Never be set in your ways and unwilling to evolve your position and approach based on new information.

 

Rohit Antao was born in Mumbai, India. In the early 90’s, he moved to Kuwait with his family where he spent the first couple of years up until the war, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. During the war, his family moved to Singapore and wanted to ensure the family had some stability during this tumultuous time. Rohit Antao was admitted to a boarding school in Mount Abu in Rajasthan, India. After Kuwait was liberated by the US in 1990, his family returned to the country in 1990 – where Rohit continued his studies up until high school. He then moved to Mumbai, India to do his undergraduate studies in electronic engineering at Mumbai University. Following his masters, Rohit worked for a while in Kuwait and then moved to Australia where he completed my Graduate Diploma in Computer Science. On completing this degree, he decided to move to the US after some encouragement from a professor. Rohit Antao applied and got into Carnegie Mellon to focus on a master’s in information security. Once he completed his masters, he moved from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, where he spent four years – before moving to Silicon Valley. California has been his home for over the past decade. Rohit Antao considers himself a global citizen, with roots in India and the US. Today, Rohit focuses on helping technology executives transform their organizations to be fit for the digital era.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I have always been passionate about helping leaders solve some of the most pressing challenges they have faced in operating successful organizations. Over the last decade and a half, as many of these businesses evolved from experimenting with the cloud to leveraging it as a mainstream strategy and a competitive differentiator – there was a tectonic shift in the industry as it related to how these companies operated. The traditional processes, governance mechanisms, talent, roles, and responsibilities that they had optimized for all these years were starting to slow them down, if not fail them all together. Those that were ahead in this journey were able to see success at scale thru rethinking their operating model. This trend served as the foundation for a Cloud Operating Model.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

During weekdays, I wake up at 3AM and spend the first two hours learning about something new or working on a project that taps into my creative side. By 5:30, I get my exercise in – be it thru going to a group workout or doing a run around my neighborhood. Once I am back, I practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) for 20 minutes and then review my plan for the day to make sure I am spending time on the right priorities. If I am in town, I usually get breakfast ready for the kids before I head into work. After the workday, I try my best to be home at 6PM so I can have dinner with the family. After dinner, I take turns with my wife putting the kids to bed. I then catch up on my backlog from the day, plan the following day, and then after some light reading go to bed by 8:30 PM. Every Friday and Sunday I sleep in till the kids wake me up. I try my best to stick to this schedule unless I am travelling or on vacation – on those days all bets are off, and I go with the flow.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I feel that by being open to different ideas and perspectives really help your business to flourish but also yourself as well. I am normally the type of individual to discuss my ideas with a peer and if we feel that success can be found from this, we bring it to the rest of our team. It is important that everyone feels that their work environment is one where they can bring their ideas up for discussion. It is possible that they might help people spark an idea, that they did not think of beforehand.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The Digital Transformation of Industries: as technology continues to get increasing intelligent, pervasive, and consumer-oriented, businesses across every industry are rethinking the experience and value they create for their customers, shareholders, employees and ecosystem at large. Being a technology strategist at heart this trend excites me.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Committing to a set time to think about my priorities, and how I am going to tackle them. Once the day begins, I get pulled into a multitude of unforeseen events. I find that the discipline around “thinking time” I set aside helps me make sure I am on track and do not lose sight of the forest for the trees. I also make sure I carve out time to talk to people whose insights and perspectives are critical to helping me execute against my goals.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Make time for life, and be present in each moment with the people I cherish. Those moments and relationships make life meaningful and give it a broader purpose.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

By 2025, five year olds will be able to build software that is more sophisticated and intelligent than what some of the top technology companies build today. As technology gets more abstracted and modular – putting it together to solve complex problems will be as simple as putting together blocks of Lego. If you think about it even in today’s context, the amount of capital and brainpower required to start a technology company has reduced exponentially over the last decade. It has empowered startup founders to take innovative and disruptive new ideas and challenge some of the most established brands of our time.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Never be set in your ways and unwilling to evolve your position and approach based on new information.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Trust. Across everything I do and everyone I interact with; I have found that establishing a strong fabric of trust be a key enabler to moving faster and more nimbly. I work hard to earn this trust, one day at a time – and thru my actions.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Getting so caught up with building the “perfect” solution as I had originally envisioned it, that I did not spend enough time up front testing the commerciality of the idea, building market traction, or launching an early version to get direct feedback from the market. Over the years, as I have made it a point to take a step back to reflect on what I could have done differently and to learn from how the best in the industry orchestrate innovation at scale. Today, I have built these practices into the DNA of how I operate. It is still a work in progress, but I try to learn something new every day to make me more effective professionally and personally.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Yelp for enterprise technology companies. As cloud computing has reduced the barrier to entry for startups looking to take a new idea to market, it has created a rich – and some would argue, crowded – marketplace of capabilities. Traditional analyst firms that enterprises have turned to are finding it challenging to keep up and maintain credibility in such a dynamic market. This App or Platform would allow enterprise users to rate and comment on their experience and share it with the broader community.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Signing up for a couple of online course on data visualization. It has helped me tremendously in empowering me to harvest more meaningful insights from vast amount of data that can otherwise be overwhelming.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Google Tasks – I use it to keep track of my strategic priorities and the actions I need to take on a day-to-day basis.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The 360 Degree Leader: Developing your influence from anywhere in the organization
We often hear the adage about not having to have a title to be a leader. This book translates that wisdom into practical terms. It helped me catch my blind spots and become more effective as a professional. Driving change and making an impact requires people across the organization to be rowing in the same direction – this book lays a strong framework and approach to accomplish that.

What is your favorite quote?

Gradatim Ferociter! (Step by step, ferociously!)

Key Learnings:

• Let your destination be your inspiration, but remember to live out every moment of the journey
• Carve out the time for learning and reflection on a weekly basis
• Assume the best intent in people
• Stay curious

Connect:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rohitantao
https://medium.com/@rohitantao
www.rohitantao.com
https://twitter.com/RohitAntao