Power talk

Shan Kadavil, Country Manager, Zynga India

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The company behind super success games such as Farmville and Cityville is said to to be valued at $10 bn and has given traditional gaming and entertainment companies a run for their money. Here we speak to the their Country Manager, Shan Kadavil, about the vision and growth of web in India. 

  • At an era when technology is polishing up at the wink of an eye, what strategies do you pick to keep in pace with it?

I keep my strategies very simple.  I like to take risks and push the envelope on innovation. Quite often, leaders try to mitigate risk, sometimes at the expense of innovation. I strongly believe that taking risks and making changes to the course of actions based on the lessons that come of such risks, is the only way to keep with the fast-moving and dynamic business environment we operate in. 

  • Where do you think the next phase of growth in the Indian tech market will be emerging from?

We are in the middle of three major shifts in the market place the social web where connections with your friends are a key part of how you use the web, the App Economy where multiple publishers provide rich Internet enabled content for you and your friends, and user pay where users can directly purchase after trying the software. As in others parts of the world, the next phase of growth in the Indian tech market will also be centred on these areas. 

  • What reforms do you expect from the Government of India which will favor the tech industry?

India is one of the world\’s top talent destinations for technology and creativity.The government of India and the various states have been undertaking numerous initiatives in favor of the tech industry to make India a preferred destination for companies like Zynga.We have been very pleased with the support that we are getting from the Government. Particularly with regard to the gaming industry, the Government of Karnataka recently made adequate reforms in the Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) sector in order to promote Karnataka as an outsourcing destination as well as attract Venture Capital funding for new entrants in the market.  Initiatives such as these are encouraging. 

  • How do you keep your business focused? Any suggestions for entrepreneurs who are experiencing challenging times?

Zynga has a start-up environment at the heart of its company culture. This means that we work in a very dynamic and fast-paced manner. In this type of environment, the best way to keep your business focussed is to build a strong team that is driven by a sense of ownership and leadership.I try and ensure that we are not managing people but rather creating an environment where everyone takes ownership and moves forward. This is also one of Zynga\’s biggest values i.e. the ability to turn people into CEOs of their own work including proactively understanding and doing what is required for the company and themselves to be successful. My advice for entrepreneurs would be the same. 

  • What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I have ever received is to try and work yourself out of a job by bringing in capable leaders.  This is the best way to grow both for the organization and as an individual in a fast-paced environment 

  • What\’s your opinion on social media?

Social media has become an indispensable part of people\’s lives today because it enables them new ways to interact, express, share and make connections with family and friends no matter where they are.Social games are the next wave in social media. They provide a fun and free way to self-express and connect with your friends. People want to connect with their friends and family for brief moments during the day to share experiences and social games are making those connections in a fun, meaningful way. 

  • The first three things you do on a Monday morning once at work/ How do you beat Monday morning blues?

You know you work for an exciting organization when you and your team looks forward to the week and not the weekend. What inspires me and all my colleagues at Zynga to come into work each day is the opportunity we have to bring play to the mass market at an incredibly fast pace.We are a passionate team that wants to bring play to the world.  Zynga India is helping to make this vision possible by contributing to the development of games and operating technology that is powering the company\’s growth at the global level.  What gets me up in the morning is the incredibly rich talent and the quality of colleagues I work with and seeing them emerge in to new leaders both within Zynga and in the industry. 

  • Your 1st achievement

Starting up my own business and making reasonable profits when I was barely out of college. 

  • Is there anyone you look up to and Why?

I look up to Zynga\’s CEO Mark Pincus because of his vision and passionate persistence in pursuing it.  He is  bringing to life Zynga\’s mission of connecting the world through games. 

  • Must have Winner qualities guide the young Exhibit readers.

1.     Keep focus clearly define your parameters of success and keep an unrelenting focus on them. There is no need to jump at every opportunity that comes your way- short-term benefits should never overshadow long-term goals.2.     Align your goals with those of the organization- this applies at every level. When you work towards making breakthroughs for your organization, you are directly benefitted by creating a niche for yourself both within your team and in the larger industry.3.     Develop a team that can lead themselves this is a core value at Zynga- be a CEO to own outcomes. I often tell my team that the best way they can level-up to bigger roles is by bringing in leaders who can replace them and kill it on their goals.

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