14 September 2017

Signing off in my favorite way…

This week was Quantum Spatial’s Annual Partner Event at the beautiful resort of Osthoff on Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin. As the outgoing CEO, this was one of my last formal duties as the transition to our new leader and my personal friend of three and a half years – Bob Hickey – begins. It was great meeting our partners and thanking them for all the business they enable.

Like I had said during my last year’s event, while I have always enjoyed the formal duties of being a CEO and certainly very proud of what the team has done (some would even suggest – in spite of me 🙂 ) in the last three and a half years, the real thrill was always in the informal perks of the job. Getting to know the backgrounds of my team members, their kids, their personal aspirations, the personal history of my peers in the industry, picking up some sharp one-liners from Bob and so on. But the best perk of all was being the official mixologist at our Partner Event. I truly get to know each and every one of them as individuals, their struggles and dreams as they build their own businesses and has almost always inspired me to try out some new ideas.

This year, keeping in mind that it was going to be a cooler day than last year, the theme was Old Fashioned. And we tipped our hats to our team mates in Lexington, Atlanta and Sheboygan by having three varieties of Old Fashioned with – Bourbon (Kentucky), Southern Comfort (South) and Brandy (if you did not know, this is the prevailing Wisconsin style of making an Old Fashioned).

How many times does one get to put one’s personal passion and professional passion together? Thank you Quantum Spatial and all the team mates from QSI for letting me sign off in a passionate way!!

2 September 2017

Voyager Atlanta Press Interview

See the article here: http://voyageatl.com/interview/meet-rajib-roy-quantum-spatial-norcross/

Here is the text and screen shots:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Rajib Roy.

Rajib, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
“Contrarian” is probably the best way to describe my journey. Both in my personal and professional life, I have a natural tendency to do what others would probably not do. I have started to appreciate the fact that I am where I am today because of the willingness to think differently and step out of the normal path.

Most people think of professional growth as moving along a curve of ever growing responsible roles. I think it has been appropriate for me to step off from work every four to six years and go explore some life passions and learn some new skills. (Stand-up comedy, running marathons, mixology is some of the things I have taken off time to learn and do).

Common sense would dictate that one should stay steady in one industry and gain experience in both domain knowledge and understanding of how an industry works. But for me, four of my jobs have been in different industries – banking, supply chain software for manufacturing, consumer data (credit bureau) and geospatial data analytics. This has allowed me sometimes to copy certain industry practice from one domain and bring in to another domain where the practice is a foreign concept.

Similarly, instead of trying to stay in one function and excel over time, my career has included running global development organizations, then switching to running global services organizations, then move to running sales and marketing organizations – which led me to eventually hold general management positions.

As I reflect back on my life, I realize that I like being different from others. I value thinking independently of what I want to do and I am willing to step up to be the contrarian in the room and that has shaped me to be who I am today.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The challenge is recognizing that thinking differently almost always leads to a challenging path where you are going to go against the grain of common thought. There are risks attached to it. All human beings want to be leaders. Except very few recognize that it means you have to step aside from the crowd. That is difficult. There is very little risk in following the crowd.

Finding those opportunities during the pivotal moments – changing industry, trying to jump back to a job after a year of discovering and understanding what real life is all about – they were not easy. Looking for “experience” during a job search is easy.

Recognizing that experience does not linearly transport to different environments and therefore one has to look for more fundamental strengths are both difficult to do and highly subjective calls.

But sometimes I had to adapt and reset my expectations and sometimes – twice, in fact, I happened to find two leaders who were willing to take a chance on me. In both those cases, I am not sure what they found in me– but undoubtedly those were the two opportunities where I achieved the most for business.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Quantum Spatial – what should we know?
Quantum Spatial is in the very exciting field of Geospatial Data Analytics. Think of Google maps on steroids. Think of enterprise solutions for large customers instead of a small app on your phone. Think about the simple fact –everything happens somewhere. We are all about helping customers understand that somewhere and then help them form more informed decisions based on that locational knowledge.

We work on Lidar data (low grade laser that helps us understand the height information of the world – think about how the cops catch a speeding car), imagery data (think about your camera), infrared data (think about “seeing” temperature footprints), hyperspectral data, and bathy lidar data (think about seeing “thru” water). All of this data is most often captured by satellites, planes, helicopters, drones, road vehicles and robots.

We take all these massive amount of Big Data and then churn through our intellectual property based software and analytics and help customers get quickly to questions that are crucial to their businesses, such as:

•“Where might a fire start in the forests up in the mountains because there is a tree dying that is very close to live transmission line?”

• “What pressure of oil should we be sending thru an oil pipeline so as to minimize damage to encroachments and inhabitation pattern changes in case of an accident?”

• “What is the true extent of damage and erosion in land and in water after a natural disaster? And where should we now start rebuilding the infrastructure from?”

• Are there some early signs that point to a volcano possibly getting ready to erupt?

• Are there any damages happening to infrastructure like water tanks, electricity substation that is not visible to the naked eye but can cause massive disruption and potential loss of lives?

Our differentiation in the market is in the intellectual property we have built in our products and the intellect and domain knowledge of our people. That is what I am most proud of. Being the largest company in our sub-industry, we have nobody ahead of us setting the goalposts. We have to do it for ourselves. That is not very easy. But I am really proud of the focus we have had on our talent and developing them at all levels – individual contributors to leaders – which has enabled us to not fall back on our laurels. If anything, our people have speeded up the transformation in our industry by rapidly improvising and innovating.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
At my level, my personal success and our company success are synonymous. In either case, I feel success is rooted in three organization cultures or individual qualities:

• Focus on Execution: Unless we are able to “say what we do and do what we say,” the best of plans and strategies mean nothing. This is the first building block.

• Customer Intimacy: Understanding deeply what it means to our customers that we do is much harder than most will admit. And yet, being able to understand a customer’s business intimately is the key to evaluating daily if we are working on the right things.

• Culture of diversity and meritocracy: Promoting an environment where talent from all walks of life come together enriches the different ways one can think of the same problem which then lets us offer solutions that others will not be capable of thinking.

We value ideas and idea originators based on the merit of the idea and not the rank or position of the person it came from.

2 February 2017

LIDAR – if you were ever afraid to ask about it!!!

First there was the world. Then the dinosaurs came. From there, somehow we meandered into film cameras. Then on to digital cameras. And then came LIDAR. And today LIDAR itself – with breakthrough innovations in Geiger, Single Photon, Bathymetric and such technologies – is poised for another technological revolution.

Valerie King, the Managing Editor of POB (Point of Beginning) has done an excellent job of explaining LIDAR and its potential in this article. The article is remarkable in its depth and breadth without making it too detailed or too surface skimming.

You can read it for yourself here: The Latest in LIDAR

P.S. I am part of the same team as the Mr. Meade quoted here extensively and in our trips to customers and partners together, he often tries to explain all these innovations to me. And I usually retaliate by asking him a lot of inconsequential trivia 🙂

13 September 2016

Linkedin Invite Decorum?

You probably get deluged by Linkedin invites much more than I do. But whatever little I get is enough to make me tear my hair from my head. Well, if I had anything left, that is. Every Saturday I sit down and go through the invites. For each one of them, I look at the face and try to figure out if I know this person….. have met before…. should be knowing at all and so on. Many times I try to read their profiles – which often confuses me more than helps me.

What I cannot understand is an answer to a simple question – “Why are you trying to connect with me?”.

“I would like to connect” makes no more sense than all those emails in my inbox from people wanting a phone call – only 15 minutes – to save us so much money that all our employees put together could not somehow think about. Or for that matter all those Nigerian princes. At least the Nigerian princes are very clear what they are seeking.

So, here is a tip – why not just drop a line or two – maybe a small paragraph on who you are and why are you interested in a connection with somebody. And care about it. It is okay to say “I was wondering if you could help me with my job search” or “I was wondering if you had a job in your company” or “Hey, we are in the same field. Just wanted to stay in touch with you” or “I have nothing to ask but I felt with your experience you can help me some day. This is who I am…. Would you mind staying connected?”.

People will help you if they can. People want to accept you in their fold. But people also relate to a little personal touch than those standard mindless Linkedin provided default text that one might be tempted to short cut thru…

Of course, if you know the person for quite some time or is your childhood friend or you just had dinner with that person the previous night, that courtesy would be superfluous.