31 May 2019

Chairman of the biggest governmental bank and Co-Founder of the most successful Ukrainian branding agency discuss changes in the bank and Harari’s 29th lesson at the Metaphor Book Club meeting

Metaphor book-clubbers met at MIM-Kyiv to discuss Noi Yuval Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, world bestseller recommended by Bill Gates and Barack Obama. Mr. Andriy Pyshnyy, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Oschadbank, the biggest saving bank of Ukraine and Mr. Andriy Fedoriv, founder and CEO of the arguably the Ukrainian most successful branding agency discussed changes, the only thing which does not change.

Both Andriys know the change intimately. Andriy Fedoriv’s business is about managing change and Andriy Pyshnyy made the governmentally-owned saving bank the leader of the national banking sector. Therefore, Harari’s ideas of accelerating changes, information or rather disinformation overflow, the need of mastering instruments rather than stuffing brains with knowledge, and inevitability of change are very close to both men’s hearts.

Here is what both Andriys said:

Andriy Fedoriv:

What should we get ready for? Have no clue. We need to diversify. So we split into creative and investment units. The creative one is about brands and changing businesses and another one is a sort of an incubators for innovative businesses.

When was the last time you read a user’s manual or a license agreement? It only proves that mass consumers are similar to a seven-year-old. Kids switch from thinking in pictures to thinking in texts when they are nearly 7.

We are back to ancient Rome times with its Panem et Circenses approach. After more than 1700 years of civilization development Alibaba invest in retail store and call it Hippo Fresh. Why Hippo? Because 7-year-olds love hippos.

We in Ukraine have serious advantage of being ready for crisis. We are able to do things overnight. Others can’t. We are not rich, so we could be eccentric and happy whereas riches have to take care of their capitals.


Selling should be fun. People don’t like to be adults. You know, when Nadra bank launched its flower campaign serious high brows were telling that the bank might have succeed in consumer lending. Probably. Perhaps. No one in their right mind would deposit there. It took Nadra 6 months to become leaders in deposits. People love fun and are grateful for simple explanations mixed with entertainment. Complexity is an evil of today.

“You are not sexy,“ was the first thing I told Oschadbank when I came to them. I told them that they need to transform themselves into a rock star. “You need to start selling arenas rather than entertain privately.”

I don’t believe in sailing without captains. Corporate world is preaching democracy in decision making. They believe they could reduce their dependence on one person in such a way. That often strikes back because success is always about someone’s responsibility. Committees are good for careers. To survive changes or rather crisis leadership is critical. A person who takes responsibility for many unorthodox decisions. It was exactly the case with Oschadbank with its commercials starring big red tom cat produced at the government’s expense. Some might have been fired immediately for such things.

Andriy Pyshnyy:

We have been managing changes for 5 years.

Cats work!. Proved by Oschadbank  in 2014 and Monobank in 2018!

Our 5 years of experience proved that we became more flexible, resilient, mature and down-to-earth on one hand and daring dream believers on the other hand. In a word, we have changed.

However, our stress test is not over. The world is changing, the country is changing and we are changing. How could we cope with today’s challenges, in particular, sheer populism, old ways and fear of the future? First of all, start asking right questions and try to give honest answers. It is probable the most difficult thing. Because we know a lot about the world around us but have no clue when it comes to ourselves. Learning truths no matter how painful is a key. We need to learn about ourselves in order to keep our mental and emotional balance.

First we create myths, better versions of ourselves then we start believing those myths and versions and follow them. We create false stereotypes and narratives.

But we cannot do without myth. They help us to imagine things and then work together to realize those visions.

Idealism often results in tragedies like communism or Nazism. Harari’s advise us to reduce suffering and develop empathy and mutual responsibility. His advice is based on the assumption that only suffering is real. Learning about one selves is a real gift and journey.