Hari is a Senior Director of Engineering at Salesforce. He is part of the Einstein Analytics Group and his work involves empowering thousands of startups and successful companies at scale by democratizing big data, analytics, artificial intelligence. He is passionate about bringing positive change to society with the help of technology and business. Hari is a frequent guest at The Investors Podcast and share his thoughts on his blog bitsbusiness.com.
In this interview, Hari talks about his journey and experiences in self-learning and investing over the years.
Safal Niveshak (SN): Please share about your background and your education.
Hari Ramachandra (HR): I come from a small town (now it is a bigger city) Mysore. My father was a government employee, a civil engineer by profession and a musician by hobby, I grew up in an atmosphere where art and education were equally valued. My father is a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi and spent his evenings and weekends teaching “Bhagavad Gita” to adults and kids in Mysore and nearby villages. His principles and philosophy have had a lasting impact on me.
I started my career as a Mechanical Engineer. I was fascinated by robotics, however over time I was drawn towards software engineering. It was 1998 and Internet was the new big deal. I quit my secure job at Wipro Infotech as a design engineer in their printer division to join a small internet startup in my hometown. I had to take a large pay cut, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It gave me the experience of running a business from sales, customer relations to software development. I was exposed to the world of business and deal making through my CEO and founder. I got to travel with the sales team and present to key customers. I learnt first-hand the challenges in selling products and the importance of customer satisfaction. I had to present at multiple events to small and big audiences. I practiced intensely to overcome my nervousness. This experience has helped me immensely throughout my career.
After working for some time in the startup world, I realized the immense opportunity and promise the Internet had and wanted to play in the big league. Hence, I set my eyes on the United States of America. Thanks to some of my good friends, who encouraged me to pursue higher education in the US, I landed here in 2000 for my masters’ in computer science.
Timing wise, it could not be worse. Few months after I registered for my masters, the dot-come bubble crashed and with that my dreams and those of many students like me were shattered. There were mass layoffs and companies stopped sponsoring H1B visas, which was essential for immigrant students like me to work in the US. I was lucky to be selected for a fellowship offered by IBM in collaboration with my University, which helped me sustain myself till I found a IT consulting company to sponsor my H1B.
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