Bridging Business and Technology - Sharad Sharma,
Co-Founder, iSPIRT

About Sharad:

Sharad’s personal mantra is to lead big and small companies through orbit change. Sharad is one of the active technology angel investors in India with about two dozen investments. Sharad is a passionate evangelist of the software product ecosystem in India. He is the co-founder and Governing Council member of iSPIRT. He was the Chair of NASSCOM Product Forum and a member of the Executive Council from 2009-13.
He has held a number of senior executive positions with leading technology companies. Most recently he was a SVP at Yahoo! and CEO of India R&D. Previously he turned around VERITAS operations in India. He also brought AT&T/Lucent R&D to India as an intrapreneur. Sharad is also an entrepreneur. He co-founded Teltier, now part of Cisco, and is currently the CEO of BrandSigma Inc.

"It's a combination of both hard and soft skills that define a Product Leader”

Would you say being a Product Leader is a balancing act?

It is very important to make the connect happen with the market place, with your current and future customers. Make sure you are solving problems that are significant for them in a way that they can adopt the product which you are building and put it to work. So being able to build both business and the technology side of the equation is what the product leaders have to worry about. Another dimension to worry about is, will this make money and be profitable for the company. These are the elements that they would be learning about as they prepare themselves for the bigger roles waiting for them.

Why are we focussing on the Product Leaders?

The reins of what's going to happen next are in the hands of two-three thousand product leaders and these are the people who will invest in themselves to grow into that role and they are the ones who will drive the industry.

What do you feel about the Product Leadership focus of IPL?

I am really very pleased that we have something like IPL which is going to groom two-three thousands of product leaders. It is a significant movement in my mind because we have seen this kind of impact play out earlier in the past, NID, National Institute of Design came about. We can see that they had a seminal impact on the design movement in india. The same happened with National Institute of Fashion Technology. I think with the Institute of Product Leadership we will see a whole new set of product leaders come up who will decide where our industry will go in the years to come.

Key Take-aways:

- Being able to build both business and the technology side of the equation is what product leaders have to worry about.
- The reins of what's going to happen next are in the hands of two-three thousand product leaders - they are the ones who will drive the industry.
- IPL is a significant movement - it is going to groom the next generation of product leaders.
- With the Institute of Product Leadership we will see a whole new set of product leaders come up who will decide where our industry will go in the years to come.

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