CEO , Talkonomy.com
Great Eastern Medical School & Hospital
Praveen Baratam is a member of:
My current job profile
I am the founding partner of Talkonomy.com, a new place online for enthusiastic people to share their ideas and thoughts with one another, and Doctle.com, an online medical advisory service. I manage strategy and future course of action for these startups. I am also serving as Director for Infrastructure & Planning at Great Eastern Medical School & Hospital, Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh.
I am not trying to be a better leader. I just try to understand my colleagues better and do what best serves everybody’s interests.
I don't think I am a seasoned leader yet. I have led several efforts in the past but I still feel I am only beginning to understand what a leader is. In my opinion, anyone with a vision and the tenacity to hold his team together through rough and cold waters is a leader. Every team has it own strengths and idiosyncrasies, but the leader needs to inspire them, cover for their lapses and help them shine.
Advice to upcoming leaders
Just learn and understand your team better. One cannot be a leader until his team idealizes him. Be a mini role model for everyone involved.
Balancing personal and professional life
It is unlikely that anybody has all the information to make the right judgement. I collect as much information as possible, make an informed decision and I keep experimenting until I get the desired outcome. I am always open to surprises and I improvise as I go. Honesty serves better than anyone would expect in both personal and professional lives.
Grievances according to me are a symptom of misalignment in the organization. I try to set the expectations right both from the organization’s perspective and from the employee’s perspective whenever such issues surface. If everyone is clear about what each can expect out of others and the organization, everything flows smoothly.
After my freshman year in medical school, I stumbled upon an idea to create a new low frequency acoustic transducer (audio sub-woofer) that can beat every other existing technology in fidelity, efficiency and form. I had a choice to continue in medical school and ignore this opportunity or embark on an adventure and build on this idea. With my father’s support, I took a 6 month sabbatical from medical school and pursued the idea. I built a prototype and filed my provisional patent application. Then a family friend of ours encouraged me to take it further and introduced me to few VCs. Six months later, I was pursuing the invention with the financial and strategic help from e4e Labs Pvt. Ltd. This experience primed me for entrepreneurship. Subsequently, I returned to medical school and graduated in medicine and surgery. After MBBS, I was confronted again with a choice to continue my career as a doctor or embark on a more adventurous and uncertain path as a technology entrepreneur. I decided to pursue my heart and embarked on my first start-up, Smaap, a p2p media search engine.
My teachers and mentors have always influenced me the most. They encouraged me to explore, make mistakes, learn and keep charging ahead! As a child my teachers filled my mind with enthusiasm and soul with optimism. As I grew up my mentors encouraged my adventures and provided me the support to realize my goals.
I am born into a happy altruistic upper middle class family. My father, Dr. Nehru S Baratam, is a Nephrologist and my mother, Sujata, is a housewife. I am the eldest of the siblings and I have a younger brother, Praneeth, and a younger sister, Himaja. My childhood was blissful thanks to my parents and siblings. My father has always been encouraging of my adventures and supported me all through. Two years back I got married to Srilakshmi, my lovely better half, who filled my life with joy and happiness ever since. I couldn’t have done anything in my life if not for my family.
My views on India Technical development
Now there are several aspects to this situation and it is definitely improving. Many often quote the poor startup ecosystem in response to this question which sounds pretty shallow to me. Startup ecosystems do not start with firms investing huge piles of cash on aspiring entrepreneurs; they start with few passionate mavericks who defy all logic, work on ideas with no obvious markets and create magic with ingenuity and hard work. Hewlett Packard, Apple, Microsoft, etc. started this way and laid the foundation for many to follow. I believe we also need some passionate mavericks to show it to everybody that we can create magic too. I think we should stop chasing established markets such as e-commerce, social media, etc. and work on unique ideas. Talkonomy is one such experiment that helps people explore new grounds, share thoughts and build on their own ideas.