What does it take to have earned the distinction of being one of the top six technologists in the world to have worked on all global omnichannel platforms? It takes a layered concoction, the discipline to absorb all of life’s experiences and allowing them to mature into a full-bodied perspective to be sipped at, with resilience.
Sauvik Banerjjee (fondly known as ‘Dada’) grew up with technology as we know it - getting introduced to its infantile forms through mathematics, quantum mechanics, applied physics and cricket influenced by his parents and family.
He borrows from a rich legacy of Bengali aristocracy, sports and academics - understanding the importance of and championing cross functional skills since a young age. He was raised in a family that upheld liberal progressive beliefs, pursued excellence as a principle, practised discipline, encouraged curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. With experience in Ranji tournaments and a thoroughbred university blue, he was invited to play the gentleman’s game by the UK as an all star Indian representation, allowing for high quality education and lessons in unparalleled sportsmanship on the island.
Doors readily opened for Sauvik’s enterprising spirit. He was introduced to Ian Fraser, a senior executive at British Petroleum, on a cricket pitch, as they fielded ‘slip’ side by side. A conversation and a subsequent interview led to a rewarding stint at BP in a senior technological role. While playing cricket for the Director of Studies Professor John MacIntyre at University of Sunderland and Durham, Sauvik studied robotics and neural networks. While building his startup, he first experienced “the adrenaline rush of building a product, monetising it and taking it into a sphere that no one has seen before”. A coder and an architect at heart, what followed is two decades of successful entrepreneurship and exceptional senior management roles at some of the largest global corporations - the details available at the click of a search bar. He has played the role of an elder brother for over 600 senior professionals and continues to mentor sustainable small and medium businesses.
“I advocate the Titan model of team building,” shares Sauvik while stressing the importance of top talent in building organisations and achieving a leapfrog. “Have you seen 300?” he asks the obvious of the writer, a voracious reader of military history himself. He invokes the legendary Battle of Thermopylae to cite an example of team building to meet desired objectives. A handful of Spartans proved heavy for a numerically larger Persian host thanks to their superior tactics. Every Spartan shield is interdependent, creating a tight interwoven mesh of defence. Sauvik suggests building a team of A players for your inner circle and grooming them right, contributing to their growth and learning from them, enabling them to groom their individual circles of A players. This leads to concentric circles of consistent talent and shared values, thus a strong organisational culture. Sauvik is intuitive, he understands individuals through open conversations, preferring a healthy blend of analytical and creative thought to work with.
His youth shaped by the value system of the Scots, Sauvik happily took an opportunity to be back in India and fell in love with the country all over again. “The sheer energy that I see on the streets, from the smile of an urchin to the characteristic hustle of the smallest street vendors,” he experiences life that does not go gently into that good night. “The city CEOs think of nation building, they are hardwired to believe that their every action contributes to the national economy - a manner of being that is beyond inspiring to behold. India will evolve to be a product nation and solve its own problems.”
Currently performing duties as the CTO of Tata CLiQ, he also advises Tata group companies and serves as VP of Tata Industries on digital initiatives. This, in addition to being a tech evangelist and a mentor to individuals and organisations all across. “I value my time with family as much as my time at work,” sharing his joy of being a husband to a loving wife and a father to two little tykes. He sees the world to be an amazing place to live in, taking in one day at a time, living it to its fullest and remembering to not take life as seriously as many of us are guilty of.
Piecing together a simile for Sauvik-da’s life - a conversation with him is akin to having a hearty swig of a Scottish ale - in a jolly old tavern that has withstood the unforgiving Northern winds for as long as anyone can remember. A definite character that takes on a role as demanded by the times, yet stays rooted to its crux, its fundamentals.
And a wry sense of humour that may remind one of Monty Python, asking us to look on the bright side of life.
Written by Sushrut Munje
Photographed by Blake D'Silva