Sriram was born and brought up in Chennai, often being intoxicated by the aroma of the city, be it the dusty traffic snarls, the vibrant fine arts society or the spiritual enigma of the place. He did an undergrad in Mathematics, and then ventured into Computer Science for his master’s degree at NIT, Trichy. We sat down with Sriram to learn more about him.
What is your role at Indix?
I spend a lot of time working on interesting machine learning problems to solve some of the hardest challenges around providing structure to unstructured data. When I started at Indix, we used to do almost everything that’s related to engineering, and slowly as we started getting deeper knowledge of the space and the kind of problems we solve, I started diving deeper into machine learning. I also work on scaling the data platform.
What did you do before Indix?
Prior to Indix, I was at Symantec as part of the Norton Safe Web platform. I started out as a QA automation engineer and then moved to burning more power by writing production code.
Why did you join Indix?
I’ve always wanted to be part of things that emerge from nothing and become into something. Right from trying to work on building systems from scratch to reading up on spaces that are very nascent. So, joining Indix was in the same vein. I was referred to Indix by Praveen (who also works here) during one of our trips. I heard the story, found it exciting and the fact that it was just starting up made all the difference.
I knew that getting to be at a place that had the vision to solve hard problems at scale, and one which doesn’t carry any baggage would provide me a lot of opportunities (it still does!). The kind of perspective, experience and ownership that you would get in an early-stage startup is quite unique. The other thing that I liked was the fact that the vision was wide open, which meant, there would be (still are!) various avenues to explore.
What have you learned working for a startup?
The biggest learning aside from technology aspects has been to understand how priorities can change and what it means to me in terms of being an engineer. I learned to get very dispassionate about my code, because, most of the time, in an early stage startup, you end up (in hindsight) writing code that gets thrown away due to customer feedback or lack of perspective on the full picture when you attempted it first.
What technologies or trends get you most excited?
It interests me to see the kind of advancements that are happening in the AI space – with Watson, WolframAlpha or BigDog (Boston Dynamics). There’s also some very interesting things happening on the hardware side of the world with some really neat open source movements.
What do you do for fun?
Travel. Ride. I also like to spend time playing cricket, table tennis, or badminton.
What is your favorite technology product?
To me, one of the most profound technology products that’s available in the world is the Human Body (including the mind). The kind of things it can accomplish is quite unimaginable. Some of the surveys on smartphone usage say people use only 4% of their Smartphone. I wonder, how much percentage of the Human Body+Mind we actually make use of.
How would your friends describe you?