The journey towards success and excellence is never a predictable road. The key is to grab every opportunity you get and learn with it. On these lines, PVG Menon, President, and CEO, VANN Consulting speaks to Ankita KS from EFY Group about his journey in the industry for over three decades, best practices, key mistakes, learnings and advice to young engineers out there. Excerpts follow…
Q: Can you brief about your journey in the industry for 30+ years? How has the journey in the world been?
I term my journey as one of continuous learning and reinvention over the past 3+ decades. My professional journey has traversed multiple paths – I have been part of implementation teams for epochal projects like the Railway Reservation System and Container Port Terminal computerization, Computer Graphics & Animation, etc. If I am not mistaken, many years ago, I probably did the very first direct-transfer of computer graphics onto celluloid film — without using film printers or reverse-telecine.
Then I got into the semiconductor industry and got the opportunity to lead global teams and run global product lines.
There were entrepreneurial stints in-between and eventually I went into Management Consulting. Then I was called upon to run a Trade Body (the India Electronics & Semiconductor Association), with a clear mandate to “level-shift” the body and scale it.
I would like to believe that I played a small part in contributing to the development of the electronics policy in India.
Policy Making is a massive exercise involving multiple stakeholders. I would like to believe that I could put forth a view which can be defined as “India First” and called for creating a level playing field for Indian product companies. I also coined the slogan “Innovation Led Design. Design Led Manufacturing” for the Electronic Systems Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) industry, with the vision of making electronics products which are Conceived in India, Designed in India, Made in India — and Used & Sold Worldwide. Restated, it means products built to global scale and quality, in India.
Q: What are the key mistakes that you made that you think you should have avoided in hindsight? Any learnings?
When I look back, I now regret not having accepted the opportunity to spend a stint overseas at a time when I was directly running a global product line for a large multinational ODM. Whilst I used to travel very frequently to meet customers etc., sometimes the immersive experience of working directly in the customer’s own time-zone and being directly present in the foreign market gives one a very different perspective. Similarly, being local at the corporate headquarters of a large global company is very different from being a frequent visitor to the same place.
Other than that, I am truly grateful for the phenomenal colleagues and companies I have worked with, and for the great opportunities, I had along the way.
Q: What are the key mistakes that you have seen made by the engineers with respect to choosing their jobs? What would your advice be to them?
One of the main key mistakes usually seen is the desire to chase titles rather than gaining deep experience in a specific domain. This is a killer and comes back to bite one as the individual progresses in his/her career.
Second is the inability to develop a proper 360-degree view of the System and the application context. There is a story about two bricklayers being asked what they were doing. One said he was laying bricks for a wall. The other said he was building a hospital! No prizes for guessing who exemplified systems thinking.