Today I had the chance to interview a good friend of mine Aleksandr Karev from Latvia. Alex is the founder of Macstickrs which are smart and eye-catching decals that make a difference and express each MacBook owner, without interfering with the look & feel of the perfect Apple products that have been loved by so many people around the world.
What is your full name and where exactly do you live?
My full name is Aleksandrs Karevs but I prefer when people call me Alex or Sashka (this is another way of saying my name in Russian language). For the past 8 years I lived and studied in the United Kingdom, however, a couple of weeks ago I decided to go back to my home country, Latvia.
What is your occupation?
I am a recent graduate (graduated in July, 2012) and I am still on the lookout for a full-time job. On the other hand, having launched MacStickrs in July 2011 you may consider myself as an Entrepreneur (or maybe a wannabe Entrepreneur).
What are the top three things you like do when you have free time. (hobbies, interests, activities)
It may sound very odd, but I always find it hard to answer this question. Maybe it is because I do not have any formal hobbies or activities which I enjoy doing in my free time. I am the kind of person who always does things very spontaneously, without any formal planning and as a result my hobbies and activities tend to vary a lot. However, generally speaking in my free time I enjoy taking photos, jogging and reading entrepreneurial books.
What are the two things you always have with you, on your desk, when you are working?
My black Moleskine notebook and my favourite MUJI pencil.
Are you a Mac or PC user and why?
I am a Mac user since 2008. Why? Because Macs are aesthetically beautiful and are much more reliable than PCs (this is my personal point of view based on my experience with both platforms).
What applications do you use the most?
Sparrow, Aperture and Pixelmator are the three Apps which I use the most on my Mac. However, if you would ask me the same question just a couple of month ago, the answer would be: Pages, Keynote and Safari (student life is harsh).
Have you ever traveled? If so, where to?
Oh yeah, traveling is definitely a big part of my life. It would probably take me a couple of pages to list all the countries I’ve been to, so let me just outline the ones I liked the most: Netherlands, France and Austria. An interesting fact: the idea for MacStickrs came to me while I was doing my Erasmus Programme at the VU University in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Here is a tough one, what inspires you? Is there a specific website that you browse? Do you go out for a walk?
Let me tell you what inspires me: Moby – Play (1999) music album inspires me. Moby is by far my favourite musician and his music is amazing. Every time when I work on something important, be it a coursework, personal project or “the next big idea” I always listen to his music which inspires me and keeps me focused on whatever I do at that time.
Are you a self learner? Which skills have you developed by yourself?
Yeah, you could say that I am a self learner, especially when it comes to computer skills. Everything what I know about computers I have learned myself. I still remember the time when I was working on my first webiste (www.akarev.com), which happened to be my personal blog and it was built on WordPress platform. The skills which I have acquired during that time came in very handy when I was working on MacStickrs website (which initially was also built on a WordPress platform and it was only until recently that it has been moved to a Shopify e-commerce platform).
I see that you are the creator of MacStickrs, How you came up the this awesome idea in the first place?
As mentioned previously, the idea for MacStickrs came to my mind when I was doing my Erasmus Programme in Amsterdam, Netherlands. One day I went to the local Apple retailer (iDeal) to buy myself a new MacBook sleeve and while I was searching for it I stumbled upon a MacBook sticker from Belkin, which said: “Don’t call me a PC” (http://cl.ly/image/3G0b3U2x2M1E). I found it pretty hilarious and decided to buy it. Although I have never actually used it on my MacBook Pro (primarily because it was too big and I did not want it to interfere with the original Apple design), it eventually gave me an idea to create my own set of MacBook stickers which would be used to express each MacBook owner, without interfering with the look and feel of the perfect Apple products that have been loved by so many people around the world.
Are you planning on launching any new project in the near future?
Yeah, definitely. In fact, I am currently working on my next project, and the idea is to create beautifully designed MacBook, iPhone and iPad leather accessories. As you can imagine, it is a highly competitive market and therefore, I need to come up with something that is going to stand out from the rest, and this is my primary challenge, which keeps me busy during my free time.
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