At Egnyte the Spark is at the center of everything we do, including our logo. When it comes to our team, we see the Spark as the intersection of talents and passions that drive each and every employee – which is what ultimately drives Egnyte. Through this series I hope to showcase the outstanding individuals whose combined talents make Egnyte what it is today.
* Bold Writing Represents the Voice of Egnyte CEO Vineet Jain
We’ll start off with some easy ones, where are you located and what’s your current title?
I’m freshly retitled as a Group Product Manager here at our HQ in Mountain View.
What is your current mobile device and your current computer?
My mobile is a Samsung Galaxy and my computer is a Mac.
So why do use both? That has always fascinated me with folks who do that, as in, why do you use two separate OS systems?
Pretty simple. On the mobile side, I love the doodle capabilities of the Android devices. Allows me to type and do anything with just one hand, really underestimated feature that I take advantage of every day.
Does it ever give you problems when switching between the two?
Not really because I have Google Apps and Egnyte so everything I am doing for work is available on both, it’s a pretty seamless experience no matter what I’m using.
That’s a great lead into my next question of what is your favorite app, or apps, outside of Egnyte?
I use Yelp quite a bit, especially since I frequently try new restaurants. I also love Waze, it is very helpful given how terrible the traffic is in the Valley. Coming from South San Jose it takes me around an hour to get to and from the office.
I feel the same, coming from San Mateo it takes me nearly an hour as well. Traffic has literally become exhausting!
Alright, now tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up at Egnyte.
I grew up my entire childhood life in Bangalore and then went to college out there at the RV College of Engineering. I came here to the United States for my Masters at SUNY Stony Brook, where I got my MS in Computer Science. Before we got married, my wife was initially getting her PhD at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and then moved to upstate New York, which became slightly closer to me since I was based in New Jersey.
After a few years of working with a startup, we got married. Then we moved to the Bay Area and I started working with Juniper. Then I moved on to EMC, which is where I met Ravi and Ram.
So Ravi and Ram were the connection?
And Ram was a big champion for me and in a sense, spoke very highly of Egnyte and wanted me out here as an engineer.
I told him I’m not really looking for an engineering position. He tried a couple years and by the third year I knew a few people at Egnyte. To tell you the truth though, once I got to know more people at Egnyte, Rajesh was the one who really made the difference for me.
Rajesh is our best champion, he does it better than anybody. He really loves this company and it shows through him every day.
That being said, what’s YOUR favorite thing about Egnyte?
That’s a great question! In the last year and a half, we moved away from a startup mentality where big customers govern our roadmap to where we dictate how we want to move forward. Driving the roadmap with a big picture, holistic vision is a major shift for both consumers and the organization. Egnyte as a hub of digital innovation is a testament to our grit, withstanding the rough tides to where people are excited about what’s on the horizon. This is a place that not only recognizes results, but realizes potential. That’s one of the things I love about working here.
As a Founder, as a CEO, this is everything to me. I always wondered as a person who’s not the founder, of course every job is important, what motivates people to come to the office?
For myself, and perhaps I can speak for the people on my team, we are fully invested in the Egnyte culture of high performance innovation. Our contributions are highly valued and there’s a sense of pride whenever we win awards or get mentioned in the press. If any issues arise, we immediately handle it because it is a reflection of each and every one of us.
Do you go home and talk about work stuff with your wife?
I try not to because the line of work she does is so much different than mine and on a much different scale.
What does she do?
She’s a nuclear engineer at GE.
Oh wow, you know nuclear science is something I’ve always been fascinated by. If you don’t mind me asking, I’m very curious, what does her work entail?
Her work is around identifying the structures for nuclear power plants, making sure there aren’t any cracks, and making sure security-wise they are in a stable environment. So my sense of problems and escalations is different from her sense of escalations. (laughs ensue)
Switching gears a little here, what’s something unique that other Egnyters don’t know about you?
Picking up new skills on a daily basis is important to me. I consider myself a bit of a handyman and enjoy working around the house to fix things. For instance, we had a washer, about 20 years old or so, recently break down and my two options were to simply dispose of it or figure out what’s wrong. I’m always up for a challenge and figured, go for it, fix it!
So you fixed it!
I fixed it!
So what did you do, were you watching a bunch of YouTube videos? DIY books?
That’s pretty much it. A bunch of YouTube videos and forums that spoke about this old GE washing machine.
That’s impressive, dude.
It felt good afterward, had something tangible.
So do you do a lot of that kind of stuff?
Around the house I try to but with the kids I try to pick and choose my battles.
How old are the kids now?
Six and three. First grader and pre-k.
Very impressive. Handyman and raising two children. Even with one, between Egnyte and family time, I just can’t get around to doing that stuff myself. With two children I can only imagine,
The economy of scale doesn’t really work there. In the sense, if you have more kids around the house, they take care of themselves.
But they’re not at that age yet, so probably once they get there.
So you’re a handyman who likes to do things, especially around the house.
Around my house, yes. (laughs)
Do you play sports outside of work?
I used to play a lot of tennis, pretty serious tennis. Until a few years back, because of the children, changing priorities. I’m more into hiking, taking the kids out to the trails of Saratoga.
So you take both of them?
Yes, my three-year old watches the six-year old and tags along.
That’s very nice, great way to have some family time.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Well it’s a pretty simple philosophy. Three L words. Life Long Learning. This was ingrained in me early on by my family and even by my tennis coach. As a working adult or a parent, you’re learning every day, but you need to go beyond that. It’s wise to invest in yourself and discover where your interests lie beyond a career or family obligations.
Beyond the works hours, once the children go to bed what do you do?
I try to read some books, not necessarily work related books. Just pick something up and read for the heck of it.
How do you decide what books do you read?
Books where I have no idea about the topic. Like the history of the world is an area of interest, so I will try to read up on politics, maybe back in the 50s and 60’s – since I don’t know much about that at all.
Do you buy the books, get them from friends, Kindle?
No, I get it from the library.
The libraries here are great. They’re fantastic.
Oh yeah, absolutely. It helps open up in some ways in that sense and it’s good to read things where you just don’t have an idea.
Do you keep in touch with what’s happening in India?
To a certain extent, yes. Not so much on the political front, more from the sports front. I try to keep tabs on political activism to see what it is about. But that’s the level of which I keep tabs.
I kind of have a routine. So every Friday evening, they come out with the new India Today on iPad. I also watch Indian TV in the mornings when I am getting ready so I know what’s going on with the elections. It’s fun to keep up.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve received?
Anything related to stocks or financial, take it with a pinch of salt. (laughs)
After taking anyone’s advice in the market you will at some point lose money, so that makes sense!
If you had the opportunity to sit down with anyone for dinner, dead or alive. Who would it be?
Slam dunk, no brainer, Leonardo Da Vinci. For the fact that he was so multidimensional and so far ahead of his times. From the time I heard about him, in grade school, I had an immediate fascination with him. How did he manage to do so many things?.How was he good at so many different things? Some of my questions would be about things on Mars, settlement on Mars, what’s the next big thing that’s going to happen. I just feel that level of forward thinking is not what you see on a day to day basis.
Fantastic. I always love hearing the answer to that last question as everyone always has such different answers!