Rakesh Agarwal is the CEO of Expin.me. He has graduated from IIT Delhi. Before starting the exciting journey of Expin.me, he has an experience of working for 15 years in two companies upto level Chief Product Owner SAP. Prior to that, he was also a SAP consultant for 2.5 years in Bosch. In his long 18 years, he has gathered experience and growth of product leadership, technology and people management. As a person, he is passionate about traveling and that’s how Expin.me was born.
Expin.me lets you voice your passion with a story. A story about you, your interests, views and passion. A story that has words, pictures, videos and sound. You curate beautiful Stories using story builder that represents you. Get popular on Expin.me community and your social world with your stories. Read Stories of people with who share common interests. It’s an award winning start-up at IIM Bangalore, 10K Startup by NASSCOM, HOT 100 and Google Ventures.
An interview with him, his journey and his point of view on internships will surely bring in the motivation you need. Get inspired!
What got you so interested in making Expin.me?
The thoughts of starting on my own started as a student when I was doing my summer internship after third year at Tata Motors back in 1995. I wrote a CNC program for manufacturing of Indica Engine in my early 20s. It really inspired me and I wanted to create High Precision Satellite parts in my own workshop. Of course, in 90’s and coming from middle class family didn’t give me the luxury of setting up a factory. That desire to start never ended and it was only in 2011, I could kick-start my Entrepreneurial dream.
Travelling places or simply going for long drives is my passion. It is sad that I remember very little about my visit to 26 states in India and 20+ destinations across 8 countries. There are so many small stories that I have about the actual small moments of happiness with family, strangers we met, local delicacies I ate and the list goes on and on. I would love to hear it from others too and their experience at the same place. It was very tough to identify any solution that existed. Eventually, Expin.me became the execution of the very idea.
What are the key things that you learnt in your career that college students today can follow?
The things that I have learnt in my career that I think could be relevant for students are:
1. Work for your dream job not for your dream company because your dream company may evolve on its own but your dream job will evolve you.
2. Have one interest outside your studies and build on it now. Maintain your work-life balance.
3. For the techies who underestimate the soft skills, work on them. It is as important as your technology skills.
4. Do internships and focus on developing your personality.
Don’t consider these as necessities but take them as opportunities.
Don’t consider these as necessities but take them as opportunities.
If you were to relive your college life, what will you do?
One word, Relive. I would do everything I did back then. Relive every moment and experience every happening thing.
If there is something I had really missed during college, it has to be the current gen media engagements and technologies. There was no internet during the time I studied and we were unable to use features like chats, messaging and social media.
How do you recruit? Tell us something about your recruitment process.
We recognize student’s special talents, expect disciplined response to questions, commitment for the internship and most importantly the responsibility.
Why should students do internships?
One and only biggest benefit of internships is that they help you a lot in discovering your own strength early and defining your first dream job.
How have Interns helped your company grow?
Our engagement with interns has helped us a lot. As our product is meant for all individuals & hobby communities who want to express their experiences, Interns serve us as a first level of feedback and discovering value proposition of our product. They help really well as the first hand experience of our products. Their feedback is valued. Especially, talented interns or those who show great potentiality are given future opportunities in Expin.
There are a lot of students who want to become entrepreneurs. What can they do to pursue their dreams? What is your advice to them?
Converting an idea to a prototype is the first thing they need to focus. I do find most of the students are pretty successful now with this. And it is surely a great beginning.
The challenge lies is in reaching out to your potential user base, taking feedback, pivot or rework, then converting users and consistently replicating them to larger audience. If you are successful here, your start-up is going to have some degree of success.
First thing, identify the skills & competencies in the team very early. Start building these competencies, a simple way to do would be work in your neighborhood Start-ups (Senior or locality) who are facing these challenges. Whenever you have planned long breaks in college, look for full-time opportunities and get this exposure. If required, travel to other cities where they are located. These early exposures will prepare you in a much better way.
I would be conducting webinar soon with more tips and will be announced on our Twitter handle @rakeshblr and @Expin_me.
According to you, what should students do today, that will make them proud 10 years down the line?
As highlighted earlier, discover your strength early, identify your dream job, work on communication skills and pursue the dream job as it evolves and changes. And not to forget, pursue at least one passion beyond your daily routine to balance the level of stress and generate fresh energy. If you are consistently able to pursue this with patience, nobody can stop you to succeed.
Your advice to college students?
One of the challenges that students face is the disparity between the Networked World of 21st century and the education system that is largely designed for previous century. This transformation is going to redefine in next decade on how businesses are going to operate or how education system needs to embrace the networked world.
In simple words, two way communication established by networks (e.g. Social Media, Internet) has changed the way how we operated in the past which was unidirectional. Recent example is how Social Media impacted result of Indian elections. There are huge amount of opportunities in which are not yet explored. I would love to hear point of views and ideas from students. Secondly, Social Media is maturing very fast from building friends network and build connections to good content in form of story. Your storytelling expertise is going to help you in getting attention of people or doing sales in business. Are you ready for this?
Rakesh Agarwal and his company totally display success. His take on all the things might make you want to stand up and do something different too! No wonder, he asks, Are you ready for this?