The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2008 - issue > How I Got Where I am Today

In Pursuit of Techno Nirvana

Priya Pradeep
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Priya Pradeep
It may seem true that he is programmed to be a programmer. At the age of ten his father brought home a small Zilog computer. Bharat Vijay then plugged the computer into the TV and started working with it. Nobody taught him ‘how’, but he intuitively figured out a lot about computing and indulged in programming without knowing the actual working of a computer. As a teenager, the 13 year old wrote software for a pinball game using BASIC. The game became so popular, that the much older engineering students at BITS Pilani, Rajasthan played it with gusto. Technology was a magnet for him, that later dictated the course of his career in it.

Wedded to Code

Now Bharat operates from Bangalore, at the Palo Alto, California headquartered Ugenie.com, which is a provider of online shopping services, as the Chief Technology Officer since August 2006. According to him this is the closest he has come to his longing to work in a “Made in India Start-up”, having the focus to address a global market. A product built here, steered by Bharat, is the iRead, which is the leading books community application on the social networking site, Facebook. It addresses the “me too” instinct of people, wherein different people would like to get in touch with each other and share news on what books they have read or what movies they have watched. If you need five books, Ugenie’s proprietary product scours the Net for the best prices for the combination of your choice from different sources or retailers online. The listing of the minimum prices is presented which includes shipping and tax costs. At present one million users worldwide use the application. The Indian developers who made this happen, under the aegis of Bharat, were voted among the top 10 developers on Facebook in 2007. Appreciation is pouring in for the Ugenie team, its founders and Bharat. To reach where he is today, he had to go through his share of struggles and cross many milestones in the last 20 years of his career.


When Bharat was doing his Masters’ in Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he took up two jobs to take care of his educational expenses. The struggle was made acute by a niggling health issue at that time. However, Bharat has always celebrated his struggles. His success mantra? “I don't consider myself very smart, I am just relentless. I chase struggles and never take my eyes off the current objective,” answers Bharat.

Though the highs in his life seem to be in full flow now, there were despondent moments too. At his first job at Oracle, Bharat fell victim to overconfidence. After testing a product for 36 hours he felt super confident that the product would work that he didn’t bother doing a final test and ultimately shipped the product. Unfortunately there happened to be a defect in the master copy. The company lost a considerable amount of money. Then something incredulous happened. His manager took the blame for the entire episode on himself though privately he chastised Bharat. That was a revelation for him, as he learnt that the team lead ought to bear the heat if anything misfired even though it’s the subordinate’s folly and if there is a happy outcome of the team effort, then the good tidings ought to be credited to the team. “My path to the top was dotted with innumerable struggles. For instance, after the goof up at Oracle my manager gave me as the next assignment a project not done by anyone else before.” Bharat was told that this project was crucial and its result would determine his future at Oracle. He was given a two-week ultimatum. Nearly at the end of the two-week period, on the last day to be precise, he was given a manual of 500 pages and he had to read it cover-to-cover to complete the project.

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