In 2009 my Mumbai-based startup Chaupaati Bazaar used to manage the digital channels for subscriptions of leading Indian magazines. A young IIT Kanpur grad had left his cushy job at McKinsey to join 9.9 Media and turn-around their largest vertical – now the popular technology magazine of India – Digit. He took a chance with us to manage the Digit magazine subscriptions and became my customer. I first met Abhishek Poddar in the corridors of Digit’s office in Connaught Place.
A couple of years later Abhishek went on to do an MBA at Stanford where he caught the deadly virus that is known to infest the Silicon Valley and look for human hosts – the entrepreneurial bug. The party animal that he is he had a one-year stand with the idea of creating an online platform for renting party supplies. After some medication he joined Google and went on to launch Google My Business and Android Pay. He engaged deeply with small business merchants created seamless consumer experiences under varying external conditions worked closely with Google Maps web services & interfaces created easy-to-use APIs for third party integrations and successfully took these simple-on-the-outside-complex-on-the-inside products to market.
When my HyperTrack co-founder Tapan and I started our year in San Francisco in January we had a chance meeting with Abhishek at Blue Bottle Coffee at the Ferry building a nostalgic landmark for all three of us for one reason or another. One thing led to another and last week Abhishek packed up his bags and moved back with his wife to New Delhi for good to join us and lead the HyperTrack product.
My mentors taught me to always hire people better than myself but it has been easier said than done. I remember my first instinct – but then what will I do if they do what I do only better; then my second instinct – even if I agree why would they agree to work with someone worse. Since then it has been a journey to internalize the tenet. Now I find myself preaching to entrepreneurs and managers “our job is to obsolete our own jobs”. If we succeed in doing so the organization grows and we grow.
Today I feel extremely fortunate that Abhishek has taken a chance on me a second time and a fellow entrepreneur has taken a leap of faith with other entrepreneurs at HyperTrack. I finally have one more person in the team who doesn’t code (making us over-capacity for year 2016) and look forward to tag teaming with him on building a product that customers love around the globe.
Read more about us and our team here.
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