Recap of Episode 1 “சூரரைப் போற்று (Praise the warriors) with Sridhar Vembu
A quarterly conversation series with Founders/CEOs
For the inaugural episode, we invited the Founder, CEO of ZOHO Corp, Sridhar Vembu and, he gladly graced the event. The event saw an impressive 350+ registrants and 37% attending the session live.
You can find the recap of this first episode of “சூரரைப் போற்று (Praise the warriors) below:
The event kicked off with a question from Vasu, our president: Do you remember the exact moment when you decided to start a company? When and Where did it happen? Did you have a business plan written back then?” which took Sridhar back in time to the summer of 1995 in the USA where he used to work as an engineer.
He recalls his shopping memories along with his brother, Kumar Vembu, on the lanes of the US where one can find products only made in China, Taiwan, Japan etc., but not his motherland, INDIA. That was the exact moment that drove him and his brother to India and start a company.
For a PhD holder in engineering with no prior experience in business, Vembu brothers planned to figure a way out along the way. It was after this trade show that Sridhar participated along with his friend, and won a few customers from that, he became more willing to stay in the entrepreneurship path he had taken.
About a question on naysayers and surviving the first few years in the business world, Sridhar advised that entrepreneurs should choose to have a wise circle of people around them and not be threatened by the FOMO (fear of missing out) factors or bothered for not being a part of the” current cool” bandwagon.
The secret mantra from the most successful bootstrapper to the budding entrepreneurs is this – staying disciplined with monies and focus on building the right product. The uncertainties of the product-market fit can be addressed by reframing the former or relocating the latter to adapt to each other.
As the saying goes, “There is always a way.”
Also, speaking on surviving the dotcom bubble burst and the birth of ZOHO from the then AdventNet, Sridhar talked about the challenges he faced when reengineering his teams during those depressing times. His decision-making skills during such unpredictable times and even today largely are backed by his entrepreneur intuition and what he calls a “believable” data.
His learnings from the Japanese economy and visions on building a self-reliant business has transformed ZOHO into one of the most successful and sought-after product companies globally. ZOHO currently employs 9,300 workforce and has 300,000 + customers around the globe.
Sridhar can be often heard saying, “Self-reliant” (Atmanirbhar) and he rightfully walks the talk. His initiatives – ZOHO school of learning to train and employ school dropouts in rural India, build offices to make employees work closer to their homes, build a healthcare facility to avoid rural/urban divide are some of the qualities that truly make him a WARRIOR.
நெல்லுக்(கு) இறைத்தநீர் வாய்க்கால் வழியோடிப்
புல்லுக்கும் ஆங்கே பொசியுமாம் – தொல்லுலகில்
நல்லார் ஒருவர் உளரேல் அவர்பொருட்(டு)
எல்லார்க்கும் பெய்யும் மழை.
Translation: “Even if there is a single good soul out there, that itself becomes the reason for rains to benefit everyone.”
We wish Sridhar Vembu all the best in his future endeavours!