation, but as long as I capitalize on those brief moments of peace, I'm okay with that.
I have American friends in France, and when I meet with them, they tell me about everything that is wrong with France. I think there is a general expat syndrome, which means that whatever country you are in, you are always missing your own country and always thinking that the country you live in is actually not as good as it could be.
There's always a fine line between being too focused and missing opportunities, or being too wide and taking on too many.
I think Russia is a difficult country, and it's very difficult for people to adapt here, especially if they don't speak the language well.
The history of business has shown that companies usually only regulate themselves if they're forced to by legislation, or out of self-interest – often in the shape of a marketable message that will help sell more products.
The Russians are not as addicted to coffee as the Americans. We should work on that!
I am an optimist. I believe the future is bright. I think people who see life painted in dark colors are the ones who do not take ownership.
While I accept that large investment rounds will always garner headlines, it's almost as if the magic number of how much cash you've managed to raise has become both a stamp of approval and the main metric for gauging a business's true worth.
I have learned that I must take a holiday at least once each year if I want to survive!
The goal wasn't to create a billion-dollar company. The goal was to create something useful where I could learn things.
Everyone in the United States asks me about being a woman CEO. To be honest, it has had no impact on my career. While I was at BCG, it didn't matter whether you were a man or a woman. The only thing that mattered was that you were good at your job.
I do not like the idea that a Russian company cannot be successful without Western experience. I think that, at the end of the day, it is a question of bringing benchmarks from other countries. So far, the golden benchmark has been the West.
When online business first appeared, a lot of operations would take your order and then disappear.
After I completed the project for BCG, I was offered the position of Director of Marketing for Ozon.ru.