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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Off hours: JetSmarter app creator ponders the future of travel

Sergey Petrossov, 27, is the founder and chief executive of the private jet booking app JetSmarter. He likes to come up with new concepts during his spare time.
Sergey Petrossov, CEO of JetSmarter, also known as the Uber of private jets, at Fairmont The Palm in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Sergey Petrossov, CEO of JetSmarter, also known as the Uber of private jets, at Fairmont The Palm in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Sergey Petrossov, 27, is the founder and chief executive of the private jet booking app JetSmarter. Born in Moscow, Mr Petrossov has lived in the US since the age of four. He graduated from the University of Florida and is now married. His wife and he have a son and a daughter, ages five and three.

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

I love spending time with my kids. We always either go to the beach, play sports or go swimming. We also like to go up to Orlando or the Keys every now and then as well.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobby?

I am workaholic. Every moment I am not spending with my family, I am creative. That’s my hobby. I like to think of new things. You think about a technology company and you imagine people on their computers, but with me and my technology team, we sit with papers and pencils. I like to draw and come up with new things. I can get on a flight and start drawing things – not paintings – but business models or future concepts using visuals.

What can’t you live without?

I cannot live without my family or work, because both give purpose to a person’s existence. My work is done to provide value to society, and to hopefully leave a legacy which my family would be the extension of.

What do you consider the secret to your success?

There’s no short cut to success. Aside from the fact that you have to have strong faith and the ability to be innovative, you have to put in the time and you can’t stop – no matter the challenges or what you run into. Many people complain about a lack of resources, but it’s really the lack of resourcefulness. If you really try and don’t give up and go through every avenue possible, you will probably find some sort of solution. It’s also basic maths. If one guy is working 20 hours a week and another is working 100 hours a week, by the end of the year the person working 100 hours would have worked five times more that the one who worked 20 hours a week. He will be five times ahead. There’s no short cut.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

Just go for it. If you are young and have the opportunity to take risks, then take them while you can. That’s the only way you will learn. You will not learn how to swim unless you jump in the pool. You’ve got to jump in and do it. You get to take risks.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

Since each day is different, I make sure that I am on top on completing whatever needs to get done on both the work end and my personal life, making sure I keep both balanced daily.

How do you relax after the working day?

I go to sleep or read some books. When I read, it’s usually on aeroplanes when I have some time. I don’t like to read fiction. I tend to read biographies and histories. My favourite book is a biography of Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American inventor who is known for his contributions to the design of the modern electricity supply system. I look at his accomplishments and what he did in his life. I think it’s a really great achievement.

If you weren’t running your business, what else would you be doing?

I would be running another business. I am fascinated with the electric future. I drive a Tesla. It would be something to do with technology or electricity. I am also fascinated by the future of medicine and health care. It could be doing something there. Travel too. Right now we deal with private jets, which is a niche. I think the future of air travel will be private. It will move towards a more private experience. Cost-effective short distance aviation is going to become part of many people’s lives. In the next 20 years, just as you get an Uber car, you will get a plane to fly to you and drop you off in Abu Dhabi. Cost-effective aeroplanes will be built, they will be small. This is how I look at air travel. Right now it is costly to run private aircraft, but this will go down over the years.

selgazzar@thenational.ae

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