Interview with Neeraj Bhople | CTO | Seniority
We always strive to bring meaningful and powerful stories from India and around the world to empower and motivate our growing community. As part of this endeavour, we invited Mr. Neeraj Bhople for an exclusive interview with us. Let’s learn more about his incredible journey, his background and his advice for our growing community.
Tell us a little bit about your start-up and your journey.
I am an Electronics Engineer from VNIT, Nagpur. Had an amazing time there learning the nuances of technology and communications. When I joined Infosys in the Communications group, I was able to use some of those learnings to understand the domain better and perform my work better. Same thing when I moved to TechMahindra and on to Tata Communications later. Understanding of the domain helped me become a better Enterprise architect and technology leader. And now that I have moved to eCommerce sector, I am trying to cross pollinate the best practices from Telecom domain into this domain. Seniority.in gave me a great chance to do it.
How did the idea for your business/startup come about? What service and products does Seniority offer?
Seniority is an organization focused specifically on the needs of senior citizens. At www.seniority.in, we sell carefully selected and curated products for senior adults to make their daily life easier and more comfortable. We have also started a senior citizens’ community platform – www.evergreenclub.in – where they can come together and attend various curated, live and interactive sessions and learn and enjoy their time with new friends.
Why should people choose your product and services?
Seniority was started as a organization that focussed on the wellness of senior citizens and to make their lives better with speciality products and services. We have expanded it with the fun-filled community at Evergreen Club. There is no other company that is doing this. At this stage of their lives, and especially in such tough times, we are the only ones trying to cater to their needs holistically – including their need for companionship and dealing with boredom and loneliness. Our focus is on enriching their lives and I think any senior citizen who has interacted with Seniority will vouch for it.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
We do market our products through FB, Google and such channels, however, we trust our products and services so much that we believe they will market themselves. Most of the people who have been buying from our platforms have always come back and brought their friends also to buy. We see the same trend in our physical stores. With the Evergreen club taking off, we are banking on the quality of our events and sessions to get participants to invite their family and friends to join in – making it a large yet close-knit community.
What risks are you facing? Did pandemic (COVID 19) affect your business?
Pandemic did affect our business temporarily – mainly because of delivery restrictions. But we were able to get through it because of smart changes in our product portfolio and fine-tuning focus on opportunities rather than restrictions. Pandemic, in fact, helped us build Evergreen club quickly and it has already seen a tremendous response with more than 50,000 downloads on app store. It is the right platform in such tough times.
Have you considered any alliance/partnership/funding?
We do have a lot of partnerships with other organizations and we co-create mutually beneficial products/services or special pricing for them. We also have a few co-branded products. So, alliances are important from our perspective. We have funding from RPG group, who has supported us throughout these tough times.
Now let us get into your journey as a technology leader. Why did you decide to move from Telecom domain to eCommerce domain?
It was not really a conscious decision. I had been working for 2 decades in Telecom domain, did a lot of amazing work in digitally transforming global organizations and write a book about it. So, when Seniority approached me for CTO role, I looked at it as another learning opportunity and a chance to use my experience and expertise in a new domain. It sounded challenging and fun – and so far, I haven’t been disappointed.
Tell us more about your book.
My book is titled “How to kill your b/oss and get away with it”. It is about digitally transforming your organization and how to go about it successfully. Most of the transformation programs fail because of lack of understanding of HOW to do it. I have tried to give practical tips and tools to help organizations be successful at it. It is available on Amazon, Flipkart and Notion press.
What are your responsibilities as a CTO?
CTO, especially nowadays, is not just a technical position. In fact, every C-suite executive role is no longer restricted to their domain. They must constantly look at the bigger picture and keep driving the organization to its goal. Technology is only an enabler. Finally, it is about how best to use available resources and choose the right tools prudently to move the business ahead. A CTO should be able to do this and take the entire organization along and never get into the technology trap of trying to use the latest technology – it should always be about the right technology.
How many hours a day do you work on average & can you describe/outline your typical day?
I work 8-10 hours a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I do not believe in working for more time than that per day – it reduces productivity and efficiency. You need to be able to focus properly every minute you are working and then need to move on to spending time with your family and friends and yourself – that rejuvenates you to work properly again the next day.
My day usually goes in having technical/architectural and issue discussions with my amazing team. Cross team discussions about how the take Evergreen club forward and improve our revenue and margins on the eCommerce side also form a big part of the day. In addition, I attend various webinars and conferences as a participant as well as a speaker. It helps in getting new perspective and ideas.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear
Greatest fear for me would be not being able to learn and share. For a person to grow, this aspect is extremely critical. You need to keep learning and learning more, followed by sharing and sharing with more people whatever you have learnt over the years, either through trainings or experience. Sharing helps you as much as it helps others. That’s what drives me every day.
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become technology leaders?
My advice to young graduates would be to keep focused on understanding everything around their actual piece of work. If they are writing a piece of code, they should know how it is going to impact other systems, and the business. They should also try to understand why they are writing that functionality, why is it important for the business. This holistic approach to your work is what will get you to understand technology and its limitations better. That is the value add that you need to bring in.
How can people reach you for coaching, mentoring or any other advice?
I am always reachable on my website – www.neerajbhople.com. It has information about me, my webinars, my book, my articles, and anyone can contact me through the Contact Me page there. I will be more than happy to help as much as I can.
Brutnow Media is committed to bringing stories from the startup ecosystem, stories that reshape our perspective, add value to our community and be a constant source of motivation not just for our community but also for the whole ecosystem of entrepreneurs and aspiring individuals.
Note: If you have a similar story to share with our audience and would like to be featured on our online magazine, then please write to us at email@example.com, we will review your story and extend an invitation to feature if it is worth publishing.
“At Brutnow media we tell you stories of change and those who dared to go the road less taken. Brutnow is a digital platform for your daily bite on what’s going on in your socio-economic landscape. We give you glimpses of the entrepreneurial world and highlight young thinkers and builders who may be the next big thing. We also analysis political, economical, technological header for the current scenarios. Our stories feature conversations ,helpful resources and insights from the industry that could be the motivation and push you’re looking for the company and your growth. We have interviewed and analyzed over 50+ entrepreneurs and counting , documenting their journey and struggles and their take on the future. An ecosystem of entrepreneurs”