Max Kamenkov is an entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of SplitMetrics, a company that builds innovative products for mobile publishers. SplitMetrics is headquartered in Minsk, Belarus and also has offices in San Francisco and Europe. The company’s software solutions, SplitMetrics and SearchAdsHQ, are powerful and easy-to-use tools for mobile growth.
SearchAdsHQ is a platform for Apple Search Ads campaign management and optimization with advanced analytics and unique automation features. SplitMetrics is an A/B testing tool for improving conversion rates on the App Store and Google Play. World-famous companies and brands, like Rovio, Wargaming, Google, MSQRD, Prisma, Flo and many others, take advantage of SearchAdsHQ and SplitMetrics.
Prior to co-founding SplitMetrics, Max had launched a number of successful projects.
In his free time Max plays sports, reads books and spends quality time with family and friends.
Where did the idea for SplitMetrics come from?
Back in 2014 I and my business partner, SplitMetrics co-founder Eugene Nevgen, worked for another tech company. The team was developing a B2B mobile app for iOS devices. After the product had been launched, Apple featured it among 100 countries. We were wondering how many downloads will come after that. Ten thousand, one hundred thousand or maybe a million? Unfortunately, the result was disappointing: the app hit only a thousand downloads.
So, we asked ourselves: why were we introduced to such a wide audience and it didn’t work? What is the reason behind such a small number of conversions? We realized that we, techies to the core, did not understand the market, since we lacked experience in mobile marketing.
This is when we discovered that we needed a data-driven way to create a perfect App Store product page that would enable us to get the best results.
And so we started panel studies: asked groups of people for opinions on various options of app store product pages. People shared their thoughts: what they liked and disliked; whether an icon was a good fit for a game or not. However, we quickly found this research method was not objective enough. We needed an unbiased way to test concepts. The point was to create an environment where people would plunge into the atmosphere of the App Store.
This is how we came up with an idea to develop landing pages that would simulate the App Store and where people would behave exactly like on the App Store.
Then we participated at Garage48 hackathon and built the first SplitMetrics version in 48 hours.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Well, first of all, I need to sleep enough to keep my productivity high. Secondly, giving up coffee and sugar in the mornings helps me feel energized all day long. Thirdly, I make daily to-do lists in my diary and use the Eisenhower (Urgent-Important) Matrix to prioritize tasks. About 70 percent of my time I dedicate to not urgent but important things. Planning helps me to avoid unexpected problems.
In addition, I use the ABCDE method for setting priorities. “A” stands for crucial things that only I can do, so I have to do them to avoid negative effects. “B” means tasks that I should do but they are not so critically important as “A” things. “C” stands for things that would be nice to do, “D”–for tasks I can delegate. “E” means tasks that do not add any value to the business and I should eliminate them as soon as possible to free up my time for things that matter. This method enables me to focus on the essentials.
A few more hacks that work for me: I do not schedule any important meetings or calls for Mondays. Since I am more productive in the second half of the day, I handle the most complex tasks at this time. The first half of the day I usually devote to communication. In addition, I do sports to switch and change the scenery after a hard day’s work. Swimming is a kind of meditation for me.
How do you bring ideas to life?
In terms of the windows of opportunity, to seize an opportunity, try not to miss the open window. You need to be flexible and open-minded towards new ideas. You need to be driven by internal motivation and gut feeling, and sometimes it is better to do something that is not a top priority (“A” and “B”) but excites and inspires you.
Think strategically but listen to your heart. Otherwise you may miss out something that truly matters.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I strongly believe in artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of human behavior management. There are a couple of outstanding startups in this domain that I really like. I believe that they are future unicorns.
The first one is Yva.ai. Yva utilizes AI for analyzing corporate data sources and communication channels, like Slack, G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, GitHub and many others. Based on behavioral analysis Yva identifies key employees who will most likely leave the company in the near future. This enables managers to take appropriate measures in a timely manner and retain valuable employees. In addition, this AI-based tool detects opinion leaders, latent conflicts, etc.
The second one is People.ai. This startup utilizes artificial intelligence to make the work of sales teams as effective as possible. By analyzing patterns in the work of the most efficient team members the solution builds algorithms to make every day of the whole team as productive as possible. As a result, employees stick to a clear plan and generate more revenue.
There is a sphere of decision-making. And I believe that artificial intelligence is really helpful in this sphere. Utilizing AI to make informed business decisions results in a fold increase in efficiency.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Reading. Thanks to reading I grow and see the progress I make. Books help me to take a look at things from another angle and get a more complete picture.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Pay more attention to work-life balance. I believe that work is an integral part of life and it is okay to combine work with family. However, you need to devote time to it to ensure the balance.
And some more pointers. Don’t be afraid. Sell more.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That’s a good question. I believe that the next generation of marketing services will be devoted to effective team collaboration rather than to performance optimization. This will be the next evolution of the marketing software market.
Today we can observe large market fragmentation with a variety of channels aimed at improving performance. But if you think about it, team coordination is of no less importance. Effective team communication saves time and consequently money. A good example of tools for effective team communication is Slack.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Eat your own dog food. If you don’t want to lose your grip on reality, you need to constantly use the products you build. That’s what I do and what helps me to stay on top of everything.
Besides, it is essential to uphold the values and be the evangelist of culture in your company.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The main strategy is to never give up. Business sense and understanding when it is better to stop and when I need to carry on also have helped me a lot.
Another important thing is commitment. Don’t let the fear of missing out take control of you: trying to excel in many areas, you risk to achieve nothing. You need to stay focused and prioritize to succeed in your business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
This is not a failure but rather a lesson learned: a leopard can’t change his spots. We, entrepreneurs, sometimes tend to idealize people and then inevitably get disappointed. During a job interview, the first impression is most often the right one. People don’t change quickly.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Advertising solution for Amazon. E-commerce marketing automation product. Why Amazon? This is a very fast growing market. Amazon invests heavily in advertising and soon might be able to compete with giants like Google and Facebook.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google Sheets. Come to think of it, most SaaS products compete with Google Sheets since you can use it for CRM, analytics – whatever. This is the simplest tool to start anything, all ideas first get there.
It is rather hard to find an equally good alternative that would cover such a wide range of tasks. This is the best solution in terms of prototyping of processes. In addition, it is beneficial with regard to collaboration: everyone knows how to use Google Sheets.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is number one for me. This is not a success story – it is a story about the flip side of success. About arduous toil, hardships and so on.
I would also recommend Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. This is one of the best books about building company culture.
What is your favorite quote?
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
- Artificial intelligence is effective in the sphere of decision-making.
- Books help to take a look at things from another angle.
- Eat your own dog food: constantly use the products you build. Talk to your customers.
- Don’t let the fear of missing out take control of you. Stay focused.
- The first impression is most often the right one. People don’t change quickly.
- Google Sheets is the best tool for prototyping processes.