How to Become Solid

In February, Eugene Arutyunov came to Ufa with his lecture titled “How to Become Solid”. In this lecture, he told about how to increase professional value and get more satisfaction from work. I wrote a short summary of that lecture.


A car driver’s actions depend on the external environment, but which decision to make is his or her choice. Responsibility is when you move from the passenger seat to the wheel and take control.

To drive comfortably, you have to “pump up” your car. The more experience and steeper the skills, the less you depend on circumstances and more on your own decisions. The car becomes a tank.


Your head can be a junkyard where it’s hard to find anything, or a shelf where it’s easy to navigate. Books help organize knowledge and turn the junkyard into a shelf.

The most important is fundamental knowledge. This kind of knowledge will be relevant 20-50 years from now. Knowledge about the human body and psychology; economics and the marketplace; consumption and value; project and people management. Because of robotization, knowledge of how computers work is important.

Tips and Advice

Thinking ourselves is good. But there is knowledge that has already been produced for us. We need to be able to absorb them, to let them flow through us so we can grow faster—it’s a tool.

When asking for advice, be willing to do as you’re told, even if you don’t agree. Otherwise there’s no point in asking for advice. You have to choose your advisors correctly.

The Customer is Always Right More Important

Some things are subjective. If the customer says the soup is too hot, there’s no point in convincing them otherwise. You have to be interested in the task at hand.

Sincere interest creates that mood in the customer when they feel like they are the chosen one. A performer’s interest is in short supply, so it is highly valued.

Asking Question is Important

It’s important in any situation, not just when you go into a negotiation to ask a lot of open questions. People’s behavior and communication depends on the context, which changes.


Develop and formalize a method that works well. Without a method and its refinement, you can’t develop in a purposeful way of working.

To formulate it, you have to ask yourself “What am I good at? How do I do it?”. The formulated method, for example, will help you understand why you do not want to start the proposed project, show the reasons and possible solutions.

On the Opponent’s Field

Be in the world of the client: learn the meaning of the task, the purpose, understand how the business works, etc. The client will be happy to talk about what they understand.

Be interested, as often people are not interested in other people. If you can’t get the facts out of the client, you can use ridiculous assumption tactics.

Say “No”

To say “no” at the right moment and not be an asshole, you need to understand your method, role and task. Refuse usefully, quality and benefit are more important than money. If you are sure by experience that it won’t work, you can refuse and offer another solution. If the client leaves, that’s okay.

You shouldn’t say “no” when it’s too late though. If you take on a project, it becomes your area of responsibility.


Conflicts happen in relationships because of different expectations, so you have to adjust them. An example is to remind yourself of the task, values, and results agreed upon in the previous meeting.

Remember that the other person doesn’t read other people’s minds. As soon as old agreements stop working, you need to immediately renegotiate, otherwise a conflict will arise.

It is necessary to synchronize all the time, because expectations change and it depends on external factors.


Don’t isolate yourself from the outside world. A “flat” designer or developer doesn’t think about the product, their role in it. “Solid” one is all the way interested in its place, its place in reality.


Text is needed to get a thought out and share it. Remember that everyone understands words differently. Analyze words because it is possible to tease out a problem from them.

When people don’t feel value, they present the outcome as less meaningful than it is. If this is the case, ask yourself if I am saying what I think I am saying. If so, understand why that is the case.

Learn About Yourself

Consciousness thinks it has a brain. But it’s the other way around: the brain has consciousness, and it depends on the body. So you have to study your body’s signals: when you work and when you feel like not working; when you’re hungry; how a stuffy room affects productivity, etc.


Inventive is cooler than smart. You have to improvise and step out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, the method of work will not improve.


Every little thing around is someone else’s big project. There’s always a lot of routine in big projects. You have to learn how to deal with it, without it the project won’t start.