Yury Rudnitski

Product Manager at AIBY Group

Yury Rudnitski is a Product Manager at AIBY Group, a company specializing in the development and publication of AI-powered mobile apps. The most well-known app in his portfolio is ChatOn, a popular AI chatbot with 10M+ downloads. Yury’s core responsibilities lie in the end-to-end supervision of the product development lifecycle, starting from ideation through to the successful launch.

Yury’s professional journey started while he was a university student. Focused on information technology engineering, he was fortunate to put his knowledge into practice through real-life applications during his academic years. Over the course of 15 years, he took on diverse roles, starting as a JavaScript frontend developer, transitioning to a Java backend engineer, and later becoming an Android software engineer.

Later he made the bold choice to leave software engineering for product development. His first role in this area was as an Associate Product Manager at a company known for its expertise in mobile entertainment applications. This decision marked the beginning of a thrilling and promising new chapter in his career.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts with checking all the major dashboards, analytics systems, marketing metrics, user feedback, and the like. This helps me quickly understand how the apps for which I act as Product Manager are performing. The main app I work with is ChatOn, a popular AI chatbot that assists with writing essays and messages, checking grammar and spelling, summarizing and rewriting texts, and finding answers to various questions. The app is powered by the ChatGPT API.

Then I move on to the list of tasks for the day, which I prepared the previous day, and I start working on them. My day includes both scheduled and spontaneous meetings, such as quick calls when I need to help solve problems. There can be quite a few such meetings during the day. Beside those things, I answer questions in Slack to promptly unblock tasks if further work on them depends on my answers.

I also allocate time slots when I’ll be focusing exclusively on my own tasks, such as research, planning, writing specs, analytics, competitor research, and so on. If I don’t do this, some other things will inevitably interfere and consume that time.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Any idea goes a long way from the moment of formation to the actual implementation. First, ideas need to be translated into hypotheses. Even at this point, it becomes obvious which hypotheses have a better chance of being confirmed. This allows us to understand whether it’s necessary to invest any further time and resources into working on an idea.

Once our hypotheses have been confirmed, we move on to forming the requirements for their implementation. This process may involve a lot of specialists, from designers to engineers. After several rounds of discussions, we come up with a specification that clearly describes what we’re doing, why and how we’re doing it, and what metrics we eventually expect.
Then we begin to technically implement the idea, which ends with testing and releasing the idea in the form of a new product or a feature. After that, based on the results, we start the process all over again: form ideas/hypotheses, test them, implement, and release. This process is continuous.

What’s one trend that excites you?

It’s definitely the development of AI technologies. I believe, since the invention of the internet, there hasn’t been a technology that would disrupt the current state of things so much and set the tone for new and existing products. That said, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of AI capabilities, and further development will bring even greater changes to our lives. The key, as with any breakthrough technology, is to take all possible measures to ensure that it serves for the benefit of humanity.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

At the end of each working day, I make a to-do list for tomorrow. This lifehack helps me cope with the uncertainty and the multitude of tasks that a Product Manager always faces. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee that all tasks on the list will be completed, but the fact that I don’t waste resources thinking about what task to tackle next makes me much more productive.

What advice would you give your younger self?

First, don’t fear big or vague tasks—they all seem like that in the beginning. Once you break down a complex task into smaller parts, you’ll see that it’s not impossible but, in fact, quite manageable.

Second, don’t give up, even if it seems like things are going wrong.
Third, remember that all great experts started just like you, without knowing anything, so everything is within your grasp.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

Perhaps one of the most controversial topics is multitasking. From my experience and reading, I’ve found that multitasking is a myth. It’s detrimental to your overall productivity, yet it gives you the illusion that you’re accomplishing a lot. Therefore, I try to focus as much as possible on the task I’m doing at the moment. Switching focus takes too much energy and effort.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Find something you enjoy outside of work. Sometimes, you can feel like the time you spend doing something unrelated to work is setting you back in your career, and your product is falling behind the competition. However, in reality, having other activities helps you unwind and gives your brain a rest, ultimately making you more efficient, creative, and successful in your work.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

The best way for me to relax is to take a walk outside for at least 30 minutes. I can do it with or without music in my headphones; the main thing is to walk. After half an hour, I regain my focus, feel reloaded, and ready to go back to work.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance your career?

The strategy is simple—always start with the users and their problems. If you’ve found a segment of users with a certain problem, and you know how it can be solved with a product, that’s half the success. The connection between the product and the lives of real users and their problems makes it functional and meaningful to users, and therefore has the potential to make your business successful.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

One of my mistakes caused a big financial loss to the company where I used to work. In the rush to create a product, I failed to ensure secure access to a resource that was very important to us. As a result, it was hacked by a competitor, leading to unplanned and substantial expenses. When we discovered this, it was clear that it could have been avoided. The lesson I learned from this is that even in the rush to get a product to market faster, you should take the time to identify the most vulnerable aspects of the product and pay attention to them. It may slow down the release, but it will help you avoid costly mistakes.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

It’s more of a direction rather than a specific business idea. Keep track of AI development and leverage the possibilities it gives you. The early adopters who find ways to address user problems will be incredibly successful.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

For me, it’s the calendar. I use it not only for work meetings but also to organize all my other tasks for today, tomorrow, next week, or even a year from now. The calendar is where I write down all my plans. If something isn’t there, it probably won’t happen.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

Any $100 spent on books or education. And this isn’t the largest amount I’ve invested in my education. There’s nothing more important than investing in personal development.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

There are many books and podcasts that have influenced me. For instance, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz has been impactful. I also highly recommend the “Decoder” podcast with Nilay Patel.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

Recently, I enjoyed the Netflix series about Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had previously read his autobiography, and for me, he’s an inspiring example of not just a successful person, but someone who believed in himself so deeply that he overcame all obstacles on his path to success. It wasn’t just blind self-confidence, but a firm belief that with genuine dedication and effort, you can achieve your goals.

Key learnings:

  • There are no unsolvable tasks, you just need to start small.
  • You’re more than the work you do; this awareness can also help you to be better at your job.
  • If you want to build a successful business, prioritize users and their problems.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a simple walk. When feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or excited—just go for a walk.
  • Self-education is the best investment for achieving success in life.