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STM Thought Leader: Alexander Tsatkin (The Angry Russian)

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The Angry Russian, aka Alexander Tsatkin, is one of the most elusive characters in the affiliate marketing industry.

He’s most known for his extreme short temper (don’t let the profile photo fool you), his lack of mercy, and for pioneering the mobile affiliate marketing industry.

Alex went from being a struggling affiliate, to a successful affiliate, to business owner, to selling his business (in the millions) in record time.

I always knew Alex had something special about him. He always seemed to know how the future would shape up before it happened.

His mindset was very unique...

The Universe Will Catch You

Alex always went by this motto. From day one when he quit his job, he knew that somehow he would fall on his feet and work something out.

The shouts of

“Are you crazy?” “Don’t do it!”

from his family and friends telling him were muted by his drive to succeed.

He’s a firm believer that time is the most finite resource we have, and he has only been able to find success when he was able to invest 100% of his energy towards one goal.

Alex got to a point in affiliate marketing where he was generating $XXX,XXX year profit, working far less than most full time employed peers, but he had nothing to show for his effort other than money.

He was sick of living in standby mode waiting for big campaigns. So he publicly announced that he decided to try a “lifehack” and move back home with his parents to hone his skills in order to develop a real sustainable online business.

*This action labelled the start of Alex’s sharp rise in the industry. *

"Stop Trading Time for Money"

Another concept Alex firmly believes in. It’s one of the hardest to adopt, but it is the key to success.

Instead of always thinking of how will this action make him money he realized there is value in a process or helping others.

It is the pay it forward notion that in business has always resulted in opportunities and connections that have paid dividends on his initial “free” investment.

Alex practices what he preaches so he posted a thesis on mastering mobile marketing on STM. This helped launch his extremely loyal follow to his new company “Mobaff” one of the first boutique mobile affiliate networks.

Despite the freedom after years of work he had nothing tangible to show, he knew he wanted to build some kind of business that had value besides just the money it was generating.

He really did not have a clear plan of how it would come into fruition.

Most of the actions and pivots he took were as needed bases.

It started with trying to figure out how to make money with mobile advertising and led him to building a tracking platform, affiliate network, internal media buying, training, and a wonderful team with whom he really enjoyed working every day.

"There is No Bad Decision"

The reason a “hard decision” is difficult is because you’re brain can’t fully understand how your choices today will play out tomorrow.

Most of the time when Alex made a decision the outcome was far from anything he envisioned before making that choice.

In addition many outcomes were disguised as a negative, or a setback, but then after time passed it made him realize that the outcome was the best possible thing that could have happened to him.

The key is to act and make choices quickly:

It’s better to move forward. Like a shark you need to keep swimming, or you'll sink.

The Next Level of Affiliate Marketing

Building Mobaff really taught Alex to be more empathetic towards other people.

In order to have a team that as driven as you, there needs to be a greater purpose.

Every individual has their own motivation whether its money, career growth, fulfillment, interesting work, what have you... but the underlying reason for why you are there needs to be the focal point to get everyone through the down turns.

In that sense a company is similar to running campaigns as an affiliate, there will be ups and downs you’ll have to get through.

The measure of your business and your team is not how well things are going when things are on the upswing, but how you are able to recover and deal with the downswing.

I remember Alex once posted -

People are your greatest asset."

We've all read 4 hour workweek, but I think Tim Ferris got it wrong.

Outsourcing is not all it is cracked up to be. Of course you can find great people, but the time difference and language issues can be a real problem.

By surrounding myself with talented people I got to a point where I can literally take off a week with minimal internet connection, and know that my team can handle any issues that might arise...can your outsourced team do that?”

Alex was blessed with being surrounded by smart, driven, and creative individuals who pushed each other and himself to be better despite obstacles that arose.

MobAff was an affiliate-focused network. All the tools, training, offers, and management were designed to help affiliates grow their business. As long as he kept that purpose, it made business decisions and day-to-day operations easy. He was no longer bogged down with short-sighted opportunities to make money and understood the long term value of building strong relationships.

Two years later…

Why Did Alex Sell Mobaff?

*The truth is that was his goal from the beginning. *

Like art, even the best piece of art is worthless if no one is willing to pay for it.

His success metric was always finding another company willing to pay for his business.

The most important aspect to any business is the process or systems. Selling a business came with a whole slew of new information he had to take in including legal, due diligence, negotiations, positioning, etc.

Going through the process was a very stressful, daunting and challenged many of his assumptions and revealed weakness both in his business and him as a person.

The nice thing is now that he has been through it once, if he chose to exit again the second time he can avoid some of the pitfalls and have a much smoother experience.

"Like any process it only gets easier with repetition."

I’ve always joked around that Alex has some psychic/fortune telling abilities, but his knack for knowing what is the next big thing is plain ridiculous.

He revolutionized the mobile space, he revolutionized the tracking space, and he is about to revolutionize...... we will announce that soon.

STM + The Angry Russian are creating something really amazing.

Alex/Angry Russian, thank you for your contributions on STM from literally day one. You are the only fortune teller I would listen to.

We are proud to have you on as a STM Thought Leader.

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