While customer acquisition was happening at a fast pace, we needed to build physical infrastructure – the office lent to us by Siddhartha was, after all, only good for 14 people. So we all looked around and settled for a lease of a new structure that the Brigade Group of Bangalore was constructing. It was a bare concrete structure.
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We decided to name it "MindTree House 1" and approached old friend and architect Prem Chandavarkar of Chandavarkar & Thacker Architects to design the interiors. We gave him the theme of Imagination, Action and Joy – our DNA - to be depicted in the design and execution of the interiors. In the final stages, we decided that while Imagination and Action were adequately reflected in the décor, the place lacked Joy. So, Prem roped in Sujata Keshavan, the Yale educated founder and designer of Ray+Keshavan – a design house from Bangalore. We requested her to use the art of children with cerebral palsy and by blending it with digital design, she created an unusual work place. The result was magical.
The friendship with Prem and Sujata endured through the years and we worked together in creating two more facilities in Bangalore. When The New York Times wrote a cover story on MindTree, their photograph showed the brilliant interiors created with the work of differently able children in all its glory and quite aptly, the headline read –"A Different Kind of Company". Business India Magazine judged MindTree facilities as one of the best in the industry. We built them with great affection but at prices that were significantly lower than market costs. These facilities ran like clock work, thanks to a man named Abraham Moses.
Moses was born to a lower middle class Christian family from Tamil Nadu. After high school, he enlisted in the Indian Air Force. After his first day in boot camp, he realized that it was not his place and literally ran away. After many twists and turns of fate, he came to Wipro as an "office boy" – a term he severely disliked. For him, running errands was not the problem; earning respect was the issue. When I took over as chief executive of Wipro's Global R&D, Moses and I struck up a great relationship. To me, running a Six Sigma infrastructure was the pre-cursor of writing Six Sigma code. I respected him for how he kept the facility spick and span. Equally impressive was his involvement with an organization I had co-founded – it was called "Technologists for Social Action". Through this volunteer work, we engaged with children with cerebral palsy, and orphanages as well as a home for the destitute that the Missionaries of Charity ran.
Moses and I had a pact. If ever I started something on my own, he would have to take care of the administration and facilities. In a subsequent interview to a magazine, Moses recalled that when I actually gave the call to arms, he had no clue what MindTree's business was going to be, where the money was to come from and what his role was going to be. He just joined with no questions.
People who demonstrate high emotional security build organizations. They have stuff in them from which faith derives its strength. It is what gives people courage to take on impossible tasks and accomplish extra-ordinary things in life.
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