For the third part of Helpshift Introduces, we’d like you to meet Baishampayan Ghose, the CTO & Co-Founder of Helpshift. He describes the beginnings of Helpshift, his favorite feature to build thus far, and the qualities he looks for in new talent.
1. As a co-founder, can you briefly describe the humble beginnings of Helpshift? How is your workday back then different from your day now?
To paraphrase Biz Stone: it takes timing, perseverance, and ten years to achieve “overnight success.” As such, it might seem Helpshift is just around two years old, however, we started much before that. 🙂
The foundation of Helpshift was built in late 2009 when Abinash and I founded “Infinitely Beta”, an avant garde SaaS product startup. That was when we started building the team and the product DNA that is deeply embedded in the very ethos of Helpshift. It took us many iterations to get to what is today Helpshift, but I guess that is how real, ground-breaking and inspirational products are built—a great vision, brilliant execution and a lot of spit and polish.
Even back in the day, when we were building different products, some not even remotely related to Helpshift, we knew that we wanted to do something big, something that touches the hearts of people worldwide. I guess in a big way Helpshift has been a dream come true for us.
My day at Helpshift hasn’t really changed much from a timing standpoint. However my responsibilities are slightly different now and I do get to work on more interesting challenges these days.
When you start a company you are expected to be a generalist, back then I used to take care of pretty much everything, from technical operations to programming to even janitorial tasks. As a startup matures though, you have to bring in specialists and deepen your focus instead of widening it.
As such these days my focus is mainly on our overall technical platform, R&D, recruiting and evangelism.
2. What was it like moving into the new Pune office? It must be exciting to see Helpshift’s philosophy grow into something great.
Right from the beginning, Abinash and I had a very clear vision for the kind of company we’d like to build—one with deep focus on the customer, technology, design and of course, fun!
Across our two offices in SF and Pune, the Helpshift team is full of a bunch of dedicated, talented and fun-loving people. We take our work seriously but we take our workplace even more seriously. We believe great work can’t be done in lousy offices. As such, we have always wanted our office to be an inspiration, to stand for our DNA.
Until recently we used to work out of a nice, albeit smaller office in Pune. When the time to move to a bigger office came Abinash & I decided that we’d build a “really good” office this time and take it up a notch higher.
We drew inspiration from various quarters, but overall we wanted an office that’s airy, open, creative, minimalist and beautiful. I think our current office embodies the DNA of Helpshift very well and we’re quite proud of it.
3. What was your favorite Helpshift feature to build so far?
It’s not easy for me to pick a feature that was technically challenging. However, I believe features are only useful if they make the lives of our customers easier. As such, I think my favorite feature is the often-[ab]used “No Limits Bulk Actions” feature. We have some plans to improve that feature, but as of now it’s still one of the best experiences and was also bloody complicated to build.
4. What are some of your favorite hobbies and apps?
I am a man of varied interests, so I read, travel, listen to music, discuss all kinds of stuff with my friends and so on. I also practise meditation according to the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It helps me keep calm and carry on.
My most-used apps are GMail, Chrome, Slack & Circa.
5. What qualities do you look for in new talent for Helpshift?
We value passion at Helpshift a lot. We feel the passion to do great work is something that keeps us going in the face of all kinds of challenges that a startup needs to overcome. We also want to work with people who are lifelong learners. These days things are changing at a breakneck speed and the most important thing here is to keep yourself updated. It’s not necessarily true that the latest ideas are the best (often they are not) but having the pulse of your industry helps in taking the right decisions and placing the right bets.
We are also a heavily collaborative organization and we need people who can work as a team and not in silos. Any Helpshift team-member is expected to:
* Be passionate
* a team-player
* compassionate (about customers, team-members, everyone)
* willing to take up tough challenges
* a self-learner