Making of the MindTree - II
Continued from... Making of the MindTree - I
The Tenth Co-Founder
On the morning of August 19, 1999, we went to work - still recovering from the heady feeling from the launch of MindTree the night before. The events of that evening had signaled a perfect start for the company.
First, we had a press meet in the morning. There was no standing room left with both print and television media in attendance. The turnout showed the extent to which the media’s respect for Ashok had grown over the years. On the occasion, we showed a hastily put together film based on the first part of the "Making of the MindTree". The high point of the twenty-two minute film by TMG was the shot showing the children of the Spastic Society of Karnataka at work, painting their rendition of our logo - depicting Imagination, Action & Joy. As the camera focused on 17-year-old Chetan explaining his work with the help of another child, everyone watching the film got choked up with emotion. Because Chetan is autistic, people did not understand what he was saying. However, another boy who had a different form of cerebral palsy but could speak clearly, interpreted what Chetan was saying and explained it on camera. Chetan explained through his friend and interpreter that the blue upward stroke he had painted represented Imagination and the yellow dots around it stood for Joy.
The next day, the story of MindTree and how its logo was created sent waves across India. There wasn’t a single major newspaper that did not have us on the front page. For the first time in the world, a corporate organization had trusted its visual identity to a group of differently able children who had no idea about brand and visual identity.
After the launch that day, we had an evening get together at the Taj Residency in Bangalore where friends and family were invited to hear about MindTree. The attendees included Azim Premji of Wipro and Nandan Nilekani of Infosys, among others from the IT industry.
One man was deliberately left out of the invitee list: S. Janakiraman ("Jani"), who at the time was president of Wipro’s Global R&D. Jani and I had worked together in Global R&D. After I moved out as its first chief executive, Jani took over from me and by 1999 grew its manpower from 600 people to 1400.
We worked like the left and the right hand of the organization and complemented each other extremely well. When I left Wipro to join Lucent, Jani was heartbroken. While contemplating the making of MindTree, the founders never thought of asking him in as he was considered to be doing too well for himself. KK, Partha, Kalyan and I had worked closely with him, as had Ashok, whom Jani was directly reporting to until the former left Wipro.
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