Startup in 60 seconds - Girish Mathrubhootam, Founder and CEO, Freshdesk


One teacher I remember, and why

There are two instances that I can remember…

When I was studying 2nd standard at Campion Higher Secondary School, Trichy, our teacher was Ms White. During sports practice, I went and told her, “I and Srikanth (my best friend at school) will be a team.” She told me immediately, “Put that ‘I’ donkey last,” meaning the correct usage of the sentence was, “Srikanth and I will be a team.” I remember that (English lesson) to this day.

The second instance was during my engineering third year at SASTRA. One of our classes was being handled by Mr T. Venkatesh, a professor from the Mechanical department. He used to be very friendly with students and also help them with various co-curricular activities. I was very scared of public speaking and would never volunteer to make any presentations in class. He talked to me and convinced me that the only way to overcome this was by doing it several times. He made me prepare a general topic and present in front of the whole class. I still remember that day when I finished my presentation to an applause from my class - my palms had deep imprints of the podium corner - I was holding on to the podium so tightly (because of the fear/ pressure) that it left a deep imprint on my palm. :)

One most valuable work lesson, thus far

Find out the inherent talent of each person and try to put them in roles which make use of that talent. That is the secret to making them happy with their work, to the extent that work becomes play.

One thing I look for the most in a new recruit

Passion and ownership. I try to find out if they have been passionate about something in life (it could be anything - movies, or sports), and what they have done to follow that passion. I believe that if they can be passionate about something, hopefully I can motivate them to be passionate about their product and their company.

One thought from a book I am currently reading

I am currently reading ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman which attempts to take us on a tour of our mind and attempts to explains how we think and make choices.

I am surprised how one part of our mind (he calls it System 1) jumps to conclusions based on past experience and how the other part (System 2) that is supposed to be logical and rational chooses to ignore scrutiny and endorses the decisions taken by System 1.

One tip for time management

Create an email filter that removes all email where I am not part of To/ CC out of my Inbox. Make a rule to visit Facebook/ Twitter only from mobile and not from your primary workstation.

One key thing in my fitness routine

Enjoying your workout is important if you want it to be sustainable. I prefer playing tennis to working out on a treadmill.

One signal that tells me there is a problem

When people are restless or avoid talking to you.

One technique for handling anger

Just shut up and do nothing. Get out of that situation and revisit it later. I try to not take any decisions when I am angry.

One essential ingredient in my investment portfolio

No unrealistic expectations. If I invest in real estate, I will buy something where I can live with my family. If I buy stocks I buy good companies for the long-term. I do not day-trade.

One good thing about the new generation

Their confidence is amazing.

One worrying thing about the young

Since they seem to be getting everything easy, I don’t know if they will be able to cope up with difficult situations. (I hope they don’t have to.)

One thing that clinches a deal

Trust, honesty, integrity, and contagious enthusiasm.


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