One of the most remarkable things that happened was meeting my best friend and Guardian Angel Vlad Micu in real life. For the 1st time ever. Believe it or not, we've been close friends since 2011, but have never talked in person before this year's Sociality Rocks! conference. Looks like I've told this story to everyone in reality but never posted it online...
Anyway, this year Vlad was speaking at Sociality Rocks! and staying at my friend's mum's place. I couldn't meet him at the airport despite I really wanted to, because of being on a welcome tour around Kyiv's IT companies' offices.
And we're back to the hotel. I come in planning to call Vlad and ask where he is. I look around and see a familiar-looking guy sitting in the lobby doing sth on his iPhone.. OMG it's him!!! *fangirling mode on*
We sat there chatting for some time while waiting for his friend Aki, and it felt as if we've seen each other millions of times and known for thousands years. <3 <3 <3
Vlad's lecture was the latest one in the whole conference, and he was a bit worried that few people will come. But I thought the opposite. Because his lecture really stood out and, as I later made sure, was about what all of us feel but no one talks about.
Aside from being the best friend who literally saved my life in 2011 and Guardian Angel (without him I wouldn't even be close to where I am now professionally), Vlad is a professional example for me. He's done nearly anything in gamedev - from designing and producing and journalism and editing to business development he currently does for an Indian studio. Doing all this he learnt a lot of "inner" experience everyone has but no one talks about... "I'm here because I failed", - said Vlad in the beginning of his lecture.
Fear comes from uncertainty that we can handle the consequences.
He admitted that in Ukraine and Russia there's kinda unwritten rule that one should be "superhuman" and never talk about failures, weaknesses and feelings, and actually never fail. So we get scared. Fear, according to Vlad, comes from uncertainty that we can handle the consequence of our decisions. But, he argues, we can choose what we get out of results. Why not choose the best out of whatever our decisions' outcome is?
Vlad gave tips on how to make the best use of interns so that both sides got advantages, and oh how I wish this was applied to Ukrainian reality! On the other hand, if I wasn't treated like a free slave on Ukrainian TV back in 2011, I wouldn't have been desperate enough to tell a (then) Dutch stranger about my work trouble, and who knows if I'd ever get to the gamedev hangout...
My Guardian Angel stated that developers are often scared to show their creations to the world because someone might steal the unfinished idea. Network your ass off! - he suggests instead. As well as asking for advice. And now something that is very relevant in Ukrainian/Russian reality: if someone asks for money in return for just personal advice, slap them on the face and ask again, says Vlad. :D
After the conference and several informal hangouts I took Vlad to the place he was staying at, my friend's mom's apartment. His Russian is surprisingly fluent, so I had one less thing to worry about. Communication went well. And I wish my friend Lena was in Ukraine at that time. :)
I just wish we had more time for hanging out.
We took a walk around the city despite it was unusually cold. Walked at the Taras Shevchenko park near the main building of the University that is lit up in a beautiful crimson red light as it gets dark outside. Vlad said that in Holland whorehouses are lit up that way - and I replied that this matches the university's true self perfectly. XD
We met the grumpy "typical box office woman" with huge glasses and a shit-shaped hairstyle in Kyiv's opera house, and ended up taking the schedule booklet... for October. So we looked up at the site, but didn't find anything matching the guys' schedule. They headed to some other places that evening, and I got home and fell asleep - I still work at the ICTV channel and needed to go there on the following day.
We met again and had Ukrainian bubble tea. Vlad, who has been to Thailand and enjoyed that drink on a daily basis there, approved what they make here in Ukraine. Except the price - here it's nearly 10 times more expensive here. :P
Another big plan was a trip to Chornobyl the guys arranged even before coming to Kyiv. (Smart decision, things like this are better to book long beforehand, there are huge queues for that.) I couldn't go because of my sewn retina - no one knows what could happen to it if I get exposed to a higher radiation level.
But we met Vlad and his friend Andrew after the trip, and headed to a sushi bar for dinner and impressions sharing. <3 After Vlad's stories we felt like going there too - maybe the doctors will soon create something to protect sewn retina from harmful influences? ))) Those photos of abandoned places, especially school and daycare with copybooks and toys right where they used to be... Though Vlad noticed that too many tourists have been through the place, and it's already lost a part of it's original post-apocalyptic vibe.
I hope Vlad will come for L'viv Gamedev Conference this winter. The city is awesome just to wander around, I know lots of interesting places, and my cousin's girlfriend is a professional guide. Have I also mentioned that L'viv is called "the outsourcing heaven of Ukraine"? ;)