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Minutes of CXO Meet

11 December 2008 7 Comments

Special thanks to Lewin Sivamalai for the following write up.

Panelists (Name, Batch, Present Company, Other details)

Praveen, 1987, Intel ( President), PhD in Texas

Chandramouli, 1979, Machino, IIMC

Ravi, 1975, Mercury, IIMA

Jessie Paul, 1992, Wipro (CMO), IIMC

Raj, 1985, ADC India (MD), IIFT

Moderator: Ramesh, 1979, 4 startups

Each person was given 4-5 mins to speak, share his/her experiences and then then there was a Q and A session. After each person spoke Ramesh summarized the persons talk in 2-3 sentences.


He spoke about the 3 turning points in his life:

  1. When doing his MS in UT Austin, though his friends advised him against doing a thesis, Praveen went ahead and did a Thesis on Satellite communication. It helped him learn technology better and in fact it spurred him to go on and do his PhD! The Challenge was to solve problem that others did not know how to solve. And then joined Intel and has been there till date.
  2. In Intel, the feedback in his probationary review was that he had good people interaction skills!! Praveen was surprised because he being a PhD strived to showcase his technical skills and he was surprised that he was being appreciated for his soft skills. This was another turning point as this helped him take a management career. (He also led the team which developed a chip completely from India)
  3. And to face the “cut throat” competition at Intel, he had to differentiate. He accepted the management ladder. He had to go thru various experiences. For eg: When he was supposed to meet a minister he was made to wait a long time. He was wondering that why a PhD should wait for a minister but accepted that this comes with the job and he has go thru these experiences. So now he is the President of Intel India.



“Not being a specialization was my specialization” 🙂

  1. He wanted to be a design engineer
  2. Joined TELCO but was literally pushing trucks! Went all over India and learnt various languages though.
  3. Then went to IIMC
  4. After that he joined the ponds technical division.
  5. After that got into manufacturing.
  6. Then joined Amtrex (Hitachi). Here Amtrex wanted to start a new business in commercial refrigeration. This was like an entrepreneurship activity within the company (intrapreneurs) . So he took up the responsibility and it was one of his greatest learning experiences. He realized that every business has a sunrise and a sunset phase. We need to handle all this.


He spoke about the choices he had and the decisions he took.

  1. After his Chemical engineering, he had two choices MS in US or IIMA. His parents were against MS, so he decided to join IIMA (but I think MS was his first preference?). His Dad even commented “you will forget chemical engg and sell soaps!!”
  2. After IIMA, he took up sales – getting his feet wet!
  3. One day he read a book ‘How to win customers’ by Heinz Goldman. He was so impressed / inspired by his book that he immediately wrote to the publishers asking them forward his message of asking Heinz Goldman to start a business in India. He was able to get thru after many persistent attempts

So his basic message was “ Do only premium stuff”, Plan “long term”, “ Never build business out of relationships, build relationships out of business”.

Jessie Paul

“The job of Marketing is to make selling redundant” – Drucker  

  1. Came to REC for interview. Her parents did not know. She was very sure she wanted to do CSE at REC. She talked her way thru to REC.
  2. Then after graduating she joined TATA ELXSI. She was selected as the interviewer felt that she spoke very well! But the decision to join ELXSI was on a monetary basis as it was paying well. She taught C, Unix to some guys from small towns as part of her job…
  3. She realized programming not her cup of tea. Joined IIMC.
  4. After IIMC she joined O&M. This decision was not monetary though.
  5. Everybody advised her to take up a sales position but she was sure she wanted marketing only. She even applied to Software companies asking for marketing jobs! Infy offered her a technical position! Because of the demand for s/w engg. She said she is an MBA from IIMC but instead Infy wanted her as she was a CS engg.
  6. But finally she was able to land at a marketing job. And now she can proudly say that she is one of the very few people who have “10+ years experience in IT serviced marketing!!”. Its all about being convinced what you want and chasing your dream.
  7. In order to avoid getting into the one-dimensional trap she blogged, read books, took up theatre etc.
  8. She said Networking is also very important.


“ you can learn something even from a bad boss” 

  1. He did not want to do Boolean algebra so took up production at RECT.
  2. His first entrepreneurial venture was to sell beer in college (during Festember!). Made a lot of money. It opened his eyes to the world of business.
  3. When Mahindra and Mahindra came to college for recruitment, they wanted only Mechanical engineering but he constantly was behind them and convinced them that a Production fellow can do a equally good job if not better! and he got selected.
  4. Then he went to TVS. There he had a bad boss. Frequently he and his boss were at loggerheads. He even threw his Badge down ! (this is never done at TVS).
  5. Then he moved on to IT (on friend’s advice). When he was with Sonata he helped them win the bid for distribution of Microsoft products.
  6. He also was with Infy for sometime in a product management role.
  7. Then he took his next big decision in life and gave up his stock in Infy and joined Yantra (a startup).
  8. He also co founded Kshema technologies.
  9. His funda is that if you are excited then you can work long hours and you can learn even from bad bosses.

Some learnings shared by panel during the Q&A session

  1. Take feedback.
  2. Learn by trial and error.
  3. Always have childlike curiosity
  4. Job of CXO – to manage ambiguity. Instead of treating them as ambiguities, see if there are commonalities.

Short term Vs long term?

Process Vs people?

Market share Vs profitability etc.

  1. Continue to be an entrepreneur even in a salaried job.
  2. Love the customer, love the product, not the money.
  3. Entrepreneurship is a mindset.
  4. What not to do or any other imp lessons

      don’t ignore customer, don’t ignore financials, don’t take a functional bias (be ready to explore any functional domain) have a holistic approach

      never allow authority to exceed influence

      never stop learning

      your next decision should always help you move closer to your destiny

      Don’t stay with success

      Don’t hesitate to ask ( help, advice etc)





  • Bhaskar said:

    Different people have different ways. Some take things as they come, some prefer to do things so as to pursue their dream. Its interesting to see a write up of these people.

    Good post

  • Anonymous said:

    good post after a long time 😛
    thanks for posting this.

    – bandar’s alter ego

  • Mahesh said:

    very interesting to read these posts – as they say getting the experiences of such successful people right “from the horse’s mouth” is in itself a wonderful experience,

    thanks for sharing this with us..

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  • Prashant said:

    Wonderfully put down… Iam amazed that all the pertinent
    points have been noted and reproduced exactly.,.,

    Hats off to the observatory skills… 😉

  • me said:


  • bandar said:

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    uska blog ban gaya super fine.


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