When we ventured into blog-writing, one of the most requested categories of blog articles from our dearest users and readers was 'Stuff About Yegor.'
For the uninitiated, Yegor Sak is one of the founders of Windscribe, probably the most active CEO in the world on his projects' subreddits, and, well, a memelord. I took it upon myself to answer your questions and some of my own and had a virtual sit-down with Yegor over a weirdly arctic April weekend. We talked bunkers, Belarus and Back 4 Blood. Here's what Windscribe's dad had to say.
Where were you born, and when did you move to Canada?
Yegor: My parents transported me from Belarus to Canada as carry-on luggage in the spring of 1999. It was a good year.
When did you start developing an interest in technology?
I did not have access to the Internet in Belarus, so my interest was scoped to video games until I came to Canada. Shortly after getting Internet access, I developed an interest in acquiring new knowledge and was drawn to making websites. As I picked up programming, I started developing more complex projects and working for others.
…what about an interest in cybersecurity/online privacy?
I started using VPNs in 2009 for my daily Internet activity while working on different projects. This led me to learn all about what VPNs can and cannot do, contrary to the promises of most providers at the time. The one that stood out as different and I personally used for years was IVPN. Windscribe was very much inspired by how that company was operated: solid apps, no marketing speak, brutally honest information on capabilities and limitations.
Do you have personal experiences that drive your commitment to online privacy and security?
I've been fortunate enough to leave a dictatorship and grow up in Canada, so I can't say that I've had a personal experience that shaped my commitment. That being said, many people in many other countries did not have the same fortunes. Many have been jailed and, in some cases, lost their lives due to their security being breached. A VPN alone will do little to prevent many of such occurrences, but it's definitely a must-have and probably the most important single tool one can use.
What's your favourite colour?
#0066ff is pretty cool, but I'm not 5 anymore, so there are more.
If you could start Windscribe again, what would you do differently, knowing what you know now?
Spend more time on the process rather than quickly doing things yourself. Short-term gains result in long-term woes. Discontinue the affiliate program earlier, or never have one in the first place. Delegate more and concentrate on the bigger picture earlier.
What's your favourite meal?
My mom's crab salad. It's a secret recipe, so you have probably never heard about it. /takes off top hat and monocle
What does success mean to you? Do you care about being successful?
Success is a function of hard work and building things that did not exist before. I'm not directly motivated by "success" but rather by building something that fulfills a purpose, and that is desired by someone other than just myself. That being said, you should be your own customer and use what you build daily. Any annoyances you see are likely annoying for other people, too, so you can iterate quickly. If you're successful in doing that, you will reap the benefits of your hard work in whatever form you wish (more free time, more money, respect for your family/peers, street cred, whatever). If your sole definition of success is being rich, there is a minimal chance of success. Most things you will do or try will fail. Before Windscribe, I attempted dozens of other projects. The vast majority were spectacular failures. The projects where I was motivated solely by money had a 100% failure rate. The ones I was building primarily for myself to solve a personal problem had a non-zero rate of success.
What's your favourite meme?
I'm a massive fan of the philosoraptor. I think it's due for a comeback.
How did you meet the other founders of Windscribe?
I met Mark on a webmaster forum over 17 years ago. I needed someone to manage the servers for a project I was working on at the time, and he helped me out with that and all subsequent projects since.
I've known Alex through some mutual friends for roughly the same amount of time. He was building some website projects at the time, and we decided to combine resources.
What do you do when you aren't working? What does life outside of WS look like for you?
Traditionally, work was life. In the last while, I started spending my weekends and the occasional holidays doing things outside of work for my own sanity. These things range from casual stuff like video games (Overwatch, Back 4 Blood) to non-virtual hobbies like going back to making use of my pilot license and flying small aircraft, expanding my firearms collection and shooting them at various things out in the bush (inanimate objects - I'm not a fan of hunting). There's also the occasional scuba diving when I leave the frozen wasteland that is Canada (70% of the time). I do some 3D design work and print it on my 3D printer. I enjoy picking up new skills and making use of them. This includes learning general handy work like welding, drywalling, and carpentry – the skills Alex and I learned and used in the ill-fated "backyard bunker" project 5 years ago. It doesn't always work out, but you certainly learn things (I should have done the electrical work myself instead of relying on a "professional" whose work spelled its doom).
In the future, I plan to continue honing my aviation skills and get an instrument rating, and once time allows, get into mechanical engineering.