In the startup world, Sridhar Vembu has the positioning of a monk. And that’s not just because of the way he talks and his strong idealism, but more importantly, because of the way he has built his startup Zoho–without raising any external funding.
In this week’s Outliers episode, I had a long conversation with Sridhar, who joined in from Tenkasi, a small town in Tamil Nadu some 130 kilometres away from Kanyakumari. Sridhar has made Tenkasi the second headquarters of Zoho, where a team of young professionals are being trained to code different software products.
“You have to first, get rid of the assumption that somehow the world is going to come back to the old normal, anytime soon. Because often we cling to that illusion, that somehow, the state of the world as of November or December 2019 or January 2019 will come back and by September we will be in that world,” he tells me in this podcast.
In today’s fast paced, startup-frenzied world, Zoho cofounder Sridhar Vembu is clearly an Outlier — he believes in “slow laddering” or building a company slowly, one step at a time. And to top that, he’s even shunned the venture capital monies and said “no” to an over $25 million acquisition offer from Salesforce.com during the early days of Zoho.
“I always said that I am in business to have freedom of thought and action. In fact I’ve never conducted my life to satisfy other people’s expectations of how I should act. I’ve conducted my life according to my own inner feeling of how I should act and that is liberating. So that is what I would advise people to discover in this time, how liberating it can be to actually be truly in charge of your destiny,” says Sridhar.
So how is Zoho navigating the ongoing pandemic and the existential threat it poses for the company and its customers?
Tune in to learn from Zoho’s journey and how Sridhar is navigating the ongoing crisis.
Additional listening: Please check out “How Zoho works.”