Bright paintings, with a generous splash of vibrant colors adorn the elegant offices of one-year-old MindTree Consulting in the sprawling suburb of Basavangudi, famous for the Bull Temple a few blocks away. Significantly, in each of those paintings, there is a tree. Works of art by children from the Spastic Society of Karnataka, one of who designed the powerful MindTree logo. The ambience reflects the feeling that someone cares. So, it isn't anything different when you meet Krishna Kumar, a particularly key figure in the MindTree set-up.
Krishna Kumar - better known as KK - is an engineer from the prestigious Guindy College of Engineering, Madras. His management degree was from yet another premier institution, XLRI of Jamshedpur. Thereafter, having landed himself a job with Wipro, he worked relentlessly for 19 years. Then came that phone call from Subroto Bagchi, which would change the entire scenario. The rest, as they say, was history.
The forming of MindTree reads like a fable. As each character fell in place, MindTree turned out to be a Dream Team. When minds with exemplary leadership qualities get together, it's a riot out there - of a different kind. How does he feel now, having been a key player in the build-up stages? KK's reply reflects the optimism doing the rounds at MindTree, "In a way, if you look back there is that sense of satisfaction of wanting to do something different. At the same time we keep reminding ourselves that we cannot remain complacent. The challenge is to ensure we create the next level of leaders in the company." The primary focus is of course, to do good business with high quality customers and produce results for the stakeholder's benefit. At the same time, as a company they want to be more responsive to society. "I think the IT revolution presents a huge opportunity for India to transform the way in which our society lives," he adds. That the Spastic Society has found a mentor in MindTree is proof of the company's commitment in that direction.
The ambition is for MindTree to grow as a global powerhouse. Not just is terms of revenue, but unique in all respects. "Unique in the way it does business, builds people and the way it interacts with the stakeholders, customers, that sort of thing. All of us are very flexible and of primary importance is what sort of institution MindTree becomes, rather than on what we would like to do individually" is KK's reaction to the question of how powerful MindTree would grow as a company in the years to come. With the best IT minds at the helm of affairs, it's anyone's guess as to what the outcome will be.
Presently, KK operates out of Silicon Valley in California taking care of e-business practice. The customer base for e-business is really in the US and they had decided that one of them had to be close to the customer and also feel the pulse of changing technologies. In his previous avatar, KK headed the e-commerce business and naturally, he suited the role best.
Does it matter to him whether Bangalore gets the official status of India's Silicon Valley? "I think it certainly matters. I think it's a matter of pride. Look at the sheer intellectual power in Bangalore. I think people have the confidence and capability to change the texture of the place." That ought to sound like music to the out-of-tune bureaucracy in the state.
From one Silicon Valley to another, KK's chalking out MindTree's route map to success.