TheCconnects: Can you tell our readers a little about your professional journey & how did you come to your current role/position?
Hari Phi: I am from a typical middle-class Indian family with a humble background. Just like any other person of my time, after engineering, I started my career with one of those corporations and traveled across the country changing multiple jobs within a short span of time. Couldn’t settle down with a single job until I joined Amazon. I stayed there for a couple of years as a machine learning data science associate. I used to conduct free camps and gave lectures on subjects like space science, artificial intelligence, and robotics. I used to do private tutoring and loved teaching and mentoring students from various backgrounds. That’s the beginning of my EdTech company TechieYan Technologies.
TheCconnects: Who has influenced you the most in life and why?
Hari Phi: I am privileged to have been surrounded by the most generous, humble, and helpful people all over my journey. When none of my friends/relatives were given an opportunity to study and graduate, my father made me take my own decisions and that is how I ended up joining engineering, which was one of the bold and hardest decisions for my parents. I had great mentors, some of them are Mr. Satish Kumar, and Mr. Late. CB Devgun, Mr. Phani. I was inspired by Richard Feynman, Andrew NG, and many others.
TheCconnects: What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your life & how did you overcome them?
Hari Phi: There are many,
1. Capital investment: It is not easy to seek a fund despite having great ideas if we do not have a reasonable experience in the market. As we know it’s crucial to have an initial investment to kick start your journey to build a sustainable organization, as I was a newbie no one would like to take the risk and invest in us at the beginning, so we somehow started without initial capital by providing free workshops, seminars and got more clients going forward.
2. People: Despite good market value, great product or service, and good branding, one cannot go ahead without like-minded people around you. It was painful initially, people used to leave very often and we could not find someone with the required skills within the expected budget. That led a few of us to work on everything else (pretty much the story of every start up). Thanks to Internships and freelancers, we were able to get on track with this problem as well
3. Goal: It’s inevitable that having no long-term goals are going to take you nowhere. We had a very vague or unclear goal initially, we could not define our aims, and vision in a way the real world could understand. But, as we grow, as we network, as we meet people with similar goals and mindsets, we can define them clearly.
4. Growth: We all heard “success will never come overnight”. It’s hard to experience and digest it. There were times for months we were simply burning out and couldn’t afford to pay salaries, but still kept going, almost went bankrupt, and never asked any of our employees to wait for the next paycheck. That’s what helped us in the difficult times. We are more like a family now and built a great culture at work.
TheCconnects: What lessons have you learned from your professional career?
Hari Phi: Few things I learned in a harder way,
1. Compassion: The greatest virtue of all time is being compassionate with people around you, people are everything.
2. Perception: The only difference between winners and losers is being flexible with the change and appearing the next day with the same energy.
3. Belief: Let the world don’t trust you, let your parents, family, and friends don’t believe in you. The only one you must trust is yourself.
4. Knowledge: Today, you can always hit zero and bounce back to the same if not more than where you are. Always keep updated yourself.
TheCconnects: How can your product/solution help to resolve the pain points of your customers?
Hari Phi: We are working in the fields of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and similar advanced technologies. I am sure we have heard of at least one of these technologies and believe it has great potential in solving various problems. Artificial Intelligence helps us solve problems that are complex in nature, Robotics help us to automate tedious tasks, and the IoT connects us irrespective of the distances. We are yet to explore the great applications and various possibilities with these technologies. That’s exactly what we do in our research center. We have established several incubation centers, and partnered with organizations that are working in similar fields to provide training and other facilities for those who would like to start their own startups in these fields.
TheCconnects: Do you have any advice for those who want to become a chief executing officer?
Hari Phi: A CEO is someone whose job is not to look after the team and give commands, but to be ready to show how things are done by doing it. When you cannot step in to work on the task, you cannot expect anyone else to do the same task. A CEO should be an HR, should be a Marketer, should be a front desk executive when in need. It’s not a position or job role, it’s a pure responsibility. It may sound fancy when we hear “CEO” but one has to make a lot of sacrifices to reach that position.
TheCconnects: What motivates you the most?
Hari Phi: My past, the failures I have gone through, the hardships I took with a smile, the obstacles which nailed me down, the voices which never believed in me, the laughter which dragged me down. I feel it’s really really really important to fail. Anything which comes without hardship, without having a failure will not last long. When most of the causes and effects are not in our hands to control it is obvious that we fail. Failure and bouncing back is the only way.