Saketh Devineni is an entrepreneur and a software engineer. Born in the south of India, in the city of Hyderabad, he was raised in the state of Maharashtra by his parents, who inspired and nurtured his innate entrepreneurial spirit. Saketh’s mother is a designer with her own design studio. His father had a long and fulfilling career with the Indian government, one of the benefits of which was that it granted Saketh easy access to travel across the country. Taking advantage of the situation, Saketh traveled all he could, and while doing so had the opportunity to engage with many different peoples and cultures. One day when contemplating his future, Saketh concluded that a more creative environment was where he would like to focus his energy. With that thought in mind, he enrolled in post-secondary school and earned his bachelor’s degree in gaming and 3D animation.
2012 was an important year in Saketh’s Devineni’s life, as that was when he came to the United States to pursue his Master’s degree in 3D animation and virtual reality technology. He studied very hard, and when he finally completed his degree, he was hired at a New York City software company. There, his hard work and natural talent provided the means for him to invest his earnings purposefully, and he devised a long-term strategy in order to safeguard his financial future. Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, Saketh Devineni opened a restaurant in Hyderabad, the city of his birth. Additionally, he launched two restaurants in San Diego, California. To this day, all of his restaurants yield solid profits and continue to be fruitful investments. Currently, Saketh Devineni is further investing in his future by working on several startup ideas in collaboration with friends and colleagues within the financial markets.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
As a designer and an entrepreneur, my mother was very influential in my life. I observed her work ethic, patience, and creativity. I adopted those skills as an entrepreneur, and they have proven quite necessary over the years.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I begin my day between 5:30 and 6am. First, I listen to the news and then reach for my laptop to address my emails. Next, I go to the gym and work out for an hour. When I get back from the gym, I check to see if I’ve received any responses to my morning emails and make some calls, all with a great cup of Indian coffee in hand. I work for the next three or four hours. By noon, I’m done for the day. I will either go for a walk or meet up with friends or colleagues.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I collaborate with multiple people to discuss any new ideas I might have. First, I begin by writing the idea down on paper. I have very keen drawing skills that I will use to create a storyboard. If I am dealing with financial ideas, I create a PowerPoint presentation to be used at the office or on a Zoom call in order to get feedback. That is how we decide if an idea has enough merit to pursue.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend I appreciate is shoes. I’m not sure if it’s a trend or not, but I enjoy seeing many people wearing different varieties of shoe designs. Consider the Nike website or any other designer’s website: There are many different varieties of shoes for every activity you can think of in daily life. I have a friend who owns one hundred pairs of shoes. His closet is full of more shoes than clothes. Other friends of mine are equally vigilant about the quality and care of their shoes.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Having a supportive environment is key to any entrepreneur’s productivity. Other important elements for productivity are, in my opinion, good music, great coffee, reliable news articles, and inspiring people around you that collaborate to make good ideas better.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would have given my younger self some sound financial advice. I would tell him to save more money instead of spending it on a lot of unnecessary gadgets. I should have invested more and spent less.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I can give you an example from the past: I knew that BitCoin was going to eventually be valued at more than $60,000 per coin. At that time, it was selling for around $4.70 to $5. I asked everyone in my life to invest in BitCoin and they all looked at me as if I was a fool. I bought ten of them at that price, and after ten months the price hit $60,000.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Everyone should know what their skills are and what they are capable of doing. I think it pays great dividends to take a moment and write down what you can do that is of value. For example, a driver for Uber Eats—whom I also consider an entrepreneur—is capable of sitting in traffic patiently, as well as finding a destination, and bringing the customer their food within a specific timeframe. Like everyone else, they have to know and appreciate their skills. Then, once a person knows their skills, they can apply them in the best way possible once an opportunity presents itself.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The strategy that I would most recommend is researching and learning everything about an industry before making an investment. For my part, I’ve made a substantial investment in restaurants, and before I did so, I learned that the service industry has many different requirements. To explain what I mean, it might be a good idea to use a compare/contrast.
Running a restaurant is not the same as running a grocery store, for example, even though both enterprises just essentially sell food. Running a grocery store requires a checklist of items that you are running out of or a list of items that are expiring so that you can restock the shelves and make sure that shoppers have what they need. Grocery stores do not need to advertise much. People will always need to use them. On the other hand, running a restaurant requires much more advertising. If I don’t have a lot of customers on a given day, I need to either start to ramp up my advertising or create a menu of unique and appealing food in order to draw people. The service industry is completely different from retail, and it was necessary that I understood that before making an investment. so, I would say that the best strategy is to educate yourself on each investment before pulling the trigger on it. Make sure that you understand the business through and through to accommodate all of its necessities.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I recall an incident when I was very young and had only just started to make money. I invested a good deal of money in a business that I thought would be solid, but it failed, unfortunately. It took me two years to pay off the debt I incurred. But in those two years, I learned a lot about finance. Since then, I’ve learned to practice much better financial discipline. I know where I’m spending my money, I’m not just buying things on my credit card willy-nilly. I’ve become more financially aware.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would suggest getting into NFTs. Artists around the globe can create doodles or create characters—it can be about pop culture or almost anything—and turn them into NFTs in order to make a profit from their work. NFTs are getting much bigger in almost every space conceivable, including the Metaverse, virtual reality, and just technology generally. NFTs are a growing business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent recently was on a pair of shoes. They’re very lightweight jogging shoes. One of my toes is a little delicate these days, and I wanted a light shoe to manage and mitigate that pain. I went for about a three mile jog with those shoes on the very day I bought them, and my toe felt very good. I didn’t feel anything, as a matter of fact. There was no pain or discomfort.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use my phone all of the time. I listen to a lot of music—Indian music, Imagine Dragons, whatever I feel like at the moment. It helps to keep me centered. Of course, my phone also assists me with productivity by keeping me very focused on my work.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It’s a story about a gentleman who is diagnosed with a form of cancer with only a 40% survival rate. That morning his life suddenly changes, and from that point on, we see how he reacts and how he re-evaluates his priorities. It’s an inspiring book.
What is your favorite quote?
“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” — Warren Buffett
- Having a supportive environment is key to productivity.
- Everyone should dispassionately assess their own skill set in writing.
- Before investing in any endeavor, thorough research and due diligence must be conducted.
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.