Phaneesh Murthy is an India-born technology business leader with over 25 years of experience directing large corporations through growth and outsourcing ventures. He currently works as a consultant across the technology industry helping corporations restructure, strategize, and optimize their business operations. Under his leadership through his firm Primentor, Inc., brands have been able to expand their outsourcing capabilities while growing the profit margins. He also serves as an advisor to private equity fund Partners Group and New State Capital Partners LLC.
Murthy has held several leadership positions throughout his career. With Infosys, Murthy served as global sales head, where he is credited with propelling the company from $2 million to $700 million in revenue in less than 10 years of work. He has also served as chief executive officer and President of iGATE Corporation, There, he helped guide a corporate restructuring that took the company from being unprofitable to clocking revenue near $1.2 billion over 10 years.
While Murthy dedicates much of his time to advising his global client list, he also makes sure to incorporate charity into his life. He has participated in several events including golf tournaments after which he has dedicated any winnings or prizes to charitable causes including the Nagarhole Tiger Preservation Foundation. Murthy has been a continuous supporter of tiger conversation efforts throughout India for nearly three decades, helping to protect and nurture native populations through funding and advocacy.
Phaneesh Murthy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, as well as an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
Working as a consultant, my daily routines are constantly changing based on client needs and demands. However, a typical day will usually be made up of several different phone calls and conferences with the companies I am advising since I make sure to connect with all of them frequently. While the action items change, keeping myself organized helps ensure that I remain productive. I maintain a very detailed schedule and give priority to items that have clear urgency around them so that I can provide the guidance my clients need in line with their own internal deadlines and deliverables.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I tend to think on ideas and brainstorm them as much as possible by doing quite a lot of research. This helps me not only see whether my idea is viable but also whether there is a market or pain point that the solution addresses. Since I am working as a full-time consultant for a variety of companies right now, the next step is to present these concepts to my client(s) for consideration while explaining the exact area of impact that the ideas can have. From there, it all comes down to project planning, communication, and execution.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Generative AI may seem like a buzzword right now, but I truly believe it has the power to provide organizations with an advantage when implemented strategically. I have dedicated a great deal of my time to exploring and researching how my clients can incorporate generative AI into their business practices. I also find it fascinating that so much of this space is constantly evolving, bringing something new to the table on every turn to keep me active and listening.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
I maintain my own energy and keep a healthy lifestyle including working out regularly. Rather than relying on coffee or other factors to get me going, I find that I am self-motivating and, as a result, I can juggle many projects at once.
What advice would you give your younger self?
While I put my complete effort into all the courses I took as part of my MBA, I would advise myself to pay even closer attention to the merit and application of the concepts taught in the courses around human resources. This subject is much more important to responsible leadership roles than non-HR professionals may think, and I have found myself going back to relearn and refresh on those concepts later in my career.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?
I have come against resistance to new ideas throughout my career, but perhaps one of the most notable occurred when I started the concept of offshoring, where projects can be broken down into various components and then fulfilled across different lower-cost locations to optimize budgets. At the time, many industry analysts did not believe in the new model I had created, yet we were able to found an entire business structure around this during my tenure with Infosys.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle daily throughout my life has helped me be productive personally and professionally. I recommend that others look for ways to incorporate activity into their routines. I exercise daily and partake in activities like golf for recreation. I also eat four small meals a day, finishing my last, dinner, before 6:30pm and then not eating again for the evening.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
By remaining healthy and organized, I am largely able to limit the amount of stress that I experience. However, when I encounter discomfort, I embrace it and dive right in rather than resisting and causing more stress or fatigue through it. This helps me better master my emotions for the long term and cultivate a sense of relief and self-reliance that has fueled my career and my personal life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
I have always emphasized the importance of working harder than anyone else. This has helped me grow my career and, ultimately, my consulting practice. I have worked 80-hour work weeks nearly my entire life. I believe that if you work a little extra and push yourself, you can achieve more than others and move forward.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
I created an ambitious project dedicated to founding India’s first health exchange, which was a challenge since, at the time, the country had a poorly developed healthcare system. I wanted to build a community-minded model where patients would also have more control over their health records than they did at the time. While my team was able to build a robust technology platform, the regulatory environment and funding did not support it. While the concept did not work out, I learned that there are benefits to being ahead of the curve in a market that has not yet developed enough to support your ideas. I also saw that many of the B2B concepts that I was familiar working with were less applicable in government-regulated space.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think the idea that ideas should be hidden from others and kept secretive hurts businesses and entrepreneurs. While I understand there are fears that ideas can be stolen, I think it is important for leaders and business people to share their insights and goals with one another in order to make a more robust culture or company. Personally, I am not afraid of people stealing my ideas from me because I am confident that I can execute on them in a way that will help industries grow. Again, AI is one area where I believe this can have a distinct advantage. With the massive business potential of AI, companies and leaders stand to learn more from one another rather than closeting their ideas and working in silos.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Messaging platforms have become a key way for me to communicate with my cross-section of clients, helping me remain in contact and easily accessible no matter the time or location. By being able to stay in touch, I can remain a reliable resource as well as share quick ideas or thoughts in a more informal setting than emails, calls, or meetings.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?
I enjoy reading books from the mystery and thriller genres that include a level of detective work with a problem to be solved. While this might not sound like it provides much value, I actually gain a lot of enjoyment and escapism from being able to enjoy fiction plots that help me relax while still engaging my mind in some mystery.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
One of my favorite movies to watch is The Dark Knight starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. I think it demonstrates a lot about humanity and how we can respond under different stressful circumstances, as well as how those responses can shape our lives.
- Emphasis on Health and Organization for Productivity
- Value of Hard Work and Embracing Challenges
- Openness to Ideas and Evolution in Business
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.