There is a saying, if you aren’t here for fun or profit, then why are you here.
I am one of the lucky few to have spent the last three years in both fun and profit.
In a very Ms. India way, if someone were to ask me what were the two most important things I have learned in the last three years, they would be
1. About the importance of communication
2. About the nature of people
These will be abstract concepts for most you here today. But when in context, you will understand.
A really simple story on the importance of communication.
Some of you may know that I was born in Liberia, in Western Africa. Civil War broke out in Liberia in 1990 and we had to evacuate the city. But my sister and I (we were 9 and 8 respectively) were not told any of this. We were simply told that we were going for a holiday to Spain. As it was just a holiday, I ended up leaving my favorite dolls (yes, dolls) and clothes and toys behind. From Spain we moved straight to India and I have never seen Liberia or my dolls and clothes and toys.
I never really forgave my parents for this, until recently when I found out in a casual conversation that we really intended to head back to Liberia but couldn’t. I always just assumed that they had lied to me to protect me. To protect me from a truth I felt (at eight) I was mature enough to understand. And that they decided for me.
Assumptions are an evil we must all fight. As introverted or awkward we may feel talking and discussing issues, an open culture is always better than a cold back-biting one.
Another thing I learnt in retrospect is that sometimes you just need to be decided for and it is not because your opinion is not valued, but because it is not yet time. So be patient.
The nature of people is really related to tolerance.
Tolerance and patience are not characteristics I came with but I have had to learn. And what I did learn was how to accept people for who they are and know what you should change about a person and what you should work around. I think this is a secret formula, once acquired, will take every person a very long way.
I have also understood in a very objective way how the value of someone’s work is really not related to their community or culture or gender or sexuality or marital status or nationality. And that to really be a top of the line organization, we have to work very hard to remove all bias from our culture.
There is a third lesson as well – it is that anyone can do anything once they put their mind to it.
Ok enough lecturing.
I would first like to thank Sharad for giving me this opportunity to build Crimson. At first I really did not know what I was getting into, but under his mentorship and guidance everything has slowly fallen into place. I’d especially like to thank him for the freedom along with the responsibility. There will really never be another Sharad for me.
I would like to thank Snigdha for teaching me the meaning of commitment. Building Crimson has really been like a marriage. And Snigdha has been a dear partner. She has been my strength when I was weakest and a there is a strange lightness or should I say delightness about her that I wish will never change.
I’d like to thank Yuko for opening my eyes to Japan. Really opening my eyes. Today, Japan is no longer just a market with some researchers. It is country, and this country has its people, and its people have a cause and a culture and a problem we can solve. I’d like to thank her for showing me Japan through her eyes, and also showing me a bit of India that I never noticed before. Today she is a very dear friend and I hope we can carry this friendship through for many many years.
I would like to thank Aniket and Kuntan, without whom this move would be very difficult for me to make. They have never shied away from responsibility and have been integral in making the team what it is today. They still have many miles to go and joys to feel in their own personal journey. And I wish them a world of luck for that.
I would like to thank Anupama and Swapneel for giving me the opportunity pass down the taset values we practice at Crimson. I am sure they will make great managers and create fabulous teams that really live the Crimson values.
I would like to thank Sachin for simply, in Swapneel’s words, being Sachin.
I would like to thank Preetesh and Rebecca for welcoming me to 225 and allowing me to butt into their work and ask them a 1000 questions. It also makes me realize the importance of integration in an organization like ours. Everyone should have this opportunity.
I would like to thank Santosh for keeping poetry in my life and Nilanjana for being so positive.
I would also like to thank Ankit, Sumitha, Spandana, Wayne, and Prachie for being the rocks in the editing team. And Anand for being a one man design show.
I would like to thank Rajesh for the many delicious coffees he has made and staying up late with us when we needed to work late.
And last but not the least, I would like to thank every other Crimson member, those who I have known and those who I have never had the chance to interact with, for contributing to our Crimson and always treating me with kindness and respect.
I will miss each of you dearly.
Thank you and goodbye.