Alexey Mordashov was on the first cover of the Forbes Russian version in 2004. After 15 years, the owner of Severstal again became one of the main characters of the anniversary issue. In a conversation with Forbes editorial director Nikolai Uskov, the billionaire shared the secrets of eternal youth, spoke about the motivation to work 12 hours a day and about relationships with children.
Alexey Alexandrovich, if you look at the covers of Forbes 2004 and 2019, you are very young.
Oh thank you!
I would like to start with this frivolous topic. What motivated you - love, midlife crisis? How did you achieve and why?
First, thanks for the invitation! And thank you for such a steady 15-year-old Forbes interest in my humble person and in our wonderful company. As for appearance, the answer is probably very simple: I want to be better. There are a lot of challenges that need to be resisted, and for this you need physical strength and endurance. And when you start working on yourself consistently and clearly, you get a side effect that you have just described. Somehow I didn’t deal with my appearance without any doubt, but the constant work on improving performance and this led to this.
How often do you play sports?
It is very dependent on the situation, but I have a certain norm, which I try to adhere to, a certain number of hours, a certain amount of exercises, which I have to do in a week. And I, despite all the circumstances, try to do them.
Is there any kind of diet?
Yes. Probably, this cannot be called a diet, but there are certain limitations, and there are quite a lot of them. Obviously, if I drink beer and eat sausages, I will quickly return to that state. Therefore, I rather selectively approach the food. This, by the way, is not very difficult if you tune in. I am asked from time to time on this topic, an employee once asked me: “They say you have discovered the secret of eternal youth.” At first I did not know what to say to him, but then I thought that, to a certain extent, maybe I discovered it, and it is very simple. I can share.
Yes of course. It's all middle-aged ...
Yes, and this, by the way, is one of the parts of the answer to your question, because you have to do something with it in order to just continue somehow to continue the work on creating value that we all do. A very simple recipe: of course, thanks to God and genetics, and constant work on yourself. But what I discovered, even more important, when you start practicing the last, you quickly discover the first - thanks to God and good genetics. You just need to work on yourself, that's all.
You work on yourself, not only in terms of appearance, right? How do you motivate yourself, what moves you today?
I thought about this topic and think about it regularly, and come to the following answers for myself. First: I do not know what motivates me. There is nothing external, such as money or fame, what else can be a classic motivator for me. There is some kind of internal drive: for some reason you do it because you cannot do otherwise. In my opinion, this may be the only right motivator for a person if he wants to achieve high results and goals. I recently read Rockefeller’s phrase: “If you want to make money, then you will never have it”. Maybe there is something in it. You must want to understand why, but simply the inner one wants to create value, some success, some progress, and then it always makes you move forward.
I constantly ask myself the question: where am I left behind, what should I do? I'm trying to somehow develop, learn, go somewhere, meet someone, talk. I can not say that I have succeeded greatly in this, but I try. My colleagues help me a lot, they also find something from time to time, bring some ideas, and from time to time they put me before all sorts of challenges, and this makes me move forward.
Once in this rut, you already feel, on the one hand, this internal drive, and on the other hand, the feeling that you can not jump out of it without some extraordinary losses. Our life is so dynamic and so tense that you always need to remain competitive, and for this you need to meet new people, look for new ideas, come into contact with some innovations. I cannot say that I am doing this very well and I have some wonderful system, but I still try to invent myself some kind of competition, some things that need to be studied. To my shame, I almost do not read books, more and more some digests, articles.
I try to practice systematically and I can advise anyone to think, as they say, out of box. If you are a metallurgist, a machine builder, are engaged in retailing or gold, it is very important to read, watch, think about many other things. And not necessarily about other industries, but about other parts of life, about culture, art. All the right ideas, as practice shows, appear at the junction of anything. And it is very important to understand what people think, where the world is going, what is happening in general.
What are you watching now? Do you have any passion?
Do you want some sort of military secret, right?
Well, we are also interested ... I want as much money as you have.
It is possible, yes. Must still be lucky, of course. I am currently following the topics related to digitalization. There are very interesting modern trends that affect everything: the way we eat, dress, travel, do business projects. This is digitalization, information sharing, the Internet; robotization promises many surprises; what is connected with self-managed cars, new means of transport. Digitalization is now a very popular topic, only lazy doesn’t talk about it, but changes in social life are less sharply discussed by managers and entrepreneurs, and they can have a greater impact on us.
The way we manage people and interact with each other at work and in life, it seems to me, is changing and will be very much changing. And for us, for our company, I think one of the main challenges is to seize the opportunities and avoid the risks that this carries. We all, I, in particular, grew up in a huge industrial company, which, in fact, repeated the cultural paradigm of the beginning of the 20th century. Remember, Ford once said that a client can get a car of any color from him if that color is black. It was implemented absolutely brightly - not only in terms of marketing, but also in relation to people in the famous Ford factories, who were super-successful and at one time made a huge step forward compared to that era. But for that time, the mechanistic approach to determining the place and role of man in the production process was typical. These were biorobots on the conveyor, biorobots in the office. Legends are being told that Ford had an office in a glass wall elevator, and he traveled between the floors of the building and watched from the elevator how clerks work. And Ford himself writes that he had a fool in the company, whose task was to read the instructions. And until he understood these instructions, they did not start up. It was believed that if he understood, everyone else would understand too.
This is such a very bright quintessence of what is gone. But the elements of this have remained to this day. And in our company, I'm afraid, too, and in many companies in this world. But it is more irrelevant. And the one who in another way will build internal culture, including huge, old, industrial corporations like "Severstal", metallurgical or machine-building will win. How much are we ready, how much do we understand this? This is a huge change in people's minds, in relation to life. This is very interesting.
I came across such an interesting quote. David Rose, bestselling author of English investing, says that any company that was successful in the 20th century is doomed to fail in the 21st century. Do you agree with that?
Yes and no. I will explain. Yes - exactly in the sense that I was trying to talk about. What was successful in the past century, not only at the beginning of the last century, but also at the end, seems to cease to be a source of competitive advantage and success.
Even in a conservative area like steel?
Without a doubt. We invited one well-known Russian company - I don’t want to give names that worked for us and for other large metallurgical plants. She has been analyzing big data on the consumption of ferroalloys in the steel industry. So she took a large array of data, processed it with classical methods and issued recommendations that allow a 9% reduction in the consumption of ferroalloys. This is not the only and, probably, not the biggest item of our expenses, no doubt, but this is a good example of how something is born out of nothing. He who will not do this will not succeed.
The goal of our strategy is largely not to reduce the consumption of ferroalloys and improve production costs, although, of course, we must remain competitive and in costs, this is one of our undoubted priorities. Our main focus is to be more customer-oriented, only due to this we see an opportunity to create high value in our very competitive sector, where almost no one can create and maintain a competitive advantage in the long term.
How are we going to do this? We want to be so helpful to our client that he wants to stay with us forever. This is not only in metallurgy, but also in any other sector. And how to achieve this? It is necessary to build people somehow, to find such methods so that our people, from those who work with clients to all our workers, are involved in it sincerely and constantly interested. This means that we need other relationships between people. We need internal communication, and we want to rely on the experience of social networks.
You asked me, quoting Rose, whether companies from the 20th century have chances in the 21st century. First, the answer is no, if they remain the same. But in principle, companies that were successful in the XX, are quite likely to be successful in the XXI, if they cease to be what they were in the XX, and become different. If we become different, we have excellent chances for success. We are very confident about the future, despite the huge number of risks and challenges we face.
Customer focus, creating a completely new culture. Is this something else or is it important?
This is important because it is the key to everything. Business is done not by cars, but by people, no matter how high-tech or non-high-tech the sector is considered. By the way, the low-technology sectors probably no longer exist, because modern technologies are universal, applicable everywhere and in demand everywhere. New technologies are important everywhere - in new sectors and in old ones. These old sectors are already so optimized that it is difficult to make the next step without new technologies. And we have to do it all. Plus, of course, digitalization. It accurately changes our world, our face, and it is very important for us to be in time. Although digitalization is a part of technology, and not one. And all this is based on people. Actually, this is a simple technology in the presentation, but very difficult to implement.
We understand that digitalization, in particular, will lead to rather dramatic losses. That is, there will be a reduction in jobs.
Absolutely do not think so. I was just in Davos. I went there to a session about robotization, which was led by three robotization gurus, and one of them was a German professor. I really liked it, so energetic, as befits a guru. And he was asked: “You are talking about robotization. But it is believed that by virtue of robotization and digitalization, by about 2050, half of the jobs that exist today will disappear, and this will lead to dramatic consequences. ” He says: “Nothing like that. Look at humanity. Labor productivity has grown enormously over the past 100 years, for 200-300, even more, and what, unemployment has hit everyone? We, humanity, he says (and I completely agree with him), we manage to invent the most exotic professions. ” One hundred years ago it was impossible to imagine that there would be streamers earning tens of thousands ... There are, they say, those who earn a million and a half a year.
There are instagramery that become millionaires.
Yes, or a blogger is now a respected profession. With one of the colleagues sitting in this room, we somehow talked about the children and what the children want to do. He told me that his son would like to be a streamer. We are with him people from the same environment, both by definition conservative, and decided that it is somehow strange that the child wants to be a streamer. What kind of work is this? Now, if a child came and said that he wants to be a pianist or violinist, then this is cool, seriously. A streamer - well, somehow not. And if you think about what is the difference between one and the other? Both provide people with aesthetic pleasure. What is the fundamental difference between the fact that people look at the computer and feel pleasure from the fact that someone there runs through the maze, controls something, or experiences pleasure from the music of Beethoven or Bach?
I do not expect any problems at all. We will definitely invent new professions, new employment. We have lived like this for centuries: productivity grows, productive power changes, and people find and find employment opportunities all the time. But there is an important condition that is important to comply with. I believe that there should be freedom of entrepreneurship, market freedom, which will allow entrepreneurs to create and create these new jobs. If we come to a situation where everything is planned from one center by the Gosplan, as was 30 years ago, this, I am afraid, will not be effective. This is the first. Second: there must be mechanisms. But if there is a first - market freedom, then mechanisms will also be formed. There must be the development of people, adequate mechanisms in education, in healthcare, in the social environment.
Looking back over the past 15 years, what are your top three achievements?
The company works, nearly 90,000 people get paid, you grow and develop, and overall, our success, I hope, is growing, although we have a lot of problems and a lot of challenges. Not everything is smooth and good, but the fact that we are developing is still an undoubted success. I think we have begun to better understand how to move forward. We had a lot of mistakes, and I lost huge amounts of money, made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes they ask me if I had any mistakes, and it’s so fun to hear such questions. Apparently, people believe that if you are highly respected in the Forbes ranking, then you are probably something completely different and infallible. Yes, where there, I made a lot of mistakes! And through these mistakes, through these years, I hope, we began to better understand how to move further. This is our understanding, I hope, correct, and this is also an achievement. And besides, after all my family, the three youngest children in these 15 years have appeared - this is also an achievement.
Well, what about mistakes? What you could not do, but did and regret it?
Well, I regret, on the one hand, of course. On the other hand, I understand that what has been done cannot be undone, you just have to try to extract the maximum benefit from it and the lessons. Errors? Well, firstly, we bought a bunch of assets, which were then written off to zero or simply closed, liquidated or sold at a much lower price. And so it was in a number of sectors, in metallurgy in particular. It was a mistake that I had to avoid. I clearly see with hindsight that there were signals, there were indicators from the external environment, which I had to understand, and this was to keep me from those senseless acquisitions. Not kept, and this is a mistake.
There were many people with whom we had to part faster, and I did not do that. I began to understand much better that it is necessary to work out clear criteria for relationships, set goals as clearly as possible, agree on the rules of the game with my colleagues and employees. Set tasks, and then monitor the implementation. These should be business tasks - up to EBITDA, and tasks in terms of self-development, culture, and work with people. If these tasks are achieved, people change themselves, grow, and it is fundamentally important for a person to build a culture. Not just EBITDA we need or tons. We need a certain culture. Since, in my deep conviction, it is culture that is the key to long-term success, it allows you to earn more in the long run. And then only in a certain culture I want to work interestingly.
And negotiating with people on this issue, we must not waste them and their time. If a person does not like it, if a person cannot or does not want to deal with it, then we must part as quickly as possible. Do not pull, do not try to delay it all. This is also a very painful lesson. Now it’s easy to talk about it, and when you encounter a particular person in a particular situation, you often won’t understand how to be: there’s no one to replace him, and there’s still some kind of hope. It is very important not to bend the stick and not throw out the baby with water. It is impossible to reduce everything to the list of tasks and go through it: it passed, the task is completed - it remains, it is not executed - it was expelled. God forbid! There should be a mutual system of understanding, trial, assistance, support, what is called leadership.
I hope I began to understand better how to do this, I began to change. We discuss feedback with colleagues, it is very important for us. If you look back, in 5-10 years I have changed a lot in terms of feedback. These are lessons from mistakes.
We need to better understand the industry, focus more on long-term success factors, and not just on how much EBITDA a particular company generates. You need to understand synergy better. A lot of foolish acquisitions were made from some such abstract hopes. Or ambition: I clearly understood that there is no point in being more. We must be more efficient. Longer-term EBITDA is good, but this is not the main goal. It is important to grow in volume, of course, but it is very important to grow in efficiency. There is an American saying: a turkey flies into a hurricane. When a good market, everyone earns a lot of money, but what will happen when the market is bad? This is a very important question. All these questions are the lessons of the past.
Any personal lesson? You now speak as a businessman, and life consists not only of business.
It is necessary to pay more attention to children. They grow, and when they grow up, it will be late. My older children are 18-19 years old ...
Did you communicate a lot? Or how is everyone?
Like everyone, not very much. By the way, I recently heard the phrase: "No one at the end of his life has not regretted that he spent too little time in the office." Here is another one of the lessons.
And this is now revising?
Yes! My wife and children to judge, but I try. In any case, I definitely began to allocate more time for communication with family and for rest than 10 years ago and even 5 years ago.
Do you have a great vacation? It is clear that you work on vacation too, like all normal people, but ...
I rest a lot. I have such a system, and I believe that it is correct: if I am at work, then I can work for 10-12 hours. If I'm on vacation, then I try to rest. Of course, I am always in touch, and there is never a situation for me to turn off the phone. Sometimes I hear people say, "I left and turned everything off." With me this does not happen, I am always in touch, I can always find. At the same time, of course, there are some moments when I am not in touch in certain seconds, but in general, I am always in touch. This does not mean that I work from morning to evening. Just often there are projects that need to constantly lead. In general, I began to rest much more: in January, May, August.
I trust my managers, they are both good guys and we are building interaction with many, I believe, in the right direction. Although all is not easy. If I do not trust them, then they will not grow, they will have no incentive to grow, develop, work. After all, this is their company, their business, they are responsible for it. I don't need to call them every day and ask how are you. True, the situation is very different in different companies. For example, Power Machines came under sanctions, and with them much more trouble is now. Although they have problems primarily in internal efficiency, and not because of sanctions. Severstal is a much more mature company, much more stable economically, it requires much less involvement, there is a strong leadership.
You described your responsibilities this way: the first is the selection and development of top management, the second is the creation of a culture and business system, and the third is the organization of a discussion about the strategy and how to implement it. What is your favorite interview question when you pick top management?
I don't have any favorite question at the interview.
What is important for you to understand about the candidate at the interview?
You know, I somehow do not hope at the interview to understand so much about the candidate. How long is the interview? From 15 minutes to an hour. What can be understood in half an hour about a person? You can get some general impression. In general, I was convinced that I am not good at people. All these years have shown me that it is impossible for me to look - and to understand everything directly about a person. Pretty often it happens that you look, you understand something, a year or two goes by - and it turns out that this is all wrong. Therefore, I am not inclined to overvalue the value of the interview. Here I rely largely on the opinions of others, although I myself also try to understand something. We have a whole system of interviews, and before we get an interview with me, people usually have several interviews. It rarely happens that I turn someone around for an interview.
That is, they just get to know you, right?
In many ways, yes. Of course, I’m trying to form some opinion ...
But you do not accept, it turns out, the final decision.
Formally, I accept, in fact, extremely rarely it is negative, rather, I support and approve of what others have already recommended.
To the same question, Chubais answered me that if a person formally fits the position, it is important for him to give him freedom and look after a year.
So this is a year to see, and not at the interview.
Mikhail Fridman, for example, said that it was important for him that ethical standards coincide.
This is, without a doubt, a critical thing! If you ask about the requirements for managers, this is another question, but this is not a question at the interview. Ethical standards for a half-hour discussion, in my opinion, do not understand well. We have a system, including an interview using a polygraph, which we have become quite widely used, and it gives certain ideas.
And what questions does a person answer?
On abuse, corruption. We directly ask: have you had any cases of corruption income? As practice has shown, it is quite a strong, effective tool. This is such a sensitive and very difficult topic, initially there was a lot of misunderstanding and resistance, but I decided for myself that way. Unfortunately, we live in such an environment that the corruption pressure of the environment has become so great, this phenomenon has become so widespread that we are to a certain extent on the front. Abuse and corruption are extremely negative for corporate culture, for culture as a whole, they eat into people's souls and create a different agenda for them. We are building a company, as we have said today, where people need to be focused on results, move forward, demonstrate commitment to values, and so on. If people have a different agenda and are focused on abuse, then by definition they cannot participate. They want to solve their personal issues, and at the same time pretend that they meet the general requirements so that they are not expelled. And we are very clearly and uncompromisingly fighting this. Unfortunately, we see so much of this disgrace that we decided to put up with the lesser evil - to let our employees through the polygraph. And it helps us to sift people who do not fit our culture.
Have you seen this experience from someone or have you come up with it?
Themselves decided. We have a very strong security service, positive and strong. And since we considered that the situation is front-line, it is necessary to apply harsh methods.
Are there any flaws in the people you work with, who are you willing to endure?
What are the disadvantages? We are going around in a circle to the question of what we value in managers, leaders, in our employees in general. Of course, ethical values are critically important. We are not ready to put up with deviations from these values on fundamental issues. Sometimes they say: oh, let him steal, but he will bring so much good, he knows. For us, this is not a subject of discussion. The one who steals from us, he is driven out the next day without any compromises. We have zero tolerance on this. And no matter what position a person takes and how much money he brings. I speak about it so confidently, because I believe that strategically a person cannot be successful if he is not ethical. And a company that has not built the right ethical culture will not be successful in the long term, whatever the situation today, whatever it may contribute to.
Of course, we live in the real world, life is life, and we have to look for compromises from time to time. This does not mean that we expel everyone there. We regularly have situations when checking a particular service reveals a mass of inconsistencies. Then we talk with people, we discuss, people undertake obligations, explain the situation, tell, reveal. A year later, a new check, and if it showed that a person fulfills his obligations, it means he remains, and if he does not, then we part with him. We try to work with people, life is so complicated, and everything is so difficult.
In general, ethical principles are number one. Ethical principles are not only corruption. This is such, you know, basic props. In our country, unfortunately, not always people consistently demonstrate respect for other people, and for us this is a matter of principle. Who does not want to share this ideology, should not waste time and their own, and ours, and try to work with us, he must leave and look for a better life for himself. Maybe he deserves it somewhere else.
The desire and willingness to be customer-oriented, to think about customers, to serve someone is a very important thing, and also in our culture until the recent past is not very typical, I hope, more and more emerging, but, nevertheless, not automatically present .
I am asked from time to time: what are the properties of a successful person? These are ethical principles, ranging from "Do not kill," "Do not steal," such biblical. This is a willingness to learn the truth about yourself, about the situation, no matter what it is, and then to change in connection with this truth, to learn. For those who do not want to do this, it makes no sense to waste time with us. We demand from all our employees, without exception, to be ready to understand, to be cooperative, to show respect for the client, customer focus, respect for people, natural ethical values, ability to learn, change.
What I am saying is a beautiful declaration, and its practical implementation is very complicated. But still, this is a principal tuning fork for us, and we go through thorns to the stars, trying every day almost, as Pierre Bezukhov said in “War and Peace”, “to be quite good”. Here we are trying to be quite good and follow these principles every day, step by step.
As Pushkin said: "Only fools do not change." I think this is really one of the main conditions for success - the ability of a person to change depending on the situation, but to maintain a certain moral imperative, about which Kant wrote.
Many people from different spheres - politics, business - complain that it has become very difficult to predict and build a strategy. The level of uncertainty in the world is so high that we do not understand what will happen to us, and all forecasts, as a rule, turn out to be erroneous. Do you account for this error somehow? How do you model the future? Is it even possible to model it? There is such a version that we simply know so much of everything that it is very difficult for us to predict, too many facts, we cannot cope with them.
I remember the phrase: "It is very difficult to predict, especially to predict the future." Predicting the future is impossible. There is only one category of professionals who can predict the future - they are fortune tellers. No one else can predict the future, in principle. A lot of people are trying to predict the future, but no one succeeded.
What to do with it? We do not know. And I just can not tell you a military secret or some magical insight. Beautiful common phrase says that the generals are always preparing for the last war. At the same time, the experience of the past cannot be completely ignored and saying that the future is in no way connected with the past is also impossible.
Therefore, on the one hand, we must try to predict, understanding all the limitations you are talking about. We try not to predict the future, but to write a script for ourselves: “What will happen if ...” Elements of the initial conditions, it seems to us, are easier to model. Probably, we can say that the price will be in some such range, this range may be large, but at least something. And then, if this, this, and this will add up like this, then there may be something like this. Obviously, if everything is arithmetically well taken into account, then there are a lot of options. And we just pretend for ourselves the best, good, medium version.
Further we try to analyze everything from the point of view of two tests. The first and main test is our competitiveness. It is crucial for us to be competitive - better than average, preferably one of the best. At Severstal, for example, the EBITDA margin has been at the highest level in the world for probably three years already. What does this mean for us? If the markets shrink and everything falls, then we probably have a chance to die among the last. This does not guarantee us success, it does not guarantee that everything will not die out, tomorrow someone will invent another technology - that's all. One can imagine what the industry of collars or carts was at the beginning of the last century, but where is the whole industry? Probably, there were some separate manufacturers for sports and entertainment.
In general, we need to maintain our competitiveness. Due to what? At the expense of focus on customers and at the expense of cost leadership. What is it for? At the expense of a culture that will allow us to better understand the customer, give him the right service and take advantage of technology, create the right products, apply the right methods of lowering costs, controlling costs. This is not a guarantee, but at least something.
The second test is competitiveness in different scenarios. For example, we need to be cost competitive. We measure all our companies, in which part of the cost curve they are located, and always try to move to the left, sometimes more successfully, sometimes less successfully. The same Severstal is one of the most efficient companies in the world in terms of cost.
In addition, we need to understand the relevance of our business model in different market scenarios. That is, we must be competitive, and we must avoid the risk of being completely destroyed by some global tectonic shifts in the environment. You also need to fit into modern trends, for example, environmental. It is very important that the business model is not only sustainable in terms of costs, but also strategically relevant in the context of environmental development. At the same time, of course, we are writing some scenarios, trying to predict something, but we cannot predict the future.
We all make plans for the future, but as a rule, God surprises us.
That's for sure!
What did you dream of as a child? Is it possible to become the owner of the company "Severstal"?
You know, in my childhood it was impossible to imagine and close what will happen to me today. I was born in 1965, I graduated from school in 1983, and I graduated from institute in 1988. Therefore, today it would be more realistic to talk about which hotel on Mars we prefer, rather than talk about how I will live now. I didn’t dream of anything like that, but it was somehow completely irrelevant in principle.
I do not remember any special dreams. There was definitely no material dreams - to get something. As a child, I thought about management, about enterprises, listened to parents talk - the kingdom of heaven, how the work goes there at the factory, it was very interesting to me. Was this some kind of dream? Definitely not. When it was time to decide on the future, I thought it was interesting for me to be a manager. I dreamed of becoming part of the decision making, value creation. And decided that the most suitable for this specialty is an economic, and entered the Leningrad Engineering and Economic Institute named after Palmiro Togliatti, as he was then called.
You studied very well, in principle. Apparently, you had some kind of motivation? Or did you study well because it was interesting for you to study?
It was interesting. It was just interesting. I studied well at school, mostly “fives,” and at the institute I studied very well, I was a very good student.
You have a red diploma, in my opinion.
I have not just a diploma with honors, I have not received a single “four” for the entire period of my studies, for five years, there are only “five” in my register, there are no other assessments. I was the leader of the student scientific community of the institute, the faculty and the deputy secretary of the Komsomol committee of the institute and the faculty for scientific work. I would be a very active student.
The former rector once said to me: “It is very good to tell students about you: you will study well - you have a prospect”. I studied very well and at the same time I skipped two thirds of the curriculum there, sat in the library, was engaged in student science. It was very interesting to me!
Are you a nerd by nature?
What is a nerd?
“Nerd” is the one who prefers the library to the disco.
Rather, yes, in this sense, "nerd," as you can see.
This does not guarantee success in life, but, as a rule, precedes it.
It's more interesting for me. You asked about motivation at the very beginning. Motivation is a person inside. Not because he wants money. There must be something that moves you towards a dream, towards such a bright future. I never wanted to be rich. I have one job in my life! As I came to Severstal in 1988, I still work on it today.
That is, you should have a large pension, in principle.
You know, I really hope. And I am sure that it will not pay me the state. Therefore, I have never been an entrepreneur, just privatization and subsequent events have made me an entrepreneur. And already on the basis of Severstal, we began to buy the most different assets in the most different sectors, because it was interesting, and there was a vision of the prospects for value creation.
Tell us about your parents, what kind of people were they?
They both died a long time ago. Dad finished his career as an electrician of the fifth category in one of the shops of the plant. Most of his life he worked as an electrical engineer in the start-up organizations, and then after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reduction of construction work came to the plant. Mom was a petty employee, she worked for 36 years at a metallurgical plant, in the management of capital construction she was engaged in bundling cable products at the construction site of a combine. In general, such a Soviet middle class. Car "Moskvich", giving 6 acres.
But you lived quite well.
Yes, I have always been very secure, always. I have never had a shortage of money. Well, we didn’t have any super goals either.
And jeans, sneakers, when you bought the first?
Jeans bought me a class in the 9th, in my opinion. Of course, I wanted jeans like everyone else. And we lived somehow well, not super-rich. There was a two-room apartment of 34 square meters, in which I lived up to 25 years.
Basically, you were already rich by this moment.
As a student, I was a Lenin scholarship recipient, receiving first 100, then 130 rubles. Plus, another 30 rubles in the department for scientific work. It was the salary of the average engineer of those years. That is, the constraint of special means did not feel. True, now we are experiencing a shortage of one or another billion to acquire something, but this is another story.
Well, since they started talking about a billion, I just can not help asking. Did your children teach you anything important?
Of course. First, the children taught me that I needed to pay attention to them, that I did not get married at work. Children taught me that there are other points of view, that the world is richer and more complex. Undoubtedly, children help me learn some new things. Older sons doing something on the Internet, are interested in something. I myself do not come into contact with this part of life, and they sometimes enlighten me about what is happening in the world in this part.