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It has always fascinated me how history, individuals, geography and natural resources influenced people, their mentality in various world regions.

While Russia is rich for natural resources (diamonds, gas, oil), just a few people profit from them. Next tear of wealthy individuals mostly profit from serving those who profit from natural resources… Natural resources imply that value is already created. You dont have to think how to create it. You just have to sell it. This stresses a high importance on relations, closed ties between limited political and business. These ties generally are not based on pure smartness nor on common sense logic or ethic. The rest of population, stoned by these in-transparent "success stories" are leaved to strive for fast money and basically steal+cheat.

Also, considering Soviet past, where entrepreneurship have been suppressed for decades, it is just amazing how many super smart people there are, focusing their brain power on anything but long term intelectual value creation and monetization (i.e. intelectual value driven businesses). There are many terrific examples of this, including AK-47, chess players, Nginx… Though nginx is amazing it is not amazing in monetization. I'm wishing Nginx and Runa Capital all the best to in monetizing it! (details of their monetization strategy are not apparent to me).

And mature cybercrime market is nothing surprising in these circumstances.

All this being said, I don't want to say that there are no great, profitable intellectually driven companies in Russia. Among those are Kaspersy Lab, Parallels, some others. These observations are general and highly abstract.

The resource curse is very real and well documented: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse

The only seeming exception I can think of is Norway, which has a highly unusual massive government savings program to deal with its oil wealth, and then only discovered that wealth fairly recently.

Wow! Did not know that. Thank you for the link.


Canada's oil resources are relatively new as well, I think.

Assuming you include Russian Jews, you get a lot of successful Russians doing tech stuff in the world -- just in other countries than Russia. Israel, the US, etc. have Russian Jewish populations who are incredibly successful in tech.

Oh yes, yes! Totally agree! In my comment I've been referring to a typical russian mentality. And Russian Jews have a very different mentality, from the one I've been referring to.

Typical Russian mentality is thorough approach to problem solving and having a good rest afterwards. Russian language itself structurally teaches your brain to be more abstract.

Interesting observation. Have you heard of Korzybski?

Nope, but thank you for the reference. My observation comes from the wild, and is confirmed by observations of fellow Russian programmers and sysadmins who lived and worked in the US and the UK. Actually I'd better refer to Bekhtereva and Stalin, who observed quite the same thing from very different perspectives.

Bekhtereva's work sounds interesting to me. thanks

You forgot to mention ABBYY. And cybercrime in Russian school culture is not a crime. It's something heroic. BTW the tone of the article we discuss here is all about demonising Russia. I bet you 20 quid, there are more cyber wrongdoers in the US than in Russia.

What you say makes me think about Nigeria, as well. Historically, most of their wealth has come from oil, and up until 1999, they were ruled over by a corrupt military. Consequently, it seems to me that Nigeria's "entrepreneurial" culture is all about "getting money from rich people", rather than creating new things that people value.

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