Kyrylo Taranenko, Head of Marketing at Y-Productive, Feels that Turning Pages Is Almost Like Meditation

Kyrylo Taranenko is the co-founder and Head of Marketing of Y-Productive, a productivity software that helps you improve your task performance.

I was randomly browsing the Startups subreddit (instead of working) when I bumped into the Share your startup discussion. There was a post about Y-Productive that caught my attention and made me read more about their story – as any other time management freak would.

Y-Productive helps you increase your task performance and get rid of unproductive habits. By getting real-time task/project efficiency feedback based on the websites and apps you use during work hours, it spots if they’re productive for you or not, and you can block unproductive websites in one click. The app is now in a late beta stage and will be launched soon.

When not creating content or speaking with every person who writes to Y-Productive, Kyrylo loves reading a good fiction book. Keep on reading and you’ll find out more about the books he’d recommend to young people interested in marketing & PR, the skills they should focus on, but also some productivity tips of his own.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Business: “Marketing Warfare” by Al Ries, Jack Trout. I am a huge fan of positioning in marketing. It was also the first book on marketing I’ve ever read.

Non-business: “Lord of the Rings”. It’s impressive how Tolkien combined Edda with King Arthur legends and created a new fantasy classic. I love taking a peak behind the writer’s curtain – it has helped me a lot with my understanding of content strategy.


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

That must not be a recipe book, right? 🙂

The student book of Health and Safety training course then. Don’t underestimate student books – you can never tell when first aid or any professional basics will come in handy.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

Martin Eden” by Jack London. I read it when I was thirteen or so. The novel tells a dramatic story about the illiterate sailor, who fell in love with a high-society lady. The protagonist puts a lot of efforts into self-education and hard work to meet her expectations… Sounds romantic, but the plot goes behind the casual love story. This book made me fond of self-education and an even bigger fan of reading.


What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

That means Marketing and PR – which is all the same nowadays. I’ll name some of my favorites, but keep in mind that most successful marketers and PRs act outside guidebooks and invent new ways to reach the target audience.

1. “Marketing Warfare”. This book provides some fundamental basics to understand what marketing is about.
2. “Hacking Growth” by Sean Ellis. The book is new (2017) and growthhacking is a real trend right now.
3. “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by D. Scott. Make sure to pick up the revised edition. For my generation, most advice is pretty obvious (blogs are Social Media too – oh I didn’t know that already :D), but there are some interesting cases and thoughts on going viral.


I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

Almost every day. When it’s possible, I prefer paper books. Turning pages has a calm effect and works almost like meditation. However, I have nothing against e-books and reading on the go (in public transport, etc.).


How do you make time for reading?

Do people “make time” to watch some TV or Netflix? Reading is a form of my leisure, so I don’t have to make time for it. I just pick up the book for another hour whenever I can. Reading is the same to watching TV series or playing computer games – but better 🙂


Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

When I read professional books – yes. I note web resources or new marketing techniques. Nothing is better than pen & paper. In general, I have a very good memory and believe that important information sticks anyway. I rarely forget things.


How do you choose what books to read next?

Oh, I’m very picky and it may take a good couple of hours. I usually pick a book myself, search for descriptions and reviews. I have several fiction authors whose books I love to read: A. Sapkowski, N. Gaiman, Marina and Serhiy Dyachenko.

What concerns non-fiction, I read books that shake the marketing world (like books by E. Ries and S. Ellis) or are recommended in communities such as Quora or Reddit.


Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

For business books, I take recommendations from Alex, my business partner and Y-Productive‘s CEO. We both try to read books that will be helpful right now, in doing our business.


What book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

The Product Hunt HandBook” by Justin Jackson. We’re going to launch our productivity management app there soon and we have put high expectations on this resource. I’m expecting to gain a lot of feedback and provide some public exposure for Y-Productive.


Most people say it’s best to “follow your passion”. What would you recommend to someone who’s very young and not yet aware of their passion? Where should they begin their professional journey?

Anywhere, and the sooner – the better. First job sucks anyway – by rare exceptions. On such jobs you learn the value of your time and gain life experience. You also learn what you don’t want to do for sure, which is also something to start with. I started as a journalist in a local political newspaper, I had no weekend (even on Christmas!), had to combine university and work – and earned a $50 equivalent per month (yeah, it’s all that bad with local jobs in Ukraine). When I couldn’t join my family for a Christmas dinner, it stroke me with an insight that my time costs a lot more – and I quit. Fast forward a couple of years in digital marketing – and I’m my own boss (laughs).


What productivity ‘techniques’ have you personally experimented with? What didn’t work & what had the biggest impact?

It’s a good question since we’re all productivity geeks here at Y-Productive. The golden rule that always works for me: “If something takes two minutes or less, just do it”.

I also work remotely, so reading “Your Brain at Work” by D. Rock taught me… well, how our brain works at work (sorry if this sentence sounds like a Rihanna`s song). With this knowledge, I manage my priorities better.

For instance, I know that actions like learning new information and writing articles require more energy than operational work like answering e-mails or work with a website. So I always start with these cognitive-heavy tasks because I may lack of energy to even start on it by the end of the day.


There are always new tools and techniques trending in digital marketing – from growth hacking to influencer marketing, native advertising and so on. However, principles remain the same. What skills should a young marketer focus on? How do they stay on top of their game?

The main skill is obvious – the ability to learn new information, adapt to the changes and stand out. What’s essential for a young marketer – learn to take the risk and act. If you do only what books and blog posts tell you about, you’ll always be behind. It’s all theory after all. Practice and brave experimentation are the true essence of marketing.



Links where you can follow Kyrylo Taranenko or find out more about his projects:



All books mentioned by Kyrylo Taranenko in this interview:



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