During the companywide staff meeting, I proclaimed that I feel better than I ever did ‘physically, mentally, and emotionally.’ One of the employees asked later what I meant by this, and more importantly — wanted to ‘share the mantra’ for such a transition. This got me thinking about what I really meant and did I actually mean it?
I turned 46-years-old a couple of days ago and I am profoundly grateful for all the wishes I received from friends, business partners, my extended family at N2N, and total strangers as well. As I reflect on my mid-life, I have seen my shares of ‘downs and ups,’ in the last 10 years:
The first development shop (that took 6 years to build) was dissolved overnight in 2015 because of a combination of greed, mismanagement, and/or miscommunication. I have yet to figure out the true cause of this, frankly.
My marriage of 15 years crumbled in 2016 because of a combination of emotional issues, trust issues, attachment issues, and/or discord between parenting styles. Like everything else, such separations are deep-rooted and no analysis will ever be conclusive to figure out the root cause.
The company itself, which my ex-wife sarcastically referred to as ‘my first love’ or ‘first child’ was facing a serious crisis during the same time I was dealing with the above two events. Many have warned me that ‘my visions were too untenable’ or ‘the higher ed market too disparate’ or ‘I was not good enough.’
I am not sure if it’s stubbornness or sheer stupidity or good luck that kept me going through these tough times, but none of these crises kept me from forging ahead. In fact, every time someone told me that I was not good enough, I committed myself to prove them wrong. I did so by deciding to take on my inadequacies and resolving them. I attempted to fix some of these issues with learning and listening better. I attempted to fix some issues by surrounding myself with people that can check me when I am on the wrong side of hustle and bustle. I am nowhere near where I am supposed to be, I do realize that. However, I do feel like I am growing exponentially every day as a result of this pursuit.
In fact, this pursuit of betterment is what makes me feel better ‘stronger, wiser, and calmer,’ every day! I wake up each day thinking of ways I can improve myself — whether it is my personal relationships with friends and family; or business relationships with customers, staff, and partners; or my relationship with myself.
Most importantly, I have learned from my mistakes as well:
After the collapse of our first offshore team, we built a product management practice that is designed and prepared to handle such disruption. In fact, we have made an internal plan to implement products in such a way that the resources can be transitioned, just like servers behind the scenes. We designed documentation, architecture, and CI/CD practices to handle resource turnovers and team transitions seamlessly.
I learned from my first stints in cash flow management that rotating money around through factoring, MCAs, and high-interest loans can destroy the healthiest of organizations. These financial instruments are predatory in nature and should never be employed, even in the most distressful of times. One can never recover from a revolving interest rate of 45% per month, with fangs of predatory lenders sucking the much-needed cash out of the company every day. I overcame this by collaborating with passionate, respectful, and innovative private investors who believed in my vision and decided to become stakeholders for mutual success. These investors not only helped me with much-needed financial support, but a few of them assumed the role of my mentors, and friends over the years.
As far as personal relationships, go — I have made a plan to trust myself first before I can trust myself with another life partner. I wanted to figure out what I love the most about myself and life in general instead of looking for someone to love. I also remembered my ex-wife’s note on the company being ‘my first love,’ and come to terms with that. The company, my kids, and my personal growth should reach a logical next state before I can explore and entertain another person in my life.
About that mantra, I thought about it a little, and here is how I can summarize my current approach to relationships:
When it comes to personal relationships –
When it comes to business relationships –
When it comes to personal growth –
What did I really mean by being ‘stronger, wiser, and calmer?’ I think it’s purely relative. My strongest is probably the weakest for Usain Bolt. My wisest is very likely dumbest for Albert Einstein. My calmest is probably most chaotic for Gautham Buddha. My most creative poems are probably not worth the garbage can of William Shakespeare. However, I am not aspiring to be any of those great people — I am just comfortable being the best version of myself.
About Kiran Kodithala
Kiran Kodithala is the founder and CEO of N2N Services Inc. Mr. Kodithala founded N2N with a mission to create an interoperable enterprise to support customers, vendors, administrators, and other staff and bring about efficiencies and economies of scale.
Founded in 2010, N2N is recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies by the Inc Magazine. N2N believes that a seamless, turnkey, and secure enterprise data integration platform can enable new business models and bring about efficiencies in the cloud-native world.
N2N’s flagship product, Illuminate is one of the first Cloud Integration Gateways on the market. N2N Illuminate features Blockchain APIs, API Management, API Security, and API Integration in a completely turnkey SaaS platform. Illuminate platform was released in Fall 2016, and now processes over a million transactions a day, supporting 300+ academic institutions.
In addition to leading N2N Services Inc., Mr. Kodithala served as President of OpenEAI Software Foundation. Mr. Kodithala is actively engaged in several philanthropic activities to reduce illiteracy and promote awareness about climate change.
Mr. Kodithala is an aspiring writer. He writes poems and prose, and some of his works have been published by reputed magazines.