Kamran, Scott, Kalyan and Rostow
This narrative is largely sequential. Except in some places where I have taken liberty with timing of certain events. In a way, it is the confluence of happenings that become more pertinent than what happened when. With that disclaimer, let me share with you, how we met with four outstanding individuals who agreed to sign on to our dream and helped shaped the Mission, Vision and subsequent roll out at different stages.
The first in the list is Kamran Ozair. Kamran comes from enviable stock. He came to US as a student and went to the famed Dartmouth College. Among other claims to greatness, Dartmouth gave BASIC language to the world, breaking us free from mainframes and machine languages. After his education, Kamran joined and excelled at Cambridge Technology Partners. He commanded a lot of respect at Cambridge and from their customers as a man who had complete command over technology. Anjan, Kamran and Scott Staples were a team that had worked together in several accounts and developed deep respect for each other. Anjan thought that we should talk to both Kamran and Scott.
My meeting with Kamran in Anjan's study in his New Jersey home was an affair to remember. I had butterflies in my stomach as I made my pitch. For starters, I had no idea whether I was making sense to a man who knew technology and the market place much better than I did. To add to my discomfort, if I failed to impress Kamran, I would fall in the grace of Purba, Anjan's wife and my hostess. Purba was like a little sister whose scrutiny was near total. To continue to deserve her dinners, I had to deliver. Kamran had just arrived after a day's work, all the way from Philadelphia and here I was, making a case for joining. At the end of the presentation, Kamran was in. He said it is not so much the money that mattered. In this venture, he saw the opportunity to create some value some day that could help his motherland to benefit. "If Faith wants me to have money I will have money. If Faith does not, I will notů" Kamran's words will stay in my mind for the rest of my life.
Scott's great grandfather fought the American Civil War. That is about as American a founder as we could ever hope to get! The uniform he wore is on display in the city museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. Scott grew up in a middle class home with many siblings. As a young boy, when all his friends went to work in shops and such like to earn money, he decided that he wanted to do things that add more value. So, he decided that he would paint people's windows. Even at that age, Scott made out his "direct mailer" and actively promoted himself. It was an instant success. Scott delivered more value and made more money than his friends. When he passed school, his father had a small pool of money from his hard earned saving set aside. He called Scott and told him that the pool was good to see him through the first year of college. After that, Scott would have to fend for himself. Scott told his father that he better save that pool for his siblings and that he would work his way through. Scott did that. Below his resume, even today, under the heading "Other Accomplishments", Scott writes "100% financed myself through college".
When we first met in a period restaurant off route 287 in New Jersey, I asked Scott his prime motivation for starting a company, now that he was one of the best billed Sales Managers of Cambridge Technology Partners. He gave me an astounding reason. He said, "Remember when I used to paint people's windows? At the end of a hard day, I would look at my work and reflect 'wow, I did that'. Somewhere I have left that satisfaction, that pride and above all, that stamp of Quality behind. I want to be part of a group that is small enough for us to look at the window and be able to say wow, we done it". After listening to me, Scott agreed to join in as a founder.