|Ponder for just a moment; ask yourself this question, "What if Information Technology didn’t happen?" Where would thousands of youngsters graduating out of colleges have ended up? In banks? Or as sales reps in pharmaceutical companies; push files in public works departments; mend or build highways, flyovers; or maybe work shifts in a factory producing nuts, bolts or whatever? Perhaps, do the rounds servicing Annual Maintenance Contracts? None earth-shaking, whatsoever.
Not in his wildest dreams could Srivatsa picture himself assembling components in an electronics plant. He's glad IT happened. "I always wanted to be an entrepreneur," says this electronics engineer, the first batch to pass in this discipline from Vijaya College. In fact, his dream of being an entrepreneur goes way back to his high school days, when he‘d scribble on his desk likely names for his company he'd one day own. He dreamt of the day he'd graduate; get himself some years of work experience and the right platform to launch his enterprise.
That was the time when Infosys was making a name for itself as a global player. Srivatsa decided that IT was it. He joined Aptech to train for IT and that's when he ran into Prashant. They hit it off well, and became good friends. Immediately after graduation, he joined Iris Software and Prashant was his boss. "The equation built and two and half years later we were thinking of doing something of our own," says Srivatsa, not realizing that Prashant and Subbu too (who was already in Iris) had similar ideas. But a transition came about. "In 1996, I moved to Wipro in the Software Products Division, but we were constantly in touch wherever we were," reminiscences Srivatsa.
"Wipro was a great learning experience," he says and explains why. "You get to understand the business well and I got good exposure to international distribution, project management and stuff like that. The other important lesson was the culture at Wipro; very honest and very ethical. There was a lot of aggression in the way they did their business. So that was a good combination. I liked that." During his short tenure at Wipro, he noticed that there was enormous emphasis on feedback from employees and they would consider each ones view, and not ignore them. "They had a good appraisal system. I don't know what others thought about it, but I found it very good," he adds.
At Syntax, responsibility is the focus. "We are first-generation business guys. We all come from middle-class backgrounds and none in our family was in business," explains Srivatsa. He continues, "Our experience has shown that given the freedom, responsibility is more valued. Even today, the business plan is not written by me. My Regional Managers make the plan based on market conditions. I believe that if the sales chaps are not convinced of your business plan, half the battle is already lost," he says. It's they who are going to carry it through and they have to be convinced. An example of how ‘freedom with responsibility' works at Syntax.
Srivatsa has a ‘fast track' outlook. He loves driving - not the Formula 1 stuff, that's limited to only watching on TV. In any case, Bangalore roads are meant for heavy duty vehicles – battle tanks, armored cars and road rollers. "I listen to a wide variety of music and I like to trek." Does he have the time? "Not much." he says. With all his traveling and conducting induction programs on weekends, that came as no surprise. And he loves photography. He likes shooting nature, mountains. "I'm very keen on wildlife photography," he says. But for that he would have to spend ‘hazaar hours' to catch even a glimpse of an elephant leave alone a leopard or a tiger.
Srivatsa also mentioned he likes politics. Hopefully, he'll keep a safe distance. Ronald Regan remarked, "Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."