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

June 2020

In reply to my cold outreach

Hari: Can we plan this around July?

July 1, 9 AM, Hari’s inbox

The Takeaway Club™ Hari Ganapathy

#2 – The One at the Zoom bridge

The Takeaway Cub™ Hari Ganapathy

#3 – The one where my haircut might have scared him off 

Hari Ganapathy

#4 – The one with the no show 

Hari Ganapathy

#5 – The one that got it done 

The Takeaway Club™ Hari Ganapathy

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!

Click on any of the icons to listen to the episode in your favorite platforms including Spotify, Apple, and Google Play music

Prefer listening on Desktop or Mac? 

Dive right in.


Episode Guide:-

00:33Beat 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?

Crowdsourced questions

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?

Random Deck

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)

Show Notes

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