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.

1980 was the year of reckoning for me. I turned 35 that year and had been at the same job for 9 years. I had done well, in fact too well, as I had reached the top rung of the technical ladder. I had two patents to my name. Even though I was at the top of my game, I felt scared as I was starting to feel stagnant. Besides, my job with the defense contractor Singer-Link was seen as an ultimate sin in Silicon Valley.

Thinking back to this tour de force of an article in Fortune Magazine dated May 15, 2000. It was titled “The Indians Of Silicon Valley”. Click here for the full article or read it below:

Forbes did an article about me, titled “The Venture Capitalist from Kanpur” in their July 6, 1998 issue. Read below for the full text, or click here.