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Alex Duchenchuk on Building a Software Powerhouse at Moai Team

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Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Alex Duchenchuk on Building a Software Powerhouse at Moai Team

Moai Team, under the guidance of CEO Aleksandr Duchenchuk, has emerged as a big player in the software development industry, particularly in the realms of AI and big data.

This interview with Duchenchuk offers an in-depth exploration of the Moai Team’s journey, highlighting the inspirations, challenges, and triumphs that have shaped the company. Alex discusses the Moai Team’s unique value proposition, the specialized tools and methodologies they employ, and their approach to custom software development. He also delves into broader industry topics, including emerging trends in AI and big data, balancing innovation with client expectations, and the evolving principles of UX/UI design.

The Founding of Moai Team

SBS – Could you share the story behind Moai Team’s inception and what motivated you to start this venture?

Alex – Before founding Moai Team, I worked as a digital marketing manager and later as a product manager, so I was on the other side of the table, acting as a client of software development agencies. What I understood in this insanely competitive market was that most of these agencies just don’t really care about their clients. Their actions were looking like algorithmic robots, just conveyors of projects. We have founded the Moai Team to add a more friendly and personal approach to this, let’s say, soulless market. And that was a successful idea.

Key Challenges in the Early Stages

SBS – What were some of the major challenges you faced in the early days of Moai Team, and how did you overcome them?

Alex – There were a lot of challenges, but the hardest was, I think, to find the right people in the team. In a company that is based on values, all team members should match our values and accept initial ideas. A project manager should be not just a project manager— he/she should be the best friend who acts in the role of project manager. The second one was marketing. It is not enough just to say, “We will become your partners, not just write a code for you.” We have a longer sales funnel than more traditional software development companies, but, on the opposite, we have a much deeper relationship with our customers.

Unique Value Proposition

SBS – What sets Moai Team apart in the crowded field of software development, particularly in areas like AI and big data solutions?

Alex – Basically, when clients start working with us, they get the ability to just say, “I need to solve that problem,” and our team will brainstorm how to solve it using software development. We developed a big data analytical tool for a music platform to add more value during investment rounds. We created an AI chatbot to solve problems with overloaded support during high season. We developed a smart contract solution for Web 2.5 products to create a bridge between off-chain solutions and blockchain.

Tools, Software, and Methodologies in Use

SBS – Could you elaborate on the specific tools, software, and development methodologies that Moai Team employs in its projects? How do these choices contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of your development process?

Alex – We have our own software solution for deploying automation. Also, we have another solution that helps us start new projects faster, doing it in a from-the-box type. We have kinda typical SDLC processes, but we use different agile approaches for different projects. That helps us to build the best-adapted processes for each project and for each client’s needs. It’s not fresh, but a rare approach we use is the hybrid position of PM+QA in one person. Thanks to our deploy automation tools, this person also has a “deploy” button, so he/she is deeply inside the whole cycle of development and has a lot of influence on it. But you need to do a lot of documentation because the downside of such an approach is that you lose so much knowledge if this person leaves your team.

Approach to Custom Software Development

SBS – Can you describe your approach to custom software development and how you tailor solutions to meet specific client needs?

Alex – First of all is a very deep business analysis. Before jumping into development, we need to absolutely understand what we will develop. And our client needs to be sure that we will develop everything that will match their goals. Also, we do market research, looking through competitors, through feedback from their customers. Thanks to my product manager’s past, from time to time, we do customer interviews to understand what users dislike in competitor’s products. Such a deep, dedicated approach provides us with a huge trust bonus from our clients.

Trends in AI and Big Data

SBS – What are the current trends in AI and big data that are shaping the software development industry, and how is Moai Team adapting to these trends?

Alex – From my point of view, after the dust of AI and big data super-trend settles, there will be only two types of solutions that will stay: general-purpose infrastructure solutions like ChatGPT and very deep niche solutions that solve very specific problems but do it super efficiently. We had a chance to work with the Llama2 large language model. We have chosen it over OpenAI solutions because we needed an open source solution that will not be dependent on third-party API.

Balancing Innovation and Client Expectations

SBS – How does Moai Team balance the drive for innovation with meeting the practical expectations and requirements of clients?

Alex – It is difficult to work with clients’ expectations when building a solution with AI, as you never know how exactly a custom AI model will behave on the first launch. That’s why we have added regular demos to our clients, so they are always updated on the progress of their projects.

Strategies for Sustainable Growth

SBS – What strategies have you implemented at Moai Team to ensure sustainable growth and scalability?

Alex – Sustainability is the hardest thing to achieve in the modern dynamic world, with many more challenges than 2–3 years ago. Especially in Ukraine. All team members have access to three types of internet — wire, mobile operator, and Starlink. We all have power generators. These are realities of nowadays, and I hope they will never spread out of current zones of conflict. But still, there are a lot of people throughout the globe who support Ukraine and have provided projects to Ukrainian teams. So, networking, stable marketing funnels, SDLC automation, and adaptive processes are our key components of growth and scalability.

Challenges in Software Reengineering

SBS – What are some common challenges you face in software reengineering projects, and how do you address them?

Alex – Sometimes, it happens that the current state of the code is so bad that there is just no option left but to start from scratch. And it requires a very diplomatic and data-driven approach to explain to your client that everything that he or she paid for is garbage. Another common problem is the lack of documentation from previous developers.

Integrating DevOps and SecOps into Client Projects

SBS – How does Moai Team integrate DevOps and SecOps practices into client projects, and what benefits have you observed?

Alex – A very good case in DevOps/SecOps tasks is Djooky Music Awards — a worldwide online music contest — our clients and fellow friends. Contests with cash prizes are great targets for scammers, fishing, bots, DDOS, and other types of attacks. So this project was a huge challenge for us. Besides a lot of SecOps work that we have done, we have developed an ML algorithm to look for potential scammers. Our DevOps solutions help to sustain huge traffic, especially during the super finals of the contest.

Advice for Aspiring Software Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give to someone aspiring to start their own software development company in today’s market?

Alex – Choose your domain expertise zones. You can not be an expert in everything, and this is fine. Choose 3–5 domains, learn them, do research, and find trends. This will help you to show your client that you are more than just a team of software engineers, you will become a partner, and with your help, the client will not only get their software solution but will achieve their business goals. And be honest. This is much more important than you might think.

Future Vision for Moai Team

SBS – What is your vision for the future of Moai Team, and how do you plan to continue innovating in the software development industry?

Alex – First of all, we are going to share the solution that we use for DevOps task automation so all small and medium teams throughout the world will be able to have access to all the benefits of having DevOps in a team without actually having them. It is called NoOps now and it is a very rapidly growing trend.
Also, we are starting to work with blockchain technology, as we believe that web 3.0 will become used worldwide and will solve a lot of today’s problems of the internet.


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Alex Duchenchuk on Building a Software Powerhouse at Moai Team