[Awesome Startup Employee] Piyush Goel, the coder who is a leader
Piyush Goel of Capillary Technologies has been nominated by Co-founder Aneesh Reddy.
Piyush joined Capillary Technologies in 2010 and has been with the company for close to four years now. He has donned multiple hats over the years, right from coding/designing modules, helping customers with support issues, recruiting new team members, ideating on what kind of products to build, to firefighting outages in the middle of the night. He says, “I have enjoyed each and every moment of it.”
Joining Capillary when it was just a year old, Piyush was one of the early employees on their rolls. According to Aneesh Reddy,
One of the most amazing qualities of Piyush is his ability to deliver and more importantly, deliver on time.
Aneesh adds, “His other amazing ability is to scale. We have been lucky to have 100 folks from premier institutes work with us but very few actually scale. Very few live up to the ability and manage to scale up to lead a team of 30-40 members. Piyush has done that very well.”
Aneesh says, “He understands both the product and the platform really well.”
“It’s been an amazing experience,” says Piyush. Capillary has grown by leaps and bounds over the last four years both in India and internationally. “Very few Indian product companies have been able to do that especially in the enterprise space and I am proud to be a part of it.”
As one of the early engineers to join Capillary, he has some great memories. He says, “The Company and the product team in particular, were really small in 2010 and we have grown almost 10 times in the last four years. As the team has grown we have adopted more formalized processes that are needed to deliver high quality products to our customers, but at heart we are still a startup. The passion and energy to build a successful company is same as before. Every release and achievement is celebrated with the same excitement as before.”
As a Principal Engineer, Piyush leads the Platforms Engineering team at Capillary that handles some of the mission critical modules of their real time system. He has a team of about 12 engineers working with him and his day-to-day work involves design, development and management of these components as well as mentoring and helping his team members.
According to Piyush, “The team forms the core of a startup. Team building gets to be important. You have to ensure that the team is strong and works well. You have to be there for each other. You have to support each other and appreciate the efforts of each other at all times.” The best way to keep a team motivated and pepped up is to lead by example. Piyush says, “For example, if you are doing something major and the whole team is focused on it then you need to be available for the team. You need to be in office before the team. I do it, and the founders do the same -- lead by example.”
“It has been a real pleasure sharing space with so many smart people, be it my juniors or seniors. The passion and zeal everyone has is simply amazing and I look forward to building great products with the team,” he says.
Speaking about the bond he shares with the team and founders, he says, “We have a very informal and friendly relationship with everyone in the team, founders and the management. It is a very open culture and everyone is free to share their suggestions and discuss their issues and problems. The founders place a lot of trust in the team.” He adds further, “Everyone is very supportive and always there to help you out even if things don't go as planned.”
Piyush has the knack of connecting well with others. Be it seniors, juniors, or new members, he can connect with all of them, whatever team they might be a part of. He is empathetic towards all of them.
One of the major challenges says Piyush “is hiring good and like-minded people to work with you. The Indian startup eco system has come a long way in recent years, but still many people prefer to work with IT giants because of various reasons like job security, and social status etc.”
Startups make for great workplaces according to Piyush. “An absolutely fantastic experience! I highly recommend startups. I feel startups provide a great learning opportunity and help you get out of your comfort zone. Startups give you a hands-on experience in multiple areas and the challenges you face daily help you grow. Even if a startup is not as successful as you expect, the kind of skills you take away help you mature both personally and professionally which makes the experience worthwhile,” he adds.
Capillary places a lot of value on its employees and believes in maintaining an open culture across teams, he believes. “It’s a flat structure where everyone is free to share ideas on what can be done to improve our products and help the company grow.This encourages each one of us to innovate and deliver on a regular basis.”
The thing Piyush loves the most about his work is that he gets to see its impact on a daily basis, be it as simple as a bug fix. He says, “I understand how each piece of code or design decision that I make is going to affect the company and our customers which is something you don't experience so often in big companies. I work and interact with really smart folks who are passionate about building great products that solve real problems faced by our customers.”
Ask him about some unforgettable episodes and he has some great anecdotes to share. “About three years ago, during a feature release I made a blunder that crashed our whole system at 3 in the morning and we were supposed to go live with our first international customer the next day. We had to fix things in the next few hours else it could have cost us the deal. That was the time when I realized that it is in crisis situations like these when you need to hold onto your nerve the most.”
Another great story that Piyush shares with us is quiet a funny incident. “A few weeks ago when there was an outage we were all trying to figure out the root cause. As engineers, our brains are most active on caffeine, so we decided to step out for tea and discuss the action plan. In the meantime, Aneesh and Ashish (VP Engineering) came over to check the status and did not find any one of us at our desk which gave them a big scare, but we managed to fix everything in a few hours,” he says smiling.
“There was so much stress and pressure with all the account managers calling about not able to log in and suddenly these guys want to go and have a chai and then they fix it. Can you beat it? In all the stress they wanted to go down and have chai,” Aneesh chuckles and adds that there are so many more instances like these. “We have to give it to Piyush he has bailed us out a few times.”
For Piyush, work life balance comes easily. He says, “I believe if you love and enjoy what you do, you don't differentiate between work and other activities. The balance comes naturally into your routine and it becomes a part of your day-day life. But yes, it is important to develop a hobby that can help you relax.” Piyush claims to be a bibliophile who loves to read pretty much anything he can lay his hands on. He is passionate about technology and reads a lot of technical literature to keep himself up to date with the industry.
He is an amateur runner and goes for a quick jog whenever he gets the time. He likes to travel from time to time, loves to read and listen to some music before hitting the bed. He catches up on movies and plays once in a while.
Piyush leaves us with a very inspiring message, “The startup ecosystem especially in India has improved a lot in recent times, and we are seeing many companies coming up with great ideas and products that are getting traction in the international market. I am sure in a few years we will be able to compete with startups in the Silicon Valley and help reverse the brain drain the country has seen in the last few decades.”
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