I am in the core team of Students’ Placement Office of our institute, I occasionally get assigned any work that is relating to placement procedure, which requires the use of Computer Center(CC), probably because, I understand the technical requirements of conducting those tests & hence in a better position to negotiate with the CC authorities and sometimes because I am the only person who is free during a particular time (conversely others are busy with some other work.) I am now at the end of my tenure and probably this was going to be my last assignment, Navyug Infosolutions. I thought it is going to be same as any other assignments that I have had, but it turned out to be very exciting… How and Why, you may ask? Read on ;).
It was 12noon and I just opened my eyes to realize that the placement test is about to begin in 30mins, I quickly wrapped up my bed and saw that my mobile had 2 missed calls already; from the placement office ofcourse. Being on time is a skill, being exactly 5 minutes late, always, is also a skill, I master the latter one, or so I wish to think ;). I called back the office, only to be relieved to know that the Navyug guy is late and will be arriving on campus at 2pm, I lazily went back to my system to check my daily doze of updates from facebook and gmail. Finally it was 3pm, which was the new scheduled time for the test, I went to CC at 3:05pm to find no one. I found one of the guys finally, who attended the pre-placement talk conducted(at 2pm) by Navyug and on inquiring, he told me that only 15~17 guys attended the talk and it was announced that test would start at 3pm. Cool, I thought, things are going as planned. I realized that the HR of Navyug didn’t give me any contact number of the person who was supposed to be there, so I thought its better to go down to the entrance and wait for the guy to get him cleared off the security, as I climbed down, I saw a tall and young guy speaking with security guard, he was making him speak over phone, I realized that it should be the same guy and he might be asking one of the office guys to speak to security to let him in. I asked, “Are you Mr. ummm (trying to find the scribbled name on the sheet) Sanjeev from Navyug?”, “Yes, I am” he replied. I introduced myself and asked the security to let him in, as usual, security guard did his usual melodrama before letting us go, meanwhile Navyug guy informed our office lady that I was there to accompany him and its alright now. We didn’t speak much as we ascended towards the lab, I quickly made an announcement, to get the lab empty and to assemble all students who are taking test in our small linux lab.
We started the process a bit late due to some unregistered students showing up at the last minute, it was around 3:40pm. Once the process started, I didn’t have much to do, I sat back on one of the PCs and ssh’d into my system to continue where I left, within few minutes the Navyug guy, Mr. Sanjeev Kumar, started interaction with me, asking few questions about how the department is and who all are the current faculty, it was then did he tell me that he was an alumni of IITK. At that point, I was not aware that he was the director and co-founder of the company! I didn’t even know what Navyug did, how long it has been in existence etc., I just assumed that it was one of those service based companies which came to recruit few coders for them. He has a very pleasant and commanding voice, somehow he kept me interested in conversation and I started inquiring about the technologies that they work with, where are they located, etc., it was then did I get to know that he was the co-founder and director (I sneaked in on it when he showed his company website!). He explained me about how he started off and initially worked for couple of years and then moved on to start companies of his own(YES! Companies, not company!), he dislikes being called as serial entrepreneur, but none the less, he is one. The first test was an objective one, it lasted for about 2hours, I was getting hungry as the time progressed, I hadn’t had the lunch that day (Yes, my biological clock had again shifted to a different time zone 😛 ), he was also alumni of hall 4, it was kind of surprise for me when he knew our canteen bhaiya, Ashok. We reached hostel and met Ashok bhaiya too, he could easily recognize Sanjeev and later Sanjeev revealed to me that he is the guy who ‘invented’ the Dal-Chawal-Butter-Mix (DCBM), which is now one of the most popular dish in canteen! On the way we also talked about how the institute was during his stay and how things have changed, he was an ace athlete too, in his time, he was co-ordinator of Adventure sports club and few other clubs too.
The second round started at 8:30pm, it was a coding round, students were allowed to bring any reference material and were free to choose any programming language, though Java was preferred one. Except one, everyone else preferred Java, they got a pretty simple program to implement, finding factorials, with a catch, for large numbers(without using BigInteger ofcourse!). The only guy who preferred to use python got a pretty interesting problem, given a 5×5 matrix of light switches, initially all in ‘off’ state, the switch operates as follows, pressing any switch would toggle itself and also all the adjacent switches, now the task was to determine all the possible configuration of toggling switches, such that it ends up with all switches in ‘on’ state. It went on for quite sometime, about 5 students were finally shortlisted for the next days coding+interview round. We again went back to hall 4 to have dinner, it was then that I mentioned to him that I wanted to end up with a startup few years down the line, then we had a long conversation on how Sanjeev dropped off of MSc and joined a startup in Pune, which was founded by an alumni of IITK & IITD, then shifted to some other startup the next year in Noida and eventually started his own startup and has been starting up new startups ever since ;). His current organization is Navyug Infosolutions, which is currently bootstrapping itself, his other venture is JigServ, which is an Ads analytics solution. At the end of this conversation, he said to me, “Don’t lead a deferred life, why wait till tomorrow to startup?”. It seemed to me as a very profound advice. I wanted to share this piece of advice with everyone and that’s the motive behind this post! Again, Don’t lead a deferred life.
PS: Eventually two students from IITK got selected the next day, if you were curious ;).