CTO Talk: Q&A with Postoplan’s Dmitry Kann

By Eric Johansson

Dmitry Kann is the co-founder and CTO of Postoplan, the social media marketing startup.

Postoplan is a social media management platform based on software-as-a-service (SaaS) freemium business model. It is set up to help small and medium businesses by providing free subscriptions with no time limits and reducing the time of SMM manager’s work by 40%.

In July, the brand raised $1.5m to beef up its financial muscles, enabling it to go toe-to-toe with industry peers like Buffer, Hootsuite and Sprout Social.

As CTO of Postoplan, Kann has been instrumental in developing the platform, which is today available in 14 languages. The platform operates on social media and messengers: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, LinkedIn, and can be synchronised with Slack and Google My Business.

As such, it is smack in the middle of the social media industry, which is currently undergoing one of its biggest changes to date, as outlined in a recent GlobalData report.

In the latest Q&A in our weekly CTO Talk series, Postoplan CTO Kann reveals why he believes in interconnected technology and what the most valuable resource in a CTO’s arsenal is.

Eric Johansson: Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you end up in your current role?

Dimitry Kann: In 2008, I moved from Russia to the Netherlands and started a blog about my Dutch experiences at yktoo.com. There I also posted about a multitude of other things, including software development. At one point, it has attracted the attention of Alex Bozhin, CEO of Postoplan. The business was growing by leaps and bounds and he was in dire need of a CTO, so he invited me to become one.

Where did your interest in tech come from?

I’ve been fascinated by computers and electronics in general ever since I can remember. At the age of nine, I assembled my first digital clock, which was incredibly cool for a Soviet kid in 1984. A few years later, a makeshift Sinclair ZX80 followed, which I programmed using the assembly language. I’ve basically followed every tech development ever since, from GW Basic to Kubernetes, blockchain and machine learning.

Which emerging technology do you think holds the most promise once it matures?

The modern world is not about stand-alone technologies, disconnected from each other, that much I can say with confidence. It is all about synergy, harnessing several powerful technologies together, and creating unprecedented possibilities in the process. As tech is pervasive nowadays, cybersecurity is clearly becoming the top concern for any business. Therefore I venture to suggest that the next big thing will be a combination of real-time security monitoring and machine learning, which can hopefully break the current worrying trend.

How do you separate hype from genuine innovation?

Any real innovation must scratch some itch, and do that in a way no one had imagined before – or on another level. Hype, on the other hand, is usually created around something advertised as new and big, but between the lines you read “it’s really cool but we’re not sure why anyone would want that so we’ll make something up.”

What one piece of advice would you offer to other CTOs?

The most valuable asset in your IT department is a highly motivated dev team. Do spend some time to explain why you are doing whatever you’re doing. The biggest mistake is to treat your IT professionals like kids who are only supposed to follow your lead. A motivated, purposeful team can work wonders.

What’s the most surprising thing about your job?

You never get tired of doing things you love. It’s a pity we humans need some sleep now and then to stay sane.

What’s the biggest technological challenge facing humanity?

Sorting the whole tech jumble out to make it secure. This sounds a bit utopian, so we’ll need to find a way to make tech secure from the get-go, and be way more strict about that.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done for fun?

Learning the Chinese game of Go and launching my own startup with that knowledge. I’ve been so impressed by Postoplan’s advance, and at the same time so frustrated by clumsy existing URL shorteners, that I’ve created my own called once.to.

Being a perfectionist, I’m quite happy with the way it’s built, especially with its speed.

What’s the most important thing happening in your field at the moment?

The making of strong AI. It’s going to take a while, but, once it’s there, it will have a huge impact on this planet and the people’s lives. It will make lots of professions obsolete. I should hope it will mostly be used for the common good.

In another life, you’d be?

A sci-fi or detective writer. That is before the job is taken by the strong AI.