Leadership Insights Chapter 1: Kumar Pratik, MD, GeekyAnts
Leadership Insights Chapter 1: Kumar Pratik, MD, GeekyAnts
GeekyAnts is having its best years, despite the pandemic! Starting as a service company that felt the tremors of the 2009 recession, it bounced back a few years later with the efforts of a bunch of revolutionaries that brought a dead horse back to life. That bunch of idealists now represent GeekyAnts and are spearheaded by Kumar Pratik, the man who started it all, who is also the Managing Director of GeekyAnts.
In my almost three years of working at GeekyAnts, I’ve seen Pratik run a perfectly well oiled machine that has now risen to prominence in the App Development Industry. I had the opportunity to sit with Pratik and discuss the kind of thought process that enabled him to manage such a responsibility with such ease.
The following Q&A has been edited to deliver ease of understanding and clarity.
1. I understand that you were a computer fanatic in your childhood days. How did those events lead to the inception of GeekyAnts?
During the early 90s, I got into computers as a 10-year-old kid. My father, being an early-adopter of technology, bought his first computer for his research work around 1989. I just played a lot of games on it. Back then, there was no internet and the only way to learn new things was books. PC Quest was one of my favourite publications and I learnt Linux from there. Then, the Internet came along and it changed almost everything for me. In 2002, I went to pursue an Engineering Degree and graduated in Computer Sciences.
After college, we started Sahusoft India Pvt Ltd with Sanket and Madhu in 2006, with a vision to provide top quality IT services to companies who needed it and drive digitalization, but we could not survive the recession of 2009 and had to shut it down partially. At the time, I worked as a Software Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, Technology Lead and CTO at different Product as well as Services companies.
In 2012, Sanket, Megha, Atul, Varun & Saurabh revitalized Sahusoft India Pvt. Ltd. and I joined in 2013. We pooled in all of our knowledge and experience, changed things and rebranded as GeekyAnts in 2014. That was the beginning.
2. What was the vision you conjured for GeekyAnts when it was starting out?
The vision behind GeekyAnts was simple. Drive change. Tech changed my life for the better and I wanted GeekyAnts to be an instrument of that change. We’ve always looked to provide excellent and innovative solutions through the use of technology and that is what we are doing today. You can call it Product Development or Client Services. We like to call it ‘change’.
3. What has been the driving force behind you that led you to the position you're in today?
I think my passion for technology is the biggest driving force that has led me to this. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the different communities of the world using technology and this was the best way to do it.
My past experiences led me to wear multiple hats and take care of a variety of functions that are essential for an organization to function. It is the learnings that I got from those experiences that got me where I am today.
4. Did you always envision such a tremendous growth for GA or did you plan for a more 'steady' growth framework?
The sudden rise to prominence of GeekyAnts was an outcome of a series of experiments in the web development space that we started showcasing. It included StrapUI, NativeBase, Open-source and paid Starter Kits etc. The demand generated from these contributions and high-quality deliveries is what led to the growth of the company.
We, as a culture, are always looking for new technologies which excite us and always want to learn. That has been a major role-player in how GeekyAnts has made its place in the industry, and we have always planned our growth based on our gut feelings and the metrics that keep the company profitable while maintaining the very culture that got it there.
5. As an MD, what is the biggest challenge you face while spearheading such a successful organization?
The very natural challenge comes from the fact that every single aspect of a company needs an equal level of attention to detail, which, in itself, is a hard thing to do. The very nature of the job makes me a better person each day, as it teaches me new things and how to solve new problems on the daily. Another big challenge came from the very culture that we are trying to maintain, which requires onboarding of young and like-minded talent. We, as a company, are not just employers, but want to help the younger generation cultivate their talent and find their love for technology with us.
6. What do you think is the most important characteristic of a good leader?
Emotional intelligence, by all means. We, as humans, are emotional beings and emotions are our biggest blessing. But they can also hinder growth when tough decisions are to be made. A good leader needs to understand their own emotions and manage them well, while understanding emotions of others and managing them as well. The ability to express emotions in a constructive manner is vital for any leader, which also includes taking those emotions from others, like criticism. Listening, empathising and reasoning. These are the three keys to unlocking success as a leader. Great leaders let their emotions act as a catalyst for individuals and groups, and channel their motivation and passion towards a common goal. Great leaders bring change, make an impact and change the world.
7. How has such active competition in the industry affected your mindset as a leader and the driving force behind the company?
Competition? We never gave it a thought. 😄
8. Where do you see GeekyAnts going in the next 7-10 years?
7 years is a long time in the future and the world is nothing less than unpredictable. We just aim to keep our core values intact and build on top of it. The three words - Research, Collaborate & Build have guided us through to the other side so far and we trust that they would continue to guide us in the coming years. It's a fast-evolving world. We will move forward with agility and adapt as we progress.