DCN March 2017 - Page 16

meet me room GAURAV DHILLON – SNAPLOGIC Gaurav Dhillon joined SnapLogic in 2009 and is the company’s CEO and chairman. He founded his first company, Informatica, in 1992 and ran it for 12 years, before leaving to set up another company, Jaman, in 2005. Gaurav was born in India but now resides in California. Can you remember what job you wanted when you were a child? I’ve always wanted to build things. I remember as a child looking up to my uncle, who was an engineer; he was certainly an early inspiration for me. I also remember, when I was about eight years old, my father took me to an electronics bazaar in the small town in which I grew up in India. I wanted to buy a transistor, and I could barely see over the counter, but I remember asking him all kinds of questions – ‘What is the most popular transistor?’, ‘How does it work?’, ‘Can you show me?’ – I was a curious kid and wanted to learn. I started building things as a young child and then later in life I was building companies, teams, products, etc. In retrospect, I am blessed to have known what I wanted to do with my life. Did you have a clear idea of the career you wanted by the time you left school and has your career path gone the way you expected? Yes, I would say so. My formative business influences in Northern India were all entrepreneurs. The generation before me landed in the town of Ludhiana, in part, as a result of displacement from the Partition of India. Because of this great tragedy, from which they were fleeing by the millions, many of them had to start over, they no longer had secure jobs, they were lucky if they had a shirt on their back, they had no choice but to 16 | March 2017 be entrepreneurial and build a brand new life. I went to school with many of those people, these families who came from nothing but were building a full and rich life for themselves, and they were a great inspiration to me. So by the time I was graduating college, yes, I knew 100 per cent that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to be in control of my hopes and dreams. I feel very lucky indeed. What is your main motivation in the work that you do? I love building things. As long as I draw a breath I will want to build things. It makes me very happy to have a hand in building a product, or helping to build someone’s career. My proudest moment is when somebody joins the company fresh out of college and they put on their first suit and they go out and get their first customer – there’s just a magic to it. What we are doing is building a home, building a community, building a way of life. It’s an evergreen motivation, you are never done with it. It’s true, I’m happiest when I’m building something. around. We’re still doing things by hand, using outdated technology, in some cases it is really ugly. There’s a sort of Pavlovian nature of many IT organisations where if something goes wrong they get punished, including being asked to potentially find a new assignment. But if something goes right they don’t always get rewarded. So over decades of being a successful IT person, they learn to become risk averse, and they stick to what won’t get them in trouble. It’s frustrating and crazy but it is true. Are there any major changes that you would like to see in the enterprise tech industry? The enterprise tech industry needs to truly become the web, or SaaS, industry. It’s happening but not fast enough. There’s still too much old clunky stuff floating Looking back on your career so far, is there anything you might have done differently? First, when I started Informatica, I was a young kid in my twenties, I didn’t have an MBA, I went to the ‘School of Hard Knocks’, and there were a lot of knocks! But