Episode 135 / September 20, 2021
Kshitij Jain, Founder Joveo on his journey being a 2x founder, key insights, learnings and the must-have skills for all the entrepreneurs
Have you heard about “Programmatic Advertising”?
Well for those of you who haven’t, Programmatic Advertising, also known as programmatic display advertising, is an automatic process of planning, buying and selling ad inventory.
Before advertising was programmatic, it was done manually, which included being in touch with a sales team, and included requesting for proposals, bidding, quotation, and human negotiation. And as you can imagine, this was a very time intensive task.
With Programmatic Advertising the system automates all of this for this, and as a cherry on the cake, it provides actionable data in planning and determining what Ad content is relevant to a particular user.
For instance, a user is scanning some blog related to “baby food”. The Ad tech system evaluates the user and displays an Ad related to “offers on baby food items” or “baby food pouches”.
The guest of our today’s episode Kshitij Jain, with his company Joveo, enables recruiters with one of the most advanced Programmatic Job Advertising Platform.
Their clients include – Wells Fargo, Barclays, Rolls-Royce, Sony, HCL and several other Fortune 500 companies.
Their system claims to be driving up to 2X more relevant applicants, 40% higher click to apply conversions, at 20-50% lower Cost per Hire.
Kshitij who has spent over 20+ years in the online recruitment and hiring industry, is a second time founder with Joveo. His first company, MoBolt was acquired by Indeed in 2014, just under 2 years of being operational.
During the episode, he talks about his experience in the industry over the year, how did he and his team made MoBolt a big success within such a short-time, his learnings from his traditional-family background in India and much more.
00:50 – What does Joveo stands for?
02:17 – Insights related to online Jobs & Hiring industry
09:47 – Motivation behind spending 20+ years in this industry
13:03 – Difference between Sales & Selling
17:16 – Magic recipe behind Mobolt
19:35 – How to focus on what the customer needs and not what the customer wants?
25:27 – “Everybody who wants to be an entrepreneur needs to know how to cold call.”
27:58 – Key milestones in Joveo’s journey
30:22 – Learnings coming from Marwari family background
39:41 – “I’m the business of the unfinished business.”
Read the full transcript here:
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:02
Hi, this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia, welcome to the 100x entrepreneur podcast today, I have with me Kshitij Jain, founder of Joveo. Joveo is a programmatic recruitment advertising platform. I’ll hand over the mic to Kshitij to explain to us in layman terms, what joveo does. Kshitij, Welcome to the podcast. Thank you for that. Thank you for having me today.
Kshitij Jain 00:25
Thank you for that. Thank you for having me today. What do we do, right? It’s actually hidden in a name. it’s a new age acronym for a job for everyone. And it’s not just a job ad, it’s helping the person get the job, right? We, we get people hired. Now it might sound very vague. To be precise. We created a platform, what we do is we are able to distribute jobs for large enterprise companies to a variety of sources all over the world in real-time and provide them real-time analytics. Through the entire funnel from when a person clicks on the job to the person applies to the job. They want to shortlist interviews and hires. As a result, what happened is, the platform got so much data, and so much learning that now we could even predict that if you were to hire these many people, what’s the cost going to be? What’s the time going to be? What are you apply to higher conversions are going to be right? And where will we find relevant candidates? And for the candidate, we put just the right ad in front of them. So, think about it as a nurse job is not going to go to a truck driver. It’s not a spray and prays anymore. And that’s what joveo does.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 01:49
you have been a serial entrepreneur, your last company mobolt, which was also in a similar space was sold to indeed, and for the listeners, indeed, is one of the largest job platforms in the world after the likes of LinkedIn, monster. Interesting thing is that you have also worked for a large time for monster almost 11 years and are now you have spent I believe, roughly 20 plus years in this space, that is not what we call hiring, job advertising. So, tell us you know, some insights, we would love to know about this space, which you play, you know, a common man like me wouldn’t know. Right? which you have garnered to two decades of experience.
Kshitij Jain 02:42
Sure. So, you mentioned right LinkedIn monster indeed, right? Indeed, actually, now, right now is perhaps the biggest online recruitment job site in the world. And just the fact that you could, you know, take three names, but then when you’re in India, you have Naukri, you have times jobs shine a lot of other players, right? And you go to the UK when you go to Germany, France, Italy, any country in the world, Latin America, for every country, you have specific job woods. And, and people don’t know, right? And since the time’s right, people never knew where to post the job. Many times, a certain location and a certain category or certain job board will give you the best results. And it has always been a like a carpet bomb, right? Just throw it everywhere and whatever sticks. So, this entire industry is very decentralized. A very, it’s not like there’s one player even though you have one big player call indeed and LinkedIn, two players actually who are worldwide, but if you look at country-specific nuances, they are like, for example, in India right now Naukri dominates. So that’s something that I think is the job industry, people don’t know that every in-country is unique, then the hiring preferences are unique by each country. So, the local job boards are much suited and better poised to adapt to the local nuances. Number three, I think it has been the only industry which has actually not fundamentally changed from 1995. when it started, they still called a job board, right? If you remember, right, back in the day, there were boards, and you post a job and you pray, I hope I can get any application. The business model kind of has changed and now you post a job and you can pay when you click when someone clicks on the job, but really at the end of the day, it’s still a job board. So, the two things that come out of it. One of the models has not truly moved towards Performance where it matters, which is the ultimate hire, which got to move. Number two is, and that is more important thing is, there is, and I’m trying to figure out how to say that the fundamental problem is that it is a pull model. So, you pull a person into a job board, and then you pull a person to the company’s career site, then you pull the person to, you know, applying to a job from an apply process standpoint. It’s, it’s a pull process. You know, I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, and we were talking about startups. And we talked about some of the how, you know, how motivation works in startups and things like that. And he said, hey, in the morning, I opened my YouTube and I have articles around startups and motivation. And so, imagine, the world has gotten to a point where the large companies know exactly who you are, what you like when you like, and how you like how you consume content, and they put an ad in front of you. now that is a push model, right? You are not going anywhere. They’re all coming to you. that technology is so advanced, and it’s in simplistic fee, it’s ad tech. It’s what Google does. It’s what Amazon does, at the core of it, that technology has not been implemented, or used in any shape or form in our industry. And fundamentally, this industry has to change from being pulled into a job board or putting the right ad in front of a job seeker. Just the one right ad. Therefore, our motto has always been three applies two shortlist one hire. But if I would extend it, it is four three to one right, four clicks three applies two shortlist one hire. Can we get that accurate? And I think some of these things that when you are a practitioner, the industry, you realize, second is from outside, it looks very simple. Hey, there’s a company that hires there’s a recruiter, there’s a hiring manager, job boards, applications, but there are so many different players, there are applicant tracking systems, there are CRMs, they’re conversational chatbots. And they’re all downstream. Right? When the application is managed. Now you look at upstream, you have job boards, you have media agencies, right? You have staffing agencies, you have recruitment processes, outsourcing companies, you have gig economy players, and you have different types of job boards right. One is post and pre-job boards. The second is pay-per-click job boards. or the third is, you know, social in such marketplaces as Facebook for jobs and Google for jobs. So, the entire ecosystem. It’s literally confusing, right? There are different types of companies, different types of players, different rules, by different companies, and how they kind of make sense of all of that. So, from an outsider, it may look simplistic, I just have a job, and the person gets hired. But if you go inside, it’s, it’s quite confusing for a layman.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 08:09
what keeps you kept you motivated that you spend two decades and are still so much excited about this industry? Is it unsolved problems?
Kshitij Jain 08:22
You could say that, but I’ll tell you what, my real motivation. People make decisions in life. And there are some decisions that leave a very indelible mark, right, a deep, and some of those decisions are like what kind of house you buy, and what kind of job you take. So, imagine the right job for you, actually increases the happiness index of the world. Because if you ask people, right, nine out of 10, people would say they’re not happy in their jobs. It’s not because of them, it’s because they just haven’t found the right fit the right company, the right culture, the right place for them. Nobody comes to the company, just to do a job, they come to a company, they show up in the office every day to be valued, to be appreciated for what they do to be able to give the best to the company they work for. But this is where the problem is, the problem is that we have as a technology or an HR, not try to solve that problem of Can I help that guy be in the right job? The second is to imagine right. In India, there’s a demand and supply issue, right is way more demand than, you know, the suppliers and if you do not have a job today, you know, within two days you’ll get a job it doesn’t happen the same way in the Western world. Of course, some jobs are always in demand but for a lot of jobs for the majority of the last 30-20 years except for you know like last six months. Things are unprecedented in the history of recruiting, if a person loses a job, the person does not know when the next job will come. It’s hard to get jobs in those economies. And when a person does not have a job, the families disintegrate. This one lot of chaos, there’s a lot of misery there’s a kid suffer. And those economies, unlike Eastern economies, where people save in those economies, it’s literally month a month. It’s a hard life that I did, it looks very, you know, nice outside. So, if we can help the person get a job, not only does it increase happiness, but actually deeply impacts humankind by, you know, people getting a job that they can’t find themselves. And that drives me, right? How many such industries in the world can actually make that scale of impact, right? Maybe Facebook, right, because they touch everybody. But out of the 7 billion people in the world, more than half who are qualified for a job are in a job. If you were to solve their problem, imagine billions of people you can reach and make a real difference to humankind. So that what’s keeping me going right it is you know, I on that painting, right? It is not my signature that is there it is not my team signature that is there but if whenever anybody will praise that painting my entire team does, we will get good karma. So, whenever someone gets a job and says, thank God, I got the job. You know, a part of the good karma is coming to joveo and the entire crew that we have. So that’s kind of you know it’s not nutshell though. But it’s truly what you know, gets me going
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:46
in our one-on-one interaction offline, I find that you are a fantastic leader in sales and selling, can you first share the difference between sales and selling? And then the simple process to master both?
Kshitij Jain 12:02
Oh, my friend, this is a really tough question to do that simplistically, but I’ll try my best. First of all, understand, right? This is a subtle difference between sales and selling. Selling is an art. Sales are science. So, managing a funnel, right? You have so many prospects or suspects, then you generate leads from them. And then you engage with the leads and qualify those leads, and then you kind of get them into different stages of selling cycle, sales cycle, and then you get a sale out of it. Now, I would advise that nobody should focus on how many customers did I sold, focus on the pipeline, and sales, focus on the quality conversion. So, qualifying the pipeline quality conversions, improving the conversions, and outcome automatically the number of contracts you get, right. So that is sales, it’s a science, it’s, it’s, its data, its numbers, its productivity is there, and you can, you can optimize for every step of the process. Selling, however, is cycled, the 10 people say the same thing, but all 10 say it in a different way. So, when you have to put up a value proposition, mistakes the company makes is, they tie up everybody in the team to say you’re going to say exactly this message this way. This message is okay, this way has to be the person’s own style. I’ve seen salespeople of all different forms, shapes, types, like the way they talk the way they conduct and, and it’s a unique style that they bring. But at a high level, right? The two types of salespeople, the right one is very, very passionate intuitive. Believe in what they sell. The second is, we’re a lot more logical in the way they go about selling. That’s two large buckets. But it is the individual style that that takes it there. If you ask an engineer or software engineer who’s really good at what she or he does, she will tell you that software engineering coding is both an art and a science. So, I for one would like to claim that there’s not much of a difference between sales and software engineering. A lot of similarities are there and I’m just fortunate to actually working, you know, deep in the trenches with my engineers, and also have come from a sales background. I know the similarities that exist. So, there’s a difference between selling and sales and selling is an art and sales is a science. So, I don’t know that I answered the question of it is anything that I missed?
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 14:51
No, no, you perfectly answered that. Going back in the journey of your first company, mobolt got acquired for double-digit million dollars. By indeed, within two years of starting, what was the magic recipe that you built?
Kshitij Jain 15:10
it was one magic recipe, there’s only one, build a good product, do only one thing. See, imagine right? You will be highly valued. If you just do one small thing but do it better than anybody else in the world. If you just make chappals, like literally bathroom slippers, but you make the best bathroom slippers in the world, everyone in the world would wear them and you’ll be highly valued. So, we just focus on doing one thing. And we got that right. And we delivered every time, every single time. It worked. Our competitors, on the contrary, raised tons of money and we were bootstrapped by the way and that is the most important part of it, right? A bunch of engineers fresh out of college my co-founder and CTO was just literally three months out of IIT Kanpur. And, and all he did is just did one thing, and, and the ragtag group of engineers right out of college from IIT, Kanpur, they created a technology that actually was not existing in the world. Second, that is an important thing to get any startup success is to know what the customer needs. Not what the customer wants. The customer wants is a bit for which there is no end. Customers, like for example, I need food to survive, right, I need air to breathe. But I want Masala Dosa, I want idly, I want all the best cuisines out there. So, focus on the need, find that need, find one problem that you can solve, and solve the damn thing. It’s it cannot be more complicated than that. It never is. So that’s what we did in mobolt, we focus on optimizing the application process such that we can reduce an application process job application process from 30 minutes to one minute. And at a philosophical level, we had, let’s save 30 minutes by doing that, let’s save 30 minutes in the lives of 1 billion people. And, and the entire team understood that message. And this is the third thing, do one thing, only talk about it, align the entire team to that let everybody just focusses on that, and I’m telling you, magic will happen. So that’s what we did in mobolt, we had, if I’m not wrong, almost 1500 companies, we had three of the top 10 brands in the world. It was a wild success. And we almost became profitable in a year and a half operation. And it was great. So that there’s really no formula, I did not know anything, I had no clue what I was doing. Honestly speaking, the only thing know is, whatever business knowledge, I know, bring it back, and just transfer that business knowledge to engineers, and lead the engineering team do the magic. And that’s kind of my formula for successful mobolt was.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:12
You had a very interesting point, that focuses on what customer needs and not on what customer wants. In your experience, how do you figure that out in the customer conversations? Because customers may throw 100 things at you?
Kshitij Jain 18:28
This is a great question. And I’m going to take some time explaining this. And this is just my personal formula. It’s like, there’s no way I’ve read this and understood this. So, when you think there is a problem, let’s say the customer says okay, so you ask Why is that a problem? Because if I don’t hire then you know, I will not be able to have people who will be on the job, bring them out of work and output will suffer. Alright, so then you kind of say, hey, but why do you have to do that? or why do you have to do that and keep on asking why? Why, and eventually get to the point to say if this doesn’t happen, then as a call center, let’s take an example of a call center if I do not have people on time doing the work, they’re supposed to be doing that my customers were large like you know the airlines or department stores who are using this outsourced call center. They will penalize this company for 10s of millions of dollars. Because customer care suffers, they will have customer churn. So, the problem that you understood is the problem is of the speed of a person the speed at which you can deliver the predictability at which you can deliver a higher so that if you solve just that and say I don’t care what all you think you want but I will give you this one thing. The one thing that keeps you up at night right everybody has one thing that keeps them up at night and finding that need is when you do five why’s you keep on asking why then the customer says to the point where a customer should be saying, I’m done. I don’t have any more why’s, but keep on keep on keep at it, it’s, you know, there’s a lot of discomfort going deep. Not everybody goes deep in the ocean, but you know as the same saying in Hindi is right, Gehre paani me hi moti milte hai, right? So, you have to go deep and understanding what the customer’s real problem is. customer may say I may need this, I don’t care what you need, I’m here to solve your problem. And once you think you have, then you say, Okay, what if this happens? And what if this happens? And what if this happens? So, you look at Think of it as a number line, you identify a problem, you keep on getting to the real problem, you get there, then you have a solution. And on top of it, and you keep on saying what if? What if, what if, what if, and you get to the point where you know, if you build this, the customer is going to basically fall in love with you. It’s true in any aspect of life, right? And, and so that’s how you find what the customer’s real problem is. You keep on asking why’s and imagine right? What you have been told in the work we do is you have a problem, do root cause analysis, right at the end of the day, it is the same thing.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 21:13
This brings me to another interesting question. When you are solving for customers, if you are a b2c business building for consumers, you can talk to consumers, and they can discuss their problems. But when you are solving for b2b, and you have always operated your life in b2b domain, there are so many things not a single customer in the enterprise you’re solving for, every CXO every manager in their hierarchy is your customer, because they are the line of impact. First is, how do you then right, reach out to the right person who can explain to you that this is the problem. And if you follow it, they’ll buy it. Especially when you don’t have the card you had that card in monster. When you are an entrepreneur, you don’t have a card to reach out to them.
Kshitij Jain 22:07
So that’s a great question again, because either you’re from the industry, you know, everyone. But don’t underestimate the power of asking for help. If not from the industry, you go to people, you always send people in the network in your friend circle, who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone and blatantly without any shame, say, ask for help. I’m guaranteeing you even if you ask for help for people on the street on the airport’s and say, hey, I’m trying to do this. Can you help me give some answers? People will stop and give you the answers. So, and mobolt was not the first thing I did. So, before that, I dabbled in trying to start a few things. And I would just reach out to people by email and pick up the phone and say, hey, I know you don’t know me. But I really would appreciate this answer because I’m trying to validate a concept or figure something out. And a lot of times its trial and error, said, hey, hold on, I think I’m not the right person, but I know just the right person for you. And make sure that you appreciate that, right. You thank that and then and create a virtuous circle of people wanting to help you. Nowadays, right, LinkedIn is very popular. But if someone helps you post on LinkedIn, say a stranger help me. And then you’ve realized that other people are trying to help you. But all of us have a network. If you dig into it, you’ll find that there’s always someone who can help you. And, you know, yesterday I wanted to hear more about recruiters’ problems in a certain space. And I realized that one of my classmates was a co-founder of team leads and she’s in the US. And I said, hey, Sangeeta helped me solve this problem, right? And he said, just go and ask recruiters and I said I can help you talk to some recruiters and you can ask them and like you know, how this thing plays out. Right? So, so the only right answer is if you know, you think you have a problem, just start knocking on the doors and I think cold calling is the most underrated skill. I think everybody who wants to be an entrepreneur needs to know how to cold call, pick up the phone and ask for help.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:21
But this is a very important skill you mentioned asking for help the right way and developing this muscle of yours as an entrepreneur.
Kshitij Jain 24:31
Oh, you have to go like you know you have to be able to go strong. You have to do what others are not willing to do. You have to be willing to beg without an ego. you have to be able to share credit without taking any is it is just the mindset right because you’re so married to that one end goal. That nothing is matters prior to that everything else is meaningless in my mind, and everything that I did and everything my team did and we did in the past. Oh, it’s the people who I’ve worked with in the past who helped me, they came out of the way and say, hey, I know you’re doing this. You want to just let you know about this. It just is amazing that how the universe conspires when you aspire. And you go down that road of you don’t realize the help come from completely unknown sources, you know. So, there’s always away
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 25:27
are you an affirmation person, that you write down your affirmations and then they come true?
Kshitij Jain 25:35
I don’t write it down. But I obsess about it. And there’s a subtle difference. I’m married to only the goal. And if I don’t get to the goal, it’s okay. That’s fine. It happens, right? Shit happens right that you didn’t get the goal. You learn something from it and you move on. So having the ability to move on is also important as much as you’re obsessing over the goal. And, and for me, the goal is making a difference there and the goal is pure. See, you know is and I know this a podcast all but I have a philosophy that you know or Lakshmi, ke peeche mat bhaago, lakshmi kisi ke haath nhi aati. maa saraswati ke peeche bhaago, agar maa saraswati hai toh lakshmi ji bhi aayengi. So go after learning and stay married to that and eventually all the goodness will come out of that
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 26:32
would like to now dive into your journey of building joveo, the key milestones, the mistakes you made the learning from those till now.
Kshitij Jain 26:45
I once you know, I had a prospective investor who came to our door. And I said, I guess you guys have a checklist of things that you know, the company should have done 11111 and, and the checklist of things that company should not have done. And the back checklist, if anything is checked, you will not invest in the company. So, on the back checklist, we have checked every single item, and some of them multiple times over. So. So we did everything wrong, like the only thing we did right is our product-market fit was established from day zero and then call it what you may. But I think just living the space forever. And having done everything that you could do in the space, it was obvious to me The problem was there. In the beginning, we faltered in creating a product which we did, we can control how fast it would grow. It was basically an MVP and a lack of a better MVP. And when the customer base grows with, you know, an exploded and we just couldn’t address it, then we continue to patch it and never patch something that is not what we should have a completely put up full stop, we will not sell anymore. And, and focus on getting the product right. And, and until it is completely validated. You know tested rigorously; we will not go back in the market. And that’s kind of, you know, the mistake that we made. And you know, we learn from it. The second is hiring people to acquire companies with the right cultural fit. You know, we are practical thinkers; we are analytical people. So, we say there is a good fit, let’s do that. Just because something fits does not mean it will fit. The culture makes it fit the technology compliment or whatever the service complimenting that is there makes it look like it will fit. So, hire people with the same DNA. you know the birds of the same feather flock together And, and so imagine, right there is an eagle there is a sparrow and there’s a crow. And all you three want to fly in tandem, they can’t. But the three eagles, they’ll find them three crows and three sparrows. It’s not it’s that unity of culture. It’s a unity of how you see the water unity of your work ethic. And those kinds of unities have to happen for something to happen. And that’s where we went wrong, right we acquired a small entity with a cultural fit that wasn’t there, we paid a heavy price for that. Now add that along with the product that doesn’t really work initially. And we run into, you know, certain blocks, but eventually, we quickly realize it we learn from it. And then I tell the story, right people say hey, but sounds a little like everything went wrong. But then how come you guys grew as much as you grew up? Like this is like this growth has been stupendous. really do see growth like that. And I was like, I don’t know. Maybe you just did something right then the thing that we did right is the people who were actually there with the right DNA, the right culture, the right heart, they build the company. And this is where we are and there’s only greater good once you learn from your mistakes. So yeah, I would call hiring and the product, are the two things that I could have done better
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 30:21
would love to know your journey, right? Growing up in Delhi, and your learnings coming from a traditional Marwari family that you applied in your business life throughout?
Kshitij Jain 30:32
You know, it’s that’s a great question. Sometimes the stupidest decisions you make in your life turn out to be the best, right? I was in 12th standard. You know, my parents thought I was a complete, useless nincompoop. And just to kind of prove to them that I’m not as much and I will make you proud. did well and then got into srcc in commerce. And I quit all of that. I said I’m not going to study after that. And I went to our traditional family business of gemstones, colored gemstones. And, and that’s where I work with real true Marwari business people. I learned that cash is king, if you run out of runway, there’s nothing that you’ve left. running after the scale has some value. But after a certain point of time, right, you got to make cash. So that’s one thing I learned second is to Get to know your business extremely well. When you in gemstones. And if you make if you’re 99%, right and 1% wrong, it means a difference between losing hundreds of 1000s of dollars, or making hundreds of 1000s of dollars, you really got to know your stuff Well. So, so those are some of the things that were ingrained. Third, which is the most important lesson in life that I got, and I think that’s the best thing to have happened. That might traditionally already be families, and there are so many other things, but it is wrong to say that you should do what you love. If you if that is the case, right? Because anything that you do on a repetitive basis every day, every day, as an as ad nauseum I just keep on doing this every day, you’re not going to love it, you’re going to get bored by it and everybody wants to change and this is the culture that we have Okay, let’s go for change then if that was the case, we would have no Olympians they are the people who do the same thing again every single day. So when you do something and you get better at it and better at it then you start loving it so becoming a specialist becoming really good at doing something you will build love all arranged marriages were built on that concept right that you put in hard work and then the love will happen and right now we flipped the concept thing that hey, I got to know what I love and then I will do that and that’s what they told me the power the merit of hard work and not just sucking hard work I’m talking painful I’m talking it was they will make me sit and like for six hours in cross-legged looking at stones as little as one millimeter and I would not get up and it will be the middle of summer, no AC and you’ve got to do what you got to do. And then you build that resolve you build that endurance you build that and once I got good at it I got appreciated by it and just goodness through from and then I started loving it. So that’s one thing. The last I know I keep on saying that but mota moti is a very important thing, right? In Marwari, we say Mota Moti generally what will happen? what that would look like, you know, doing that will help you make your decisions really, really quick. Like, more or less it looks right to let’s do it. So that’s one last thing I would say there’s so many more and then all of these things eventually we’ll have time I implemented
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 34:14
your journey of moving to the US. I found really interesting. would love it if you could share that. Because you never intended to settle there.
Kshitij Jain 34:24
No, no, no, I did not. I never wanted to. Well, when I was in school, right High School, then I wanted to but then you know once I got settled down, I had friends, had a great job. You know, it was all fine. It comes straight like my wife. She was working for World Bank India. And she knew that she had to go higher studies in economics to do well in life and she pursued that and she got admission into the best school in the US. And I promise her that no matter where she goes, even if you go to hell, or heaven, wherever it is, I’ll follow you there. And that’s what happened. The second thing is, from a company standpoint, it is a great coincidence because I was a subject matter expert, a global subject matter expert for cross-border sales. So, my team was a cross-border sales team. And as most were growing leaps and bounds that time, they wanted to put that team together in the US. And they said, hey, you know, and I am in total management is that if I’m not going to be able to get across over there, then I don’t care how I go there, I think enough to cross the border illegally, I’ll do that. Or to be with my wife, and they said, hey, you know, we believe that we can grow this cross-border sales business that I started in APAC, and why don’t we go and do it from there across, APAC, Middle East Africa, Eastern like the whole of water, except for Western Europe and North America. So that’s kind of the two things that came together.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 36:02
You shared in your journey that many people took a chance on you while in your job at monster then after it. What is that quality that makes people take more chances on someone than let’s say, X over Y? And how do you become that kind of a person?
Kshitij Jain 36:23
It’s a leap of faith, my friend. There’s no way to determine that, or you have an instinct that, you know, in monster I was in sales. And I had a manager who used to head monster in an APAC. His name is Arun Tadanaki. And I said I want to go to product and he was not happy about it. But he took a leap of faith and said, Alright, champ, come over and see what you can do. Never touch the product before that my life. And many times, a lot of people just took a giant leap of faith in me and let me do so. And I asked them what made you do that? And they said, hey, you know, they will give me all the reasons. But even they said, hey, we did not work on or we just thought you could and we did it. And I think it’s basically perhaps driven by the goodness they had received that they were passing on. That’s kind of my analysis. So, you know, you create this virtuous cycle, you know, you take a leap of faith. And in our company, we took a leap of faith in a girl who joined us when she was 23 years old. She was for lack of a better word. Like just a junior most HR come receptionists come cultural hackers, right? When we were a very small company. And she just proved right. And we took a leap of faith and give her another task and she proved us wrong, but how good she was. And then we took a leap of faith and today she’s a functional hit. And she’s a part of the executive team and she’s a part of the board meetings and that’s what happens right to take a leap of faith and people will surprise you. Or figure this out one versus another.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 38:00
You never stopped growing up from your 11 years in monster, you ran so many countries for monster then you sold a company for multi-million dollars to indeed someone would have, you know, chilled and retired. But you kept on pushing your boundaries. What is that drive you could consistently keep on pushing?
Kshitij Jain 38:26
once someone asked me, right. Why are you in business? And why are you doing what you’re doing? And I said I’m the business of unfinished business. I want to be able to take one thing to a proper good logical conclusion. Just one thing, I’m not saying to my right. And it might appear from a distant that wow, the bootstrap company indeed for server acquisition, mobolt. Awesome, multiples. Great. A lot of other companies were in competitive space at that time wanting to acquire us. So, everything was there. But did I take you to a logical conclusion because it’s the man in the mirror? It’s, it’s my reflection in the middle that speaks the truth to me. And I know I did not. And it’s on me. So do one thing, take it to the finish then start nothing so for me the finishes can make a smaller dent in the universe, helping people get a job helping people get hired. And that’s kind of what drives me all the time. So, I don’t think this is anything about money. Money, I believe is the easiest thing in the world to make. And it’s one thing that will never truly make you happy. It’s actually more money is more complications in life. So, so that was never an objective and I guess that’s the reason why I never chilled and you know what, don’t think too much. I just want to do something and it’s a step to jump in the pool and figure out how to swim.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 40:10
Thank you so much. It has been a wonderful conversation learning from you a lot of lessons to take. And I believe, you know, my listeners are able to relate with the same.
Kshitij Jain 40:24
It’s been an honor to host you on the podcast, or it’s been an honor to get to know is that and then this is really a great conversation. I was actually going to send this and share this with my wife.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 40:34
Thank you so much.
Kshitij Jain 40:36