Sedrak Kalashyan

Last year I wrote about what happened in 2014 and why I did this kind of blog posts like annoying “Year in review” from Facebook. It’s in Russian, so long story short the key idea is that our memory can’t keep all memories and feelings from the experience that is why you betta keep them somehow. I store photos, notes in Evernote, calendar with personal appointments and the last but not the least I also write the final blog post of the year.

Last year I divided this post into several categories (sport, work, traveling) with my impressions and the things I would like to remember from 2014. This year I’m slightly extending my post and adding some statistics.

So let’s start with some numbers.



93magnets and the recent one is a snowboarding guy
155notes in Travel notebook in Evernote
7city subway apps
10social networks apps
12cities in weather application
17branded cups
1surreal bowl
235Working life**
196Everyday life**

* Usually, people take tons of similar photos trying to capture the best shot, but I prefer to make a revision and clean-up similar stuff and keep the only best one.
** “Working” and “everyday life” are the albums in iOS where I store pictures related to work and everyday life. I just read somewhere that it’s interesting to take and keep pictures of your regular life. Indeed, it’s always fun to take a look on your past places of living or some important stuff from work.


This year contained a lot of old good sports and a few new ones as well.

  • The year started with snowboarding in Ruka, Finland. I learned basic things and was able to fall gracefully.
  • Tried to overcome the wind. The next step is a parachute.
  • Spent some time playing billiards and shot a few videos with Andrey.
  • This year I’ve spent a lot of time playing squash as I’ve figured out that it’s a pretty good cardio and at the same time is fun to play.
  • But I did not forget about my favourite tennis and was trying to measure my activity with an Apple Watch.
  • Also, I continued playing intellectual sports like Soviet “What? Where? When?”. Got a few top places.
  • Once EPAM Systems acquired Signus Labs, we got access to corporate sport activities and I spent some time playing volleyball.
  • Once I arrived in West Coast, on the first weekend I swam in the ocean and obviously it wasn’t much fun with the waves.
  • The next sport activity was surfing. Although you have to wait for the right waves you get a chance to enjoy beautiful ocean, sunsets and magnificent California beaches.
  • Surfing is a poor cardio so I’ve realised I need to return to boring running. But instead of treadmill, this time I tried running trail of the Mission beach. And it seems to be nice to run along the ocean especially during the stunning sunsets.
  • Well, this year I returned to yachting! Well, actually I just rented a yacht and we were hanging out in SF Bay area during my birthday party but still sometimes I was holding the yacht helm!
  • Finally, I tried German roads with no speed limits. The first time the freeway started right from the intersection and folks from the left line (BMW 1 and BMW x5) started accelerating so fast that I even wasn’t able to follow them although reached 200 km/h (125 miles/h). The other time was during the night time and it was raining. I was in the left line with 160 km/h speed and the guy (Mercedes A) behind me started blinking with main beam. I gave him the way and he accelerated to 200km/h. During the night. During the rain. Insane Germans.
  • And the last sports activity of this year was again snowboarding. This time it were the Austrian Alps and they were a way harder than the Finnish hills so only with hard training I was able to handle the red tracks.

Doing sport is a very good way to bounce from your work and relaunch the brain in short terms. It’s what I call “Refilling”. When you are fully focused on your main activity (e.g. work) you still need breaks which should completely take away you from all work thoughts. Sport, traveling, different projects are all about that.


So many things changed in my work this year!

  • The year started with saying goodbye to the old work. Two years at Umisoft were extremely productive for me and I learned a lot. This was a good next step for me and I think for 20 other people from my development team who left the company in a 5 month.
  • Also, last year I reported about new adventure but didn’t open the cards. We started a startup called We tried different things, even talked with a few investors but due to internal reasons the project was stopped. Well, next time!
  • Then I joined a game development company Signus Labs. I was leading several art projects and a couple of games with full stack development. And just in 3 months, we were able to develop a small casual game! Hope to see it soon in App Store.
  • As a Game Producer I attended a few game development conferences and enjoyed meeting people from the industry and hanging out at different parties.
  • “Suddenly”, Signus Labs was purchased by EPAM Systems. We joined the company with 15000 employees and it was quite an interesting process of integration.
  • My game development career wasn’t too long though as we received a request from one of the EPAM’s biotech clients to develop an iPad app with 3D interface and I was invited the project as a Delivery manager.
  • Well, we organised a 2-week business trip to a client’s office in San Diego to improve the requirements gathering and communication between the client, Signus and EPAM teams. Later we decided to extend my business trip as it was very valuable for the project.
  • Indeed, our deliveries and in particular the iPad app were significantly improved and we were successfully delivering. But it wasn’t easy to do at all.
  • Most of the time we were on fire and weren’t able to establish processes and workflows on a desired level. So there wasn’t enough amount of sleep and onsite team was used to wake up at 6-7 AM to communicate with the teams in the CIS countries. So every morning started with 4-5 meetings.
  • But it was extremely cool to work with distributed team of professionals in so many locations. EPAM team consists of up to 80 people from 8 different locations!
  • Also, this year was filled up with a lot of meetings. So many meetings this year I didn’t have for the entire life. Like sometimes 15 meetings per day. Although I was tentative on some of them.
  • Once I returned back to my team in Russia, a number of meetings increased as I wanted to establish and improve our processes. And we have done a lot and I’m very proud.


No one returns from any trip. It’s always someone different.

  • New Year started in Finland and there was a pretty beautiful winter with the snow all around and we even saw the Norhen lights.
  • Then spent some time traveling inside Russia and the first place was Kronstadt – an island near St. Petersburg with a nice wooden lighthouse and other stuff.
  • Visited an industrial town Volkhov with several churches and the damb of the Hydroelectric Station
  • In May, it was raining all day long in Moscow so I was hiding in DevGamm conference and museums. The collection of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is definitely worth to visit.
  • The way Berlin is divided into two parts – the West and the East – was a pretty surprising for me. It’s cool to have such a division with so many cultural diffirencies inside the city.
  • Amsterdam was also a nice surprise. There are tons of things to do for fun (although some may consider it a sin) and also it’s very interesting in terms of art and architecture.
  • The next 3 months of my life were filled with West Coast!
    • My new hometown was San Diego and by third month, I was still enjoying absolutely stunning sunsets.
    • San Diego is known for it’s deep sports culture (huh, the weather is nice, why not?!). Everyone are surfing or boogie boarding, there are nice broad walks for running cycling longboarding and even a private-use glider airport!
    • Despite sports, San Diego is a hometown for the U.S. major biotech companies and a nice hookah place from an Armenian guy with native Russian language.
    • As usual it was ugly to drive through Los Angeles but Santa Monica is nice (though San Diego’s beaches are on the same level)
    • It was easy to recognise San Francisco first time when I arrived due to tech ads all around and running people wearing Apple headphones & yoga pants. But in general, the city is pretty nice although you get tired from the endless hills (but your Apple Watch is ready to track it!)
    • Nothing changed in New York. It’s filled with crazy people, it’s stunningly beautiful both outside and inside and I miss it all the time.
    • Wasn’t hanging out a lot in New Jersey but the view on Manhattan is nice.
    • Las Vegas is good for a weekend visit. Awesome shows from Cirque du Soleil and endless parties until you spend all money.
  • During my second visit to Moscow, I was pretending that it’s pretty cold there and I need to be like Alenka.
  • Was drinking German beer and eating sausages in Munich but shared in Instagram only cultural stuff.
  • Saw the Alps during the visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle.
  • I enjoyed ski resort in Finland so much that decided to spend my New Year vacation in the same way.
  • So I was snowboarding in Mayerhofen in front of monumental mountains, enjoying local food and drinks and I was marvelled by absolutely stunning views.

Although traveling is a very exciting thing sometimes you get sad from saying goodbye to close people.

All this stuff is the measurement of year length. If you can remember a lot from the past, well, you feel it as a long year. If you weren’t able to do a difference in your regular days by some reason, well, the years glided past.

Last year I reported that it was the longest year in my life. Well, it’s not true anymore. 2015 is my longest year so far and you just read what I remembered about Sedrak from 2015.

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