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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.

May - 2008 - issue > In My Opinion

Technology innovation: the future belongs to the passionate

Raju Vegesna
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Raju Vegesna
Currently working as the Chairman & Managing Director of Sify Technologies, Raju Vegesna is a serial technology entrepreneur with a multi-decade series of successes. Prior to Sify, he was the founder and CEO of ServerEngines, an industry leader in network and storage convergence products. Raju founded ServerWorks Corporation in 1994 and made ServerWorks as one of the leaders in computer chipsets, commanding a 90 percent market share in the x86 server chipset markets. He spearheaded the creation of the HyperSparc processor at Ross Technology and while at his time at Motorola as Engineer, he created the microcode for Motorola's 68030 processor and the specification for the 68040 microprocessor. He holds a Master's degree in computer engineering from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in electronics engineering from Bangalore University. His Raju Vegesna Foundation funds programs to address the availability of clean water and education for communities in need.

One often finds that passion is something associated with the liberal arts and fields such as advertising, publishing, singing and theatre. But, passion and technology? People generally do not seem to associate the two. Yet, most technology breakthroughs were possible because people who had the passion to experiment developed their ideas to fruition. Lest this be quickly dismissed as an individual phenomenon not associated with the technology industry, let me point you to a company that defines passion in technology: Apple, or Google, for that matter. It has also been my experience in managing tech startups, and larger IT organizations, that passion in people makes a fundamental difference to the results.

How does it work? Well, in a chip design startup pitted against the might of Intel, we found that what made us competitive was the passion we were able to instill in our people. To begin with, we hired for attitude and developed skills in them. The attitude was fanned into a passion to excel at whatever they did. We were able to out-design Intel, develop relationships with customers that were deeper and long lasting and mature processes faster for better products. It cuts across the board. Here is an example of a product company that was able to compete successfully against a dominant leader to gain a commanding market share for their products.

Services companies with motivated employees usually offer a better service experience for customers. This is usually the case with airlines and hotels amongst others. However, what about the software or network service companies? Here again, people associate passion with the customer facing aspects of the business ? sales or account management. In my experience, the technology development teams and network management teams often exhibit the most passion! The result shows in higher service quality levels, better process management, higher levels of customer satisfaction, and higher retention levels. It works equally well with the applications development teams. Faster development times, faster process maturity, a team that is continually learning and evolving, better team spirit, and higher retention levels. So, it works equally well for both hardware and software organizations in the IT industry!

If this is true, why is passion not easily associated with the technology industry? I suspect that's because technology companies began with entrepreneurial engineers who hired for engineering ability and looked for serious minded, intellectual people. This was a serious business they felt, one that would change the world! Companies like Intel, Microsoft, IBM, HP, and Oracle led the way. Only Apple positioned itself as a cool, consumer friendly company that was passionate about what it did as opposed to having a serious intent that is common with the larger players. "How did they succeed then?" you may well ask. My hypothesis is that while the companies were started and run by serious people, they hired legions of young engineers who were passionate about what they did! This became evident as the average age of employees dropped to the late twenties over time. As the numbers grew, companies based on people skills like BPO and call centers were quick to adopt cultures and programs to motivate people and retain them.

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Reader's comments(1)
Posted by: Varish Dwivedi - 13th Aug 2008
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