Back to Future – A strange Software Company


“Interesting set up! It looks like an old ashram. Who is that guy sitting in a hut like a guru and so many people sitting around him like students”, I asked Rohit while in a trip to his office.

“He is one of our Guru or architect. He is master of one of the major module of our product. He has given his life time to this product. He needs to be consulted before we take any architectural decision”, Rohit explained.

“And! Oh my god. Who are these people?”, I was shocked to see some photos of people which are hung in a temple like set up. Besides their photo some principles, goals, key philosophies are written.

“They are the devatas or directors of each major product. They are the people whose philosophy of product development is being followed by rest of the team. They are the main drivers of the products.”, Rohit explained.

“I want you to leave this company with immediate effect. What non-sense is this? People are being worshiped and I thought this generation is going to take us forward. But I am confident that we are marching confidently backward.”, I told Rohit as I was furious. I was against any bossism, hierarchy for my entire life time and always respected the job not the designation so it was impossible for me to accept.

Rohit took me to cafeteria. A nicely built cafeteria with all sides open. It is in between a big kitchen garden. Fresh fruits and vegetables are being plucked from the garden and utilized in the cafeteria. It was a big campus with few hut like structures. A software village you can say. Fully residential where all staff stay in the same campus with their family. They are building software for the humanity as they claim in their caption. I like most part of this campus and set up but the way management and architects are treated is strange. While i was trying to grasp the scenery around me Rohit got me a glass of fresh ‘Aam Ras’ (Mango juice with pulp).

“Take it Dadu, it’s fresh from the Keshar garden”, he said while offering me  Aam Ras.

“Let me explain you what management means to this company.

Directors are the greatest philosophers who have vast knowledge on the product development, domain, people management and they continuously do sadhana (practice deeper analysis) throughout. Their job is to gain maximum knowledge for the specific product line and make themselves available for any situation where the rest of product team is confused, stuck and needs direction. They don’t take decisions because that is the responsibility of the teams. They only recommend but never enforce. They are kind of ultimate problem solver in the product team. They chart out the way their product team would function and that becomes kind of dharma (way of life) for their teams. They never demand any respect or importance but due to their vast knowledge and experience they are respected by the team. Every human has his or her ego which sometimes tries to over ride the philosophy or thought of the senior or teacher but if we consider them as deva (super powerful on that specific division) then we happily accept their philosophies. So they are respected because they hold the place of devata for their division.”

It made some sense to me but still the photographs could have been avoided. But if it is by respect not due to authority, I have no objection.

“Who is your devata?”, I asked Rohit.

“I have four devatas because I take care of chunks of four different products.”, Rohit responded.

“So, which philosophy do you follow? It must be confusing”, I asked.

“As per product direction is concerned, I follow respective devs (short form of devata) but for people and process I have one ishta dev (primary  devata). It is not confusing because it makes sense. Like we have many gods, Saraswati for knowledge, lakshmi for prosperity, Ganesha for power, Viswakarma for architecture, Kali to help meet challenges created due to time, Durga for bravery etc and we pray specific god at the time of specific need but we have one primary god whom we worship all the time. It is the same concept.”, Rohit explained.

“Ahh I understand. It’s funny to see how this generation is taking philosophies from religion and older way of life which we in our entire lifetime rejected and ignored calling as non-secular and bad. Although nobody at that time have ever know what secular means though.”, I said. A solar driver cab came to drop me to home.

It was a great experience to see how the world is changing in a direction I never believed it will.

Namaste!!!

– Stray Dog

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