Girish Mathrubootham,Founder & CEO of Freshdesk
How Girish Mathrubootham Turned Freshdesk Into a Global Force
Girish Mathrubootham was a successful corporate guy, following all the rules. He started out as an engineer at a software development company and worked his way up to VP of Product Management over the course of 10 years. He had two kids, a mortgage, and was leading a pretty typical life.
Then a bad customer service experience changed everything.
In early 2010, after spending some time working in Austin, Texas, Mathrubootham decided to return to his hometown of Chennai, India. An experience during this move became the catalyst for building the SaaS-based help desk empire, Freshdesk, which now employs nearly 1,000 people across five countries.
As part of his move home, Mathrubootham shipped his 40-inch television to Chennai. The television arrived broken, so Mathrubootham contacted the company that insured his shipment. He kept up a ceaseless round of correspondence for more than five months, the kind we’re all so familiar with, but his insurance remained unpaid.
Frustrated, Mathrubootham created a post on R2IClubForums, a website for people returning to India, and called out the insurance company for their lack of response. Within a day, the post had not only gained the attention of many other forum members, but also of the insurance company’s president, who publicly apologized for Mathrubootham’s experience and quickly paid his claim.
Mathrubootham was empowered by the experience. “I was able to take on a brand in an online forum and the brand was forced to do the right thing. I was no longer the weak customer. I had social power,” Mathrubootham says.
He began to see the same type of posts popping up on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Dissatisfied consumers, frustrated by a lack of response through traditional help desk channels, were taking their voices to social media.
A Fresh Take on an Old Problem
While working in the corporate world, Mathrubootham had built four different help desk platforms. His own experience using a social media forum to resolve his complaint made him realize the need for a new type of solution in the space—a help desk that not only tracked complaints submitted via email and phone but also those that come through social media channels.
In a moment of kismet, Mathrubootham read a post that changed his life. Zendesk, a help desk software startup, had just raised its prices—for some users by more than 300 percent—and initially did not grandfather in existing customers.
Customers were furious, and as Mathrubootham scrolled through the comments, the idea for his own, new brand of help desk was rolling around in his mind. Then he read a comment on Hacker News along these lines: “It just shows that someone could come in and build the right product and take all of Zendesk’s customers away.” Reading that comment was “like a slap in the face—this is my time to do it!”
Mathrubootham approached a colleague and friend to build Freshdesk with him. Together, they built a team of six over the next few months.
From 750 square feet of office space, the team created the first version of Freshdesk in nine months. To spur interest, Mathrubootham published a post on Hacker News. The post told the story of his decision to quit his high-paying job and join the world of entrepreneurs based on a Hacker News comment.
The post went viral and Freshdesk gained the attention of top-tier venture capital firms. Within months, they received offers for investment from several firms, but a million-dollar term sheet from Accel proved to be irresistible.
That first investment gave the Freshdesk team a serious confidence boost. “Somebody external trusted us with a million dollars. We have to be onto something,” Mathrubootham says.
No Such Thing as Bad PR
Riding high on their success, Freshdesk announced their funding on Twitter on December 1, 2011. The next day, they were attacked by a respected industry analyst who claimed that their product name was a ripoff.
Not to be dissuaded, Mathrubootham created a site, ripoffornot.org in which he posted the results of his investigation into the attack. As it turns out, he posted, not only was the Twitter attacker a paid blogger for the competition, he brought in the firepower of the competitor’s CEO to further discredit the Freshdesk team.
The post on ripoffornot.org went viral and the Twitter community came out in defense of Freshdesk. “The whole world was supporting us. It turned into a phenomenal PR moment,” Mathrubootham says.
Thanks to this moment, Freshdesk gained even more social real estate, putting their name at the top of many VC lists. To date, the company has raised $149 million in venture capital and continues to receive offers from some of the most highly recognized VC firms, including Tiger Global and CapitalG.
Powering up a Team
Chennai, India, back then was not known for its startup ecosystem. In 2010, the city had no shared office spaces and no incubators. With good reason, the city wasn’t very popular among top investors.
However, the competition for talent was low and Mathrubootham began hiring the smartest programmers he could find. “The first 70 programmers we hired weren’t familiar with Ruby on Rails (the language on which Freshdesk is built) prior to joining Freshdesk.” But Mathrubootham believes “in hiring smart people and finding their passions and talents, then mapping them to a goal and letting them grow.”
As a leader, Mathrubootham does not micromanage teams or conduct status checks. Instead, he takes an empowering approach. He believes in telling people what needs to be done and then giving them the tools and the space to figure out how to get it done.
Mathrubootham’s leadership style is rooted in Marcus Buckingham’s book, First Break All the Rules. The book taught him the difference between skills, knowledge, and talent. Skills and knowledge are teachable but talent in inherent. Mathrubootham conducts open-ended interviews with potential candidates to discover their true talent instead of relying on academic achievements. At Freshdesk, there are engineering and biotech majors working in sales and marketing roles. “You can’t put in what God intentionally left out,” Mathrubootham says.
Now headquartered in San Bruno, California, Freshdesk still has its largest development center in Chennai, India and other offices in Sydney, London, and Berlin, with nearly 1,000 employees.
Reclaiming the Future
Is there anything that Mathrubootham doesn’t have now that he has found such success? Yes. Time. “Building a company is like building a product. You have to focus on every aspect, and as the CEO, that is what I have to do,” Mathrubootham says. That level of focus keeps Mathrubootham jumping from one meeting to the next and takes him away from what he really loves: product development.
“I love sitting around discussing UI/UX,” he says. Mathrubootham hopes that his recent chief of staff hire will allow him to reclaim more of his time so that he can spend it exercising his own true talents. Until then, he will just have to be satisfied with 100,000 happy customers and $149 million in venture capital.
1 + 2 + 3 = SaaS Success
What advice does the founder of one of the largest SaaS platforms have about building a product in today’s environment?
- Understand that all of the major categories of SaaS products are established. “The last new category, marketing automation software, was created in 2006.” That was 10 years ago and there haven’t been any new categories since.
- Understand that the enterprise world is divided into two groups: business users and IT users.
- Understand new technology.
Mathrubootham advises new entrepreneurs looking to enter the SaaS space to investigate the available categories, pick one, and then understand the users in that category. Finally, take a look at technology solutions that have been developed since the last major player entered the category. Use that new technology to provide a solution in a new way.
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- What it means to truly harness social power
- What to look out for when you’re studying your competitors
- How to turn an attack into the best PR move you’ll ever make
- The key to raising millions of dollars from the top VR firms in Silicon Valley
- Why you need to hire based on potential and not on academic credential
Full Transcript of the Podcast with Girish Mathrubootham
Nathan: Today’s episode is proudly brought to you by our sponsor, FreshBooks. FreshBooks is an easy-to-use cloud accounting software that’s completely transformed how over 10 million entrepreneurs deal with their day-to-day paperwork. It’s an absolutely amazing product, and you can start your 30-day trial at freshbooks.com/foundr.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the “Foundr Podcast.” I hope you’re all having a fantastic day wherever you are around the world. My name is Nathan Chan, and I’m your host, coming to you live from hometown homegrown Melbourne, Australia. And I just wanted to tell you, thank you so much for taking the time to share your earbuds with me, and listen to this podcast. If you have been listening to this podcast for a while, I would love your support by letting a friend know, sharing this podcast with a friend. There’s not that many of us entrepreneurs out there. And if you think any of your friends could get value from this, it would help me more than you can imagine. And please make sure you do subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And if you have a second, please do take the time to leave us a five-star review. It helps more than you can imagine.
Also, before I talk about today’s guest, I want to give you a quick little insight on a project we’re working on that I’m really pumped about. If you haven’t launched your business yet, if you wanna start a business, don’t know where to start, still in the idea conception phase, make sure you sign up at foundrmag.com/ecommerce. Working on an awesome solution to help you launch a business if you’re struggling right now.
All right. Now, let’s talk about today’s guest, Girish. This guy is the founder of a company called Freshdesk. And this company started all from a post on Hacker News, and that’s what caused him to leave his job, resign from his job, and start working on Freshdesk. Now, Freshdesk is a massive company based out of Chennai, India. And these guys are absolutely crushing it when it comes to helpdesk solutions. These guys are one of the top players in this space. And Girish is a very, very smart founder. We talk marketing strategies. We talk leadership. We talk growth. We talk product. We talk business development. We talk hiring. We talk firing.
So we really did not hold back, and it was a great conversation. I really, really enjoyed this one. A ton of gold for you guys. And there is hope. This is another founder that I’ve spoken to recently that is not based out of the U.S., that did not come from Silicon Valley or San Fran. You can build a massive business, and you don’t have to be in, you know, the startup capital of the world.
So I hope that is refreshing for you guys, because I know we do have listeners all around the world, not just out of San Fran or Silicon Valley. So there are some incredible founders around the world, and Girish is one of them.
All right. That’s it for me. Now, let’s jump into the show.
The first question that I ask everyone that comes on, Girish, is how did you get your job?
Girish: So I’ll tell you a story that happened in…this is a personal life story. This happened in 2009. But before starting Freshdesk, almost for 10 years, I was working for a company called Zoho. I joined them as a PreSales Engineer in 2001, and I quit in 2010. I was VP of Product Management. But this story goes a few months before I quit.
So I was working in Austin, Texas, and then going back to Chennai, India. And what happened was I’d spent a year and a half working in the U.S. So I was shipping all my stuff back home. So I thought everything should be fine, and two and a half months later, my stuff arrived from the U.S., and it so happened that my TV, the 40-inch LCD TV that I bought actually was broken. So I didn’t worry too much about it because I had purchase insurance, so I thought it would be a pretty straightforward job to contact the company and get the insurance money back.
Long story short, five and a half months passed, multiple phone calls, emails, I tried contacting the company through every support channel, and they wouldn’t even tell me which insurance company the insurance. So at one point, I think I was frustrated. I didn’t care about the money anymore. I wanted, I guess, revenge. So I actually went online, and this was in early 2010. So you have to understand the context where Twitter was in early days. So people weren’t really used to social customer support.
So I actually posted my experience on an online forum called R2IClubForums, which is Return to India. People who are returning from the U.S. to India use that forum. That’s where I had got the recommendation for the shipping company. So I actually posted my experience along with the pictures of my broken TV, and the community started engaging.
The next day, the president of the company came online and apologized. And the next day, money was in the bank. Now, the background context of the story is I had built four customer support helpdesks in my career. And customer support always used to mean a customer trying to contact the company via phone or email, and hoping that he would get the proper support from the company.
So I think this was something which was a totally different experience for me because for the first time, I saw that when I was able to take on the brand in an online forum, the brand was forced to do the right thing. It looked like the ground was shifting in customer support. It was like a paradigm shift where, suddenly, I was no longer a weak customer or a consumer. I had social power. And I started researching when I saw that the same things were happening on Twitter, on Facebook, on YouTube. This was starting to happen.
And as somebody who knows the helpdesk market, I thought this is time to maybe build a fresh helpdesk. And that’s why we call the company, Freshdesk, which is basically Freshdesk not only allows you to track customer complaints via phone and email, but also to other social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and so on. So that’s how I got the job.
Nathan: Gotcha. Interesting. Wow. That’s an amazing story. So you started the company in 2010?
Girish: Yeah. I quit in October 2010, and started.
Nathan: Got you. And you said you’d built three other customer support platforms, helpdesk platforms. Can you tell us around your background? So that means, I guess, with Freshdesk, you have an unfair advantage.
Girish: So basically, when I was working with Zoho, I was running the ManageEngine division of Zoho, where I have built products like ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus, which is an IT helpdesk. Then FacilitiesDesk, which is a facilities helpdesk, and ServiceDesk Plus MSP, which is a ServiceDesk for managed service providers. So basically, it’s all helpdesks and the alternative product called SupportCenter Plus, which is a customer support helpdesk. So actually four helpdesks that I’ve built in the past.
Nathan: Yeah. Gotcha. That’s so funny you mentioned ServiceDesk Plus, because at my old job, before I got my new job working at Foundr and starting the magazine, I used to work in IT support. And at the company that I worked at, they used ServiceDesk Plus. So they used to say, “Yeah, raise an SDP.”
Nathan: So yeah, that’s just funny. That’s crazy. Awesome. So you started the company in 2010. You started from Chennai?
Nathan: Awesome. I guess let’s, first of all, give our audience some context of how far you’ve taken the company, traction. You know, your website says you have 80,000 happy customers. Can you give us some more insight into the traction, how many staff, etc.?
Girish: Yeah. So Freshdesk today has crossed more than 100,000 customers. So we have 950 employees, as of last count, spread across 5 different offices. We have Chennai, San Francisco, London, Sydney, and Berlin. So we have raised around $115 million of venture funding to date from top tier VC firms like Accel Partners, Tiger Global, Google Capital, and Sequoia.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow. Okay. Interesting. And talk to me about traction. You know, like was it easy in the early days? Talk to us about the early days.
Girish: When we started in Chennai in 2010, first thing I’ll tell you is we did not think we would be VC fundable because who would fund a helpdesk, right? So it was a boring domain. That’s what we thought. And we also chose to build a helpdesk because that’s the only domain that they know, and we also knew that we could charge customers money from day one. And Chennai is very unlike Silicon Valley or even Bangalore in India, where there is a very little concept of a startup ecosystem. So we don’t have all the ecosystem place that you have available today, whether it’s shared office spaces like shared workspaces or accelerators, incubators. None of that was there. So even venture capitalists wouldn’t want to come to Chennai because they would have to waste a day to come in with just one company, right?
So our early days were like…I would say, probably the first year was the toughest. We were all happy, having fun, but our first office was like a small 700-square-foot space, which I would think, in terms of rent, it would have been around $150, $110-$150 per month rent. So we just painted the walls green and yellow because we couldn’t afford any fancy furniture.
So we were foolish enough to think that a group of six people can sit in Chennai, India, and build software for the world.
Nathan: Interesting. And you talk about Chennai. I actually have been to Chennai. I went to our designer. He’s based out of Bangalore, but he got married in Chennai. And I met him online through Upwork, and he’s been doing all that branding, all that design. He does the design for the magazine. And I actually went to his wedding in Chennai. I met him for the first time.
I definitely understand what you mean around it’s not the kind of city you would think…I know Bangalore’s very, very big startup presence. But it’s not the kind of city that you would kinda think that startups come from. So I’m curious what happened next after the first year.
Girish: What happened in the first year was we actually launched the product in nine months. We were able to get some good viral blog posts. We were able to generate interest from customers to come and sign up. And then we actually got a million-dollar term sheet from Accel Partners. So all of this happened in the first year. So I think that was probably the first time when we actually believed that, okay, somebody external has trusted us with a million dollars, so we have to be on to something. I would probably say that was a fundamental…a pivotal moment in our journey as a startup. It happened in December 2011.
So we were announcing our Accel funding on December 1st. And on December 2nd, we were attacked on Twitter by competitor for being a rip-off, for having “desk” in the name. So their name also had “desk” and we also had “desk” but as I told you earlier, I have built products with ServiceDesk, FacilitiesDesk, etc. So it’s very common to have a helpdesk as name, having “desk.” But we were attacked on Twitter for being a rip-off. And so we actually responded with a website called ripoffornot.org. So I think you should check it out.
So I think that was a phenomenal moment by a large established competitor actually trying to badmouth us on Twitter, but then when we responded with this website and exposed how there was a paid blogger who actually attacked us on Twitter, and the whole entrepreneur community around the world came up in support of us. The post went viral on Hacker News. So we were actually like a small, tiny startup against a big funded competitor. The whole world supported us, and that was a phenomenal PR moment for us.
Nathan: Gotcha. Okay. Awesome. And I’m curious. You talked about you raised capital from Accel in the first year. How did that come about? Like when did you start trying to raise? Did you go to San Fran? Can you talk to us about that, how that happened?
Girish: Yeah. So I think if there is one lesson that other startups can learn from us, all of our fund raisers, all of this has been inbound interest from investors. So we were never actually seeking investment out actively going and getting ourselves interviews. So what happened was when the first time…I think it was in March when we wrote a blog post that went viral on Hacker News about how I quit my well-paying job and started a startup based on a Hacker News comment and so on.
So basically, there was inbound interest from multiple VCs. So there were five investors who were talking to us for the first round, and we were able to select Accel because they were really a marquee investor, and had a great portfolio.
So from that round onwards, every other round like whenever there was a need to… We always raised money when we didn’t need it because there was strong inbound interest. So I think what worked for us was we kept doing remarkable stuff and that got attention in the media. And the investors always found us, and reached out to us, and wanted to talk. And that worked well for us.
Nathan: Interesting. And what other remarkable stuff did you do to get attention from investors? Because you said you’ve raised over 100 million in capital.
Girish: Yeah. No. I think, beyond a point, it becomes automatic because there aren’t that many scaled up SaaS companies in which people can put money in. But I think the early days…I didn’t tell you about how I quit my company, right?
Girish: So basically, the idea of doing a startup or the product idea for Freshdesk came from the TV story. But the actual push to quit my job actually came from an online forum post. So this happened in May 2010, and at that time I was 36 years old with two children in school, and just got a home on mortgage. So it wasn’t very ideal to like quit and start up.
So I saw this post on TechCrunch and Hacker News where Zendesk, who’s one of our biggest competitors today, actually had increased their prices on their existing customers by up to 300%
Girish: So as I was reading that article, I could see that a lot of customers weren’t obviously happy. They actually didn’t grandfather the price on their existing customers. So it’s almost like your cable bill going up 3x. Now, today, all entrepreneurs that whenever you’re doing a price raise, you have to grandfather your existing customers. But they made that mistake, and obviously, customers were very, very unhappy. And they were complaining on Hacker News and TechCrunch comments. I was just reading this.
At that point of time, I hadn’t decided to quit, but as I was reading it, I was thinking in my mind, maybe somebody like me who has helpdesk knowledge can actually try competing against them. See, I know that B2B markets will not take all markets. There’s always space for at least three or four good players. And I knew that Zendesk was an early startup at that time in 2010. Like they were also just a two-and-a-half-year, three-year-old startup at that time. And I knew that none of the other players were credible enough in the cloud category.
So I thought somebody like me could potentially… That’s when the idea started forming in my mind. And there was a comment on Hacker News which exactly said that statement. So it said, it shows how someone can come in, and build the right product with the right features, and take all of Zendesk’s customers away.
Now, that was like a slap on my face. So that’s when I realized this is my time, meaning I should do it. And I went and asked my friend and co-founder today, Shan, that, “I have this idea to build a SaaS company in customer support. Would you join me?” And he said, yes. And that’s how we started.
So this post, I wrote it on a blog post on how…later on I wrote it on how a simple comment on Hacker News actually made me quit my job and started a startup. So that post went viral. That is how Accel and a few other investors came to me. And then this ripoffornot incident actually got us a lot of inbound interest again. This happened in December, and by mid-December to January, we had like multiple VCs approaching us. So we decided to pick. So we pitched eight VCs in January of 2012, and we accepted money from Tiger Global.
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When it comes to, I guess, especially in a place like Chennai, you know, what types of people do you need around you to launch and grow a successful startup by Freshdesk?
Girish: So if you’re asking me about the talent pool, I think every place has got its own pros and cons. So obviously, in the Valley or in Bangalore, you may have access to a lot more talent, but competition for the talent is also high. So at Freshdesk, we always believe that…we believe in hiring smart people and letting them learn stuff on the job. So in fact, until our employee number 69, all the programmers that we hired, none of them actually knew Ruby on Rails even though that was a primary programming language. So we just hire smart programmers, and told them to learn Ruby on Rails, which they did in a few weeks, and then got started on the job.
So I think we always have a philosophy of hiring people based on hiring smart people, and then trying to find out what their passion and talents are, and then mapping them to suitable roles, and letting them figure it out, learn, and grow.
Nathan: Gotcha. And you said that in the early days, you got some good blog posts in. Did you have any other notable traction channels or turning points that helped accelerate the growth of the business?
Girish: I’m trying to think of what were some of the key moments. I think 2013 we launched our new freemium plan. I think freemium was an important part of our strategy. So I think we started seeing a lot of adoption from very small companies where they just wanted to get a helpdesk up and running so they got started with a Sprout Plan, which is free for three users.
So I think that was, I would say, one of the other important things that we did, because a lot of people started using Freshdesk. And that became an important vehicle for us to promote the brand.
Nathan: Interesting, because it seems like, you know, a lot of other helpdesk softwares, they don’t do freemium.
Girish: Yeah. Some of them do, some of them don’t.
Nathan: Okay. And when it comes to your routine, now you’ve got a 900-person company, what does it look like now, and how has it changed over the years?
Girish: I think I’ve gotten really, really busy. And I should say, right now I’m more running from meeting to meeting. So my calendar is running my day, and I don’t like that. I’m not very fond of that. But I realize that building a company is like building a product, so you have to really focus on all the aspects of the company. And as the CEO, I have to do that. But I still miss the old days where I would sit and build product. I’m trying to do as much as possible even now at our kind of product manager who loves to work on UI/UX and discuss code features and stuff like that. So I’m still trying to carve out some of my time to focus on that, but predominantly, life has changed to becoming more busy and being drawn by meetings.
Nathan: Yeah. I see. And do you think eventually you’ll be able to step out of that?
Girish: Yeah. I’m trying to reclaim some of my time. I definitely am trying to slot some time for my own thinking or for product time. So I’m getting a chief of staff. I recently got a chief of staff to help off-load some of my work. I think those are all the things that I’m trying to plan towards reclaiming my time this year. I’m sure I will do that.
Nathan: Gotcha. And when it comes to leadership of a team that large, what type of leader do you think you are, and what do you do to grow and develop yourself as a leader?
Girish: I know my style, and I know my weaknesses. So I think I’m more of an empowering leader, which means I don’t micromanage, and I don’t actually do regular status checks. So I believe in telling people what needs to be done, and then let them go and figure out the how. And basically, my job is to inspire a group of people to accomplish what we want to accomplish together. So that’s how I look at my job. It’s more of a coach than a manager.
So I think, sometimes, because I’m not a great project manager who kind of follows up on making sure everything is tracked and done, so I don’t do that at all, that could be a potential weakness in some areas. But that’s who I am, so I tend to play to my strengths, and it’s worked well until now.
Nathan: I’m curious. When it comes to building a SaaS company, many of our listeners might be wanting to start a SaaS company, but they don’t really know what product idea to choose. What advice would you give?
Girish: So if you look at B2B, right, B2B SaaS, a lot of times you have to understand that the categories are all well established. New categories very rarely happen in B2B. The last new category that I know of is marketing automation software. Right? So this category did not exist before 2006. The only thing that existed was Google Analytics and before that, Webtrends. But if you look at a CRM or project management, or helpdesk, or network monitoring, or IT monitoring tools.
So pretty much the world is developing the business users and IT users. And most of the categories are established. So now, for an entrepreneur, you have to look at deserting any of the existing categories. So for example, you will see this again and again. So we had on premise customer support software and CRM, the likes of Siebel and, say, Oracle right now and so on, which Salesforce and Freshdesk and then all the others are with cloud. If you look at Intercom, what they are doing is they’re actually trying to desert phone and email support with a chat based support. So now you are seeing a lot of bots and ML coming in to try to replace the workflow software where humans are involved.
Predominantly, the way to look at it is the problem categories are already defined. So now you pick something and then see what new technology is available today that can help rethink this entire software has delivered. A great example is Uber. Right? So when Apple or Google was making the smartphone, they did not think somebody would come and transform transportation industry. So there was a smartphone which had a GPS and a location tracking and it will all be in everybody’s hands. So somebody thought, “Oh. How cool it would be to push a button and get a car to take you from point A to point B.”
If you look at technologies like, say, machine learning today or artificial intelligence, the applicability is so wide. So there are people who are actually using it for image recognition to automatically read medical reports and detect problems through computer software.
So I think the way to look at it is look at established categories of a B2B software, and then find out what has changed in the technology landscape where we could make a breakthrough improvement in the way things are working today.
Nathan: That’s great advice. Look. We have to work towards wrapping up. I’m curious. If you could go back and do things differently in your startup journey, what would that be?
Girish: One mistake that we did in, I think, 2014 was we hired more sales people than engineers. We didn’t actually balance the hiring. So we ended up in a situation where the sales wheel was filling much faster than the engineering wheel. And that’s not a good thing. So I think that would probably be something that I would do like. So I would actually slow down hiring. I would have drawn a little bit more balanced and a slower fashion. So I think that’s something that.
Nathan: Gotcha. And when it comes to, I guess, your secret, what’s your secret of… I guess this can be open to interpretation, but what’s your secret?
Girish: So I think the most important secret that I believe is in unlocking the potential of people. So I’ve seen this work multiple times. So I’ve always talked about this, and I first read about this in a book called “First, Break All the Rules.” So this talks about understanding the difference between skills, talent, and knowledge. So skills and knowledge, long story short, are teachable. But talent is inherent.
So what we try to do at Freshdesk is also what I learned from the book, is try to understand what is the core talent of the person. And we are talking about basic stuff here, whether it’s articulation, whether it’s or let’s say, public speaking. And then try to put them in roles which match those talents. So we don’t go by academic credentials.
So we have like people who have studied mechanical engineering or biotechnology actually working as sales people or marketing people. So I think that, I will say, is the biggest secret that we have unlocked, which has worked wonders for us.
So because we fundamentally believe that you can put in what God intentionally left out, so we try to find what that…something that’s special that person has, and try to.
Nathan: Yeah. That’s great advice. And I’m curious. How can you find what that person’s talent…know what that true talent is in the interview process?
Girish: So we go back in their life, and we just have open-ended questions, asking them to really fundamentally describe what they’re proud of and what they’ve done. So we look back at what they’ve accomplished. And if somebody’s fascinated about something, it would manifest in some form or another. And you’d be surprised that it’s not an academic thing. So if you’re to just go back into their life and like how you did right now, so just try to highlight the key moments of their life and look at what they were really proud and what they’ve accomplished, and try to see what was innate in them that helped them in there. And try to see if it all boils down to a few things that they have.
Nathan: Okay. Awesome. Look. Thank you so much for your time, Girish. It’s been fantastic conversation. Where’s the best place people can find you and more about Freshdesk?
Girish: Thanks, Nathan. It was great talking to you. And so the best place to find anything about Freshdesk is freshdesk.com. And I’m on Twitter @mrgirish. That’s my Twitter handle. So you can also email me at [email protected]
Nathan: Awesome. All right. Well, look. We’ll wrap there, but thank you so much for your time, Girish. It’s been fantastic.
Girish: Thanks, Nathan. Nice talking to you.
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