How Pursuing My Degree Out of My Hometown Shaped My Future

  • April 11, 2024
  • K V Daniel
  • 3 min read

I recently did an extended interview with one of our clients and it was quite an experience. Usually I’m outward facing – focussed on product and customers but this time I was forced to look inwards and based on the response I felt I should share some of the story with you as well. So here is the first part of my story.

I did my B.Tech from REC in Jaipur. It was a complete culture shock to a sheltered south Indian boy. Everything was different, the food, the weather, the language – and on top of that, the ragging was fierce. I think anyone of my generation can relate to this. Nowadays we have a different outlook on ragging but then it was a fact of life, a rite of passage. Not physical – more of a psychological ‘tempering’ which either toughened you or broke you.

In my case it made a man of me.

I went from a pampered mama’s boy to a fearless entrepreneur. It gave me the courage to go against my dad’s wishes – as an only son there are many expectations and hopes on you – and like most Malayalees I was expected to go to ‘the Gulf’ and earn money. But two things happened which changed my life; first, the ragging itself, which stripped away my soft shell and made me able to survive anywhere… even if you dropped me in Ethiopia, I would have found my way ….and second, I discovered technology. Technology changed my view of the world just as college changed my view of myself.

When I say ‘technology’ I mean Information Technology, more specifically CAD. I took a CAD course at the local Novell institute, then I taught at that same institute to make ends meet, then one thing led to another, and I came to Bangalore to start my own company. My idea was to sell CAD-based tools to manufacturing companies. But I discovered that manufacturing companies weren’t getting much out of CAD, in fact they didn’t even understand it properly and were using it as an alternative to drafting. Whereas I knew it could automate the entire process. And I knew I was the guy to pull it off. So, I changed direction and tweaked my ideas until I had a clear vision – but then I had to learn the business ropes. I had no clue about business and there was no support from home. Fortunately, my network of friends stepped up; from creating the Wrench brand (“Danny it’s like a pipe wrench, it adapts to every business”) to negotiation advice (“Ask for 100% advance then they’ll know you’re serious”) my friends were my lifeline. With their support I boldly pitched to WIDIA and MICO Bosch (with some unforgettable comedic incidents; some of you know the story) and although I chickened out of asking for 100%, I did ask for 60% – and I got it! After that there was no looking back. I had found what I wanted to do in life. And here we are, twenty-five years later.

To be clear, my path is not for everybody. I’m speaking now to those who are not content to follow the path laid out by others and want to forge their own path; to such I say, yes, you can do it, no it won’t be easy, and yes, it will be worth it. Just remember success is not for sissies.

Until next time.