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Nagarjun Kandukuru

VP - Global South Strategy

I’m responsible for ThoughtWorks' success in the emerging markets of India, China, Africa and América Latina. My job is to work out how to use the ever-changing technology environment to deliver long-term competitive advantage to our global clients as well as ThoughtWorks.

The Interview

My geeky passion is

...Computing history.

I know an embarrassing amount about Ada Lovelace, the rise and fall of Blackberry, and what ticks Richard Stallman off. As one of the irresistible mega-forces of the last few decades, Computing has had an enormous impact on society, culture, politics and even the way humanity thinks. I’m fascinated by not just the underlying technical ideas and business strategies but also the personalities.

I’ve been known to spend hours reading about our industry and placing events in their historical context. I’d do so even if it didn’t help me do my job better. That it does, is merely a nice by-product. 

The thing I love most about my work is

Nearly all my work is important but not especially urgent. I work to make ThoughtWorks a stronger company in the long run. So instead of being bogged down by tiresome administrivia, I have the luxury of being reflective, and of thinking in systems. That last part is especially important to me, since I’m a generalist in a world of specialists. Happily, I get to think holistically about the full spectrum of TW’s operations - from Sales and Recruiting to Social Justice and People.

If I could fix one of the world's problems, I'd put my powers to use on behalf of

...loosening the vice-like grip Corporations have on world Governments.

Most things that are wrong with the world - proliferation of weapons, imperialism, environmental destruction, privatisation of commons, lack of investment in social welfare programs, grotesque inequality, cheerleader media - can be traced back to crony capitalism. Getting corporate money out of politics is the most important step to empowering people. 

With ThoughtWorks, I've visited

In my eight years as a ThoughtWorker I have only ever worked in Bangalore, albeit by choice.

But I’ve been fortunate enough to be in over half our offices - Pune, Chennai, Gurgaon and Hyderabad in India, but also Beijing, Xi'an, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, Johannesburg, Kampala, Recife, Porto Alegre, London, Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

In the next twelve months, I hope to get to Quito, Berlin, Istanbul, Shenzhen and Shanghai.

The most interesting thing I've learned on the job is

...about the nature of change.

The rate at which the world has changed in the last couple of years is unprecedented in my lifetime - the election of Narendra Modi, the rise of Isis, Arab Spring, the rise of Trump and Sanders in America, revival of both the left and the far right in Europe, the Snowden revelations, the stunning success of companies like Uber, the descent to irrelevance of Nokia, etc.

Naturally, I’ve been curious about the nature of change. Then I came across this marvellous quote from Lenin:

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen."