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Prakash Dantuluri

Prakash Dantuluri

CEO
Paradigm Creatives
The Journey: Early days to How I Got Here
I did'nt scale up the ladder. I took the elevator.

The last IT position I held was as a Java Developer at Sprint in Kansas City. That was in 2002.

I joined Paradigm Group owned by Sridhar Gadhi as a CEO for Paradigm Creatives in 2010. In between, I did many things ranging from creating an animation studio to making a movie.

After my project with Sprint was over, I packed my bags and came back to India for good. I started an animation studio with a friend of mine. Both of us got our business cards printed and
mine read,

Prakash Dantuluri,
Director, Onyx Entertainment.

Thats how I became a Director from a Developer.
Decisions that Mattered:
In a way, I quit my paying job when I was at my peak performance. On the day I quit the job, I also quit IT. I self imposed a rule of not doing IT stuff.

That was a very risky decision. The reasons behind that are quite silly. One reason was, I did'nt want anyone to tell me what to wear. I hate wearing formals everyday and polishing my shoes. The second reason is, an interesting thought I had. If someone recorded my entire life in a camera and condensed it into a two hour movie, a good one hour of that movie would be just me sitting in front of a computer and typing on the keyboard.

I wanted more locations, more travel, more fun and definitely a good element of surprise in my movie. So, I quit.

The second big decision was in 2009. That year, I decided to direct a movie. Luckily for me, it happened.

My most important career decision to date is to join Sridhar and just sticking to one venture. The last three years needed an incredible amount of self discipline, perseverance and absolute focus on Paradigm Creatives. Its interesting to note that serendipity brought me back to IT. But this time, I do travel, meet people and have more surprising elements than in any other job.
Work and Role: Then and Now
They are very different. My previous job was writing Story, Screenplay and Directing movie. My current job is hiring and training the best possible people, driving sales, understanding customers needs, staying top on the trends and keep innovating on our product line to maintain our edge.

They are also similar. At the end of the day it is about mobilizing all your resources, work within the constraints, deliver the best possible product to delight your customer. In that aspect a CEO is no different from a movie director and a movie director is not different from a CEO.
Two Years Down the Line
That's too far off the radar for me.
Lessons Learnt
Doing is more important than learning. Nike already summarized it. Just do it. The difference is huge. Its like reading about Vipassana vs doing Vipassana. They are two different things. The world favors the doers. 

Failing is good. In the ten years of my entrepreneurship I lost money in some ventures and made money in some ventures. Looking back, I learned a lot from the ventures where I failed. A good failure keeps you humble and to the ground. It keeps your mind open to new information and inputs. The biggest risk in todays world is to have a closed mind. Success can fool you into thinking that you are right. The moment you feel right, you start closing your mind.

There is no substitute to hard work. I learned this from my Chairman Sridhar. Sridhar is a self made man. What he accomplished in the last 15 years is stellar. Life had thrown the same opportunities to the people around him. (That includes me). We are nowhere where he is. Paradigm is into Logistics, eGovernance, Mobile, Manufacturing and hospitality industries today. One differentiator Sridhar has is his strong faith in fundamentals and hard work. Which (hard work) is what I (painfully) learned during my first year at Paradigm Creatives. 

Enjoy the journey. If you are not excited to wake up early and go to work, well, your life sucks. Find something that excites you to wake up early.
Work and Role: Then and Now
Very different. The quantum of work has quadrupled. The competition is mind blowing. In the current world, you have to be on the top of the things, all the time. 
Trends to Watch Out For
In any given point of the history of human kind, there always had been a trend. We are not worried about that. What is important is our adoptability. We try to remain humble, watching the space and executing in good faith.

Having said that, I would like to summarize the next short term 'trend' we are going to go through in two phrases.

In any given point of the history of human kind, there always had been a trend. We are not worried about that. What is important is our adoptability. We try to remain humble, watching the space and executing in good faith.

Having said that, I would like to summarize the next short term 'trend' we are going to go through in two phrases.

1) Post PC era is real and its already here. There is a saying that there is death in birth and there is birth in death. Sometime, it takes time for things to become visible. The seeds of Post PC era had already been sown in the beginning of this decade. You will see that surfacing next year. Its real and its here. 
You can take each industry and look at it ask, 'what does this mean to this industry'? When you ask these specific questions and start dissecting, you will see a particular set of problems crying out to be solved. Winners are the ones who can see these problems and solve them for those industries. We are focusing on Publishing and Entertainment industries.

2) We have entered the age of connected- complexity.In a way, we just scratched the surface of it. Every user is connected. Every user is also interconnected. That is infinite use cases for everything you plan for and everything you do. Businesses, entrepreneurs and users are just getting accustomed and adjusted to this new reality. 
I am just another guy in this chaos. But what I noticed is that the winners are the ones who offer simplicity as a layer over this connected-complexity. Focus on human machine interaction, in other words, 'the UX' has already significantly increased. Because that's what is going to make or break your product. The so called UX has to run a little deeper than your product interface. Your vision, strategy, operations have to be around simple and clear offerings in order to succeed and scale.
My Advice If You are Starting Out
My answer to this question is a copy paste of my answer to a previous one. My advice is from what I have learned.

Doing is more important than learning. 

Failing is good.

There is no substitute for  hard work. 

Enjoy the journey.
Areas of Specialization
The most sought after specialization is your ability to deliver. Your ability to get things done.

If you are a programmer, invest in mastering a programming language, analyzing a problem, coding with clarity to solve that problem.

That's the most sought after specialization.It will remain so for the next 100 years. 50 years from now, we may have chips integrated into us. But the industry then would still need people who can analyze a problem and solve it for good.

Trends, programming languages, devices and industries keep shifting and changing. Don't chase them. Invest your time and energy into the fundamentals.
Do We Need Certifications?
Preparing for a certification brings the rigor in you to get to a level. It confirms the knowledge you have. It also surfaces the gaps you have. That way they are good.

I definitely prefer certified professionals. I recommend at least one certification whether its Microsoft, Oracle, Scrum or PMP.
Books/ Websites I Recommend
The landscape is just way too vast. But I can suggest this to the youngsters, in today's world it is important for the developer to also understand design and delivery. It is important for the sales team to understand technology and social networks. It is important for the HR to understand trends and technology.

It is very important for you have understanding of associated faculties.

One specific recommendation I have to everyone is to thoroughly understand the design guidelines and APIs published by Microsoft, Google and Apple. 90% of avoidable mistakes - starting from requirements gathering to app delivery happen because of the lack of understanding of the design guidelines and the available APIs.
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