t’s important to follow your dreams and heart. Do something that excites you — Sundar Pichai — CEO Alphabet
True to Sundar Pichai’s words Saturday the 25th of July 2020 was a day of doers. It was a day for those who followed their passion and gave their blood and sweat to realise their dreams. It was a conglomeration of some of the best minds in the realm of SaaS in India. The first edition of SaaSBOOMi Build a virtual event conducted by SaaSBOOMi gave its participants umpteen “aha” moments and a plethora of thoughts to ponder.
As a participant, I too had those wonderful moments which I thought should be articulated and through this blog I have made an attempt to capture some of my key learnings. I am also sharing a detailed mind map at the end which would give you an idea of the vast explicit and tacit knowledge shared by the doers of Indian SaaS ecosystem.
The clock struck 9.00 am and the participants began to assemble in Zoom punctually on a Saturday morning. STS Prasad of Freshworks facilitated the 1st session and gave us a fresh perspective of what goes behind building successful engineering teams. Prasad’s story struck the right chords with the participants and Rohit who moderated the session kept it very lively and picked the right questions. Prasad spoke on a variety of topics and stressed on the fact that “ There should be something special about every engineer in your team”. Quoting Prasad to win in SaaS we have to stay true to our multi-tenant model.
After laying a very strong foundation on how to build engineering teams the event took switched gears to the world of best-in-class engineering practices that were a result of years of taking baby steps in the right direction and nurturing talent along the way. Soham Mazumdar of Rubrik a leader in data centre backup and recovery solutions facilitated the next session on first steps to building an enterprise SaaS product for rapid scale. The session was curated by Raghu and it was very interesting to see Soham give a ration of 20:20:20 % for the first 20 engineers and how the ratio is split across experts, leads and perfectionists.
Monish Darda Cofounder and CTO of Icertis walked us through what it is to think in the platform and not a product from the start and what is innovation-led quality, security and performance in Icertis. What is agile and not so agile about it was covered and Chaitanya C moderated the session with full energy and enthusiasm. The approach to customer advocacy and involving senior people to work with iconic customers and even saying “NO” to some of their requirements is something well done and thought through in Icertis.
Building Enterprise SaaS on Public Cloud involves scale, cogs, security and telling the right story and keeping your armoury with the right set of tools. Thats the story of Milind Borate and team Druva who goes all lengths to keep data always on and always safe. Kiran who was quoted as the latest superstar to Hyderabad SaaS system curated this wonderful session.
The last session before the lunch is always a challenge but seeing the energy of Deepak Diwakar of Mindtickle one could say no challenge is big enough. Deepak spoke on “Aligning the Trio — Product, UX, Engineering to Deliver a World Class Experience”. The session was curated by Chaitanya and we could not agree more with Deepak’s thoughts on Purpose, Operational Readiness and Catalyst which is a backbone for true north alignment of the trio.
Thinking is the capital, Enterprise is the way, Hardwork is the solution — APJ Abdul Kalam — Former President of India
SaaSBOOMi Build is probably one of those rare events where all participants were equally active post-lunch. Thanks to a guided 15-minute meditation session brilliantly facilitated by Svati Patangay, Chief wellness Officer at Zenoti.
Design is everyone’s responsibility what a simple yet powerful statement. This was backed by awesome slides& thoughts around UI&UX from Bharath Balasubramanian of Freshworks. The audience knew the post-lunch sessions have started with a bang. Bharath’s thoughts on hiring a product designer and designing your product’s website resonated well with all of us. Gowthami who curated the session only wished the session could have been even longer.
Standing ovation and claps yes you read it right. We the audience were transferred to the world of Zeone.Ai. Sreedhar Peddineni, Rohit and Mrityunjay Kumar facilitated an awesome live workshop on the Product roadmap and the Catch 22. We could literally feel for Sreedhar who played the role of head of products, As a PM, I even wanted to give him a hug and say I am with you. David Epstein in his book Range speaks on how having wide interests in life makes one better and how generalists triumph in a world of specialisation. There is one thing we all know for sure these leaders who facilitated the session displayed range and they can also easily give the movie stars a run for their money.
Its always a challenge to facilitate a session after a brilliant live workshop but Anjali from Thoughtspot and Dinesh from Kissflow gave us great insights on what does it take to prioritise features in Enterprise and SMB scale. There was a beautiful dichotomy between the highly data-driven way of prioritisation vs WINES framework followed in Kissflow. Like all of us, I am sure Raghu R who facilitated this session enjoyed this dichotomy.
Ankit Sobti of Postman is the Mahendra Singh Dhoni of SaaSBOOMi Build. What a finish he gave to the event. Should I mention the books he referred to? Or should I mention the philosophies he spoke? Or his thoughts on vision? OKR, Inverse convey manoeuvre .oh so many “aha” moments. Attendees even wanted access to his personal library and his favourite books. I am sure that will be a good session.
The world as we know of it has taken a U-Turn over the last 2 quarters and Covid’s forcing organisations to think differently and run better. Indian SaaS is young, hungry and has a will to achieve more and SaaSBOOMi Build has just opened the doors and got us a step closer to the future by curating the best learnings from those who travelled the past. The excitement to attend the next edition of Build is already buzzing as sooner or later Indian SaaS firms are going to rewrite the technology story of the world.
Printf( ”Hello world are you listening”)