What CIOs can learn from serial entrepreneurs: K. Ganesh

Radhika Nallayam

Being a Serial entrepreneur and a good one at it, is not an easy job. Success should become a habit, while also being fully prepared for failure. K.Ganesh, the serial entrepreneur who launched five successful start-ups, believes that adaptability is the most important quality for a serial entrepreneur. In an exclusive interaction with CIO.in, he elaborates why CIOs should quickly adapt to the changing circumstances.

CIO: What is the biggest take-away for tech leaders from serial entrepreneurs?

K. Ganesh: There are many interesting things about entrepreneurship. But I would say that the most interesting aspect of entrepreneurship is the ability to change. Whether it is the language, the architecture methods or the technology, everything is changing by the day. That's true for both entrepreneurship as well as tech leaders. The ability to adapt to changes and quickly learn new things on the fly are something that the CIOs and entrepreneurs have in common. It is like repairing the car when the engine is on.

CIO: You have run multiple successful ventures in the past. At the same time, you have ensured that you make very timely exits from these ventures. This ability to 'let go' is something very hard to come by. Do you think it is a quality that will help today's CIOs?

K. Ganesh: I think it takes us back to the aspect of constant change. The point is a CIO's job is tough and at the same time quite different. Imagine being an engineering manager in an automobile company. There is hardly any technological shift or any major change that happens to that role. Even the organizational structure does not change for him. But if you take information technology as a department and look closely at the CIOs or CTOs job, you realize that it is a highly dynamic role. For example, today the decision making power in an IT department is getting decentralized. The rise of social and crowd-sourced technologies has changed everything. Automatically, the hierarchical structure of an IT organization becomes quite different as compared to an engineering or manufacturing department for instance. So the ability to let go is certainly a big advantage for a CIO, because that helps him to get adapted to such quick changes.

CIO: Entrepreneurs are usually calculated risk-takers, so are the CIOs, on many occasions. Do you think the ability to take risk has got something to do with age?

K. Ganesh: I don't think so. My wife Meena and I were past 50 when we started Portea, the home medical company. You might face some issues when you're starting for the first time. But the older you get, the freer you are. That said, what you may not able to do is come up with some 'cool' apps like a Snapchat or Whatsapp and make billions of dollars in two or three years.

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