Heads up people!
Our founder, Rohan Thakare, was recently interviewed by Know Your Town – Thane’s de facto source of news for everything hip and happening within the city. And it’s a pretty big deal, not because of the 15 minutes of fame that usually follows when you and your company is featured in a prestigious newspaper, but because it’s important to be recognized by the community for the good work that you do.
Below is the transcript of the interview as featured in the 7th week (2016) edition of the paper, typed out for your reading pleasure.
Words of Wisdm!
Q. Congratulations on completing 4 successful years. How has the journey been?
It has been amazing! I started my journey from IBM in 2003 where I was working as a part of the technical team. I got to know technology better in IBM han during my engineering days. I got to know about enterprise better. However, it was always at the back of the mind that I should be at the front end of the business, to be involved in the business functions and not only the tech functions. I consider myself more of an entrepreneur than a technical wizard. I would get high if I crack a deal or win a client over, but not if I crack a big technical problem. I tried a lot to get through this section in IBM but they had educational criteria in which I didn’t fit in. They needed MBAs and I was an IT engineer. I was able to get good amount of promotions within my section but lateral movement was not possible.
I shifted to a much smaller organization called Convonix. At that time, it was a 15 member team and was run by my friend from engineering. I spent 6 and half years there and by the time I left, we had a team of around 250 members there. That was my first hand experience in business in close quarters as we were the management and whatever we had to do there came from our own understanding. We did make mistakes and we learnt a lot. I got good exposure to services business. Convonix was later acquired by a French company called “Publisis Groupe” and I decided to leave it.
I decided to take my own course and started WisdmLabs. Since I wanted to work in technology, we focussed on doing web based application development in “WordPress” which is our forte. We started small, but since I had understanding of the service industry, I applied that in this technical business as well. I knew there would be hiccups in the journey, and there were quite a few, but we sailed through.
Today we stand proud with 2 offices – one in Thane and one in Pune and a staff of 75 employs.
Q. What kept you going?
There is a passion involved. Getting back to technology was absolutely needed and I wanted to get on my own because I had a lot of ideas and when in Convonix, my ideas were not of that particular business, these ideas were more about technology which wasn’t their focus. I wanted to work out on these ideas, fail if I had to and find out what works the best. I wanted to experiment. This spirit of experimentation kept me going. We wanted to create a difference. We want to create software products of value which can reach the audience in millions and we can make a meaningful difference in their lives and giving them something that they didn’t have access to before we came in the picture. If we could achieve that, I would say that I have a career well-lived!
Q. What does WisdmLabs specialize in?
We specialize in web-based applications development and mobile apps is what we would be focussing on. We specialize in the domains like e-commerce and e-learning and now we are expanding our horizons to work-flow situations, moving towards ERP applications. We target the clientele of small and medium-sized organizations across the globe. Almost 80% of our clientele is outside India.
Q. Who is your management team now?
Rahul Gupte, who was also working with me in Convonix, joined me at WisdmLabs as a consultant because I found it extremely difficult to handle everything by myself. He guided us with Operations. I’m also accompanied by my friend since college, Arunesh Parab who is a technical wizard and has a great amount of technical understanding. He obviously looks after the technical aspects. I look after marketing and sales aspects.
Q. Was the second branch out of need?
We launched our second branch in Pune in June 2015. We have a principle that we want to build careers, not just jobs. Being a small company, every person counts. We have to be extra careful about people while hiring them and cannot hire them for the heck of it. You would be surprised to know that only one in 500-600 candidates is selected in our organization. We need people who are well versed and are interested in carving their careers in technological field. It thus becomes difficult for us to search employees only in Mumbai. Mumbai has a different education system. As we started to grow, we realized that we need more people than we hired last year. When you double the number of employees to be hired, you are increasing the effort put in four fold. When we went to hunt for good employees, Pune and Nashik became our next obvious choices. We started going to Pune and hiring people for Thane office but people weren’t ready to join in.
Besides, Pune is growing IT hub, so having another office in Pune became a natural choice! (Smiles)
Q. Who or what inspires you?
Steve Jobs, definitely! You ask any tech entrepreneur and his role model would be Steve Jobs. I feel there are one in a billion people who can achieve or do what he has done in his lifetime. It is almost impossible for any other person to achieve so much in one lifetime. He not only created a range of products, but also made people yearn to have them. People swear by his products, people die to have them. He created a cult!
You have our best wishes Sir!