Madhura Sharangpani Maskasky founded Platform9, a VC-funded startup in the heart of Silicon Valley. Previously, Madhura worked at VMware and Oracle on distributed systems. Here is her story.
As a young kid, I never was interested in figuring out what I wanted to be as an adult. I loved sports and a lot of my time was dedicated to social activities and not a whole lot towards thinking about future.My free Hotmail account (that I created at an internet cafe) was my only experience with computers. So when it came time to pick a major for undergraduate studies in college, I followed my friends and picked computer science. “At least I won’t be lonely studying this new field” were my thoughts on the matter.
One evening, my best friend was buzzing about a new class she’d discovered – she was learning the C++ programming language. This wasn’t part of the university curriculum. This was taught by a brilliant ex-professor who held the classes in the backyard garage of his house — for fun. I got myself enrolled.
It turned out that the class attracted some of the brightest kids in the neighborhood. The professor taught primarily by asking puzzle questions and students would compete to come up with intelligent answers.
The competitive side of me got provoked enough — I started focusing hard and studying at home so I could answer every question and ace every assignment. This is when I started discovering just how amazingly satisfying programming can be! I was hooked.
My experience at VMware has taught me everything I know today about building good software architecture and writing good quality code.
Then after having spent 7.5 years at the company, I was starting to come to a realization that I hadn’t been challenging myself enough lately. Perhaps I had become too comfortable with the environment.
It was time for a change. I started investing a significant amount of energy trying to discover what I wanted to do next, including interviewing at other companies, but something was missing. Around the same time, my co-founders and I started brainstorming about various ideas over lunch just as a fun exercise.
A typical day at Platform9 is nothing but a roller coaster ride =) I am multi-tasking between 10-15 different things at the same time.
I work with rest of the team to define the product vision and deliverables for the company, I work out milestone schedules, write TDS documents, create product wireframes, work on the branding effort for the company, drive to a customer visit or have a conference call with a potential customer.
In between these tasks I am ensuring that the new office move is on track, company taxes are paid, employee expenses are handled, and such. There’s something new everyday and it never gets boring. I often fall behind and occasionally get overwhelmed, but it’s all part of the job =)
If I could go back in time, there’s one thing that I would insist over and over again to my old self — it would be to lose my fears and discover happiness. Looking back there were so many moments that could be done better if I had let go of that last bit of doubt.