Rostow Ravanan was a consultant with KPMG and then with Lucent Bell Labs, before he joined MindTree as a co-founder. He still remembers the curve of the road to Hyderabad's Hi-Tech city when out of the blue Subroto sprang the question at him. It took Rostow by surprise as it did the others. "I probably took the least amount of time to say yes," says Rostow. Two minutes, about the time it takes to cook Maggie Noodles.
They weren't exactly teaming up to research on culinary arts and crafts. Both understood each other and were pretty excited about this new venture. "The message that came through was that of a focused company with a niche segment and also that it would have a social commitment," explains Rostow on his decision to join hands with MindTree.
As a consultant at KPMG, Rostow had learnt the nitty-gritty of organizations, what make them tick and offered them advice on various issues. 'Enough was enough' he had said to himself. It was time to reverse roles. Time to practice what he'd preached for so long and make those decisions he'd advised others to make. A challenge Rostow wouldn't dream of letting go.
How have things been now that they are two years old? "Mindtree has changed my life irreversibly," adds Rostow. "There's tremendous amount of transparency and each one knows what are the company plans for next year. The fact is that everybody has a right to question. People culture here is different than at other companies."
At Mindtree, everything is planned. Let's add 'meticulously' to that. Meticulous planning is the buzz and everything evolves, revolves around planning. Everything begins to make sense only if its planned and executed properly. So far as customers are concerned MindTree is willing to go that extra mile and significantly, customers come back and tell them they are delivering what they expected. "Our customer approach is different. When we approach a customer engagement we don't start by asking for a project to do. Instead, we ask the customer for a problem he has and we say we'll come back. We then brainstorm and say 'for this customer with this problem, this solution makes sense' and then carry it forward. Ultimately, only if a customer is happy with what you are doing, only then can we build a sustainable business" explains Rostow.
"We've taken small, small steps so far and have a long way to go. But whatever we've done thus far, we've done reasonably well."
Well said, Rostow!