There is a city in northwest India named Rajkot. In India, this is more of a town because it only has a population of 1.5 million. It’s a quaint little town with performing arts centers, a nice cricket stadium, and a bunch of museums. It gets a little warm there – last year it got to 118 F. Four-star hotels in Rajkot run about $60 a night. Neat place.
Why do I know about this place? Because Umesh Parsania lives there. Yes. It is the home of the mighty Umesh. Whether you know it or not, Umesh changed The Farm and how we work. Umesh might have changed the world’s CRM.
About a dozen years ago, I put up a request in a programming marketplace for some code snippets for a test I was working on. A guy named Sid spit out the code and charged me $100 or something. That was the beginning of a friendship and partnership that changed my company and will clearly last a lifetime.
Sid was not his real name. I called him Sid for the first two or three years until I figured out that wasn’t his real name. I introduced him to some of my industry friends to do some coding. They still call him Sid and it makes me smile. So, my buddy Sid had a trusty sidekick named Umesh. It seemed that Umesh did the heavy lifting and Sid just took the money. I didn’t care much. They were in India. I didn’t know much about India except that people told me you can get cheap labor there.
There are a few things I’ve discovered since our first meeting. India labor seemed cheap because they could do it in thirty seconds versus the two hours it would have taken elsewhere.
The second thing I learned is that my friends in India are amazing people that live in a cool place and love their lives. It’s not the 95 people standing on the roof and hanging out the windows of a bus in a traffic jam that we are shown in the U.S.
Out of all the people I work with in India, Umesh speaks the worst English. The fact that we communicate at all is amazing. Many of us fat Americans equate poor English with a lack of intelligence. Most every conversation with Umesh is me talking for five minutes while he sits in silence. He then interrupts me to say, “Yeah, yeah I got it”. He says, “Yeah, yeah I got it” a lot. In fact, that’s almost all he ever says to me. The amazing part is that not only did he get it, but he thought up an even better solution. Every single time Umesh is asked to do something, Umesh exceeds our expectations. Without exception.
Innovation is a rare bird. Most of us just keep hammering out the repetitive tasks without thought. There are a few that think, “How can this be improved?” Then there is Umesh. He isn’t the one doing the task, but he is truly the most empathetic coder I know. He watches, listens, then says, “Yeah, yeah I got it”. What that means is that he feels the agitation I am feeling when I am having to grab my mouse to move to the next box. He feels the money evaporating while my team is squinting at the screen trying to figure out what to do next. Umesh has changed our lives and the lives of our RepDonkey and PriceDonkey customers. He feels our agitation. He revels in our success (even though all he ever says to me is, “Yeah, yeah I got it”.
So, here is some stuff to know about our software products:
- Our coders study the AV industry.
- Our coders understand what a rep firm does.
- They feel the pain of those doing the hard work to keep sales teams selling.
- Feature requests are ALL considered in a thoughtful, methodical way.
- Innovation doesn’t all come from Umesh, but he has a particular connection with the user’s concerns.
So, the next time you see India on the news, and it looks like some sort of chaotic foreign crazy place, please think about Umesh. He is an individual. He is an individual who is brilliant with a family and a happy life. We are so proud to have him on our team and would be lost without him.
Offshoring does not mean disconnecting. Just because they have stupid half-hour time zones and have holidays that I don’t understand does not mean we cannot be the best of friends.