Whether he prefers the ‘Dark Side’ or ‘The Force’, what his favourite Swiggy value is, or how long his obsession with his VR headset lasted, here’s what you need to know about Swiggy’s CTO, Madhusudhan Rao.
Swiggy Town Halls are a monthly ritual, where the company’s leaders appraise employees about the health of the business, exciting new offerings, and Swiggy’s forward-looking strategy as a company. It’s a place where they connect with Swiggsters, answer their questions, and engage in open dialogue. There’s also a light-hearted segment that’s called “Know Your Leader”. Here, VPs & SVPs are put on the hot seat and asked about their perspectives on all things centered around work and life. Leaders at Swiggy are well-respected and accomplished individuals in the industry, and “KYL” is a great opportunity for employees to get to know their drive, their journey, but also see their human, fun-loving side.
We are kicking off a new series on Swiggy Diaries to give you a sneak peek into Swiggy’s leaders’ lives, via a snapshot of their “Know Your Leader” interview during the Town Hall. Starting with Madhusudhan Rao – Swiggy’s newly appointed CTO (with Anuradha Jaggi – Head of HR Services, conducting the interview). Whether he prefers the ‘Dark Side’ or ‘The Force’, what his favourite Swiggy value is, or how long his obsession with his VR headset lasted – make sure to give this interview a read to discover a fresh side to the man leading all things tech at Swiggy.
Anuradha: To get things started, Madhu, tell us about your Swiggy journey?
Madhusudhan: I have been at Swiggy for close to 5 years. Joined as part of the engineering team, managing the consumer initiatives on our platforms, and ended up managing some products, as well. Really interesting. Learned a lot.
Anuradha: Your journey to becoming Swiggy’s CTO is inspiring. Going to start with the rapid-fire questions now, don’t take too long to think about them.
What do the first 60 minutes of your day look like? That’s 60 minutes, but you get about 30 seconds to answer!
Madhusudhan: It’s actually pretty mundane. Wake up, get my kids ready, drop them off to school, read some news, both traditional and tech. That’s probably my first 60 minutes.
Anuradha: Perfect. All parents, especially fathers, I hope you take note. If your day isn’t starting with your kids getting ready for school, then you have a role model here.
Next, what was your last Swiggy order?
Madhusudhan: I placed two concurrent orders a couple nights back. One was a North Indian meal and the other was a South Indian snack. Actually, I may have placed a few Instamart orders after.
Anuradha: Instamart orders are always the most recent ones! Speaking of orders, what’s your most interesting impulse purchase?
Madhusudhan: I am not an impulse buyer. The only thing that gets me going is new tech, and that’s probably my most interesting impulse purchase. I bought an Oculus the moment it was released. It felt like a huge change. I really wanted to play with it, build on it and I tried it on for a couple of minutes. At that moment, it felt great, so I bought it. Within 30 minutes of wearing it at home, I got nauseous, had neck pain, and realised I’m not going to use this. I think it’s in my attic now.
Anuradha: I was wondering if it’s already on OLX! Alright, next… If you were a programming language, which one would you be and why?
Madhusudhan: Maybe a high level language like C. Works across platforms, but needs a lot of attention to detail to make it work. It manages resources, unlike Java or others where it delegates.
Anuradha: Interesting, I’m sure that’s an insight for those who work closely with you. The next one is a deeper question. What has inspired you recently, Madhu?
Madhusudhan: I recently took my kids to Disney World. It was my third trip there but the first time that I really paid attention. It’s inspiring to see how something that was imagined 60 years ago is thriving today. Walt Disney wasn’t even alive when it opened, but today, it brings joy, magic and inspiration. Everything, whether it’s the employees, a building, a restaurant, even the trash cans, they’re all considered cast members. It transports you to a different world. I think the vision and how it’s propagated for so many years, and is still an enduring institution, is very inspiring.
Anuradha: Sounds like a ton of fun, Disney World is truly a wonder.
Up next, what comes to your mind when you think of success?
Madhusudhan: It’s probably pursuing the work that you enjoy, and having good, fulfilling relationships.
Anuradha: Bang on, Madhu.
Now… which Swiggy Value do you connect with the most and why?
Madhusudhan: It’s definitely “Always Be Curious, Always Be Learning”. I am one of those people who just loves to learn, for its own sake, even if it’s not really applicable anywhere. The era we are in, the pace of innovation, if we don’t learn and innovate continuously, we’ll be outdated and irrelevant. I innately connect with this value, and it also ties into the stage that we are at as a company.
Anuradha: I couldn’t agree more. What does “sports team with a heart” mean to you?
Madhusudhan: Team goals should align with self goals. There is no point scoring a century if it’s not helping the team with the right run rate. More importantly, it’s actually holding ourselves to a higher standard without having to point fingers. Each of us should look inwards and see how we can be better, to make the team better. The hard part is we’re all high performing people, so we definitely reward the drivers, but we will also be very respectful towards those whose performance is not matching expectations. We have to help them find what they do well.
Anuradha: Thank you, that’s a great perspective to share with everyone. Moving onto the last section – “This or That.” Dine-in or delivery?
Anuradha: See the future or change the past?
Madhusudhan: See the future.
Anuradha: Talk like Yoda or breathe like Darth Vader?
Madhusudhan: Breathe like Darth Vader.