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T Ashok

T Ashok

Founder & CEO

STAG Software

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The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here
Starting my career in software support helped me understand customers and their expectations. Then I became a developer, architect, manager and then become a tester and then founded STAG Software in the year 2000.
Decisions That Mattered
"Enjoy what you do & Do what you enjoy" has been my guideline. Looking at challenges as opportunities has been rewarding. I encountered testing when the QA engineer testing my code came up with poor bugs i.e. non - bugs. That is when I delved into testing to understand deeply.
Work and Role: Then and Now
As CEO, the key focus is on growing the business, hence it is a multi faceted focus including finance, sales and marketing. In addition to this, as architect of HBT methodology, I am deeply involved in improving and simplifying and evangelizing HBT.

Two Years Down the Line
Winning bigger deals and making a larger impact to customers and the test community.
Changing Days: Lessons Learnt
Twenty six years ago is a pretty long time! Quite a few changes... More thinking before doing then. Now it is quick doing and backtracking.
Depth of knowledge was key then, it seems to be breadth now. Intellect was more important than tools then. Evolution is rapid now, great!
More things to do, more exciting things to do now.
Trends to Watch Out For
Over the last decade and half, I have totally focused on test technologies and methodologies only, which I feel have a significant scope of improvement.
My Advice If You are Starting Out
Be curious. Do not straightjacket anything. Do not be superficial. Be open, always. There is no right, there is no wrong, it is time-dependent. Enjoy every day, have fun.
Books/ Websites I Recommend
I am sure the answers are already known to you thanks to Google!
I have always been inspired by learnings from disciplines other that QA.. For example ted.com is a site that has some amazing stuff.
It is just not knowing more in the area of testing, it is necessary to know about other allied or even disconnected disciplines to expand thinking and innovate and stay inspired.
The Turning Points in My Life
My first interview after college went off well, but I did not get the job as I had strong viewpoints about technology and was very vocal. When I encountered the same company after a couple of years, the same VP-HR interviewed me and asked me only one question "Am I still stuck-up?" > I said "No, I have learnt to see the problem from multiple angles now". I joined them. Key learning: "Be open"

In my second job, I was a hardcore developer and enjoyed architecting and coding. When my code was being tested, a QA engineer filed a bug that read "In the screen that states "Press any key to continue", the system does not transition to the next screen when CAPS LOCK is depressed". That is when I developed a deep hatred for my QA colleague. That is when I decided I need to understand testing and apply my developer's logical mind to it.
Key learning: "Don't crib, do"

The third point was when my previous company was acquired by a larger company and I decided to establish STAG Software. Key learning: "If you are passionate about something, immerse yourself."
What I Learnt Along the Way
"Enjoy what you do & Do what you enjoy'
"Change everyday, evolve constantly - it is the way of nature"
"Deliver only what you are proud of, not otherwise"
"Believe in yourself"
"Never lose the child within you - Be curious always"
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