I am by no means a storyteller or a person trying to write an autobiography. I am sharing my story to support a project I am working on which I am planning to launch on a Kickstarter. I believe the project has a potential to be a success taking me one step closer to my goal. I also believe my story can be of help to those who dare to follow their dreams no matter what and be interesting to those who would like to share this journey with me as it will be unfolding in front of their eyes....

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Systema and people with cerebral palsy

In 2007 I discovered for myself a Russian Martial Art called Systema. I was not even aware back then that russians had a martial art with its distinctive principles that dates back to the 10th century. There is a reason why cossacks were considered one of the best warriors in the world to which there are testaments by many foreign generals.

When communists came to power in 1917 national traditions were suppressed and national fighting styles went "under ground" kept by priests. Such fighting styles were reserved for elite government units like Stalin's highest ranking bodyguards called Stalin's Falcons. Only since 1980's it started to reemerge and is widely popular these days all around the world.

Cossacks, my great-grandfather is on the left on this picture
Systema training works on all three levels of human abilities - the physical, the psychological and the psychic. It has helped me many times in various situations throughout the years and has become an integral part of my life.

The main point of this post though is as follows.
While in Russia I have visited Systema HQ in Moscow and trained there for a few days. Leaving back home I took a stack of DVD's covering different aspects of the art. One of the DVD's focused on the importance of proper breathing and it had a segment where a young man with Cerebral Palsy(CP) comes to trainings to improve his condition. I've made subtitles for the segment and uploaded it to Youtube, you can watch it below.

When I watched it for the first time I was very surprised that Systema has a positive effect even on conditions as serious as Cerebral Palsy. I wondered why it has not yet been further researched and introduced to Cerebral Palsy organisations so more people can get help. At Systema classes people learn to get rid of excess tension in their bodies, become more flexible, gain core strength, improve movement coordination,  improve cardiovascular efficiency, restore blood flow to the muscles, joints, brain and organs, become more resistant to stress improving overall psychological condition, learn to breathe properly etc.

A couple of months ago I decided to make first steps in bringing Systema to those who need it. I discussed a possibility of specially structured trainings to accommodate people with CP with two Systema instructors in Sydney and they kindly agreed. Trainings with people with CP will have to be tailor made for each person to start with and taking little steps will hopefully progress to a more systematic approach. Instructors would also have to asses peoples condition before any training takes place.

The first organisation I contacted was a Cerebral Palsy Alliance, an organisation that has a registry of all people with CP in NSW. I provided supporting material and spoke on the phone with both the head of health and fitness and with a head of sport activities. All I asked for is to deliver the information including it in one of their newsletters. I was rejected twice without any explanation for the refusal. It seemed unfortunate that people that suppose to be looking for new ways of treatment and improvement of peoples condition take it upon themselves to choose for those suffering from Cerebral Palsy. I will be trying again using every channel possible to get through to those who make decisions in this organisation.

Meanwhile, I have put together another letter and sent it through to all organisations I could find that work with people with CP, one of them is NSW Disability Services which is a government organisation, hopefully they will listen. 

Apart from immediate health benefits Systema will have a big impact on peoples social life. I believe many people with CP would want to do some kind of martial art but were simply unable to. Now it is offered to them.

Systema instructors that hold regular classes and are ready to start working with people with CP are:

If those who read this post can somehow help to spread this information or deliver it to those with cerebral palsy it would be greatly appreciated. 

P.S. People with various health conditions can benefit from learning more about Systema. There are plenty of material on Youtube with peoples testaments of how it helped them.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Staying the course

In late April 2015 I dialed our contact in RMS and was advised that the government is determined to make Aerial Freestyle Activities legal but they would need time till December 2015 to issue official guidelines for applicants.

It was clear Edway Extreme operations will have to be laid off for an even longer period so I needed to decide what to do next.

I updated my resume with the skills I gained in the last 6 years and started applying for project management roles. Most of the jobs required a specific set of skills, knowledge and/or qualifications, I knew getting a job offer will not be easy.

At the same time with applying for jobs I decided to try an easier way to make money driving for Uber. It proved to be a much simpler and better way. Driving enough hours one can make a decent leaving meanwhile freeing up the mind for strategical thinking.

By the end of the first week driving for Uber I had a very important realisation, actually 3 of them. One was a realisation that I actually have a product which I could develop, a concept of which I had in my head since the student years. The second one was a new concept website which would help people in more than one way. The third one was a nice and simple business idea but it once again required going through government channels making it a long shot. Once again I had goals to reach.

I contacted my friend who has a passion for engineering and we met for several weeks in a row thinking over the best design for the product. With 2 of my other friends, who are very skilled in back end programming, front end, developing mobile applications, website design and the rest that is required to develop a high end website, we met on different days working on website structure and systems. And with another friend of mine we started making enquiries in regards to the 3rd business idea.

I must say it was all possible thanks to Uber. Never before could I make money and think and do so much in a day. Freedom of choosing your own hours and flexibility while driving allowed me to move towards my goals much faster than it could be done doing any other type of work.

Uber device
I started liaising with engineers from India and planning a trip to China. With the website we reached a point where we agreed on the structure and the systems to be used but decided to lay it off for time being as I simply did not have enough time to dedicate to this project and I was not willing to start implementation with half the effort. Working on 3 projects at a time I still had to drive for Uber 12 to 14 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week. I learned my limits fast and tried to channel my energy towards one project at a time.

To keep a live feed of an ongoing development I created a facebook page: facebook.com/thestoryofadreamchaserlive, it will be interesting to come back to it at later stages and hopefully it will help with a kickstarter campaign which I am planning to launch when the prototype of the product is ready.

A few months after starting Uber I also started working on a project that would not have any financial benefit to me but can have a significant impact on people who have health problems. My next post will be dedicated solely to it.

P.S. If anyone decides to try Uber contact me for useful suggestions and for incentives we can both get if you sign up through me.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Fresh start, Sydney

When the decision to come back was made I contacted Sergei Sergienko who I knew back from my student years. Sergei and his friends, Yaros and Stan, established and run a few successful businesses with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. Their company “Edway Group” appeared on Australian BRW Fast Starters list in 2010 bringing a fair share of fame to the company and to its founders.

I told Serge that I am coming back and if there is anything I can help with in Edway I would definitely consider joining. I was told it is a possibility so upon my return I was on my way to one of their offices.

Sergei wanted to grow the company starting new ventures. After tossing a few ideas around the decision was made. There is an emerging Aerial Freestyle Watersport where people fly above the water using a variety of devices such as jetpack, flyboard, hoverboard, etc. It was and still is an emerging market so we decided it is the right time to enter. So Edway Extreme was born.

Parramatta office
The government is fierce with regulations for extreme sports and required a thorough risk and safety management systems to be developed. There are also local and city councils, national parks, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) all to be reckoned with. Each state has its own rules which made it even more fun. We researched opportunities to operate in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD) and Western Australia (WA) with WA being the easiest and NSW the hardest to deal with.

Inspecting Georges River, Botany Bay 

Instructors were required to hold a Coxswain Certificate II which is pretty much a skipper licence for small commercial vessels. It took a significant amount of effort to get that one.

The fun part was inspecting possible locations in NSW and in QLD. Even though Sydney and Gold Cost are surrounded by water it was extremely hard to find spots that fit RMS requirements.

Inspecting Gold Coast Broadwater
Dealing with government agencies was the most frustrating part. It took 3 months on average every time we submitted documents for approval. It made no difference if it was a local council or a national AMSA office, all stretched assessment time to the maximum. 

Edway Extreme team

Waiting time gave us enough time to work on a website, promo material and numerous other things required prior starting operations. We also became official exclusive distributors of Jetlev-Flyer (Jetpacks) in Australia.

Official Exclusive Distributor for Jetlev-Flyer in Australia

It took us 6 months to get an approval to operate in WA and a few more months for QLD but high set up cost dictated that we must start in NSW so we patiently waited. The final approval to start operations in NSW was just a few months away, or so we were promised.

While building a platform for Edway Extreme I helped with other Edway businesses. In early stages I took part in Salesaroundme project in development of the system to appeal to customers needs and in creation and revision of the cold call script for sales staff. In Labor Hire I worked on the development of new and more efficient reporting methods and elimination of redundant data entry processes, meanwhile helping head accountant doing weekly payroll. In Edway Training I helped with admin duties on Saturdays. 

Another interesting project I was fully involved with was a cocktail lounge called 'Mixology'. It was the venture we started from the scratch. 

Team Mixology
Serge came up with the idea to introduce Molecular Mixology to the public. Molecular Mixology is an art of making cocktails using science. We used Liquid Nitrogen to turn cocktails into sorbets and ice creams. Many of our cocktails contained alcoholic pearls, some were smoked, some had cotton candy as an ingredient and melted in front of peoples eyes. We experimented with alcoholic noodles and alcoholic deserts. Our cocktails were unique and looked absolutely amazing.  www.mixologylounge.com.au

We started operations in Parramatta but then moved to Newtown to be closer to the city. It was the beginning of winter which was not really the right time to move. Next 6 months showed how much effort it takes to run business in hospitality and how vulnerable it can be in the cold time of the year. 

You'd need to be fully committed and devote all your time running such business. Having it as a side project didn't seem feasible. After careful consideration it was decided not to proceed with the lounge any further.


When the deadline for Edway Extreme regarding the location in Sydney was reached, the government advised they need a few more months. Such activities were illegal on public waters but RMS advised they have nothing against allowing it at certain spots. By that time, even though I was occupied with Mixology and with my other duties at Edway, I needed extra income. Getting a full time job was not an option since Extreme was just a few months away and still a lot needed to be done at Mixology, so I started taking shifts as a labourer in Labour Hire.

Working in construction as a general labourer is not the best job in the world, but it is manageable. You could be sent to do any type of job, from fixing sewer lines to detecting mines in the airforce base field. Sometimes there would be really boring ones where you’d just carry stuff or dig dirt. At times when there were a lot of workers from Edway at one job I took on a role of a supervisor.

People from different parts of the world and of different professions worked alongside me. Engineers, doctors, mechanics, dancers, teachers, physicists etc. even people with their own businesses overseas, all found it easy to make money doing labouring for some period of time. Often I was sent to help skilled professionals where I once again learned a lot every time, but this time on Australian soil.

Hard physical work shows what people are truly made of. Those full of s**t showed themselves straight away when there was pressure to work hard. Those who did what needed to be done without crying had my utmost respect. I met a lot of good people at those jobs and have many good memories.


It was January 2015 when we heard bad news from RMS, we were advised that the minister of transport didn't approve any of the applications because such sport is considered unsafe. We were baffled with the news since twice before we were assured there are no objections and the approval is not too far off. We scheduled a meeting with the decision makers in RMS to discuss their concerns. 

After an hour of discussions of how we can change their mind we were advised that they need more time to decide how to work with companies that want to do this sort of activities in Sydney. This time the date of the next contact was set to the end of April. I was pretty discouraged by the fact that i'd need to spend 2.5 more months at construction and told myself that if at the next meeting nothing changes I'd have to make some decisions.

To be continued..