1. How long have you worked at Plivo? How does it feel being the first hire?
It’s been a year now since I joined and it’s been a crazy year at that. I met Venky at a coffee shop about a month prior to joining. When he explained Plivo’s vision to me, I was very excited. I really didn’t think in terms of being a first employee. I knew that both Mike and Venky were on to something awesome and that the problem they were solving was as genuine as it was challenging. I always wanted to be involved in a startup that was technological, as opposed to say an e-commerce venture, and I wanted to be involved from the very early stage. Plivo was perfect and I considered myself really fortunate to have gotten this opportunity.
2. What are some of the major changes you’ve seen? Can you give some insight to how the company has evolved since you started?
Well, obviously things have changed. We’ve grown pretty quickly. There has been growth in revenue, team, and our appetite for new features. The time I joined was when Plivo moved into it’s first office ever in Bangalore. We (Venky, me, Kunal- who came later, and Mike- remote from France), literally lived there for a few months getting the first version of our API and UI ready. We soon got a call for the YC interview and it was around the same time that we’d decided to shift to a bigger office. We were super thrilled after we got through to the summer batch of YC 2012. The team grew bigger after that and we launched publicly in June. We were really happy with the response to our initial set of features. After “Demo Day” at YC, we also got funded by a marvelous set of investors who didn’t just bring in money but gave proper guidance and shared invaluable experience as well. Now we have our HQ at SF. I’ve missed out many things but it’s been crazy in a nice way. So many things happened and so many things changed. However, one thing has remained the same. We still think the same way in terms of new challenges and features. We still pump code in with the same zeal and fervor.
3. What were you doing before you joined Plivo?
I was working at Adobe for about two and a half years in the Flash Builder team. It was a good experience. I did things varying from evangelism to working on the media installation scripts. That’s where I first used python and started loving it’s simplicity and power.
4. What websites/apps do you visit/use/think are great?
Github for reading code, twitter for finding out what else is interesting to read, this nice app called Readefine that makes any article pleasing to the eye.
5. Hobbies/Interests aside from Plivo?
I read a bit, like solving crosswords, listen to quite a lot of music, and I like to drive on empty roads.
6. What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the coming year and adding some really exciting features to Plivo. I am hoping to get to a stage where we can deploy stuff even faster than we are doing now. What I’m looking forward to the most is finishing the really awesome things we have planned for 2013 :)
7. Any inputs/tips/suggestions for folks deciding to join startups as initial team members?
Before joining Plivo, I was told “Don’t treat a start up as a job, treat it as a lifestyle”. That is so true. If you are planning to join a startup, make sure that everything about the startup excites you and conforms with your DNA. The aim of the start up, the founders’ vision, the work that you’ll be doing, etc. As an early member, you play an important role in deciding the fate of the company, so it’s good to give it a lot of thought before taking the plunge.
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