by Anol (Singapore)
I am Anol, running a company named GetIT for last 6+ years as a CEO, consulting hi-tech and telco clients (Cisco Systems Inc, IDC Asia Pacific, IBM, HP, Datacraft etc.), in the field of New Media Marketing, User Experience Design, E-Learning, Blogs & Virtual Communities, Learning Design & Knowledge Management.
Late 2007, I started another company, VantageLabs. VantageLabs is a Rich Internet Application (RIA) development company and the newest member of the GetIT family. We develop an arsenal of Rich Internet Applications that help individuals, and organizations of any industry and size, create sophisticated and visually engaging rich media content with ease and finesse.
At VantageLabs, I am working as CEO, product manager and strategist.
In my ‘previous life’, I worked as IBM AS/400 programmer and information architect for web media.
I am passionate about harnessing the power of internet as an enabler, connecting people and ideas and driving innovation. My ideas, likes and dislikes you can find at my blog www.soulsoup.net
Once upon a time…
I was born, educated and spend my bohemian teenage in Calcutta (now Kolkata), one of the large cities in India. Coming from a family of bankers, I never thought of running a business of my own. During student life, for me, study was secondary in order of priority. I was more busy and interested in ‘enormously important’ activities like acting (in proscenium group theater), publishing a little magazine and traveling around India by hitch-hiking. After graduation I joined a large IT firm named Pentafour, working as an AS/400 programmer. Got bored soon with the green text and black screen, and after 8 months, with self taught Java and JSP knowledge I joined the wild wild web bandwagon in 1999. But again, as a small cog of a large organization.
When I first came to Singapore (2000) I was working in R&D Teamworks (no longer exists), a moderate to large size company under contract arrangement. This is the time I came across GetIT, a 5 people company ran by a extraordinary person named Laina Greene. The culture, environment, agility and flexibility of GetIT was so mesmerizing, I jumped ship – without thinking much.
By this time, you must’ve guessed, I am not big on planning life and mostly act on basis of gut feel.
It was a real bad time (Déjà vu?) for the IT world, after the bubble burst. We struggled hard, stayed lean (we still are) and extremely frugal. Finally after couple of years we came out of the shadow of crisis. Got some steady clients, specially managed to get into couple of master service agreements, ensuring steady revenue for near future.
My boss and CEO of GetIT, Laina had to settle back in California and was looking for investors to buy out GetIT. Out of many, we found a suitable angel investor, who suggested that he is ready to invest only if management of GetIT take up a substantial share of the company, specially me, as a next in command and to-be CEO. As usual, without thinking much I agreed, so did most of the rest (4 others). We didn?t have to fork out the money at that time and taken it as a loan from the angel himself, which was paid from out performance bonus in consecutive 2/3 years.
We are still doing OK! I don’t drive a Porsche (I never will, I don’t like driving), but making a decent living. I wake up everyday looking forward to go to office. There are bad days, but the freedom and great comradely of my team compensate for that. We are still frugal, may be a carry over effect from the bad days we’ve all seen together.
Last year, we started the second company, VantageLabs, and we are working on 3 exciting new products. I don’t like the concept of destiny. In fact, even destination is not the be-all-and-end-all for me. I am enjoying the journey with my whole heart.
As I didn’t started with a plan, I never gave much thought about it. Why Entrepreneurship? Funny enough, I got the answer from an Epitaph! Few weeks back, I was reading a book on Thomas Jefferson and found out that he designed his own tombstone. It says –
HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
AUTHOR OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
BORN APRIL 2 1743 O.S.
DIED JULY 4 1826
At first, I didn’t get it. Why he didn’t mention anything about being US president, that also twice! Later I realized the actual meaning of it. He didn’t describe his job roles, he was documenting his legacy, what he left behind, in his tombstone.
As for me and millions other ordinary folks, we might never get a chance to leave behind a legacy. We might just be satisfied with a ‘job role’ and one day definitely come to end of life. And when a ‘normal’ person like me die, it seems like as if we never lived…nothing changes in a larger context.
At least, entrepreneurship, gave a meaning to my otherwise insignificant life. I at least got a chance to prove myself. I don’t know if I will be able to leave a legacy or not, at least, I got a chance. Besides, what’s the meaning of life, if there is no impossible dream to achieve?
Bad economic situation? Well, heck… I started my journey in similar situation. That’s the best time to start a new venture. Like a good wave surfer, an entrepreneur should crawl to the mid sea and wait for the next wave to come, and not chase after a wave which is already on its high and soon going to crash. When you start in downturn, you will be at the top when the wave is formed. The economic situation right now is apparently so grim that some experts fear we may be in for a stretch as bad as the mid seventies.
When Microsoft and Apple were founded!