Changes at Gridstone

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From tomorrow I will no longer be CEO of Gridstone Research. Once again, as I have done twice before in my career, I step into the unknown.

I devoted the last three and a half years to our journey at Gridstone. We set out to build an important technology company serving the capital markets. However, Gridstone’s market, the investment managment industry, has been going through one of its worse downturns ever. Needless to say, budgets have been slashed and Gridstone had to take cost-reduction measures to adjust to the new reality.

A few weeks back I started feeling that my presence was no longer necessary for the company and that the rest of the management team was strong enough to carry on with the good work without me. I asked the board to relieve me of my duties as CEO. My colleague and co-founder P R Ganapathy (Guns) will be the new CEO and take over my responsibilities.

I continue to be a big supporter of the company and a believer in its vision. I will stay on the board of the company to help it in whatever way I can. Even in a down market and with a reduced cost structure and I am confident in the team’s ability to see it through.

You remember every stage of your career by the people you worked with. At Gridstone it was my privilege to work with some of the best. My co-founders and others in the management team – Guns, Ramesh, Sandeep, Nitin, Anurag, Sridhar, Nilanjan, Natarajan – would make the A-list in any company. Smart people with integrity and a can-do attitude. I would go into any battle with them.

I also had the good fortune of having some great investors – Izhar Armony at Charles River, Ashish Gupta of Helion and David Singer at Maverick – all astute, supportive venture investors. Along with my friend Ramana Venkata they formed a board that any entrepreneur would kill to have. John Levinson and many of our angel investors were also super helpful and I am sure will continue to extend their support to Guns and the team in the future as well.

So what now? I don’t have any well laid out plans of what I am going to do next. The only thing I know is that I am going to take my time. There is no reason to rush into anything and every reason to make a careful, considered decision. The last few years have been entirely focused on the capital markets. I need to reconnect with what’s happening in other industries, in the US and in India. So the first thing I am going to do is meet people who are in the flow of what’s going on. There’s nothing like a conversation with a smart businessman to clear out the cobwebs.

And oh, there’s one more thing I’ll be doing – blogging. Now that I will have a lot more time, you can expect a higher frequency of posts. As always, feel free to write directly or through the comments.

27 Comments

  1. Basab
    All the best to you in your new endeavour. Would be interesting to read your thoughts on where the IT Services Business is headed in the next 2-3 years. Any chance of a comeback ?:)

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  2. Basab: Over the past one year I have enjoyed reading your blog and about your company. I wish Gridstone all the best – I am sure niche players with their ability to innovate quicker than the Goliaths are better positioned to ride out this perfect storm. I wish you the best as well for your next journey. Take care.

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  3. Hi Basab,
    Have been following your blog for quite some time. (I work in the same company you are an alumni of). Would be curious to know about your next step, and will keep checking up this blog for updates. Best wishes!

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  4. Basab, wish you all the best. I believe in the BIG theory. Everything in lif e is a Blessing In Disguise! So go on and have fun with your next one.

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  5. All the best, Sir for your new phase. Am sure you will be doing something interesting. Meanwhile am happy that there will be more posts to read on this blog 🙂

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  6. Basab, this is breaking news and, in true web 2.0-savvy fashion that i have come to expect of you, delivered live through the blog feed.
    Wish you the best in your next endeavor, and also my sincere support to Guns and crew for carrying on the good work at Gridstone and riding it out of the storm.

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  7. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for being so generous in your support and good wishes. As I reflect upon opportunities I am sure we will have lot's to talk about.

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  8. Gridstone's loss is blogosphere's gain, shall I say?

    Congratulations. Just about the right thing to do in these don't-know-what-next times.

    So…. it’s time to enjoy waking up and not having to go to work.

    Anything you do – go ice fishing, bite into sinful loads of cheese or even watch an already weather beaten Barak Obama plead to the Republicans for yet another stimulus package – is going to be infinitely better than having to track the horror show at NYSE / NSE bulletin boards 🙂

    But the trouble is, now you can never take a day off 😉

    P.S – In case if your next venture is to be based out of Mumbai, would like to be a part of its founding team.

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  9. Wish you the best, Basab. I had developed a strong liking to reading your blog from the very time you started blogging on 6ampacific.com and have been an avid follower of your writing! You are really articulate. I really learnt a lot from your posts alone. Do increase the frequency of your posts! Looking forward to learning more from you.

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  10. It will be interesting to read something about what went wrong the Gridstone business model. We have the downturn to blame for most of it, but was there something else to add to it?

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  11. But is it proper for you to leave a company (founded by you) when times are tough and challenging ? Is it not running away from responsiblilty ? there must be something else which has forced you to leave ?

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    1. yeah, and Basab's going to split his guts wide open and lay it all on the table since you asked for it…geez

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  12. Basab,

    It is with surprise and a tinge of sadness that I read this post. Wish you all the best for your new journey.

    I cannot agree with you more when you say that Gridstone has a stunning team. Not only are they superb professionals, they are all such wonderful people. I have known in my corporate experience that it is hard to find such a group.
    All the best to Guns and the rest of the team.

    I have always been an admirer of your blog and its observations so am excited to know that you will write more often. Happy writing!

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  13. if you are honest to yourself and to your readers , you must come out with real story of GRIDSTONE …. silence only means that you are talking like a NETA… come on ….. every body has ups and downs ….

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  14. Basab – If your company is going through a very challenging phase, I would have thought you would be more motivated to stay on and get past the hurdles before moving out. I am a little surprised.

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  15. and would have proven yourself… it is difficult to fathom that you feel that a company established by you and passing thru' difficult phase , does not need you ! try to come clean

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  16. Here is one quote from Basab:

    "I will stay on the board of the company to help it in whatever way I can. "

    So, he is very much with there at Gridsone. Read before you put your nasty comments.

    Regarding the tinge of sadness – we all feel that – every time you a leave a place, a company, a friend circle. You always a leave a piece of yourself. It is not easy.

    Now why I came back?

    I normally do not and I sound biased here. Yes, I am biased here. We need more people like Basab. We need 10 entrepreneurs like him to create thousands of jobs than just one creating 100. Let us have more people who build 10 more companies in their life time in place having just one.

    Also, here is one person who is from a very humble background and he is from the best IIT and IIM from India, built a billion dollar empire for one company, another company from scratch…if you have done better in your life, you may criticize (in fact, who have done something, they do not). Otherwise, just shut up.

    Basab,

    I'll look forward to your new venture and let me know if I can be of any help anyway.

    Disclosure: I am not with Gridstone or Infosys, neither have I met Basab personally ever.

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  17. Thanks again for your comments and good wishes. In the interest of civil discourse I had to delete a few comments that didn't pass the smell test and some others that responded to the deleted comments. I am now closing this entry to further comments.

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