I recently got my cabin wall at the Kovai.co office decorated with a Mural art by Mamta Singh. I had envisioned the wall to represent my passion, motivation, and aspirations for the future, and she precisely did just that in the artwork.
Our conversation started with her asking what I am most passionate about outside of work. My instant response was cars (generally motors) and travel. In my early days before coming to United Kingdom, it used to be motorbikes. It turned to cars after 2000.
Just to highlight an example to show the level of passion, at the age of 25 when most people would have put their money into buying their first home, I spent my 3 years of savings + credits at that time £25,000 on buying a BMW Z4. Since then every 3 years or so I pushed myself to get a bigger/better machine I can afford. Also, I always have a roadmap of cars I wanted to own in sequence in the future as well.
After having a few rounds of discussion around stories like this, Mamta came up with a design that includes every car I owned, currently own, and wish to own in the future.
With respect to motivation, I wanted to highlight some of the best quotes from top people that have inspired me over the years and some of them have become corner stones of the company’s culture.
We then narrowed down my favorite ones, so the wall, which is the first thing I see when I walk into my cabin, can remind me of why I do what I do.
She has also connected them all through a road with waterfalls, lakes, etc, representing my love for driving, my extensive travel for both work and pleasure, and my entrepreneurial journey. Most importantly it includes many quotes I love and remind myself of almost daily.
Some of the quotes include—
Start with the customer and work backward— Jeff Bezos.
This is a quote I have reminded myself of every day over the past 11 years. Every product we develop must solve a specific problem that the customer is facing. At every stage of development or improving the user interface, it is always good to involve customers and look at the product from the customer’s perspective. Let’s face it, if customers don’t want the product, then it has no point in existence.
Once something is a passion, the motivation is there — Michael Schumacher.
This is something I learned over the years and consistently teach my kids. If you are truly passionate about solving a problem, you will not stop or be satisfied until you do it. I chose to be in Software because I truly enjoy building software products that solve people’s and business problems, I ensure that all the engineers I recruit are also passionate about their fields. Until this day I still work on products and intend to continue.
Running a business is always a marathon and never a sprint, if you don’t truly passionate about it you cannot sustain it for a long period.
“Stay hungry, stay foolish” — Steve Jobs.
One of the challenges after running the business for a few years is, that there is a chance of you becoming complacent with your past successes and stopping taking risks or pushing yourself forward. This quote from Steve Jobs constants reminds me we must constantly be ready to try something new and take risks.
Some of our products have failed, but that has never stopped us from trying to develop new products or expanding rapidly to feed our ambitious long-term vision.
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years — Bill Gates.
This is something I always tell myself and all my colleagues. The quote is self-explanatory. At Kovai.co we are always focused on long-term vision. Today inside the company our discussions are around where want to be in 2030. All of our actions like expanding our Coimbatore office to the state-of-the-art infrastructure and kick-starting new products are all based on the long-term view, it takes time to build quality products.
When we set our goals for a particular quarter or year. I discourage people from bombarding their goals with too many objectives and not achieving them. I instead recommend setting realistic goals, a lesser number of objectives but delivering them with high quality.
On the left side bottom corner is a quote—”Gentlemen, start your engines!”—This is the announcement before every race. To me, this is a reminder that Kovai.co’s race to make Coimbatore a global SaaS hub has begun, and we plan to reach that finish line as aggressively as possible.
At the bottom of the wall is me sipping my coffee in the Kovai.co mug. That image means a lot to me, because this organization is one of my biggest passions and the growth we see now was only possible with the people around it. At Kovai.co, we believe that #TogetherWeGrow.