how to who episode 6

How To Who Episode 4 Seeking Happiness

 Holland Walker (00:00 T0 0:27)

Hi everyone, welcome to Episode Four of How to Who: The Secret of Success. Today, we’re joined by Karthik Sridharan, who is the co-founder and CEO of Flexiple, and we are really excited to talk to him today and pick his brain about the entrepreneurial space and the technological space. So Karthik, why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and your background.

Karthik Sridharan  (0:27 TO 3:26)

Sure Holland and thanks for having me. Firstly, I’m really honoured, and a big pleasure. A bit about me, so I by education, I’m an engineer. I got a degree in electrical and electronics and like any typical engineer in India. I never did anything in engineering. I immediately got into investment banking.

I worked for three years in JPMorgan as an analyst. Initially I started here in Mumbai, in India. And after a couple of years of working in India, I moved to London and about there for a year and it was, I learnt a lot to be very honest, the first couple of years, but in the third year in London, I felt that, , more and more that industry was in, for me. he long guys, the kind of work that we were doing felt very repetitive. I believe that for the amount of work and time I was putting into it, I wasn’t creating much of an impact and  I really felt the need to move on.

So, it was a big decision at least from the perspective of what was told to me from people around me, because they felt that I had the dream job. The dream project, , investment banking in London. So but yeah, I was very convinced that this wasn’t making me happy whatsoever.

So I came back to India and I did and MBA in one of the MBA schools in India called IIM Ahmedabad and it was there when in the very first week that I felt that the early school would give me some bit of space to figure out what I want to be doing next.

And I had no particular idea. That that’s why I wanted an MBA a place where I could figure out what I want to do with my career. But the moment I entered MBA school in the very first week, it was all about preparing your resume. It was about, , internships interviews.

And it felt like people already knew what they wanted to do at the end of it, , only because all again society driven decisions. So I decided that this wasn’t what I wanted and this is not why I quit the JP Morgan job first. So I quit the basement process as well, and that’s where my entrepreneurial journey started because I decided, maybe that’s what I need to do to be happy in life.

And I wasn’t sure whether that could give me happiness but I said that this could possibly be the time that I could figure it out. So flexiple started there as an idea, and a couple of my co-founders joined me over the 2 year MBA course and it is 2016 or the end of 2016 is when maybe incorporated Flexiple and we completed five years, two months back in 2021 December.

So it’s been a hell of a ride. We made about three million dollars in revenue last year, so it was a good milestone for us and a lot more things to do now. So yeah, super excited. Also planning to launch the second startup. So, pretty hectic, but loving every moment of it. 

Giri Devanur (3:27 TO 4:14)

All right Karthik, That’s one heck of an intro right? Lot of interesting elements I picked up: JP Morgan, engineering and IIM Ahmedabad. I was there in IIM Ahmedabad a couple of years back to conduct an executive education program on neuroscience and marketing. Yeah it was a very interesting environment to learn. The question that I have based on your journey so far, do you have a mentor and , what is the role that mentor has played in evolved evolving your persona and the business journey. So I haven’t had anything later as such.

Karthik Sridharan  (4:15 TO 6:03)

I haven’t had any mentor as such. I think that they’ve largely been individual decisions, have taken and at all points of time, I’ve had different people who’ve been my sounding boards. There have been a few constants, like my good friend my own father. But I think a lot of those decisions have come by introspecting a lot more rather than , having a mentor who’s been guiding me and telling me that this to be possibly a good direction for me to take a so on and I will also like to believe that,  I am my own personality in a certain way, like I have my own personality and I have my own ways of thinking, which is a little different from others primarily driven very much  by happiness of my own self of my loved ones and of then, as a consequence of doing what I’m happy doing, creating a certain amount of impact in a positive way.

And I I feel that if I don’t find what I am really happy doing, I wouldn’t be able to do all of those positive things. So it was largely very sort of inward journey of finding what would make me happy and then just being courageous enough to take some of those decisions whether it was to say no to the job in London or to come to possibly what is the best MBA school in India and to say, I will not sit in the job placements there, to then start up and then say DC funding is not for us to start with. So all those kinds of decisions are largely driven by what I think are more personal introspective decisions rather than a mentor telling me and this is the best thing that you can do from a probability of success point of view

Giri Devanur (6:03 TO 6:05)

That’s great, right?

Holland Walker (6:06 TO 6:27)

Yeah, that’s very, very inspiring. I think there’s definitely power in self-awareness and just looking in and being like, what do I need? What’s gonna serve me the best and that’s really inspiring now. That’s kind of been your motivation. So as the CEO of your own company like what is that been like?

What have you learned? How is that been different from your past roles?

Karthik Sridharan (6:28 TO 8:40)

Yeah, it’s been interesting. I think for the first 3 and a half years the title of a CEO was a bit loose. It was pretty comical because we were a team of 10 of 15.

So, a CEO is this just a name, right? Like who’s to see you on the team of 10 or 15? I’m doing almost everything that anyone else in the team was doing at that point in time, it was only about making our start up something making the entity more than just our passion, having something that it is doing at a larger scale

So, at that point in time, I think the designation didn’t mean too much to me. It’s been only over the last year where at our team has grown quite a bit. So I think the beginning of last year we were just again, a team of 12-15 and it’s only over the last 12 months that now we are close to 50 people.

Right? So we’ve grown over four times and now I’m recognizing the kinds of because the way my  role has changed the way my responsibilities have changed and it’s taking a certain amount of , I still said reinvention for me to a certain extent because I have been a very individual contributor with a certain amount of management skills over junior people, people who are fresh to the corporate world, but now suddenly, needing to hire senior members and then looking into goals not just in the next few months, but the next two years and then being able to now essentially delegate things that I was very comfortable doing myself as all been very tough for me and I think I’m still in the process of learning that those skill sets.

So yeah, it’s, it’s fun to be very honest. I wouldn’t be doing anything else. And I’m really enjoying this this entire process and I feel that in the next six months, there’s going to be a lot of upskilling that I’m going to have to do and really excited about that process because I think at this point in time, I’m a very average CEO and I believe I can be a good CEO and that’s, that’s the transition I’m going to have to make.

Giri Devanur (8:41 TO 9:56)

Yeah, that actually leads to the core theme of why we are doing this podcast. So the core when we started figuring this out, you and I are engineers and the first thing when an opportunity or a challenge comes, The first question that like subconsciously we trigger, how do I handle it? How do I handle the opportunity or the challenge. But the true secret of success starts When you move from how to who okay, Instead of wondering how I handle this, if you figure out the best person…

Yesterday, I was with a very large private equity fund and we were talking about this. Somebody was challenging me, a lot of things. Then I said, yeah, if you have a heart problem would you operate yourself? No, right. You bring the best person. So given that kind of transition you as a leader will have to go through and everybody who’s listening to this, to go through from how to who what are the biggest challenges that you face in your work life that you want to nail? 

Karthik Sridharan (9:57 TO 11:48)

Interesting questions. I think early on and I at least for me in my experience, it worked out for me, was the fact that I felt I need to upskill myself before I start delegating. To a certain extent, I think atleast early stage starups when they are very heavily funded. The founders feel that they can always hire or delegate their ways out of problems, right? And I feel at a certain extent, you need to be able to have a certain skill set to even do that, right?

If I have no clue about what marketing is, just saying that I’ll get the best marketer in the market and just telling negative anymore. It’s not the best possible solution. So I feel comfortable with the kind of skills that I’ve got within me at this point of time to be able to delegate and hire, but at the same time, I think the biggest challenge that I’m facing at this point in time, is finding that right person and it’s always easy to write on a piece of paper who that perfect individual is.  

But , knowing that I’m so imperfect myself that current perfect individuals out there, so finding the right balance of imperfections that still sort of align with what I want for myself, for the company is what I’m trying to find that right mix and I think I’m still juggling a bit over there and I guess that is a certain sense of idealism in trying to fulfill those roles as well.

So being able to convert that to a certain amount of realism and also understand how I’m supposed to interact with these people. So find that right kind of person, changing my mindset and then getting those two things together and work well that person, I think those are the things that I’m going to try to do in the next six months.

Giri Devanur (11:49 TO 12:53)

All right! Karthik I would recommend you to read one book. “What got you here Will not get you there”. That’s the title. Holland before you went to the next question, I want to interject here,  because Karthik is in a really in a spot especially in India,

The number of unicorns that are getting created, the amount of money being thrown at startups is just insane. Like Karthik, if he wanted to raise a hundred million dollars, properly by now he would have raised that much, a billion dollars etc. But why I picked Karthik for doing this interview, is that if I hear the resistant that temptation, it is bloody hard when money is flowing, and all your peers are raising, especially any. IIM guy these days without a business plan without any clue of raising money and here is Karthik hustling it out, kudos to you Karthik!

Karthik Sridharan (12:53 TO 13:05)

Thank you so much Giri. Thank you so much really appreciate the words! 

Holland Walker (13:05 TO 13:09)

Wow. That’s crazy. 

Giri Devanur (13:10 TO 13:25)

By the way Holland, it is much harder to get into IIM Ahmedabad than getting into Harvard Business School. It’s like one notch about Harvard

Holland Walker (13:27 TO 14:06)

Wow that’s intense! Okay. Speaking of being on the hustle, we’re speaking loosely today about the movie inception. We’ll just talk about like quick themes since some of us haven’t refreshed our brains a little bit. Motivation plays a big role in inception, and they go through trial and error and they have to keep pushing through. I know you talked a little bit about like your family and loved ones, like that’s what you are always thinking about and caring about, what is kind of your personal motivation or something that keeps you going that you keep working towards?

Karthik Sridharan (14:07 TO 16:20)

It’s a tough question to answer because I think a lot of those things are intangible in nature. But I think if I have to very broadly speak about it and just saying, my entire journey is been only about chasing happiness in a certain way, right?

I know it sounds a little too philosophical but very truly, as I said, even JPMorgan etc. None of the figures of my salaries was something that I was trying to achieve, right? Because it I realized very soon that my lifestyle is super simple and I don’t need to much of money from that perspective and I never sort of tried to peg myself against my peers in terms of those achievements as well.

So largely what I wanted was something that I was really passionate doing each day and where I felt that I was creating a certain amount of impact and that’s driven most of these decisions, and largely, even in the sort of worst of times, I don’t want to call the worst of times because now in hindsight, those were nice times.

But when you are in those tough times, when like, let’s say, for example, Flexiple the first couple of years was pretty tough, but what got me through those days you was largely just the fact that, , I felt I was still doing something that I loved.

And I never sort of tried to peg myself against my peers in terms of those achievements as well. So largely what I wanted was something that I was really passionate doing each day and very I felt that I was creating a certain amount of impact, and that’s driven most of these decisions and largely even in the southwest of things, I do want to call the most offensive because no, in hindsight those are nice things.

But when you in those tough times when make let’s say, for example, Flexiple the first couple of years was pretty tough. But, you know, what got me through those days was largely just the fact that, you know, I felt I was still doing something that I loved. There wasn’t some external societal pressure that was pushing me to do what I was doing.

I was working with people whom I liked working with and a problem which I felt was worthy of solving. So all of these kinds of things are what motivated me. And to a large extent, every day we came up with new interesting problems to solve. I feel in the long term, flexible is going to be an important company in the large scheme of things or any other things that we are trying to build as well.

And of course, then I have my long term passions as well. But in terms of entrepreneurship, I really think that I take on something that I really love, you know, trying to build something, trying to solve interesting problems and not being driven by general societal pressure, but just a passion of doing what I love doing.

Giri Devanur (16:21 – 16:49)

That’s very interesting. It seems like as a fun theme, you know, in this podcast we use Inception as the movie, right? Know, like you used the word pursuit of happiness. Probably we should have picked that as the movie and discussed I guess any pursuit, you know, like you said, an entrepreneur building, a building, you know, flexiple as a great company, it’s all about planning.

You know, like in the movie Inception, you know, everything is about how do you plan? And then you see that in the brain, What do you think critical about the planning and how do you make sure that you have 50 people? How do you make sure that the 50t person or  500th person  you know, I hope, you know, you grow to find the people when you manage those.

And people say one of the hardest thing is how do you plan the communication itself? What’s your take on it?

Karthik Sridharan (17:19 – 20:38)

Yeah, to be very honest. As I said, I’m still learning a lot of these things are possible and no, it’s no comparison. I’m still interested in this piece up until the past few months with a thousand people. So but I think it’s been a change when we were in the first, the second year, and my focus of planning was never beyond three to six months. Initially, it was just surviving for the next month, and then it expanded.

And that’s where I think a lot of people, at least early stage startups, listen to. So many of these Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs talking about their five year plans. And, you know, being that being a visionary that they forget that you need to survive to actually be able to live all of those vision. And so you need to decide who makes that statement.

So, yeah, so I think at that point in time, my focus was very much the next few months and over a period of time over the last five years, my horizon has expanded for the next two to four years, is to know with 50 people, I think I’m slowly trying to understand what I want out of Flexiple and what basically now at this stage I think we experienced the early, early stage and we are slowly entering the growth stage and it’s essentially what I want want I guess from the next 12 months is predictability.

In every certain function that we we were into so early on, it was fine. We were hustling around and it was okay to get leads. But you don’t close leads a conversation in a haphazard fashion. Right. So now I would like a certain amount of predictability and understand where those leads are coming from, how we can replicate them, how we can double down on them.

So from every particular team, whether it’s marketing, sales, talent on building what would it, when we focus has largely been on bringing a certain amount of predictability in the short term and from the management, it’s not easy to ensure that they’re able to deliver on that while being able to think of long term processes to fix, clearly a lot of broken processes in place.

So in terms of that we’ve made public. And so even people who don’t join Flexiple can see that before they even join Flexiple. And so even potential employees can look at it and we’ve laid out, you know, it is how we communicate with each other, what our values are. So I keep reiterating them just last week when ten to 15 people joined us and I think that the communication was breaking on on Slack and people weren’t talking necessarily in the way that I was comfortable with.

So I decided that we need to add one more note to our own book. And I detailed exactly. And and it made almost seem very childlike the extent of which I am very specific. And then I give you an example. This is the good way, this is not the good way of communicating and I distributed it and I can already see the difference in the way people communicate with each other.

So I think it’s been largely being specific in what I want people to achieve and feeling down on values openly and continuously reiterating a lot of those things as many times as possible. So at least at this point in time, that’s what I figured.

Giri Devanur (20:39 – 21:41)

Yeah. So not like that leads to I mean, you hired 15 people. I want to know, like highlight one of the statements. I mean, you know, all the good statements get attributed to various people. I don’t know where to started. Originally it was supposed to be Steve Jobs and then Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz. He said he said that a few years back that one good programmer is equal to 30 average programmers.

So I used it in my book Nothing to Nasdaq and then you know, like when I’m building reAlpha, I realize you’re just about one good percent is equal to 100 average in any field, actually, not just tech. Right. So I mean, you are in the people business. You are in the hiring business. How do we know, like the higher that right who?

What is the trigger that you are seeing? Because I’m sure, you know, you are seeing hundreds and thousands of resumes of clients and applicants. Right. What’s your way? Who would you hire?

Karthik Sridharan (21:42- 26:06)

I think instead of flexiple’s platform, I’ll talk a bit about my own internal hiring because I am involved in a lot of those interviews myself. So in essence, I think a lot of it has to do with certain total non-negotiables. And then well, I think a couple of years back  those non-negotiables were in our lower bar and those bars have been continuously increasing and it’s all about ensuring that that bar alwsys increases and you don’t go below it and are non-negotiables have largely been on the way people communicate with each other, the kind of attitude that they bring in terms of having a clear learning focus in terms of always upskilling themselves, recognizing things that they don’t know, be very self-aware and essentially being super hardworking. And I think lately what we are trying to do is understand much as we can, how smart they are at and I think that is the toughest thing to do because smartness in aptitude is not necessarily smartness and business acumen. Right. And you might have all all of this. You might even have business acumen. But on a daily level, are you able to use that business acumen in a constructive way? So all of these things it’s a very delicate balance, I think. So it’s about trying to understand, I think, what your non-negotiables are and then trying to keep a certain benchmark where it’s not a non-negotiable, let’s say, for example, on business acumen, but what is something that you’re really not willing to go below?

And I think that’s what we’re trying to figure out and we’re trying to figure it out with each role, right? Instead of having a generic bar, you’re trying to keep figuring out what each role and trying to target and be very specific about it. So what are, non-negotiable, isn’t it? Can’t be more than three. What are your bars? It can’t be more than three. So you can have the best individual across the world and every particular column, but try to be specific. And then we also try to set expectations during the interview as well in order to ensure, like a lot of founders, you would observe them. You had a lot of mentors and investors talk about founders selling dreams and vision and to recruit people into their company. And I feel a lot of times, It’s not only about telling selling dreams, but to tell people why they shouldn’t join the company, you know, because if if you want if you want to join this company for this, this and this, this is possibly not the best fit you know? So a lot of my conversations and what I motivate others also to doing that interviews is to tell people that possibly this is not the best fit. If you want to do something like this, and each one has their goals, you know, it’s not for us to say whether they’re right or wrong, but it’s for us to figure. Yeah, right. We’re going to bring Zappos Zappos had the theory that, you know, like if they are they know like six weeks or eight weeks, whatever the timeframe was in that six to eight weeks, if you don’t fit the culture, they paid $3,000 to quit. And what kind of a severance pay kind of culture mismatch?. So we have that in flexiple, by the way, in a platform that is so apart from all the things that we do in terms of screening processes to ensure that developers and designers are top notch, We give our clients and freelancers a 2 week risk-free trial. So because we understand that beyond hard skillsets there is a cultural fit that is required even in the freelancing equation. And we tell them work with each other for two weeks. If you feel that for cultural mismatches where you don’t want to work with each other, no worries, walk away, we will pay the freelancer, then you don’t have to pay as a dime So we understand the importance of culture in that way. And you’re trying to do something similar with an internal and flexiple hiring as well. And we would rather that someone doesn’t join us because they think that it’s not the right fit and then they join us and then it’s it’s a tough thing for both the organizations and as well as the individual So, yeah, so some of those things is what we sort of figured.

Holland Walker (26:07 – 26:35)

Yeah, I love that, especially one of our important themes here with how to who is like having a good company culture. You want people to feel comfortable and feel like they can communicate safely and in an effective way. And sometimes that’s not always a success. And so is there ever been a team that you’ve been on that’s been particularly challenging or things that have arose that could have gone smoother?

Karthik Sridharan (26:35 – 28:41)

Yeah, for sure. I think a major part of my time in JP Morgan London, which I was not super comfortable with, was, was the people I was working with. I was working with the London team even when I was in India, to be honest, but I was with a different team. But when I moved in there, I moved into a different team and I felt I think the large problem that I felt that the team had was you know, the senior manager would not be empathetic with the with the juniors in the team because I think it sort of populate I think generation after generation because I as a junior, worked very hard.

I’m going to ensure that when I become a senior, my junior is going to work very hard without actually taking a step back and asking whether that’s even necessarily the right thing to be doing. So there was just a culture in the team of just doing donkey work without necessarily necessarily asking whether that was required or not, and a lot of which seemed very unnecessary.

And it was a lot of times also taken for granted that you would decide something nine in the night, which would be a total overhaul of all the work done in the day. And then the junior individual in the team would actually spend the entire night redoing everything and then would also complete all the work by 4 or 5 am and then again the report in office by 8:30.

So it was and doing that day after day and night after night, week after week, month after month. So I think yeah it wasn’t a great time and largely that’s when some of those questions started coming in my mind around whether this was really worth it was really creating impact by working so hard it’s not that hard looking back, which was really biting me, but the fact of whether what I was doing was even creating an impact, you know, all those PowerPoint slides and Excel sheet but you know, it sounds very fancy when you wear your suits and you sit on bank street with your books and know what on the inside of it.It’s not all that fancy.

Giri Devanur (28:41 – 30:03)

 Actually, there is a very interesting research. You know, like if you Google it, you’ll find it and I’ll share it Later. What that research team did was in a team of 4 people who are highly motivated and excited and start of a project, they used to drop an actor into the team. And that guy is, you know, like saying that, you know, like nothing is going to work and, you know, like it’s all, you know.

Yes. And things like that. Right. You know, they observed that, you know, in a matter of 30 minutes, the entire body language of the other 4 people would fit this guy do like well then they could do it. It took 30 minutes to demoralize a team. it’s a long process not like somebody who is persuasive communication can articulate something everything and they can do everything as positive.

 Bringing a positive attitude is much harder than bringing negative. Right. That’s why all the new standards and not just keep on pumping, you know, negative content. Right. So what’s your take? You know, like when you’re like building the next level culture, how do you handle that one person who can bring down the average

Karthik Sridharan (30:03 – 31:25)

It happens all the time. And even though there are moments and I think I’m slowly trying to recognize and I read the other day on Twitter one person saying that a lot of companies are trying to sell the vision that accompanies a family And which is possibly not true because you wouldn’t fire anyone in your family because they didn’t do a certain amount of work correctly or so. And you should instead think of it as a community where everyone needs to work towards a common goal, a common set of you have common shared passion. And if things don’t work out, you part ways and you work, you go in your separate directions. So I’m studying and I was a person online through the thought process of, you know, you at least wanted just a job. I always thought of my team as a family and you know, we all need to be better in this for our life and so on and so forth. So I just come to terms with the fact that that’s not necessarily true and each one has their own motivations. You can’t find so many people who are absolutely aligned with the long term goals.

And if it’s not aligning at all, it’s best to separate ways in the most amicable ways as possible, as quick as possible. 

Giri Devanur (31:25 – 32:22)

So, you know, like there I read the news some other interesting in which we are trying to figure out as well the culture should not be family. It should be like competitive sports. Netflix used that competitiveness as a team spirit. Where everybody has to push themselves if somebody is not performing at that level you just kick the guy out because you know it is not helping you to win the game.

The opportunity to win the game know when you are a team you don’t really know what he about that part you know you have to let go people if they’re not raising but there is a they can do element like we discussed in the previous talk that maybe they took.

Karthik Sridharan (32:23 – 33:29)

Right, exactly. And I think it’s a fair balance. So you know of course great great players also go through lulls, right? So it’s about being able to understand if it’s this capability issue, if it’s an attitude issue, if it can be cured or not when you think it’s absolutely incurable. They didn’t at that point in time, just find the quickest way to ensure that they find that path and you find yours.

Because all of us at the end of the day trying to chart out a certain kind of success for each one of us. And it’s certainly not something that’s going to help one of the two of us. So, yeah, just trying to come to terms with it and you know, make decisions more swiftly, which which is not as easy for me because I come from the earlier mindset.

So you have your transitioning to that and I think, yes, that’s one of the things which you said even a single person can totally destroy the culture of the company. And I, I sense it in certain ways. They are the quickest way is to just say to us, if that’s not a good or not, if not maybe just part ways.

Holland Walker (33:29 – 33:45)

So yeah, as teams we, we have to be able to work towards a common goal together and, you know, be able to complete a mission as, as they might say in inception. So what do you think is the most important factors in being able to complete a goal as a team to complete a mission?

Karthik Sridharan (33:46  – 35:24)

Again, great question. I think there are a few things here. The first is the ability to know what each one is supposed to do. I think very well-defined roles because a lot of times and that’s that’s where I think the leadership needs to be really good because I think a lot of times a person thinks that they’re doing amazingly well because it’s all in their mind. But the leadership teams that they’re not doing well because all of that is happening. The processes, lack of communication and what’s expected, what the roles are exactly. So I think firstly, if the leader can actually come in and say, this is what I expect of you, and if each one of us does what is expected, the sum of it all is going to get us to a milestone. Our success on mission is going to be accomplished. I think that communication is frankly very critical. Secondly, I think, of course, everyone needs to be really motivated towards the common shared goal and be passionate about it. Without it, it’s really not going to work out and it’s not necessarily that you’re passionate about needs to be same, for example, my reason to be an entrepreneur is very different from the reason my co-founders, I don’t know, but each one of us is aligned that we want to build a really successful company and actually make it impactful in our way. So the why doesn’t necessarily have to be the same. But at the same time, we are all aligned towards what the common goal is

Giri Devanur (35:48 – 37:03)

So yeah, I think it’s largely that.  I’m pretty simple in my life. I don’t have too many sort of large dreams, etc. but I’m really passionate about dogs. I really love them. And I like when I’m able to build flexiple and whatever other company that we bring to a certain degree and I’m able to take a step back, I want to be able to be a company in that space as well where, you know, there are a lot of street dogs and I think there’s a lot of work that can be done there and maybe I find myself to be the happiest when I’m around in my own dogs. And so that’s actually a part of my daily riyual. That’s when I spend an hour and a half or two in the park with surrounded by dogs. So long term I want to do something around that. Secondly, there are a few things that are really around, you know, food, which is not necessarily I don’t I’m not a foodie, but generally I think that is a lot of good that can happen is, I wouldn’t say turn vegan, but to a certain extent.

Giri Devanur (37:05:- 37:09)

I turned vegan like almost four or five months back. 

Karthik Sridharan (37:10)

Okay. Yeah. So yeah, I think a lot of good can happen if if we if we eat less of animal products. So I have some bit of goals around that, but generally around nature. So all of these if you can see there’s a team around nature basically. And I think of course, it goes without saying that we are polluting nature a lot.

So I have a lot of passion in terms of doing something around that. But I think it’s going to start with something around the that space. And I have a few ideas in mind, but not enough for at the moment.

Giri Devanur (37:46 – 38:06)

Karthik, you know, in reAlpha, you know, on our website we have put the picture of Cody Parker and Cody is our chief morale officer. 

Chistie haa little dog, you know, his name is Cody and he keeps running around in our office as well.

Karthik Sridharan (38:07- 38:24)

Okay. So even we have so my, my dog’s name is rocket. So even we have him as the chief happiness officer as we because it’s so. Yeah. So I really love them, you know, from the bottom of my heart I find them very pure  So he has to do something that speaks yeah.

Holland Walker (38:24- 38:57)

I love that. I’m also a huge dog person and would agree I’m the happiest around Fluffy Dogs. I love them. So I really love that idea. That’s really cool. So we did have to jump a little bit on our questions just cause time. So I’m going to the last question now. So this is kind of a fun one because of the theme of Inception is all about going into the subconscious and getting into somebody’s mind.

So if you could impede anyone’s mind and steal their secrets or plant an idea, who would it?

Karthik Sridharan (38:57- 39:20)

Yeah. So super nuanced. Kind of like a series of questions in there. I’m kind of like the headline thing that I have to say upfront because it’s not like anybody that actually likes my thoughts in crypto will stop listening to me if I don’t say it’s like Coinbase is a centralized exchange. And so Coinbase has like, custodial wallets.

Giri Devanur (40:17 – 41:16)

And, you know, like there are been multiple case studies about Nadal that, you know, how he achieved his peak performance from. I mean, you know, he started tennis very late in his life. Right. You know, like he was about 15, 16 or something like that when he started playing tennis and how he attained peak performance by improving only certain areas.

And, you know, like he almost converted into an engineering kind of project and then, you know, went after peak performance. So this was a great conversation. Karthik, I really appreciate the stance that you taken how to build a company through. You know, bootstrapping completely when you know there is so much capital being thrown in. All the Indian startups I truly admire and I really enjoyed the simplicity and clarity of thought you expressed in this. Very grateful that, you know, you were on our podcast. Thank you very much.

Karthik Sridharan (41:16- 41:28)

Thanks so much for having me. It was so much fun. It was very different from other podcasts I’ve been on, so I really love it. Thanks for the lovely questions as well. Oh yeah. Got me thinking on a lot of different ways. Thank you very much.

Holland Walker (41:29 – 41:54)

Yes. Thank you so much for being with us today. Karthik. I really enjoyed all of your answers as well, and we’re all on the pursuit of happiness here, so thanks so much for all your insights and thank you everyone for watching This was episode four of How to How the Secret of Success. Make sure to like share and subscribe and stay tuned for the next interview.

Mr. Giri Devanur is a Serial Tech entrepreneur, from India, who is currently based in the US. Born in a small town called Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India Giri went later went on to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market Closing Bell in New York City. Giri holds a Master of Science (MS), in Technology Management • from Columbia University in the City of New York, and Executive Education from Harvard Law School, and an Executive Education in Innovation at MIT in Computer Science. He was a mentor of – the Executive Master Program-Columbia University. He is an E&Y Entrepreneur of the year award winner and has successfully completed the Nasdaq IPO of AMRH ( He has helped raise multiple rounds of capital, executed M&A. Giri Devanur is currently the CEO & founder of ReAlpha Tech Corp.

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