Nishit Jain, Technical Leader at Media magic technologies shares his experience of moving to a startup after working with large companies and why it turned out to be a good decision for him.
Key takeaways from the episode
- My journey started from big company and well-known brands so when I decided to join a startup the second time I was a bit skeptical. But when I joined my company, I was like wow!
- I can wait for the right candidate instead of jumping to hire someone who is not a good fit as one bad fish can spoil the entire pond.
- The most important thing is ‘communication’ and I not only communicate with my team members, but also with other employees in the company.
- I am motivated by challenges. When at times I don’t have any challenges, I create them myself to keep me motivated.
Some important questions convered in the interview
- How did Nishit make a move from a large organization to a startup at the peak of his career?(01:21)
- How to find and retain the right candidate for his startup?(12:27)
- Was changing his platform based on the available resources?(11:07)
- How does Nishit contribute towards building the right culture in his organization?(12:27)
- How Nishit kept himself and his team motivated?(14:33)
Here’s the full transcript
Meetul(00:34): Sometimes the attempt towards going to a startup is deliberate some time you know you stumble upon that and seems like your journey was later you know type as opposed to the previous one. Do you want to tell us deliberate about the journey and how did you get started and how did you come about to join the startup?
Nishit(00:53): Yes so, My journey started with bigger companies well-known brands. But I was kind of forced to shift, I got an upon the bad opportunity to join a startup and that was the first time I was forced but second, was calculated decision to join a startup again.
Meetul(01:21): But what is interesting for me was that you know that you start to know larger companies and there were layoffs so the division got shut down and that essentially you know kind of forced into looking into a different opportunity and you started with a startup. So, many people in general would way move more risk averse in that situation but you chose to take even bigger risk with that shut down into an opportunity to join a startup.
Nishit(01:52): So, the first thing was I wanted to shift in the technology space itself and that point I was somehow done with the multimedia background that I was coming in , I wanted to expand myself I was getting that opportunity And secondly I got to see that it’s a startup but it is almost hundred around people out there, It’s kind of big enough company, It’s not that small and as well as it is surviving. It’s since last five years. So, I got little more confident it was not so difficult for me to really be scared of joining his small company as well as was motivated by some of my relatives as well who have their own startups in Pune. I was motivated by them as well. At that point, I was the little bit, at the back of mind I was a little bit skeptical but then as soon as I got into the company and got to understand base at which they were working I was wow! It was good to wow seriously.
Meetul(03:18): In India, it’s a phenomenal place in a way that everybody’s entrepreneur but nobody wants to take a risk and especially like your domain which is so specialized hardware in embedded systems, there are fewer number of companies that are essentially doing that and there are fewer number of opportunities exist in that. How you did even decided that you know this is the company I want to go and work for. This is the area I want to take a chance and I’m sure there was a lot of pressure from families you know close as well as long-distance family, everybody wants to participate in that.
Nishit(04:02): Yes there was some pressure from the family. But then for me, it was like I want to try at that point. I was thinking maybe it doesn’t work out will go back Pune or Bangalore, at least I will get some job there also and there were a little bit immediate concerns from family but I was able to convince them.
Meetul (04:47): The startup that you join the particular startup and for personal reasons, you had to come back and take care of the reason the personal reasons and then you choose to even join a smaller startup that not because you were taking the larger risk than that. So, progressively you have done to simulate journey from a very large company to a large company two largest startups to very emerging startup.
Nishit(05:16): In this case, it was like the emerging startup as such, it was again working since last three years and by the employee, size was very small. So, there were a couple of factors for me to decide. The first thing was the domain, I was coming back to my own domain that I was very comfortable for the second was that kind of roles and responsibilities was offered, I was supposed to be on my own, given free hand and the kind of challenges that I saw because I was in the domain for some many year. This is not going to be easy. So, I could force those challenges.
When I was on my own I could fairly see that it there’s is nobody to hold my hand. I have to be on my own. I have to be more and it’s a serious business .Thirdly I look at the business side of the company operations and I was fairly satisfied the way the model they were adapting to survive was amused by that as well. So there was an important factor like I consider seriously was vicinity to my home in Pune. So I have my flat in Aundh and my company is also in Aundh, it’s hardly two kilometers from my place. I said Wow! I don’t want to waste my time in commuting. So, even if I’m compromising a little bit here and there on any other thing it will be Compensate already for saving my time which I can spend with family or company, it’s all in my hobby. It was a very calculated decision.
Meetul(07:30): You were employee number one, there was nobody else and then you just build this from scratch which is not easy for any company. But of course, it’s not easy for four startups in general. How did you end up doing that? how did you end up building the team and finding that what works and what doesn’t work when the time is a luxury you cannot afford.
Nishit(07:56): Well, Of course, I had to take little extra affords to interview a lot of people, a short listing lot of profile, interacting with my HR on regular basis driving them on to get a correct profile. Of course, there were a lot of technical discussions which we had, one on one interview everybody, there were multiple rounds of interviews we had, it is a tricky thing to get right people. We sat and decided on what is a priority, what are the most important things and lesser things. The first thing that we must have is a very technical background; the technical background which I need for my kind of work was kind of different from the others. So, I need this thing. That’s fair enough, and we get you through these things. We hardly use to get one off for next round and out of one were not sure that they will turn up. So slowly and steadily I understood how my seniors are rejecting and my manager was this criterion. Now I already incorporated those things into my interview process. So, we slowly decide to hire fresher and some good response from them, as in term of working energy.
Meetul(09:59): You have to go through what getting 180 interviews or something to find three candidates. And the reason for by no stretch of the imagination and going 280 candidates will find 3 leads. It’s crazy. But the reason you invested so much time effort and energy and money I’m sure is that you want to have the initial founding team to be the best possible as a foundation.
Nishit(10:26): True, so, unless we have that we can’t functions, we are someone, we may survive 3 months or 6 months but beyond that point what, we can’t really afford to lose our resources cheap.
Meetul(10:43): But on the other side as we are talking about you know like time is a luxury you don’t have and if it takes six months for you to find out two candidates.
Nishit:(10:53)It’s okay for me, see one bad fish can destroy the complete pond I don’t want that bad fish in my pond.
Meetul(11:07): The other approach that in general end up seeing is that people tend to change the platform you know based on the resources they’re finding. We have done that and I think that we find a good resource and we’ll change our platform decisions based on that. Have you thought about doing that, are you stuck to your guns and this is what it is and if I find it great if not I will wait.
Nishit(11:38): We don’t need to do that because fortunately, we have enough resources to figures out things on whatever platform we are supporting. In a time of crisis, I can wait. It come down to business and have to pay him , whoever I’m bringing in and it’s serious business and so can’t just keep saying to my client that I have lost my resource and I’m hiring a new one and I can’t go infinitely to that process I need my person to be died shot for my work.
Meetul(12:27): So, there’s one thing about hiring the best candidate, another thing is about retaining back. The other major challenge how do you go about making sure that you know you’re retaining these people and building the culture as part of core team right.
Nishit(12:45): Well, Culture calls in from greater effort from HR. Of course, we are there, we are always apart. Well, I’m not saying that I’m not building the culture. But the policies and the ideas from there primarily, they do a lot of team building activities. We have a gong which we hit, if somebody does a good thing, he needs to hit the gong and everybody clap then and we share it but it brings in like ‘next time we have to hit the gong’, People are starving just to hit the gong and working hard. , we have the built upon us of those appreciations everybody doesn’t there we all want to appreciate other guys. So if somebody helps somebody he is immediately appreciating it and those are small things, I believe the biggest thing is communicating, the more you communicate with the team or in general with everyone else. It’s not just about communicating with my team but with all members of the team, whether they are affecting or not. Why because I do it, the culture is set, the other team members are motivated to talk to others.
Meetul(14:33): So, while our conversation you told me this interesting story about how you keep yourself motivated.
Nishit(14:45): To me it is like as Long I have challenges I’m motivated, I have something to do I wake every morning just to get solutions to my problems, where I’m sleeping if I have not solved the problem, It keeps me on in morning, when I wake it’s there in my head how I gone solve this problem what should I do? Sometimes, I can’t sleep why because I have not solved the problem. So, as long as I have challenged it to keep me motivated. Secondly, of course, you have to be in your domain, I have defined an area where I need to be excel as long as I’m working toward that target, As long as I’m working toward that target I’m setting those target and I know where I have to reach five years’ timeline. You cannot be motivated unless you have your aim, your objective, short-term as well as long-term in all term, what I have to do in one month, 6 months and in a year, 5 years down line and 10-year down line. I have to set up the target.
Meetul(16:04): And apart from that as you said you create challenges for yourself to keep yourself motivated.
Nishit(16:07): True. So, at times industry is such that today I may have enough of challenges but tomorrow I may not. In that situation how do I keep myself motivated and propose things? I squeeze out time so, I know that I can finish off certain work in six hours and I finish off and generate ideas. And how do utilize ideas in my domain so I do propose a lot of things and create ideas? For examples, we have IT admin in our company, but then I just poke my nose there what are doing? How are you doing this? I eventually set up entire Wi-Fi space, he was struggling to do that but we did it! .So, Creating challenges Yes it is necessary. ‘To keep motivated, it necessary at times to create our own problems.
Nishit Jain with 12 years of strong industry experience in Multimedia domain (Audio, Video codecs, Multimedia Frameworks), Embedded systems, Wearables, IoT and Home entertainment domains, his experience is gathered from both Industry biggies of the likes of Samsung and Imagination, to the small startup companies. Having completed his M.Tech. from IIT Guwahati in a niche domain of Signal Processing, with above experience, along with a highly focused, self-motivated and performance-driven attitude, very strong programming, technical, communication and leadership skills, he puts himself forward at the center of this fast-paced industry.
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