Episode #13 – Hari Ganapathy – Love for Travel, COVID-19 Crisis, Learnings as a Leader
In the latest episode of The Takeaway Club™, I had the privilege of talking to one of the smartest and exuberant founders in the Chennai startup ecosystem, Hari Ganapathy, founder and CEO, PickYourTrail.
It is a conversation that I’ve been looking forward to, for quite some time – in fact, we had originally planned to get this done in July but one thing or another came up and we had to reschedule a bunch of times but we had a lot of fun around the whole back and forth in the build-up to the call as well, turning it into a meme fest.
(With Hari’s consent, I am sharing my infamous ‘memevites’ here)
To give context, both Hari and I love memes, particularly Tamil ones, so I put together a bunch of memes at different points of our correspondence until Hari finally decided to end the misery by making the appearance 😉
#1 – The one where it all began
In reply to my cold outreach
Hari: Can we plan this around July?
July 1, 9 AM, Hari’s inbox
#2 – The One at the Zoom bridge
#3 – The one where my haircut might have scared him off
#4 – The one with the no show
#5 – The one that got it done
Coming back to the episode, it’s littered with golden nuggets, just what you’d expect from Hari.
If you are hesitant about listening or rolling your eyes at the length of the episode, you can throw your doubts out the window because the conversation absolutely flies.
There is not one part that you would actually want to skip – right from his encounter with a German family as an exchange student tp the paradigm shifts in the travel industry.
We talk at length about several aspects of his journey – some, straight-forward like the lessons he learned from his time at InMobi, and others, more intricate; like connecting the dots, founders and their personality, and how it impacts a company’s culture and so on.
Anyone who knows Hari knows how eloquent and generous he is with words. But even I was surprised at how open and candid he was about certain delicate subjects like the current crisis, and the question of survival for PickYourTrail and such.
All in all, it was a fun, super insightful conversation and I hope you have as much fun listening, as we did when recording!
Prefer listening on Desktop or Mac?
Dive right in.
00:33 – Beat the Blues Newsletter
01:48 – Introducing Hari Ganapathy
05:38 – Love for travel – where did it all begin?
14:28 – A particular cultural practise/ memorable incident that caught your eye in Europe
19:35 – Connecting the dots – What set you up for success?
23:47 – Most important lesson learned at InMobi
28:33 – Naveen Tiwari and Keanu Reeves
30:48 – What are some of the things that have changed at PickYourTrail due to COVID-19?
34:40 – Was there a question of survival?
40:20 – Perspectives as a leader
41:32 – A contrarian journey for a tech CEO – what is the reason?
49:32 – Where do you draw the line between Hari the person and Hari the leader?
55:35 – How do you prepare yourself financially and mentally when quitting a high paying job?
59:44 – What are some of the other ideas in the travel space worth pursuing?
1:04:40 – What are the paradigm shifts that the travel industry is set for?
1:09:55 – Who is the person you reach out to the most for advise?
1:11:25 – Who would you like to have dinner with?
1:14:48 – What are the 3 books you’d choose to gift people?
1:23:40 – What is a message you’d like to put up on a billboard?
1:25:00 – Who are 2 people you would choose to share their thoughts on The Takeaway Club™?
1:26:31 – Challenges of finding successful people who are not in the mainstream
1:31:42 – One request for fellow founders
1:33:28 – What have you been up to at PickYourTrail? (Spoiler: Freedom sale you wouldn’t want to miss)
- Why we travel? By Pico Iyer
- 4 types of luck by Marc Andreessen
- Bain and the true north
- Inspiring quotes by Naveen Tiwari
- How Leaders turn weakness to strengths
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