Ageless Smile & Timeless Laughter
Tonight’s celebration is about the Cybage culture. The Cybage culture, that is heartwarming and is embedded deep within our DNA. Tonight we shall take a deep dive and fish out the mystery behind our amazing culture.
“Deep in an ocean, there lived a large school of fish. They were of the same breed colour and size. They swam, huddled and hunted together. As the group was tiny, it was challenging for them to catch big prey to feed and grow. But the ocean was vast and swarming with sharks. Every now and then the sharks would scoop down and snack up a few from the team. The team kept shrinking faster than it could reproduce. Disheartened by this, many from the team began to migrate to bigger schools of fish to survive. The adamant ones, however, choose to stay thick till all of it was over. Sad ending!? But wait, the story is not over yet.
There was another school of fish that witnessed this tragedy and concluded and decided that they would not rely on reproduction. They decided to explore inorganic means to grow. So, they started branding initiatives, synchronized swims to lure the passers-by. The team grew rapidly with enrolment from various breeds. Encouraged, they spread out to multiply faster, some went searching for food, some scouting for predators and some forging tie ups with other schools of fish. Soon there was anarchy, a random disarray of fish of all sizes and shapes moving haphazardly, in opposite directions, in different speeds bumping into each other and losing their ways. All this commotion attracted more predators that gobbled many of these fish and the others went astray in the ocean. The remaining disoriented fish drowned out of shear desperation.
Yes! Fish can drown too. This is a 100% true story. It happened to a lot of technology start-ups at the turn of the century. Some drowned because they chose to stay thick and not pursue growth, while the others drowned because they spread out to multiply faster by branding, joint ventures, mergers acquisitions, body shopping! It was a no win mess! Organic or inorganic strategy, either way they were in a soup.
It was in this chaotic ‘ocean’ that your adolescent Cybage swam towards a fate that appeared no different. Big customers wouldn’t come, the old employees wouldn’t stay, the management was too raw and the teams were too junior. However, we had one good thing going. Somehow, there was a lot of warmth in the company. The outsiders were greeted by an ever smiling receptionist. The insiders worked with pleasant managers, including one that laughed a lot. All the smiles and laughter rubbed on to fellow employees leading to a great overall ambience.
But smiles and laughter do not fuel growth, big ticket accounts do! So your naïve CEO dispatched a brave audacious mail directly to the big daddies of the technology world. One iconic figure, Eckhard Pfeiffer of Compaq computers, was amused by this daring approach and asked his executive vice president to check us out. The next thing, I found myself in a massive conference room in the sprawling campus of Compaq Computers in Houston. ‘How big is Cybage?’ the executive vice president asked. ‘Quite big’, I said, ’50 professionals’. The executive vice president chuckled. ‘Come here’ he said, ‘peep outside the window. This is what you call a big company my boy! First get ten times bigger, maybe then we will talk.’
So, I came back quietly, demoted as a boy. It was a catch 22. To grow big we needed large accounts, but large accounts would not sign us till we were big. So, our tiny leadership team decided to let it be. We decided it was easier to maintain our culture than pursue unrealistic targets and become a target driven company.
But the culture was only about smiles and laughter?! But people smile at each other when they like each other and when there is no politics, which means that if one person grows faster the other one does not get jealous. This is only possible when the deserving ones succeed and not the lucky ones. Also, to retain laughter the environment needs to be stress free. Which means the customers kept being happy with good results and the employees just do their best without worrying about the results. However, to execute such fair and balanced environments, requires internal focus and intelligent systems, and that is how our scientific thought processes came into existence.
Then something strange happened! As science, smiles and laughter began to gathered momentum, our growth had compounded at the same proportion. Before we knew it, our target less company had crossed the 500 employee mark. So the ‘boy’ thought he should go back to the big shot vice president with a bigger and better Cybage story. But by now Compaq had been acquired by HP and the original management was no longer traceable. The ‘boy’ is searching for them ever since .
In the meantime, your Cybage, has crossed the 5000 employee mark; and the ‘BOY’ is turning 50! I think he is getting old and he needs to stop searching the management members now. For today our planet’s leading brands boast of ‘your’ Cybage as their partner in success. The most innovative power house, Google, the largest software empire, Microsoft, the biggest chip maker, Intel, the number one travel portal, Expedia, our ‘desi poster boy’, Flipkart, and the list goes on and on. No wonder, earlier this year, the Harvard Business Journal gave a rave coverage of our scientific methodologies, Silicon India, stamped us as the ‘Product service company of the year’, Zinnov declared us as the ‘Leader in enterprising consumer software space’.
We have come a long way from the team of fifty. Today our fresh recruits come from fifty different campuses each year. As far as the lateral hires go, name the who’s who of Indian IT, and their alumni forms a part of your Cybage. We are no longer a helpless school of fish; we are sharks on the prowl as if we own the ocean.
Nice story?! Except there are two missing fish. Whatever happened to the smiling and laughing? Ms. Smile and Mr. Laughter, from where this journey began! I remember the days when Ms. Smile used to sit at the reception and multi task. We did not have intercoms back then and I happened to pick up the phone directly at one point. The man at the other end asked frantically for ‘Radha’. Radha!? ‘There is no such person in this company.’ I said. However, the man strongly insisted that there was such a person and identified her as the one who sits at the reception and always, always ‘smiles’. ‘Oh! You are referring to ‘Meera’!’ I said. Folks! It is my absolute pleasure to present to you, your Cybage’s, longest running employee, the one who grew from ‘receptionist’ to heading all administrative needs of over 5000 professionals; our ‘Tune mari entry’ girl, Meera Menon! And the best part is that, this astonishing success has not gotten to her head at all. Her million dollar smile still continues to dazzle one and all!
Let’s now talk about our Mr. Laughter. He began his humble carrier as junior commission officer in the Indian Army. Now in the army, it is mandatory to salute the senior officers even when on a bicycle, by straightening your arm while riding. Unfortunately, our Mr. Laughter, forgot to straighten his arm while riding his bicycle, and got blacklisted for any promotions. He somehow managed to quit the Indian Army and joined Cybage. In here he went on to play every peripheral role that he was given; project management, IS, training, recruitment, process, managing remote centers as well as small demanding customers. Away from the center of action, somehow his laughter managed to dwarf all his other contributions. No-one realized how he helped shape Cybage destiny. The very first customer this professional handled, his POC was so happy that he ensured Cybage came on board when he joined Microsoft. Another technology company that he handled in the early days, ‘Double Click’, was acquired by Google. More recently, Silicon start up Mashery, which he was handling, was acquired by Intel. Microsoft! Intel! Google! Here are three of our top brands, right there! Folks! It gives me great pride, joy and honor to present to you, your Cybage’s second longest running Cybagian, my good friend, Jaikrishnan! Thanks to his salutation ‘booboo’ in the army, today there is an Army of Cybagians to salute him.
That, my friends, is the story on the origin of Cybage culture. Sure, systems do help in weaving an organization’s DNA, but what science cannot do is, create a raw material for the system’s processing. Like Meera’s ageless smile, like Jaikrishnan’s timeless laughter and like the infectious warmth of many more here who have influenced the tenderness of our culture. With an organization beaming with Meera’s and Krishna’s, how can love not be in the air!
Without your gifts, Cybage could have sailed through, but this gathering would have been a fish market. Without your touch, tonight would have been a celebrity concert of deep pockets and not a celebration of warm hearts. On behalf of all Cybagians, here is a thank you to all Cybagians, for showering upon us an ocean of smiles, laughter and love. May god and all Cybagians continue to bless our Cybage! Thank you and have a great enjoyable evening!