A Day In The Life Of Georgy Sokolov
Georgy Sokolov, the Vice President of B2B (Global Partnerships) at Wirex, shares exclusive insights on his career development in the company.
How long have you been with Wirex?
Almost from the very beginning – first got involved as early as 2014-15, although technically joined as an employee in 2018, after quitting by day job.
Why did you join Wirex?
When Dmitry Lazarichev (Co-founder and CEO) who we studied with together at a business school in London told me about bitcoin and the idea of making it spendable in real life, it sounded both completely new and very exciting. I started researching the subject and after a couple of weeks of sleepless nights reading said ‘I’m in!’
What is your background?
Even now it is still relatively uncommon to hear that someone has a background in crypto, the industry still being very young. When I first heard about bitcoin in 2014 it was even less common.
I have tried many different things and worked in different industries, from launching our own startup with a couple of friends while still at university to sales, to manufacturing, to transport aviation where I ended up staying and spending 12 years doing business development and project management.
Probably the only common term between aviation and crypto is ‘airdrop’. I learnt it in the context of dropping freight off the ramp of a cargo aircraft in Antarctica, in the remote areas where you can’t land even on ice. The concept of dropping tokens to user’s crypto wallets was something I learnt about much more recently
What is your job now and how long have you been doing this job?
I manage key partnerships at Wirex. It is quite a broad area – from selecting the best token projects to partner with, to negotiating deals with key suppliers both on crypto and traditional industry side, to talking to investors. That is something I formally took on from 2018, and before then it was even broader – in a small new startup almost everyone has to perform as a multi-functional one-man band.
When you left School or University what did you want to be when you grew up?
To be completely honest, I had no clue really. I knew I wanted to travel the world, to put my English to use and be involved in a global business. And in retrospect that is exactly what happened
What industry's does your job apply to?
One common theme across most of my jobs is sales. It was selling a transportation service to global logistics, oil & gas and aerospace corporations in my airline days. Now it is selling the idea of a joint project to a potential partner or selling/ representing the company in general.
It is a rather universal concept and skill regardless of the industry, although there are, of course, many specific one has to learn and apply in a particular industry.
What kind of education and/or training did your career require?
I almost don’t believe in the concept of getting an education that is required for and eventually enables someone to have a particular career. It may have been the case in the 20th century or earlier, but not any longer. Now career and education are blending together. You can never stop learning or training.
Quite a number of years in crypto/fintech – and I still often feel like a kindergarten kid among grown-ups, and have to do a lot of reading and attending events, and talking to smarter people to keep up with everything that is going on in the industry.
How do you become a Vice President of B2B (Global Partnerships)?
By constantly trying to learn new things and diving headfirst into various projects. Often getting bruised, but eventually getting stronger and (hopefully!) smarter along the way
What skills are required in your daily work?
Curiosity, perseverance, communication skills and patience (wish I had more of all, especially the latter!)
Please describe a typical day of work.
If there is a typical day, then it usually starts with a lot of reading – industry news to stay aware of what’s going on, community forums to keep the finger on the pulse of what our customers think, want, or complain about, emails, etc. Then there are typically quite a few calls, mostly with external parties, some with the teams and colleagues within Wirex.
Researching and contacting potential partners and developing the relationships with existing ones often involves a lot of time when you don’t want to be distracted, so at times I have to deliberately stay away from emails or Teams, or Telegram – which is rarely manageable though..
Do you mostly work alone or with others?
It’s a mix of both. I have a lot of contacts and calls outside of Wirex. Within the company, although formally not a part of any particular team, I have quite a lot of interactions with colleagues across almost every function, from dev, to product, to marketing, legal, compliance, etc.
How has Wirex helped you get to develop your skills and career?
The environment of a (relatively) young startup in a nascent industry like crypto is fundamentally different from the corporate environment in a well-established industry like aviation.
I had to dramatically change the mindset, learning to see potential in every smallest opportunity and not taking anything for granted. Especially when Wirex was smaller and less known, we had to be a lot more humble, yet persistent when trying to get the bigger guys interested in giving us a chance and working with us.
What do you wish you would have known about your job before starting?
That there would never be a moment when I could say ‘ok, now I know all about this and can feel confident in this industry’.
What would you like to tell someone who’s interested in applying for or aspiring to be in a position like yours to know?
If you think you can cope with the pace of change in this industry and are willing to challenge yourself and learn every day, you will love it. It is also extremely fulfilling to be working around people with such mindset.
What Career progression is there in your role and/or Wirex?
The combination of a fast-growing company and fast-growing industry is just a killer one. There is literally no limit to what you can learn and what role to grow into. Starting in one (entry-level) role and in a matter of months, not years, moving up or laterally into one or more new roles is a common thing at Wirex.
What do you love the most about your job at Wirex?
Fast-paced environment where you are never sure about what’s coming next and change is the only constant. Combined with the freedom of location and schedule (within reason, of course!) And working with amazingly smart, positive and energetic people both within the company and outside.
How would you describe working at Wirex?
Challenging, exciting, fulfilling, and never boring.
If you could give one piece of career advice, what would it be?
Make sure you love what you do. When you are, most other important things will add up.