A lot of people, when they become intellectuals, forget what humanity is. That is because it becomes difficult to have a balance of both. I believe that someone who walks into a brainiac chamber, leaving out his emotional quotient at the doorsteps, doesn’t even care about the circle of people around him. But Mr Suresh Kumar has never forgotten to gather up his EQ on his journey of becoming an erudite in application development. Readers, this article is going to be one of its kind, because Mr Suresh Kumar whom you are yet to meet in this read is in a class by himself. One fine evening, I, Karthi Easwaramoorthy, sat for an interaction to hear from him directly. We, DigitalVillage.In, put together an article based on it for your read. It a must Read! Very inspiring and courageous!
Mr. Suresh Kumar is the founder, CEO of Pepul and Co-founder of MacAppStudio. In this interview, he opened up about his personal journey on how he and his childhood friend George came together to build a people centric million dollar company – MacAppStudio. He also shared how he and his team are building a unique privacy first social network called Pepul from India’s SaS bhoomi, Chennai as next ambitious project. Here you go.
SOUL OF THE PARTY
From the playground to the student clubs at college, Suresh had always made a mark of his presence. I couldn’t deny the fact when he quoted himself as a social butterfly, because despite the fact that the interview was virtual I felt the connection between us for real. I was very curious to know how he had that kind of connection with people. “ A lot of my friends at college were from Tamil Medium schools and that scared them about stages and speeches. I greatly felt that it was my responsibility to break that inferiority complex and I managed to do it”, said Suresh. Such good deeds were reasons enough for him to become the Secretary of the college in his fourth year. It was in the year 2003, when Suresh graduated as a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Mookambigai College of Engineering. As cool as a cucumber, our celeb got placed into an esteemed company and in the next 6 years he was receiving a payroll worth 2 lakhs per annum in India. As he was filling me in with these instances he did not forget to mention about his guide Mr. Balaji Kalyana Raman.
INNOVATION’S PATH TO INTEL
Suresh is a person who trusts innovation. “A problem becomes bigger and serious only when you cannot find a solution. If it is you who is arriving at the solution, when nobody else was able to, your value grows higher”, said Suresh because he abided with the saying “Knowledge is power”. No matter if it is art or science, if something that you are talking about takes your interest, you always glow differently. In our story, the glow is because of innovation. When I asked Suresh to define innovation he simply called innovation as any solution for a harder problem that reaches the common people easily to make their lives better.
“As man moves from place to place,innovation becomes the solution for his problems. And it need not be very huge in appearance like rockets. It can even be as small as a water bottle. The bigger the impact it makes, the more you get celebrated”, went on Suresh. And who says no to celebration? Suresh approached George, his very dear friend, in the interest of starting a company on their own. With a problem statement they developed an application and on selling it to an Australian company, their confidence perked up. With coding genius George alongside, Suresh got into a competition held by Intel. That was a win worth $15,000. Competing with almost 18000 experienced developers, it couldn’t have been an easier job to win the competitions. This obviously needed recognition. And so did Intel award Suresh and George with the title, “World’s Best Developer”. These two gentlemen went on to become the youngest guys in Asia to receive Intel Blackbelt and for that they had a red carpet welcome at Sanfrancisco for a private dinner. It should have been an absolute shock for the people over there to know that Suresh and Geroge were working on these competitions all by themselves in part time. The ultimate purpose of knowing your own worth, is to not let somebody else treat you any less. And when you get that purpose done, you don’t stop there but want more.
THE NEW VENTURE
There is a lot of difference between what we watch at theatres and what happens for real. To reach a place so high, you have to work so hard with no excuses. Meanwhile you might have to face a lot of criticism. What matters is how focussed you are to hit the goal.
“We decided to hit the goal”, started Suresh as we began talking about his MacappStudio. “The place where I’m sitting now is exactly the same place where I and George started 12 years back. We had to struggle through a whole heap of hurdles And there were times when I didn’t have enough money to even get medicines for my kid. I didn’t want to vent out to someone because I didn’t want to be judged. And our company, being bootstrap based, has sometimes touched zero. But eventually things fell into place. Having come this far, not even once did I regret my choice.”
Suresh stated that he and George started this venture with a laptop that they bought on EMI and now they have built the office of their dreams with 150 people working for them. At the end of the day what matters is your passion and if you are truly following it. For Suresh and George, it was always passion before money. And that was how their company took a breakthrough in the fourth year from its beginning and finally turned out to be a million dollar venture which has developed more than 100 applications.
THE SUI GENERIS
MacappStudio handles millions of transactions as it is concerned with developing applications for iOS and android. Suresh proudly mentioned that their company to be the world’s first software company to hire people without resumes. “Even today, an engineering graduate approached us. He was not fluent in speaking English and is from a very struggling background. He connected so well with us. Whenever a person comes to us to fill in a job role, I and George believe that God has sent him to us for a purpose. We have hired almost 95% of people who approached us in the beginning. The only reason for not recruiting someone is not because of the candidate’s ability or inability but the company’s zero vacant condition. MacappStudio has abided by two hardcore qualities, hardwork and loyalty. Anyone who departs from the truth is fired and everyone working here should be hardworking,” said Suresh.
He further added an example of an employee who joined MacappStudio before covid pandemic. “Kanagaraj’s past world was hurtful. Now he has grown up to be a skillful person who can mentor more than ten people. When the universe gives us the things we need, we sometimes do not appreciate it but when you struggle to get the same thing, it’s worth grows higher. We are into a heavy process when it comes to recruitment and training so that we don’t compromise with the quality of the service we offer. We analyse a person according to the 16 types of personalities and assign them works accordingly because A R Rahman can never become a master blaster cricketer and Sachin Tendulkar can never become the Mozart of Madras.”
RISE BY LIFTING OTHERS
I was quite curious about the personality analysis that Suresh mentioned. He then quoted me an instance. Things are better explained when it is done with examples. “On having a casual tea table talk with one of our candidates, we came to know that he took a break of a year. To have mentioned that to a recruiter, it takes a lot of courage. He went on to say that during the course of his one year break he had been growing 90 plants at home. As we talked more, he told us that he spent nearly 6 hours with the plants everyday. So we gave him a job of taking care of the employees at the office instead of plants. He rendered his duties excellently suring the Covid times and made sure everyone from office reached their homes safely. One of the prime things that we care for at MacappStudio is the employee’s welfare. We club the person’s natural ability with one of our job roles aptly to squeeze the excellence out of him.”
Giving time and taking time to perform an activity are significant. Everybody in the corporate arena needs employees with experiences and when the employee finds a better opportunity he tends to move. Ultimately there is no personal connection between the employee and the employer. Suresh and George always sow a seed that is believed to be sterile but is actually capable of growing to heights. By seed, I mean the amateurs. To do this they invested a lot of hope and effort. With no doubts, they always bore dynamite fruits. Only a few people left the company for a highly valid reason for which the company encouraged them. Alongside the tutoring, the firm never failed to inculcate the personnels with life lessons because great leaders create leaders.
Every human deserves to be treated as a human. “We, at MacappStudio, are a family”, stated Suresh. That is a great reason for the staff members to stay back at the company. In a scenario where every other software firm finds it difficult to hold on to a specific number of personnels at the office, what exactly does an employee expect from the employer? “Any normal person can assess the recruiters in 5 to 10 minutes. When he comes here, he can see everything in a kind and humble working atmosphere for himself. If we need to talk about appraisals and recognition for the efforts they put in, it happens frequently here.We always respect our employees for the work they do for us and give them the time to spend with their families”. This work culture of MacappStudio sets an example. To put in simple words, if you treat your employees not any lesser, you are a keeper.
Many good practices that are built in the people of villages by default are being made into books but with the title concerned with leadership and success. Those are the basics which are forgetful as we grow up as intellectuals. Team building and networking do not happen in just two days inside a resort. It happens when you stand up for your peers at good and bad times.
“Right from the top hierarchy till the security, everyone at the office values people and takes interest in networking”, said Suresh contentedly .
“I have been to many colleges. And while being there I used to question the students why it should always be Silicon Valley where social platforms emerge and why can’t it be in India. Why should it be only Mark Zuckerberg? One night I had an enlightenment and asked myself the question “Why can’t it be me, the World’s Best Developer, to take up the risk?”. I texted George about the idea of developing a social network platform for Indians. George wondered why to start something new right from the scratch because that would definitely cost your family time and would demand sacrifices,” started Suresh as we chatted about Pepul. Doing a good deed requires money. There comes a requirement for a means to make money. That is how Pepul was born.
India is the top major user of any social media application. Gone are the days when British rule was set in India but something called social colonization is creeping in while we are all unaware of it. Valuation worth millions of dollars is happening because of Indians. Many applications that we think to be free of cost are the actual products that can render ample sums of money to the makers. At the same time, we even tend to lose our privacy through these applications. “There is a critical need to counteract. So Pepul will turn out to be a global social platform that would provide a space for spotlighting talents around the world. Bullying and stalking happens anonymously in most of the cases. I wish to build a safest social community for people with real identities. Pepul will go on to be a web dais with a unique monetization model without intervening into the user’s privacy. Right now Pepul is close to the private Beta level. You can expect Pepul publicly for iOS and Android on January 26th, 2022. It will prove to be a world class social media from India competing with Instagram but similar to LinkedIn and nothing like TikTok”, added Suresh.
To reach heights, one will need greater support from family and from the inner self as well. Suresh Kumar has come so far with all such support from his family and friends alongside a lot of hard work. Any start up business is a time eater till you get it to a stable phase. It takes a lot of hard work, time and patience. In the longer run, all that matters is if your hard work meets the purpose and good thoughts. And readers, when everything goes right one shouldn’t give up on his emotional intelligence.