I have given my interview to Uma (Friend and colleague for 2.5 years in Vimukti). Actually I wanted to take her interview, but as anyone who knows her can guess she instead offered to take my interview. And here it is. I hope get her interview very soon.
Uma: Who is the person influenced you most in your childhood? And how?
Rajesh: I have very poor memory of my childhood, I only remember it as some written facts, not as a feeling like others do. So basically it is my brother Ramesh, who has influenced me the most. He is a book warm, he reads all kinds of books, and he used to share that knowledge with me. Even I used to read some books inspired by him. We used to go to our village library and sit there for entire day some times. This is when he comes home from his residential school in summer.
Uma: what kind of books you used to read?
Rajesh: Mostly stories I think, I don’t remember much. I used to read some novels too after 7th to 10th. I remember once, I has fight with my brother and I destroyed a book ‘shadow magic’ which he brought from library, I think my mom paid fine for that. It is in my 5th or 4th class. I did read that book too.
Uma: How was your years in school? what kind of environment you have in school? friends? games?
Rajesh: From 1st to 7th I studied in govt school in my village. After 7th we shifted to a private school as my mother joined as teacher there. In village I think I used to be 2nd in class always, I never used to read much, when exams are near, I would as my mother to read book to me, and I just used to listen once. Games yes, all outdoor games, like golis, bachas (not sure if you know them). After 7th games used to be cricket etc, but I concentrated more on my own stuff like electronics and computer(we used to have a class for it)
Rajesh: I don’t remember before 7th, after 7th we have some 2 to 3 friends. but it is never like a gang.
Uma: What you wanted to become from childhood?
Rajesh: I don’t know, I don’t remember. When I was in diploma I want to become a ‘sanyasi’ and go to Himalayas. Before that I don’t remember anything. I used to top in Maths and Science in my school, but never thought of what to become, I thought to doing a lot myself like buying computer, building electronic stuff etc.
Uma: If you think about your college days now, what is the first thing you remember?
Rajesh: It will be my roommate called Dora babu, when I am in 1st year he is in 3rd year struggling with his backlogs. After that my electronics projects, Electronics For You book which I used to go to library every month and read it for whole day. I do not have much social contact those days(even now I think)
Uma: What was your first job? how did you build up your career?
Rajesh: I bought my first computer when I am in diploma 2nd year, I convinced my mom that if she provides money, I will do software projects and get lot of money back. (which never happened while I worked on that computer). I learned Java in summer 1999 along with my brother, (java 1.0) and in that process we decided to write a Hindi language chat program where we can type in phonetic and we display hindi text on screen, We did that (actually it is very complex, as there is no support of Hindi font, I have made little images of Hindi script and write an algo to fit them together as we type), So I needed a place to test it, You can not test a networking program in the same system, So I asked permission to use computers in a sugar factory and used to go there very day and work on my program.
Then my first employer came there for projects from that sugar factory, they saw my work and asked me to come to Hyd. I came here and worked as lab assistant (help btech students with Java and other stuff) while I did learn a lot of programming there, Java, C++, Perl, Shell scripting etc. I used to live with those people.
After that we decided to start our own(with my brother) and we went to Vizag and tried to lot of stuff (wasted lot money too). In the end in 2001 we came back to Hyd and formally registered Vimukti. And since them I am working in Vimukti.
Uma: How is your current business? do you satisfied with what you have done?
Rajesh: We made lot of mistakes, we always wish we never made them, but we do, and it is a process. We have been a startup every year since then, even now Vimukti is just a startup. Never had any established business in last 11 years. But because what I know I am capable of doing, I am very happy now.
Uma: what are the learnings from those mistakes?
Rajesh: We did bet wrong on mobile, we did not watch industry properly, we did not get connected to others etc. We are still making some mistakes because I love what I want to do, not what I has to do ￼
Uma: Tell us about some big achievements in your carrier?
Rajesh: Money wise there are no big achievements. But as a programmer building Collaber is one of the biggest achievement for me. It is a total flop anyway. Making these many mistakes is actually biggest achievement I think. It is not easy to make these many and still survive without jumping to a job. 11 years is a big time, we should have concentrated to what market is saying at that time.
Uma: You read books, online networking& bolgs..so many u follow, why do you think your not aware of market? is their another way to know the market?
Rajesh: I do not read many books, I do read some. And online networking and blogs I was not used to read back then (<2005) after that even thought I read, I did not get proper context or connections to work on what market wanted. After 2007 Collaber, and Mobile etc just dragged us away. I am not sure If I have had chosen different path. Another big thing is, we need to be in the market, we need to know people and connect with them. I am not that kind of person, I think that will always affect me in future too.
For example we could have become world number one accounting software if we had worked in Accounter in 2001 to now. We could have done a lot of big things what other people did. Unfortunately I choose much more complex problem like Collaber.
Uma: What is your definition of love?
Rajesh: Love is a word used to describe next stage of ‘like’. it is like, like too much, and then love.
Uma: What are some of your radical views for which you are not accepted by others?
Rajesh: 1) my definition of love: it provides a way for a person to love more than one person of opposite sex. 2) My views on God: I don’t believe in existence of god. and I think creation of God is the greatest mistake mankind has done. 3) I don’t follow conventions: from childhood to till now, I used to differ with majority always. 4) My view that society does not correct itself, we need to do the dirty job to correct it, else it will affect us too. (even though people may not disagree for last pint, they don’t believe it) 5) My openness: people can not tolerate it.
Uma: in your mother also won’t believe in god? by birth your not following these? yes or no answer
Rajesh: I used to believe in God and that is why I wanted to become a sanyasi. I read books like Ramayana, Bhagavatgitha, Bible and lot of books on vivekananda, But later some how I stopped believing in them. 3rd Point only stayed with me always. all other points came after my diploma. My mother believes in god. Not sure if that is yes or no.
Uma: so upto young age you use to believe in god, after that with some reason you stopped ?
Uma: What is your future goal?
Rajesh: I do not have any particular goal as such, but I have lot of projects in mind that I want to do. As of now I don’t have enough money to risk on those ventures. Almost every week I get one idea to do. So I can say that I want to do 100 things from farming to AI. One of those ideas id to become Education Minister for this country ￼ All my ideas are my goals.
Uma: making any plan to achieve those ?
Rajesh: Yes, I am doing one of the powerful Idea now, if it works, I will get money to do another 10 from the list.
Rajesh: I may jump into politics at some point to achieve that Education Ministry
Uma: I’ll be very happy
Uma: In your view, what are the skills required by a leader?
Rajesh: Vision, Character, Patience, and ability to connect to others.
Uma: What kind of a person you are?
Rajesh: Rational, That one word can describe all my behavior most of time.
Uma: ok thankyou