Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Maharaja of ITTIAM

I have suggested in this blog that becoming a Nawab or a Maharaja is an admirable career option for the young men and women of India. I am happy to see the gradual growth of one such self-made Maharaja and the expansion of his domain across the globe. I am referring to Srini Rajam and his company ITTIAM, that recently unveiled the first single chip HDTV solution in the world.

The story of Srini in many ways mirrors the path taken by many Nawabs and Maharajas in Indian history. The awesome Hyder Ali of Mysore is an example.
To become a king, study the ways of kings, or better still work in the army of the best king you can locate in your neighborhood. Better still, seek out the king that best values the talents that you have to offer. Fight many battles. Important that one survives intact from these battles, but emerge a veteran of many battles. Rise through the ranks. Command and inspire increasing number of soldiers. Earn their respect and loyalty by leading from the front. Be part of exhilarating victories. Ensure minimum loss of life and exit with maximum reputation from lost battles. Regroup and fight another day.

Seize the opportunity to become a King of your own. Unlike the countless unsavory ways in which usurpers have become kings in India, take the honorable path to becoming your own king: Establish a small domain, attract the best soldiers that value and respect your valor and command, to be part of your army. Go forth and expand. The world is your limit.

Srini did just that. Armed with a Masters Degree from the Indian Institute of Science (class topper, with one of the earliest Masters projects in India on CAD, under the guidance of Prof. L. M. Patnaik), he joined the army of the first coloniser of the Indian IT space, Texas Instruments, when it set up shop in Bangalore. Within a very short time, he had risen to be the Head of TI India.
And when he decided to set up his own kingdom, he did it not just honorably, but with lot of strategic vision and elan: gave sufficient advance notice to TI, ensured that his company will work with TI, ensured that his new kingdom was in no way taking away any resources of TI, but instead offered to be a small but respected ally to TI.

The name ITTIAM, 'I think therefore I am', conveys a lot about the focus of the company. To be a company that creates intellectual property that will be utilised by global players and not be another services company. The latter would have meant that Srini just moved from being a soldier in one foreign army to a supplier of mercenaries to multiple armies! Instead, the army of ITTIAM is a proud bunch of soldiers who create IP, Being the first globally in such a complex activity as creating a single chip HDTV solution is an outstanding achievement that has the potential to spread the ITTIAM empire pervasively across the globe. I am sure that some of the leaders in the ITTIAM army are well trained and well poised to set up their own kingdoms in the future, with the support and best wishes of Srini. This is the obvious benefit of present day kingdoms: it is not necessary to depose a king to become a king.

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