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Podcast: Shashank Sathe – CTO At Aditya Birla Money MyUniverse On Past, Present & Future of Technology

A Must Listen Podcast For Every Techie

Welcome to CTOsAtWork.com podcast series, in this podcast series, we talk to Chief Technology Officer, Engineering Head, Product and Technology leaders from all around the world and learn from them, how they work, how they build & managed world-class technology and products, how they hire great talent and many more things.
I am your host Love Chopra and in today’s podcast, we have a very special guest, who is technologist by profession & solo-biker by passion and he is Shashank Sathe.

Shashank has been into the IT industry from last 24 yrs, and currently, he is playing his role as CTO at Aditya Birla Money MyUniverse.

Aditya Birla Money MyUniverse is India’s No.1 online money management platform to manage, scattered finances through aggregation, analysis, advice, and transactions. With more than 25 lac plus users and over INR 18,000 Cr in funds, it is a unique, one-window Personal Finance Platform. This unique digital platform has also earned the title of ‘Product of the Year’ and ‘Finnoviti’’ for path-breaking innovation.

Shashank is expert into many technologies and domain like eBanking, rich internet applications, mobility solutions, ultra-lightweight microservice, high-availability computing, OpenStack, open source technologies and many other areas, before MyUniverse Shashank has worked as CTO for Suvidha Infoserve and before that he was a CTO at Rajshri Media Pvt Ltd and Digital Media Convergence Limited, apart from these roles, Shashank also had various tech leadership and in few other companies as well.

Shashak has won many awards and scholarships like pre-grad scholarship in software development from national computing center, UK. He also holds the patent for human face detection & face matching algorithm and video compression algorithm.
Shashank is also academically inclined and currently, he is pursuing Ph.D. in Management Science and Operations from London school of business.

When Shashank is not working you can find him riding alone to far in wild places, doing camping, with good music, good cigars & strong rum and he really loves adventure sports.

While talking to Shashank we had many interesting learnings, here are some wisdom of thoughts:

  • You can handle several things together and can do great in all of that, you just have to be passionate about, like Shashank first passion is into computer programming, Shashak’s first love is computer and then biking & adventurous sporting.
  • Time has an elasticity factor, you can stretch and elast time as the way you want, to do all those things for which you are passionate about.
  • CTO should know how to code, and he/she should involve in regular coding, it helps a CTO to talk to the developer with the same language and this can definitely improve overall productivity.
  • Now the trend of By-Model CTO is becoming popular, where people expect you to cook, to serve, to eat and to clean dishes. As the profit margins are started squeezing down, in that case, people expect you to do everything. And the By-Model CTO terminology is evolving more of a need rather than the actual expertise.
  • CTO should invest more of this time on customer-facing issues rather than engage into daily routine tech operational work.
  • CTO role is extremely critical, he needs to decide entire technological expense head for the company, also in terms of how the profit margins will look like in coming future.
  • Shashank believes in gathering people around, who are more smarter than him and he is very strict & choosy in this hiring process, which he recommends to every CTO that they should keep gathering of people around who are smarter than him/her.
  • If hired people are not smarter than you then you won’t have time to do innovation, in that case, you will just have to keep your time busy managing them, so always hired people which you think are smarter than you.
  • Till a few years ago, IT was functioning as a support function but now those days are gone.
  • Tech and finance are two areas which every company has to be really cautious about, it does not matter if you are a big business or just a small startup, you have to take extra care of your Tech and Finances from day one.
  • Now waterfall model does not work anymore, every company has to be agile.
  • Shahanks starts his day with daily scrums, where he allows only 3 mins to each of his team member to speak about his work on what things are going on, what are the deliverables for today, is there anything they are getting stuck on.
  • Three questions which Shashank gives emphasis during 3mins scrums – 1. What is he doing today? 2. What was supposed to happen yesterday but could not be happened? and 3. Is there any problem they are facing to deliver on what they need to deliver today?
  • Shashank strongly believes in Kanban and he allocates only those task to people which have a certain impact.
  • Every paid software, which you use right now is at some point in time was opensource.
  • Technology Stack of Aditya Birla Money MyUniverse: Currently it’s on the hybrid stack, where 80% of the things are on opensource technologies and rest of the things are on enterprise technologies, which also need to push towards opensource.
  • Development Tools: Perl, Python, Scala and Django.
  • Transactional Analytics: Mongo DB
  • Business Critical Transaction Processing: MySQL
  • Going forward people will be moving more towards APIfication, as the giants like Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson, AWS services have already introduced their many APIs around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain etc.
  • The future will only depend on Micro-services based architecture.
  • IoT technologies and related applications will be about to come in crazy demand. If IoT used in right way it can do wonders for humanity.
  • Robo advisory or AI will be about to have huge demand, and it will have a great positive impact on consumer-facing business.
  • Will AI take your jobs out? that’s completely a bullshit! Although it will create more and more number of jobs, it just that it will require a little different skill set.
  • Shashank doesn’t believe in “to work you have to come to the office” philosophy. Any place could be a workplace. Shashank has built the technology stack in a way so that their team members can work from any location.
  • For deployment Shashan’s team uses Docker and for versioning control team uses Github online. And there are multiple deployments happen throughout the day.
  • Advice for Startups CTOs – 1. Be conscious of expenses all the time. 2. Choosing the right set of people, always go with the right attitude of the guy and then next is aptitude, skill set, and other things because there is nothing impossible for a willing mind. 3. ALways ensure you are a part of the business, focus where the business is going because at the end the whole team is a part of the ship if ship sinks then the whole team have to suffer.

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