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Vinod Kaul

Vinod Kaul

Independent Consultant

Jalaja Technologies

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Vinod Kaul's Advice

Should never be scared of any task

One lesson that I have learnt in my life is that there is nothing that one cannot do. So we should never be scared of any task that has been given ... more>>
Degree that I recommend
Not really, I have realized that degrees/certificates are helpful only at the entry point of our careers. Once you are in the job it is one’s focus and hard work that determines where he reaches.
My strongest skill
I have worked in several functions from technology to strategy. As you would have seen from my brief profile, I have quickly moved to senior management and this was due to my abilities in multitude of roles that I was entrusted. I was known for providing contrarian views that helped the company to ensure that all aspects are covered. My planning and operational skills helped company move on a profitable growth.
Important lesson learned
One lesson that I have learnt in my life is that there is nothing that one cannot do. So we should never be scared of any task that has been given to us or that we take up. Secondly, any work that we set out to accomplish should be done with utmost sincerity and whole heartedly, it will always turn out well.
My role model
There are several that I can think of, but I think at the time and age Sri Sankaracharya came to this earth in the 8th century the task he had cut out for himself was humungous. The way he went about doing it was incredible and achieved so much at a very early age. I think the task of integrating India at that time was so difficult and complex that I think he behaved like a true entrepreneur. So I think he has left a huge example for generations and ages that need to be recognized and possibly replicated.
Initiative to develop a country
India today needs to take lead in developing the world class indigenous products that would be used across the globe not only to bring about economic prosperity but also to place India at the forefront of innovation leadership. India today has the right mix of people with very energetic youth and experienced older generation that have been responsible for countries like US and Japan to lead in innovation cycles. Youngsters need to be encouraged to ideate and take initiatives to build new products and services. This could be done through developing smaller groups of people that should include angel investors, seasoned management professionals, youngsters with ideas and mentors who can serve as guides to these groups. There should be regular informal ideation meetings at coffee shops, residences, quieter pubs/bars to have a close knit meetings among the groups to bond and exchange ideas. I think eminent professors and teachers should come forward to help these youngsters with validating the concepts of their innovation. For a sustained development, continuous innovation is a must and for that the whole ecosystem should come together and then you would see India leading the way in this century. While some of this is true to help India achieve leadership in the Global standing from an external point of view but India would not be truly developed unless and until the farthest and the interior most of the villages enjoys the same prosperity and innovation. As professionals and also citizens of this country it should become prerogative for us to help take the development internally to these places. Models of self-sufficient communities that take care of its own healthcare, water, food, housing, education, etc. should be developed and replicated across the country. Some of the best practices should be taken from across the globe to improve the overall life and hence development of our country. This would complete both the external as well as the internal aspects of the development and hence help India develop truly into a model nation.
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
A leader is not by qualifications but by his qualities. I believe a true leader to be one who can integrate several functions and people to march towards a common goal. A leader need not necessarily know all the areas that are necessary to achieve the goal but should be able to find right people and enthuse them together in a team in spite of their high egos, likes and dislikes. Humility is a must for a leader, ability to accept others who are superior to him within a team and yet driving them together for a common cause is the hallmark of a good leader. Another important trait of a great leader is ability to identify and mentor people beyond himself/herself.
Brief description about me
I am a software professional who started as a programmer and moved on to become the COO for 5 large verticals at Satyam Computer Services managing global operations of about USD 300 M. Most recently I worked as a CEO of a bio-informatics company that I lead to develop four patented products and also won 3 innovation awards. I am also an entrepreneur who started a company for a few of my working friends while I was still in college and grew it to a substantial size for them in a short span of time and then moved into a corporate setup to gain experience of working in a process driven environment. I created another software services start-up in US in 1997 and procured software outsourcing order for over USD 1.5 M to be delivered from our software facility in Hyderabad that I created for this purpose. Currently I work as an independent consultant and am on the board of a few start-ups including those in the technology space.
My family background
My father was a professor of Engineering at a prestigious Engineering college. My wife is a technical director in a tech start-up. My siblings are also from technology backgrounds.

My achievements
While there are several achievements that are largely metric based, such as being part of the core management group at Satyam from very early days; co-founded/founded 3 start-ups; lead and managed the single largest deal at Satyam; help winning some the most marquee customers of Satyam; improved the overall efficiency and productivity of the BU’s through several internal initiatives; while heading the Hitech and Embedded system business unit in Satyam, developed a pilotless car that would navigate and drive without human intervention just using onboard software and hardware built completely by the team within my group that incidentally today google and others are demonstrating after a decade of having achieved right here in Bangalore, I am most proud of working with some of the youngest and most energetic of youths in the company that helped me in understanding the direction in which our country would be leading. I was awed by their enthusiasm and dedication that I had to work hard to keep up with them. I am glad most of them are doing extremely well in various companies across the globe today and wish they would all work towards making India a better nation.
Couple of years from now
I intend to continue to work with start-ups and help them build better products and services and hence a better India.
Influenced by
My father was a professor of Engineering at a prestigious Engineering college. My wife is a technical director in a tech start-up. My siblings are also from technology backgrounds.
Important decision
I think all decisions one takes at any point of time are fine. There will be both pros and con for any decision taken, some turn out fine while others don’t. What is important is ability to go along with any decision taken after it has been taken and making things work. I think that is the key to success. One should not wait for all the things to be right before a decision is taken as it will never be so, one should strive to make things right after a decision is taken and even then if does not turn to be so, one should not get overtly anxious about the outcomes. This way we would enjoy the decision making and thereby the journey of going through it. Either case if it succeeds then you are a leader and if it fails you have a learning for life.
Thoughts on Education system of our country
I think that our educational system is too much academics driven and the emphasis is only on books and syllabus. I feel a lot of emphasis should be given on overall development of the student’s personality like our earlier Gurukul system. I believe, to be effective as individuals, along with academics, students need to learn music, arts, sports, etc. as each of these inculcate different qualities in them that are important for developing the right attitude as they go out in the society. They also help them to become leaders as without empathy, innovation, discipline and decision making that are inherent traits in each of these faculties, the leaders would mere figure heads. Another aspect as I have seen is that very less emphasis is given to the method of approaching a problem, rather our system focuses on the solution itself. I think as people grow out of colleges and schools and go out in the society there are no ready made problems and cookie cut solutions to them. We need to help inculcate in our educational system a method of approaching the problem, then any life situation or a problem can be solved easily.
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