Tell us something about yourself?
I have a graduate degree in Economics and a post graduate diploma in management from IIM Bangalore. I’ve worked in TCS for almost a decade in roles across strategy, strategic investments, alliances, innovation management, new business creation and sales. Along the way I also started Headstart, India’s largest community and event organizer for early stage startups, where I currently serve as the MD. My own start up is called SwitchMe
Tell us something about your business.
SwitchMe is India’s first switching service. Consumers can save money or getter better service by changing service providers in areas of Home Loan, Electricity and mobile networks. But they find it difficult to switch because they lack knowledge and time. SwitchMe provides them with tools and information for free so that they can make the best choice. SwitchMe also does the switching on behalf of the customers for a fee. Thus, we make switching easy.
We have served several hundred customers so far and have a very happy customer base. It has been a pleasant surprise as we haven’t really marketed ourselves so far.
What is your philosophy towards work?
Work should be fun and should help us learn and become more capable people. At SwitchMe, we enjoy our work a lot and learn a lot. I like to ask all my people if they are learning more at work and having fun. Whenever the answer is No (which thankfully isn’t often), I need to take care of it immediately.
Whom do you admire as your role model? And why?
No role models. I believe in creating my own path.
“Management is core to every individual, organization & society.” Give your views on it.
We always work with people and with limited time. Thus every one of us has to manage time and people around us no matter what we are doing. Sometimes, this is inside structured organization where there are defined reporting lines. Sometimes, this is in social contexts where there are soft social bonds and reputations. Irrespective of the context, we manage time and people.
Name 3 qualities of prime importance that a businessman should possess.
Varies from business to business but integrity and hard work are minimum for anything.
Is the Name of the Institute from where a student pursues his/her Graduation/Post Graduation or other courses important while setting up your business?
No. The name of the college is a signal of quality when one cannot judge the actual output. Thus, it may have a bearing when a business has just started and there is no product. People are forced to arrive to conclusions on the basis of such signals. But, once a product is out, only the product and the performance matter. No one cares what the founders had done earlier.
Do you think today’s economy is conducive for a new venture to start upon?
I don’t think a start up should look at the economy when starting out. What really matters is the intensity with which their prospective customers feel the problem that the start up wants to solve. The state of economy is just one variable and in most cases not an important one that affects the intensity of the problem.
Share with us the most enjoyable moment you had experienced on work.
Recently we made our Home Loan switch and Mobile service switch live. We announced only the home loan switch on our blog and did no other marketing. Not only did we start getting Home Loan customers but also mobile customers. Someone even asked me on Twitter to bring the service to Chennai!
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