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Our CEO Joyeeta Das looks back on 2018

Joyeeta Das

6 min • 08 January, 2019

Between mentorship and reading inspiring books, Joyeeta Das will give us a personal glimpse of her 2018 and what to expect in 2019.

Gyana is doing very well. Have any mentors helped you get this far?

Mentorship is everything—I have many mentors in different areas of expertise and I reach out to them often. They guide me, warn me, spar with me, and keep me humble. I strongly recommend this practice. It has made me learn so many things. Mentors can take you into skill-set spaces you never had before in a very short time. They can help you take the next leap of faith. Above all, you know that genuine well-wishers are around.

However, having said that, I believe taking advice from the right person is important. Not everyone from every sector and personality type will appreciate your struggles. Know where to just listen respectfully and where to also take the feedback on board. Sometimes they help indirectly in a way they do not even know.

For instance, someone who has never built a tech startup tried to advise me on how to manage data scientists, completely unaware of the intricacies of their work. However, I saw it as an opportunity to learn how to constructively spar with someone senior and politely conveyed how my situation was different over a period of a few months until they realized it. Now they advise me in other areas they are good at and respect my decisions in areas I can manage. So, it was a good exercise in communication and teamwork for me, even though I did not take their advice!

It is easy to be arrogant in this approach but we have to remember our end goal. The goal is never to prove “who is superior”. The goal is to do what it takes to create a high-value company.

That means sometimes it is about learning a new skill, sometimes about keeping your mouth shut, sometimes about saying it exactly as it is to protect your business. As long as that objective is clear, all falls into place.

Did you get any time to read and if so, what were your favorite books last year?

Well, I wish I had more time to read as I am a voracious reader but sadly that is not the case. I end up reading on flights and occasionally a bit on Sunday mornings post-brunch. Thankfully, I have an extremely high speed of reading and in High School was called the “page churning machine” by some friends. So, I can get through a lot in a short time. (What I retain in my head is a different story though!)

My top picks were:

  1. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami - A collection of short stories that speak of the absence of women in men’s lives. Beautiful and poignant. Gifted to me by my Mother.
  2. Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman - This book kind of confirms all my ideas about super-fast growing global companies. It is engaging, exhaustive, and the closest thing I read to the reality of a scale-up. Gifted to me by my best friend.
  3. Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking - The last book he wrote before he passed away is a wonderfully absorbing material, right from Black Holes to the existence of God. Only he could have tackled things so effortlessly and flawlessly. Gifted to me by the co-founder of Gyana, David Kell.
  4. The Emergent Multiverse by David Wallace - Although I gave up Quantum, I still occasionally enjoy wondering about Hugh Everetts’ multi-world thesis, and this book is brilliantly written to explore that...most doubts just vanish. It does require fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics and advanced knowledge of Eigenspace, but other than that I have seen no great requirement to understand something this complex! David Wallace is an effortless genius. Gifted to me by my fellow debtor in Quantum Mechanics, David Kell.
  5. Money by Felix Martin - This book exposes the institution of money in a way I have never seen. Not as a currency, not as an economic system but as a profound exposition of the human psyche and natural, social, and biological structure. It made me really question, and perhaps may I say even “understand”, what “money” really is. Gifted to me by my dear friend and perhaps one of the smartest traders I know, Omid Pakseresht.

Many political and economic uncertainties are coming up — what will Gyana do in 2019?

Gyana is gearing up for an intense year—we are expanding, recruiting, and going crazy! Although a massive focus last year was to race to meet all goals, this year is focussing on the scalability of processes and structures. We are also going to do a lot more business in the USA and we are expanding in the rest of the EU as we speak. This is going to be the first year of expansion, with many more to come I hope!

I am excited and nervous at the same time and I know that this will be a phenomenal time for all of us. We will grow as people as we start to see the limits of our capability in some areas and we will also be pleasantly surprised to see how much more we are capable than we ourselves thought, in some other areas.

My gut feel is that one will outweigh the other. Let us see which side wins! As for uncertainties, they always exist anyways. In case they get worse, well the storm takes out the weeds. Every such period has helped the good businesses survive and not-so-robust ones cannot make it. It can create opportunities for some and death for others. I am looking forward to the acid test! This turmoil will show us what we are made of. I am excited to find out myself.

Happy New Year 2019 everyone! Let this be a time of unstoppable attitude, mind-blowing progress, and undeniable success. I hope we all march into our lives with full intentions of owning it. Let us totally own it!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

Marianne Williamson