The Faces of Point2 – Michael Degtyarev

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Title: Web Developer
Started at Point2: January 2011

Michael (last name pronounced Dek-tee-ah-REF) is part of our talented development team, with his main focus being on User Interface and User Experience design. Michael works closely with our Product Manager and Customer Care Team to constantly improve the user experience for our customers.

Even though he’s from Russia, he still finds our Saskatchewan winters cold, which means that it must be pretty cold here!

We asked Michael to answer a few questions about himself. Here’s what he had to say:

What is your favorite type of music?
A very wide range really, from classical to anything else, but mostly with cleverly crafted harmonies. I am very analytical in my listening. I enjoy listening to interplay between musical instruments, and how they work together to make music.

What is your favorite book of all time and why?
Definitely, the Bible. It is fascinating as it was written by over 40 writers in the span of 1500+ years in number of different languages and styles, yet it is very consistent in its thought. There are so many facets and dimensions to it that no other book can match it and compare to it. I tend to think of it as a giant puzzle. It takes a lot of time to put it all together, but once done you end up with something totally awesome.

If you have an hour of free time to spare, what do you do with it?
Spend time with my kids, do a random thing, like fix something at home, or take a nap.

What kinds of food do you like?
Fresh and flavourful, mildly sweet and sour with some spice in it, mostly Asian (especially Thai and Japanese). It has to have some meat in it… I also like to try new things, but I am not too adventurous. The “worst” things I tasted were stinky tofu, sea cucumber and durian.

What is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled?
I lived in Taiwan for almost 2 years. It is amazing how much there is to see and experience on that little island. Mountains, rivers, ocean, typhoons and earthquakes. It is also a unique mix of new and old. That’s probably the only place on earth, where you can see a vegetable garden right in the downtown, across the street from World Trade Center and Taipei 101. Those carrots must cost a fortune!

What do you like best about your job?
I enjoy collaboration with my coworkers. My work is mostly on the surface, so it is very easy to receive nearly instant feedback and iterate quickly and often. I actually do very little, I mostly listen to what others have to say and put it into the designs.

What are the words you live by?
Man shall not live on bread alone….

Do you speak any other languages, and which ones?
Languages have special part in my life. I have a degree in linguistics. I am fond of language grammars, as well as cryptic notation systems such as Chinese characters, unusual alphabets, and oddly enough, written music. All these things fascinate me, because they are all about expressing meaning in a way that is comprehensive and yet very elegant. I do not speak many languages thought. I speak Russian (my mother tongue), and some basic Chinese (to my shame not as much as I should, taken that I lived in Taiwan for so long).

What are some things on your bucket list?
Learn to play piano.

What was your last Do It Yourself project?
My recent DYI project was installing a dishwasher. I learned a few things about good and bad industrial design, and started to admire people who are patient enough to deal with it on daily basis. On a bigger scale, I helped my friend build a house.

What athlete or sports figure do you most admire?
I do not have any particular names. What I admire in athletes is determination to succeed no matter what. In team sports I admire the ability of team members to be awesome individually, and yet play to other team members’ strengths.

What’s something about you that few people know?
I graduated from high-school twice. Even though I am from Russia, I feel cold in Saskatchewan.

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