Vikas Kedia – Vikasism, 11 lessons I learned from Vikas Kedia, My first CEO & mentor

Recently I got a tweet from Vikas and it took me back to 2003, when I was a student, dressing up for the corporate life and got the first job offer. I got the reference mail from Kolkata Linux Group, where he had posted a job requirement for his new venture. To cut the long story (Click here to read my Story) short, I joined and learned many Great Lessons. This post is a summary of what I learned from Vikas Kedia (CEO of InterNext Technologies Inc, my first boss, less of a boss and more of a mentor. We had different viewpoints at various points. Even we departed arguing :), looks like yesterday and brings the smile), I am going to call it the first 11 Vikasism.

Vikas Kedia - 11 Vikasism

11 lessons I learned from Vikas Kedia

  1. About dreams & stars: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But he dreamed things that never were; and He said, ‘Why not?'” …. His dreams were so big and so strong that his team could see it real all the time. He always talked big. He talked about Nasdaq when the bathrooms were smelling. You might find it crazy but his dreams always pushed him and his team for the extra mile. I used to dream about visiting NASDAQ too, I think it was too contagious 🙂 and too fun. Dreams are like stars…you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny. If InterNext Technologies Inc is something today then a lot of credit goes to his dreams (and I am sure he will take it to NASDAQ one day). He always said “You dream big and the rest of things will be added to you”. Even InterNext Technologies Inc’s website will reflect an image about dreams. I hope the new building will also have the boy looking up towards the star. DREAMS.
  2. Hard work has no substitute: There are so many people to criticize your hard working abilities, some will call you workaholics but I wish there was a substitute for this hard work for an Entrepreneur. He will work day and night to make a thing work. He will be on a call while traveling, he will be on call while shopping and almost all the time he will be available for work. We all are born with various limits but there are few who believes that “Life has no limitations, except the ones you make” and Vikas is one of them. His CV would reflect all the non-technical educational achievements but his technical knowledge and expertize is much above a professional techy. I often asked him, “Vikas, how did you expertize so many technical things”. He will always answer, “I tried, I failed, I retried till I understood”. His hard work made him a TRUE LEADER, whom people respect from their heart. I always respected him for all his hard work. I always prayer for his success as if anyone who deserves success then it is him as he has worked so hard for it. I met so many ex-colleagues, we all had our own complains but almost all admired Vikas for who he is and his hard work. I think a great achievement for anyone. HARD WORK!
  3. Impatient Early releases: He always pushed us for an early release. I was not a very big fan of releasing something too early (I still struggle with it but to lesser extent, we released our new design without even completing it). It certainly helps to release a bit early with some bugs. IMPATIENT.
  4. Best Infrastructure: He will change the computers, will have all of us use the dual monitors, will have the best infrastructure. Being a programmer, all I cared about was a pujama and computer (may be thats why people still call me pujama programmer) but he taught us how good infrastructure influences the company. You will always find InterNext Technologies Inc to be full of Gizmos, latest network cables, advance networking, best phones and so on. INFRASTRUCTURE CRAZY.
  5. Programming standards: I remember the days when I and Vikas were the only two programmers in the company, we will change the file and keep a copy of it with a note about the changes. Our codes will have all the includes. With Vikas, we have come a long long way with proper coding standards, version controlling with SVN, inline documentation (I LOVED IT THE MOST, I STILL FOLLOW). Our function names will be like FnGetSomeSleepAjiAsYouNeedToGetUpEarly($ArrayInputs). Alpha, beta, productio and multi layer backups. IP KVMS, over 50 servers and much to add to it. Architectures and a lot to write about it. He is great programmer too. He is really TECHY.
  6. Documentation: Documentation is like sex: when it is good, it is very, very good; and when it is bad, it is worse than nothing. He will create great documentations. All the technical team used his documentations to solve many FOP (frequently occurred problems). It helps to have something immediately accessible, … Getting documentation immediately available online is very appealing to a lot of people. At InterNext Technologies Inc we learned the art of documentation using Google docs. The credit goes to Vikas for pushing us towards Google docs. Documentation.
  7. Failure is OK: One of the biggest lessons we learned in InterNext Technologies Inc, Failure is ok. Infact we had plans to launch a campaigns for Indian B-Schools, where we wanted to teach about failure. “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” This is so true for an Inventor like Vikas. He tries too many things, he fails more often than anyone. I remember how he shifted the task system from gforge to google docs, then to google calenders, then to emails, then to …. He tried, he failed but he always knew the importance of these failures. Failure is OK, Inventor.
  8. Create products like Gods: He was a strong believer of products over services. He always wanted to create products that providing services to other companies. InterNext Technologies Inc would have been 5 times richer financially than today if Vikas had taken service path but his decision to stick to products helped us experience the magic of brands and products. I will always remember InterNext Technologies Inc for the innovations we did for our own products. Products.
  9. Converting quality to numbers: Our new company SEOforClients is fully running on it. We have implemented all over. Even the stock options are about converting work output in numbers to your stocks (may be a good HR innovation). Vikas was always in favor of putting quality and work into numbers. He always said, “If something is not Measurable then it is not manageable”. Measure-ability is manageability (and manageability is scalability and scalability is GOOD for business).
  10. Let the problem come, we will see it: Another great lesson for life. We used to worry a lot about future problems, the problem that don’t exist. The problems that will be encountered only if the products becomes successful. He always used to say, “Let the problem. These are welcome problems that comes with success”. Now I focus on the core product, launch it and when we hit the success we have enough resources to fix a lot of possible future problems.
  11. Learn it yourself, no spoon feeding There are occasions when you love spoon feeding. I remember an instance where I was asked to password protect a folder. It was late at night and I was about to leave. I had never done something like that before, so I asked Vikas. He asked me to Google and get the solution. I was disappointed but it made a rule to try yourself to the possible levels. Also in the process of password protecting a file, I learned a lot more about .htaccess. GOOD Mentor.

I guess I can write many more lessons that I have learned from Vikas. He once said, “Call someone sir only when they deserve it not because they are your seniors or your boss”.

Vikas Kedia in 11 words

DREAMS, HARD WORK, IMPATIENT, INFRASTRUCTURE CRAZY, TECHY, Documentation, Failure is OK (Inventor), Products, Measure-ability, Let the problem come, GOOD Mentor. (and a good human being, may God bless him with all success)

Summarizing Vikasism: Don’t listen to those who say, you taking too big a chance. Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says. they all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections. I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects (and others). Thank you Vikas SIR!

External links that talks about Vikas Kedia

Vikas Kedia
Rest at Wikipedia page on Vikas.

Twisted answer – “Teacher” is the best job in the world

We were discussing about our jobs and one of us said “teacher” is the best job in the world (in terms of job satisfaction) as they limited responsibilities and many other reasons to count. So argued about having your own business is more satisfying. And of course, there was a group supporting IT sector, high profile branded job and so on …

I had been a librarian, a volunteer teacher (taught every sunday for almost 2 years), secretaries, programmer, researcher, team leader, marketing head, leader and a lot more full time jobs …. what I have seen is:

  1. I see that every sector offers space for innovation and improvements.
  2. I see that every sector offers great satisfaction of achievement when we achieve some targets and standards. In library, it was about how to make more and more people read books, in programming it was about the final display with no errors.
  3. and more …..

Now I am on discussion point on whether the job satisfaction is about job or person or both? I will say both, everyone will say both? But how much person and how much job then :)?

I get dissatisfied with my job when

  1. I don’t see money coming my way
  2. I see my boss is screwing himself and his company AND ME
  3. I see mistakes, I suggest improvements but still the politics hardly allows the change
  4. I see a mismatch with my expertise for long run (This is just not that very important), I am still open to become a travel guide and I will fit in my expertise there, or a cook … But when I have spent years into a line, i will like to milk it.
  5. The company is selling my blood for money … Some people are never happy with the quantity of work .. they demand more … I will SAY NOOOOOOOOOO to them right then … run company where we all earn our breads and the owner his cake.

I am in hurry so stopping here, whats your take on it?