When I had a battlefield promotion to become the CEO at Excelan from VP of engineering in 1985, I had to metamorphose as a person. I was a hardcore nerd, with a pocket protector and beard etc. I had to shave and put on white shirts and ties.

Bigger change was to become a marketer rather than engineer. I did that without missing a heart beat. I had Subhash Bal (Also ex IITB abd hostel seven but a year junior to me) as a director of marketing. He was more of a product marketing guy rather than a promotional guy. We had decided to sell to end users as our OEM strategy had fallen on its face as Sun Microsystem had beaten most of our OEMs in the marketplace.

We had to package our technology into working solutions, create documentation so the customers could use them out of the box and price it sensibly so customers could be supported, even if I had to fly out a technician out. All this had to be done in three months as cash was running out. I created a set of ads to create demand and launched them while we we worked on other things.

Everything came together like a charm. Product and documentation were ready as ads started to produce the leads. Our message resonated in the marketplace. I had increased the price almost 10 fold for the solution and it stuck.

Rest is, as they say, history. Kanwal as a marketing genius, who would have thunk it? Not any body who knew me.

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