In 2009, software engineer Krishna Kumar, working at US conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) India’s state-of-the-art Bangalore office, decided that he wanted to build and work on technology solutions that would address the problems faced by the bottom half of India’s 1.2 billion strong population.
After reading former GE chief executive Jack Welch’s book Straight From The Gut, where Welch describes the innovation cycles of various technology solutions that the company builds, Kumar realized that he would possibly be better off developing such innovations on his own, rather than at a large corporation.
“In the book, Welch mentions an episode where the company came up with an energy-saving bulb that eventually had to be scrapped because the cost of manufacturing was too high,” recalls Kumar. “Through that, I got a sense of how things worked, where somebody at the top sat and decided on what innovations could go to the market.”
“That proved to be a turning point for me—I didn’t want to be the guy who sits and develops something that eventually might or might not go to the market. That day I decided I wanted to be the guy who had complete control over his own innovation,” says Kumar.
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