Oganes Pogosyan is a successful entrepreneur and creator of the first charitable social network in Russia. He can not be found on Instagram or Facebook, but on his social platform, Mainpeople, he and even more than 5,000 users share the details of their lives and help to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity projects.
Kind Luxury spoke with Oganes about how he came about setting up Mainpeople, its mission and goals.
|Social Entrepreneur and Philanthropist|
|Social Network with a cause|
QUOTE YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE BY
|May the force be with you - Master Yoda|
How and when did your philanthropic journey start?
Fifteen years ago, I was working with Yuri Milner on the launch of the project Molotok.ru (an online auction, similar to eBay). Then we came up with the idea of having a special charity auction, where the lots included pictures painted by sick children while in hospital with the help of a professional artist. They drew three pictures, which we put up for auction and sold, and all the funds raised went to support their treatments. One of the pictures with the image of St. George was acquired by the writer Marina Yudenich. When we handed her the picture she gave it back to me with the words: "Let it stay with you for you to remember. You did a very good job, do not stop!" This picture is still with me :)
How did you come up with the idea of creating a social platform Mainpeople?
It happened when I was in Miami; for a long time I had an idea of a social network in which the likes would have a real value. Not just pressing the "Like" button mechanically, but realising that by choosing to "Like" the user is making a difference and showing their real interest and involvement.
How long did it take you to create and test this platform?
Since the initial, very rough attempt to get it going, the prototype took about three years.
How many people now use this social network?
What countries do they come from? About 5,000 people with the majority being from Russia (about 70%), and the rest from the US and other countries. Russia dominates because that's where we tested the prototype and all the other improved versions until we launched it in the US.
Platform users have a choice of supporting various charitable foundations. How do you select the foundations?
We meet with each foundation, analyse their history of activities, priorities and methods of work. We offer a choice to our users to select the foundation they would like to support whether it's for helping children, animals or protecting the environment. Originally, the platform was conceived as an open one with the possibility for the charitable foundations to join the network through completing an online application. We hope that this will happen soon once the platform reaches an even wider audience.
Do you think people should talk openly about their charity work?
Absolutely! This is a good way to lead by example. I was taught this by a friend of mine, Snezhana Georgieva and it's especially true when people are opinion leaders and already have followers. Our platform is ideally suited for this; it's just that not all of them are yet fully aware of this and we are waiting for our "heroes" who consciously, daily, and on an ongoing basis will promote the idea of turning "empty" selfies and likes into tangible help through the support of the social media community.
What advice would you give to a person that just starts his/her philanthropic journey?
Do not stop!