Interview of Amardeep Vishwakarma (CTO- The Indian Express)

Amardeep Vishwakarma

Amardeep Vishwakarma is currently working as CTO at The Indian Express. He has spent almost 15 years in the internet industry. Prior to Indian Express, he worked with Shine.com (Subsidiary of Hindustan Times) as a CTO.

He started his career in 2005 with Info Edge (Naukri.com) and spent a major chunk of his career at online job portal Naukri.com, where he took various technology-centric roles over the course of his prolific career. At the organization, he single-handedly built several open-source projects along with the company’s flagship cloud-based recruitment software (RMS).
He did my graduation & post-graduation from Graphic Era, Dehradun.

At Indian Express, his responsibilities are driving content personalization, enhancing the user experience and increasing online readership with the help of digital technologies. The idea is to leverage data that already exists by using AI/ML and data analytics. The team also focus on building new products around this data.

In his family, he has wife Ragini Sharma who runs her own business 🙂 and two Kids (Daughter and son)

What inspired you to join the above company or this sector?
Change is difficult, but switching jobs is necessary for both personal and professional growth.

I started my career with Naukri.com which is into job/recruitment space and later moved to Shine.com which was again in the same sector. In total I worked for almost 14 years in job/recruitment space. I wanted to experiment with some other domain and I found media/publishing domain exciting and found that there are enough opportunities to experiment, learn and grow. Indian Express is among the top media companies and has a lot of focus on digital transformation. Plans excited to join Indian Express.

What is your life mantra?

The best way to get something done is to begin. If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan—but never the goal.

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Challenges are what make life interesting; Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.

At every phase of life, I have faced various challenges being a student, husband, father, engineer or a leader. I have faced infinite challenges in my personal as well as professional life, but I have always found a solution to overcome those challenges.

My biggest challenge as a student was being the student! Sitting through conventional lectures was sometimes difficult. The biggest challenges in my first year in college was the volume of work. It was a big change from high school, and standards were also much higher

Every business or enterprise has some risks. Our risks are associated with the right skill set that we look for expansion in future. There could be a number of challenges/ problems I faced in my organizations like

– Achieving a Stretch Goal

– Bringing Out the Best in Your Employees

– Hiring the Right People

– Continuous Improvement

How do you protect yourself from the problem of brain drain?
Simple, I am an indian and I love my country. India is a developing country and has enough opportunities in every sector. India is one of the most emerging countries in the world. The Indian Government is taking lot of initiatives to tackle brain-drain such as rural development, under-employment, work culture, etc.

Share one habit that you think makes you more productive?Go through your goals for the day. I set short targets for myself.

If you really want to be productive, you must read or think through the main things you have to accomplish daily. Try to set a few main targets and really focus on achieving them instead of putting too many and having the trouble to go through all of them. Be really honest with yourself how much you can achieve for one day. 

Share one habit that you wish to change in yourself?
I wish I liked reading books. That’s it, I don’t wish for any grandiose changes, I just wish I had the desire to read books.

Answer in one line.

• One tip to success : Follow your dreams and just do it. Dont’t give up

One mistake you believe every individual must avoid : Taking a shortcut & not asking for help.

One most important lesson that you have learnt till now : The world won’t change if you don’t change.

Apps you can’t live without : WhatsApp, Gmail, GoogleMaps, LinkedIn

Key in the workplace : Respect people’s time, if you want your time to be respected.

If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I always wanted to become a Navy officer when I was a kid. If get a chance to start my career again, I would have gone for academics again, would have worked hard and definitely would have fulfilled my dream of becoming a Navy.

Share a quote that inspires you the most: If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will.

What makes you excited about Mondays?
All the days are exciting. For me all days for same. How Monday is different – You start afresh after a break with a new energy and goals.

According to you how self worth and happiness important in a job?
Having good self-worth is a key part of happiness. If we don’t believe in ourselves how will we ever achieve our goals or feel grateful for the things we have.

Self-respect is an important factor that determines many things, including how you view yourself, how you treat yourself, how you allow others to treat you and how you make your decisions. The more you like yourself, the more confidence you have. The more you like yourself, the more efficient and effective you are in each area of your life. Self-esteem is the key to peak performance.

Happiness is also very important. Happiness isn’t just a bonus, it’s a necessity for any high-functioning workplace. When we are unhappy our brains tend to disengage, effectively decreasing our capacity for creativity and critical thinking.

Employees who have a high level of self-esteem will trust their thinking and judgement and are therefore likely to make better decisions. Having these qualities also enables us to create more effective interpersonal and work relationships which means that we can more effectively contribute to the work environment around us. As leaders, high levels of self esteem mean we are able to focus more positively on other people and their development, rather than spend time berating our own performance.

Describe some difficult leadership situations and how you managed people through them?
Employee issues are among the common difficult situations managers face.
Few problems which every manager must have faced 

– Not enough time (or too many people to manage)

– Giving negative feedback

– Balancing being the boss with being a friend

– Employees with bad attitudes

– Managing people in remote locations
The best way to be successful is to involve people. Wherever possible make everyone as part of the decision making. And when you involve people, you can bet they’re going to present some management challenges that are uncomfortable, troubling, and stressful. But they’re also going to make your life a whole lot easier by offering help, guidance, time, and labor.

The key is to anticipate major challenges, tackle them head-on, and learn from your successes and failures. By letting challenges shape your management style, you’ll eventually grow into a better manager who is capable of handling a variety of situations.

Do you invest (or have interest) in Startups? 

I have a lot of interest in investing in startups. Have not yet invested in any startup till date. 

What’s your opinion about StartupLanes?
StartupLanes is a useful ecosystem for Startups. It provides a platform for Fundraising, Mentorship, Advisory, Consulting for Startups.  SL help in many ways like it helps in Collaborating or finding a co-founder. It’s a great platform for Entrepreneurs.