Anoop Narayanan - Choose the Right Partners, Who You Can Trust (Co-Founder - Cattleya Tech)

One needs to validate all the scenarios of success and failures before taking the plunge. prepare for failures, do it only when you are ready and have 100% conviction. Learn from mistakes and be tenacious.

Tell us about your background, journey, and upbringing.

I was born in a middle-class family hailing from Kerala. My father was working in “Ennore Foundries”, Chennai a subsidiary of “Ashok Leyland” and my mother, a homemaker, and I have a younger sister. 

I did my schooling in Chennai and my computer science engineering from TKM engineering college Kollam, Kerala, batch 89 – 93, and made friends for a lifetime. I started my professional career with Visionics India, a product-based company creating ECAD products, the experience of which helped me in creating various products over the years. 

During my childhood, my parents always emphasized being bold and truthful which helped me in my career and entrepreneurial journey.

When and how did you get clarity on what you wanted to do?

After Visionics, I Joined MobiApps, an M2M company in 2002. I was heading the technical division of terrestrial telematics BU and had the opportunity to work closely with few industry leaders. We were operational in 30+ countries and had a JV with TATA in India. 

This helped me learn and realize the responsibilities leaders carry and the importance of taking timely decisions and their impact on the organization, society. During the last quarter of 2006, I took the decision to take the entrepreneurial plunge.

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What does your typical workday look like?

My day starts with an early morning walk, which helps me plan for the day. It's very difficult to define a typical workday as each day comes with different challenges. It usually starts at 9 AM, Initial one hour is for catching up with emails and tasks which can be done by myself. 

The next couple of hours are for internal meetings and the rest of the time I keep it flexible while I will have the list of tasks to be completed by the day, exceptions are customer meetings as I always give the highest priority for that.

Several global companies have come out and thrown their support behind not needing a formal education. What is your opinion about this?

I have supported this and was proven correct way back in the late 90s. However, in my experience, I have seen these are exceptional people and cannot be applied as a common criterion or philosophy. 

Formal education gives the basic tools required to execute a task in a structured way, I don’t believe this is the only way one can learn. If the question is, if I will support a person with the required talent without a formal degree, the answer is a firm, YES but it's not easy to reach there without formal education most of the time.

How do you handle someone who has lied on their resume?

If someone can lie on their resume, it shows their character that they are willing to do wrong things when situations are tough. If I recognize a candidate has lied in any relevant section of their resume, I would not consider them irrespective of their talent.

There are times we have failed to meet customer expectations, we have always encouraged our teams to do full disclosure with data and facts. This has only helped us grow better and never had a customer mistrust issue.

What are some of your typical challenges and how have they evolved over time?

This is my second stint in my entrepreneurial journey and has always been full of challenges. One keeps encountering these challenges on a daily basis and solve. When my Partner Badrinath Rao and I started Cattleya Technosys, we had limited senior resources to handle. 

Over time we have many senior people in our team who help us in handling the challenges. The only mantra we follow is to surround ourselves with people smarter than us.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking for funding or those eyeing the top job?

One needs to validate all the scenarios of success and failures before taking the plunge. prepare for failures, do it only when you are ready and have 100% conviction. Learn from mistakes and be tenacious.

Choose the right partners, whom you trust. They should provide the power to make it through the challenging periods and the camaraderie to share failures and successes.

Which is your favorite book and why?

I am not a voracious reader but the books I liked are “The High-performance Entrepreneur”, “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” and “Built to Last”. The first 2 books helped me kick start my entrepreneurial journey and the last one to build and sustain an organization.

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  1. Thank you... feel happy and proud as one of your lifetime friend. It's well narrated your journey...

  2. Inspiring and motivating. Keep going, all the best. I too, tkmce 93, Pattali Mechs👍