Today’s my last day at Cerebrata. Wow!!! It has been an incredible journey for the last 5 years. I vividly remember when around the same time 5 years ago, I told my team in the US about my decision to move back to India to “do my own thing”. I was not 100% sure what I’ll be doing; there was no concrete plan – only thing I was sure of was to build a product development company in India. Never in my dream, I thought of achieving the success I achieved – First, built a pure product company that too in a small town in India. Second, successfully running and selling the company. Third, awarded Windows Azure MVP three years in a row. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for more.
Looking Back – Some Random Thoughts
Looking back, some thoughts on few important things:
On My Team
You may get sick of hearing this thing but I’m really fond of my team! They trusted me with their careers and for that I’m grateful. Going down the memory lane, I see young graduates coming in becoming part of my dream and helping me achieve those. When they came in, they were raw out of college having no idea how industry worked. Now I look at them, I see them all grown up and thorough professionals. Together we built a culture of mutual respect and openness in the company and I thank them for that. I’ll always cherish their love, affection and adulation. They see me more as their mentor than their boss and I take pride in that. My only hope is that when their time comes, they would do the same. Only then, I would be able to pat my back. I’ll certainly miss working with them.
Picture of current & ex-team members taken during our grand farewell party
On Our Users
Our products are successful only because of our users. Like I said in the past, neither I nor my team were experts in programming or Windows Azure for that matter but our users were, and they helped us shape our products. Our software had issues (in fact many issues) but our users were patient and were willing to help us out and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for that. Some of them worked with us diligently during the beta phases of our products while some of them found issues and provided resolutions in the released products. There were countless occasions where our users went out of the way to help us out from doing code reviews, providing solutions to just making our software better. My wish is to have same users helping me out in the next phase of my professional life.
On Red Gate
Prior to Red Gate, I was just an entrepreneur. Because of Red Gate, I am now a successful entrepreneur!!! I thank Red Gate for that. I’ve been working with them for past 18 months now (since the acquisition) and I can tell you they’re the best guys to work with. Not only these guys are real smart, their practice of “delightful user experience before anything else” is something I’ll take away from this relationship.
Every relationship has ups and downs and we had our share of the same as well. But they treated me like one of their own (in fact, sometimes better than their own). They simply pampered me. I’ve gone through many acquisitions in my professional career and generally speaking acquisitions suck (big time) however I can say that this was the best experience I had.
We built products exclusively for Microsoft platform (that too Windows Azure only). If they wanted, they could have cannibalized us in no time but they didn’t, and I thank Microsoft for doing that. They really know how to build and nurture a true partner eco-system.
On top of that, they recognized the work I was doing in the community and awarded me with prestigious Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award. This is really huge for me!!!
One last thing I would like to mention about Microsoft is their BizSpark program. For a guy who was starting out on his own, I can’t tell you how valuable was it for me. Their MSDN subscription was a big boon for me. I was once doing an interview with somebody and he asked me about the biggest benefit of this program to me and my response was – BizSpark let me stay legit with software :). Otherwise it would have been tough!!! Anybody who’s starting out must try it out whether you love or hate Microsoft (or in other words whether or not building products for Microsoft platform).
Kind of cheesy confession: Back in the day when I was starting out, anybody with a microsoft.com email address was a celebrity in my eye :). <blush/>
Next up for me is Cynapta (http://www.cynapta.com – really, there’s nothing to see there just yet). It’s my new company. I’ve some product ideas which I want to explore. Building products is more of a gamble and more than likely I will fail but I still want to scratch that itch (so to speak) :). So wish me luck!!!
I’ll be building my team again from ground up so that should be an interesting experience to relive and I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully I won’t make the same mistakes I made with my previous team.
Other than that, I would be spending my time on two of my favorite places on the Internet – MSDN Forums & StackOverflow, and obviously on this blog sharing things and on Twitter.
Going forward, my Cerebrata email account won’t work (though Red Gate folks have been kind enough to keep it active and if you write to me there, you’ll probably get an OOF) so if you wish to reach out to me you can do so by writing me an email at gaurav @ cynapta.com.
I would like to end this post thanking my team and our users. If I didn’t have the support and encouragement from you guys, I would not have been writing this post. So from the bottom of my heart (and one last time) thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
<Taking a Bow/>