Satyan Gajwani, CEO of Times Internet Limited just earned a lot of Internet points for being incredibly frank. Twenty-seven year old Gajwani, who is at the helm of one of the most powerful Internet companies in India owned by the media conglomerate which runs the country’s largest newspaper, was asked on Quora the other day:
How did Satyan Gajwani become Times Internet CEO at Just 27?
Anon users soon came up with answers pointing out that his marriage to Times group promoter Samir Jain’s daughter Trishla Jain could have been the reason for his meteoric rise. Stanford educated Gajwani, who is active on various online sites, was quick to respond. He said:
Yep, this is true. I am married to Trishla Jain, daughter of Samir Jain. And I’m 100% sure that has had a significant impact as to why I’m CEO of Times Internet today.That being said, I would expect that I’ll be measured more by what Times Internet is able to accomplish over the next few years, rather than where I am today. The Times management team has given me a lot of room and trust to make Times Internet a world-class digital company, and that’s my single-focus goal. With the support of an incredible team, I’m confident we’ll get there.
And the kicker?
PS: Really, there’s no need to write all of this anonymously; most people are just pointing out an honest fact.
Enough proof that unlike most C-Suite execs, he does not have his head up in the wrong place? The response is typical of someone who knows that the Internet mostly about being frank and responding quickly.
Since Gajwani took over, Times Internet Limited has been flexing its muscles and is showing signs of an aggressive play in the future. Recently, the company’s deal site reversed the entire daily deal business in India by making coupons and deals free for all. This has triggered a debate on whether the original free coupon/ deal model is better suited for the Indian market or is the jugaad version better. Deal sites in India had reversed the original free deal model pioneered by Groupon and the likes and charged customers upfront so as to avoid the hassle of collecting fee from many different merchants.
Gaana.com, the free music streaming site owned by Times Internet Limited is said to be developing apps for Android and iOS.
Perhaps one of the reasons the Times group is able to take big bold steps is that it has deep pockets. The Internet company’s moves may not be good news for cash starved startups, but then, great startups have seldom had it easy. In an earlier interview with Pi, Gajwani candidly said that the deal site will lose money in the short run and that he is not worried about monetisation right away. According to him, if Times Internet is able to create a large audience, there will be lots of ways to make money from it.
Times Internet Limited has also seen some exits recently. Yesterday, it was reported that Sandeep Amar who heads marketing for TIL and Upen Rai the Director at TIL have decided to quit. The group is being restructured with heads of product divisions reporting to the CEO. After Gajwani took over from Rishi Khiani,the company also hired Joy Basu from iYogi as its Chief Financial Officer.
PS: We generally don’t cover stories that get personal or stuff we think are trollish shenanigans of the anon (and, or) literal web. However, this episode was different . It sheds light on the way top executives serious about the Internet should be acting online and is also a good opportunity to talk about TIL which is making waves on the Internet. Also read why Social Media keeps K Vaitheeswaran, CEO of Indiaplaza awake at night.
Update: Since this post yesterday, some of our readers have pointed out that in The Economic Times ran an interview with Gajwani on October 15 about TIL’s hiring strategies as part of its ongoing “Young Leaders” series. In the interest of openness, the newspaper should have made a full disclosure since its part of the same Times group which runs Times Internet Limited, readers pointed out. We agree.