Shashishekhar Doni

Founder of Conscientia Consulting

Shashishekhar Doni is a professional IT architect who has positioned himself as a developer of the most advanced and reliable fintech solutions for the past two decades.

Long before establishing his career, Shashishekhar, or Shashi for short, dedicated his time to acquire knowledge and master skills that will help him in the future. And due to his diligence as a student, the Indian government granted him a scholarship in 1993.

He attended the University of Mysore in India where he graduated as Valedictorian with a bachelor’s degree in Polymer Science and Technology. In addition, to further learn techniques that he would need in the field he has chosen, he took the opportunity to pursue two master’s degrees at Ohio’s University of Akron.

After finishing his studies at the said university, Shashishekhar became a master in Polymer Engineering and in Mathematics and Computer Science. And in 2002, the University of Akron also recognized him as an Outstanding Teaching Assistant.

At present, runs his own IT boutique firm, Conscientia Consulting, which provides consulting services and reliable technology solutions to fintech and early-stage funds startups. Aside from that, Shashi also shares his expertise to help another boutique quantitative trading firm located in New York. There, he serves as the Chief Technology Officer and a portfolio manager.

Prior to opening his IT boutique firm in 2012, he used his extensive knowledge to help companies in developing and implementing standards and infrastructure that will lead to achieving their goals.

For four years, starting in 2002, Shashi led a team of software engineers at Bloomberg. During his stay there, he led the development of a centralized emailing system and guided the company as it switched from using a monolithic codebase to a multi-tier architecture.

In the following years, he joined Morgan Stanley where he served as a senior associate before leading the management of Credit Suisse as its Vice President.

At Credit Suisse, Shashishekhar led efforts to deliver next-generation trading platforms like Crossfinder which comes with improved reliability, speed, flexibility, and capacity. After four years, he briefly spent his time helping Barclays Capital and BNP Paribas improve their business functionality before deciding to open his own consulting firm.

Despite a busy schedule, Shashi makes sure to spend quality time with his wife and children because he believes that work and relationships are equally important in life. During his free time, he engages in physical activities like badminton, tennis, and racquetball.

As philanthropists, he and his wife also seek ways to continuously extend help to their community. And as part of their commitment, they give donations and participate in community events that are being held by Shashi’s alma maters back in India and some nonprofit organizations including New York Cares, Ekal Vidyalaya, and Hindu Temple Society of North America.

Where did the idea for Conscientia Consulting come from?

For the past two decades, I’ve been sharing my expertise to help reputed companies in upgrading existing systems and developing processes that will further enhance their products and services.

As I continue this journey as an IT professional, I decided that it’s time to devote my time to help startups. For me, it’s always been a great fulfillment to be a part of a company or another person’s success. And now that I have the opportunity to help startups make a name for themselves, I and the rest of my team at Conscientia will do our best to deliver state-of-the-art business applications that will help them achieve both their short and long-term goals.

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

As an IT architect, I draft plans, test models, and oversee the successful implementation or deployment of business applications. So typically, I spend my time speaking with clients to know what their requirements are. From there, I meet with the team to brainstorm and start planning. And once we have a prototype, we proceed to the testing process which leads to presentation, revisions, and implementation.

In summary, you’ll see me monitoring the status of applications or systems in development, leading their evaluation, and communicating any progress or changes with clients. And to make sure I stay productive, I wake up early to begin planning my day. I then review my goals for the week to see whether my tasks for the day are aligned with them. From there, I keep a to-do list and rank my tasks based on urgency while taking note of any possible roadblocks along the way.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Basically, it involves research, planning, pitching, testing, and development. When I have an idea in mind, what I do first is to establish it by pondering important questions. I study existing methods or strategies and ask myself questions like “Why has no one thought about this idea before?” and “Why and how should I pursue it?” Once I have gathered the information I need, I seek insights from those who I consider experts because we all know that not one person has all the answers in the world. We then work together polishing the idea before pitching it to people. And if those people also believe in the potential that it has, we’ll move forward with the rigorous testing process until we get it right and develop the final product.

You see, bringing an idea to life involves a lot of work but going through the process with equally passionate individuals compels me to do everything that I can to see it to completion no matter how tiring it may seem.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’d say it’s the growing interest in integrating AI in business processes. I’m very glad that many businesses are starting to realize how AI technology can further improve their systems and customer service.

I want to encourage businesses to adopt this because it will allow them to focus more on doing priority work. Once a business is able to optimize and automate its systems which are being used for doing routine tasks, an entrepreneur and his employees can focus more on formulating plans and strategies. Aside from that, AI can help them gather and analyze data to study the response and behavior of their customers which can be the basis for identifying the business’ direction.

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

I believe that a person’s overall health condition determines how far he can go in life so I do my best to remain active. To stay physically well, I set aside time for playing sports like tennis and badminton. On the other hand, I read books on a variety of topics to strengthen and sharpen my mind. Sometimes, I read business-related books, other times I look for sources of inspirational content. It really helps to read because it allows us to understand different concepts that can inspire creativity and spark ideas.

What advice would you give your younger self?

There are a lot of opportunities out there. However, it would be a great help to identify your long-term goals because they will lead you to accept the right opportunities. How will you know if it’s the right opportunity? If you believe that it will eventually bring you closer to achieving your long-term goals, then go for it. Lastly, always believe in yourself and live your life to the fullest.

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

Achieving your goals alone does not make you successful. In the end, it doesn’t matter how rich you are or how many people praise and know you. True success means to be able to overcome challenges and celebrate even your small victories with people that matter to you. I believe that’s the only time you can say that you have succeeded and lived a life well spent.

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

No matter what situation I’m in, I do my best to keep a positive attitude. I would like to encourage others to do the same because it can help you manage stress and attract happiness. And when you are happy, you can be more productive.

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

We focus on strengthening and keeping the team happy while maintaining good communication with clients.

It is important to prioritize the team’s happiness and development because I believe that doing this will improve their productivity and encourage creativity. In return, we are able to provide our clients value by effectively identifying pain points in their businesses and developing the most reliable tech solutions to resolve those issues.

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

Just like everyone else, I failed a lot of times. Through the years, I’ve faced rejections, missed deadlines, or overlooked issues. But I didn’t let these things stop me. I’ve learned to acknowledge my flaws and to focus on improving myself by reflecting on what happened and identifying what went wrong and what steps didn’t work so I can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

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

A lot of people are so busy working that they sometimes neglect their mental health. Because of this, I think it would be a good idea to start a business where people can talk to someone anytime, they need to. One way to do this is to have customer service representatives but instead of offering the usual services, they’ll serve like “friends” to customers. This will benefit many people because having someone that you can talk to can help you cope with stress and anxiety and may even reduce the risk of developing mental health issues.

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

I just bought some journals for my children because I want them to keep in mind that life is full of wonderful moments that are worth recording. Apart from that, I’d like to encourage them to write about their thoughts, reflections, and creative ideas.

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

Since corporate-based emails can only be accessed at work or through a work computer, I still use Gmail especially for communicating with clients. I find it very useful because I can respond to my clients’ emails anytime as long as I have my phone or laptop with me.

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

If you want to learn a helpful technique in managing your tasks, you might want to read Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.

Basically, it teaches us to rank our tasks based on their importance and prioritize working on the biggest and most important one for the day before anything else. Aside from that, it will help you develop a habit of carefully planning every day ahead of time and saying no to activities that don’t bring great value to your life.

What is your favorite quote?

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn

Key Learnings:

  • Every day is an opportunity to do something good for yourself, your family, friends, and the community.
  • Time is one of the most important but limited resources we have so before you think about procrastinating, remind yourself that life is like a canvas and you only got one.
  • You can find true happiness in doing what you love while helping others succeed.