Remembering Russia's Extraordinary Visionary: Ilya Segalovich
"Delicate, subtle, kind, intelligent, gracious, inspired, luminous. He was afraid of nothing, was at the forefront, waited for us there."
“Sometimes it felt like talking to someone who lives five years in the future."
Those are some of the quotes from an excellent article by Andy Atkins-Krüger, writing on Search Engine Land, about Ilya Segalovich, co-founder of Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine. He passed away recently following treatment for cancer.
He writes about his first meeting:
I was nervous. I walked into the seventh floor meeting room of Yandex on Leo Tolstoy Street in Moscow and set my notebook down on the meeting table. Ilya followed me just a few moments later, and I was instantly taken with his warmth and grateful for his great command of English.
The conversation did not stop and was rapidly taking over the day…After more than two hours of discussion, we simply had to move on though we could’ve continued all day if we’d been allowed…Ilya looked years ahead and predicted that search engine technologies will be available as open source programming code.
. . .
"He would get completely immersed in an idea and shared it with us so generously, dragged us along, showed us the beautiful new worlds in his head, and was happy to argue and debate for hours, persuade, relate, exclaim, flail arms, draw pictures and make everyone laugh until we all managed to finally catch a reflection of the wonderful and wondrous.”
He was involved in his wife's children's charity and other philanthropic projects. I wish I'd had a chance to meet him.
Here's the whole of the article: In Memoriam: Ilya Segalovich Of Yandex, Search Engine Pioneer, Leader & Visionary
Yandex allows people to collect all of their data in a single zip file. Segalovich encompassed some of that innocent hopefulness that startups have – a determination to be on the side of the user. He was calling for other search engines to do the same, and to allow people to port this information across search engines – perhaps at a browser level. The searcher he claimed, should own their own data.