Dheeraj Pandey, Chairman & CEO Nutanix, in conversation with Bejul Somaia, Managing Director, Lightspeed Venture.
To executives who are currently employed in companies – it’s an inner calling, a certain gut feel and you know that it’s time to startup. And only the individual would know when the time is right. It is important to realise that when one quits a job to do something large, it is essentially asking all the family members to sign up, and the opportunity cost is often huge. A professional colleague had once remarked to Dheeraj that fatherhood prepares an individual to cope better with the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. It’s always about seeking that “average line.”
Increasingly, everything is becoming software and there’s a distinct need to bring this convergence to the masses and build everyday applications accordingly. That’s why the design element is so important. What would the application do? The developer should be able to see it from the user’s point of view. It’s the hardware which is getting disrupted and not the OS. The applications sit atop the OS.
He had an interesting point to make about culture. “No one and repeat, absolutely no one is above the law” and building the right corporate culture is about doing the right things to empower people at the grass-roots. Especially the attitude towards salespeople. At the end of the day they are human beings too. They have feelings, insecurities like everyone else. Also, one needs to constantly benchmark against the very best in the industry. It is most important NOT to take shortcuts while hiring people. At the same time, it is important to realise that better people may come with a lot of attitudinal problems which ultimately leads to a lot of negativity. The “I, me, myself” syndrome is often a red flag at the time of interviews. There will be tough moments when one has to let go of individuals and such discussions are never easy.
He mentioned about “not getting too deep in the froth of unicorns.” This applies to choosing who your colleagues will be, and includes investors as well. It is essential to choose investors keeping an eye for the long-term. “Authenticity” is his favourite word. It cuts across the value chain. So what exactly is authenticity? It’s about taking self-righteousness out of honesty, and adding vulnerability to the equation. Authenticity = Honesty – self-righteousness + Vulnerability.
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