“Well, you know, these people are pros.” Sergei Sergejev: from AutoCad and shooting pistols – to Customer Onboarding and Due Diligence.
The culture of BASIS ID is built up of general openness, understanding of the client’s needs, strong competence, and everlasting developing drive. Each of our employees is key to the success of the company. Their skills, knowledge and passion are our core assets, that along with high performance and self-dedication make BASIS ID so remarkable in the digital identity verification market. Even though we are happy with the results, we are continuously working to improve.
We prioritise equality issues and make sure that everyone in our team is treated the same, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, and religion. We promote the professional growth of our employees by providing them with the best training, development and working conditions that we can.
This article continues our series of small interviews, by which we want to introduce you to the wonderful people of BASIS ID. These are people who make our company one of the best KYC and AML service providers on the market, securing verification everywhere across the globe and guaranteeing smooth onboarding and positive experience to our clients and their customers.
Today we want you to meet our outstanding customer onboarding and due diligence specialist — BASIS ID’s CPO Sergei Sergejev.
Sergei grew up in a relatively large family of Kostroma and Ural Mountains descendants. Although born and raised in Estonia, he identifies himself culturally as Russian. Nonetheless, he speaks perfect English and Estonian, loves Motor racing and prefers Asian cuisine over borsch and pelmeni.
In 2018 Sergei graduated from the University of Northampton (UK) where he got a BSc degree in Architectural Technology. Several years later he found himself sitting in the chair of BASIS ID Chief Product Officer, outrageously skilled in customer relationship management (CRM), business-to-business (B2B) relationship and project management.
Read on and find out why Sergei changed AutoCad for identity verification software, what inspires him most and how to find the best ramen in Tallinn.
What appealed to you about working in BASIS ID?
An old friend of mine works here too. When I returned to Estonia from the UK, I had a planned surgery and during the recovery I just spent hours hanging around at the office. I was inspired by the team and the company’s philosophy and global approach. So, I asked whether I could join the team as I was looking for a job, but of course, there was no vacancy for me and my AutoCad/Revit skills. Noticing my passion and probably recognising some professional potential, the company’s founder Akim Arhipov gave me a chance to try out different positions and a large number of activities before he proposed me a position that was the best fit for my skills, knowledge and natural talents – Sales.
What do you like most about your job?
As I said, the company’s environment is awesome, everyone is willing to help each other grow. Together, we constantly develop individually and never stop on improving a great product that helps people. At the same time, we are autonomous units – an army of one man armies if you like. That’s what I enjoy the most about BASIS ID.
Customers won’t let me lie – I used to call myself “Jack of all trades – master of none”. Due to a lot of multi-tasking and incredible support from the team, it is stunning how much I have learnt about operating a business and KYC/AML field particularly in just two and a half years. Over this time, I’ve been mostly performing Business Development and Account Management, which eventually turned me into the person who understands both the client and the product. Starting from this year, my main responsibility is leading the development roadmap and controlling the internal processes. In a way, I turned 180 – from delivering the product to our clients in need to delivering the needs of our clients into the product.
What is one of the largest challenges in your job?
The main challenge at work is prioritizing tasks because of my biggest weakness – time management. Oh boy, I strive for more hours in my day…
Writing documentation is sometimes a tough challenge. Overall, It can be difficult for me to get started unless I clearly see the purpose of the activity, know the potential outcome and have a plan. Though, once the vision comes together — I can easily spend 10 hours working non-stop.
What is your favourite work task and why?
It sounds weird coming from a very introverted person, but it’s talking to the clients and prospects. I’ve grown to enjoy it. Communication skills is another thing BASIS ID has nurtured in me. I feel proud for the long way we’ve come and the product we’ve achieved, so it is dear to my heart to be presenting and discussing it.
Other than that, my favourite tasks are complex and challenging, ones that do not have obvious solutions. It’s quite entertaining, like putting together pieces of a puzzle. I feel satisfaction when the progress is palpable or ‘the job gets done’.
How do you keep yourself disciplined and motivated?
Actually, I don’t do anything special for that. BASIS ID has always placed a great deal of trust in me and this is an enormous source of motivation in my day to day work. The success of our company is the greatest drive. I know my colleagues have faith and rely on me and I, in return, can rely on them. It’s always more than just my wellbeing at stake and it keeps me disciplined no matter what.
My colleagues inspire me a lot as well, especially when we share and discuss ideas for improving processes. It is pleasing to see that the whole team recognises we can only stay competitive by adapting to the ever changing global environment; which in my case means responding adequately to regulatory changes and more so the needs of our clients by coming up with features that add value to the product.. Everyone does the best at contributing their part. So do I.
If there is one thing that’s vital for my motivation, it’s getting proper rest. On weekends, I sleep 12 hours as a minimum.
What’s an interesting fact about you?
I don’t really know what to start with… Could it be the fact that I initially studied to become a doctor, but graduated with a Bachelors of Architectural Technology, yet work in the digital identity verification business? Or maybe that I’ve won the Estonian National Sports Pistol Shooting Championships 11 times, although I have always been a 100% pacifist…
What do you like to do in your free time?
Oh, plenty of things. First of all, I need to confess — I have a competitive spirit. I almost always “play” to win…without forgetting to enjoy and to have fun while at it, of course. Participation trophies just ain’t doing it for me.
I truly enjoy karting, swimming, playing online chess and shooting. I quit competitive shooting about 8 years ago because I started studying at university and never looked back. Although I like to practice from time to time, I don’t compete since my level is nowhere near what it used to be and winning is well out of my reach. Now, it is my way of relaxation or even a sort of meditation. I clear my body and mind from tension and anxiety when focusing on my equipment, mechanics and technique. While at it, nothing bothers me except what a good shot feels like.
After work, I often choose to ride an electric scooter home. Spending 20-30 minutes for a picturesque trip through the old parts of Tallinn is priceless. Usually, I pass by the old Hansa Harbour area on the way back home. There, I stop by probably the best Asian food market in the city and grab something for dinner. Asian cuisine is my other passion.
Any book or movie recommendations?
I would recommend Goethe’s Faust to everyone who hasn’t read it yet. Metaphorically speaking, the story of a man selling his soul to the devil seems to be an evergreen content in our modern times of moral crisis. I’ve read it 3 times and each time I had a completely different perception as I grew up.
Talking about cinema, Cloud Atlas is my most favourite movie. It is a 2012 science fiction film starring Tom Hanks, written and directed by Wachowski sisters. I hate giving spoilers, so will just say — watch it even if you are not a science fiction fan. It’s totally worth it. Hopefully, Christopher Nolan will never read these lines cause I’m going to call Cloud Atlas the most complicated movie ever produced by humankind. Tenet and Inception aren’t even on the same level. It’s a movie that has a certain A-ha! moment, and it took me a second run to get there. It is absolutely must-see!
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