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  Julian Philips, Unimobile.com Meeting Point (2000)  

Julian PhilipsThe recipe for India's success as an IT superpower consists of technology concoctions being whipped up by many a youngster involved in the industry. Brimming with ideas, striving for excellence, stung by an enthusiasm never before seen in this country, these young men and women are driving home the point globally that "India has arrived".

Take the example of Julian Philips "a home grown" Bangalore boy, now with Unimobile.com (formerly Gray Cell). It was his passion for music that plunged him into the world of IT. Now, the pundits might find that background a bit odd. But then, Strange Brew it is. All that mattered to Julian when he walked out the gates of Christ College in 1995 with just the electronics degree tucked under his belt was music. He was more successful in music than academics and hence wasn't sure what sort of career awaited him. Besides playing music, he used to do a lot of studio and digitally work and had contact "of sorts" with the PC.

In fact, that's how he joined Gray Cell whose focus at that point of time was on computer telephony integration. "I met Rajesh informally and he asked me drop by sometime. That informal dropping by went on for about 2 months and finally, I joined Gray Cell full-time," recalls Julian, who presently heads the company's Media & Design Labs, which is in the domain of what they call 'user experience'. Front-ending Unimobile.com's exterior to the world, which could be their product consumers or partner programs. The key aspect of this is not just the user interface or communication or any such thing but the understanding of a person's perception. For instance, the usage of the mobile phone may be different for one person to another, say, from another country, another culture. "This helps create the user experience," explains Julian on the significant role his group of 8 plays in creating the design and front-end of the product. Their individual functions may vary but the prime focus is on user experience and in turn, complement the engineering team with their findings.

When Julian finished college, he hadn't a clue to the direction his career would go. All he knew was music. And today, if he heads a core group in the company, it's based on his ideology which he goes on to explain, "If you break it down it's like this. Communications? No degree. Design? No degree. Marketing? No MBA. I started from scratch and it so happened that I learnt fast." He admits he might have lost out on a few things such as not having the technique but which he offset in moving more towards strategy and learning through sheer hands-on experience.

Imagine if that chance meeting with Rajesh never happened? What would he have done? Says Julian, a non-conformist all the way, "I really don't know. I seriously don't analyze these things too much." Quickly adds, "Maybe someday I'll figure it out." For the present, however, Julian has other things on mind. Traveling for example. Now that Unimobile.com has a full-fledged office in Santa Clara, California, Julian makes frequent trips to the US. He loves traveling and if some sort of music lurks in the shadows, that's even better. On one such trip he managed to sneak across to New Orleans for the "Mardi Gras" festival and that contented look on Julian's face said it all.

Preferring to remain a bachelor for a long, long time to come, Julian's passion "is and always will be music" though he's added a new one lately - microwave food. You can't miss that delightful look on his face when he says, "It's simply superb, man!"

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