In this edition of Workflow, we have Vijay Shankar, the Co-Founder and Director Solutions Engineering at Freshworks, a modern messaging app for sales and customer engagement teams.
Describe what you do: My role is focused on scaling the Australian sales, engineering and onboarding team as Freshworks continues to invest in new artificial intelligence features in order to offer a more seamless experience for customers when using our software. To achieve this, I’m ensuring we develop a strong pipeline of talent in this area, including interns and college graduates, who can bring a new perspective and fresh ideas.
As one of the founding members of Freshworks, I’m pretty proud to have built sales engineering teams for the business across the US, Europe and India, especially as I see a huge opportunity in this side of the organisation. This has often involved moving to a new region, learning about the market and building teams from scratch — hard work but totally worth it.
How do you like your coffee: Flat-white — perfect Aussie style. I do miss the Indian filter coffee though so I make one of those fresh in the office everyday.
Device(s) you use: I am a gadget freak but I couldn’t live without my iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch Series 5 and Microsoft Surface Pro X. I also love gaming so devices like the PS4 Pro and PS VR are top for me. I love my Dell Alienware laptop and any new gadget that comes out. I’m waiting to get my hands on the PS5 next.
Describe your working style in one sentence: Technology focused and driven — I’m massively technology focused so I have a real understanding of innovative technologies such as AI and ML, as well as how such technology directly impacts a business and its customers.
What does your workspace look like: Before COVID-19 hit, we were based in a WeWork office which was fantastic. The proximity to other like minded businesses and sense of community really helped to keep me motivated and on track with my goals. More recently, I’ve been working from home but we’re planning to get back into the office again very soon. I personally can’t wait.
How does your workspace affect your creative process: Teamwork is massively important at Freshworks — we achieve the results we do because of our team. I love working as a collective because ideas pop up in the remotest corners. Every single employee at Freshworks pitches in to solve customer pain points and challenges, and I miss that aspect of the working day big time. Also, when in a coworking space, you’re able to mingle and meet so many other individuals and businesses, and they bring challenges and creative ideas which we can tap into across our organisation.
Do you have a favourite playlist for work: I’m an 80’s kid so I live and breathe this music; from Bryan Adams, Rick Astley, Ray Parker Jr, TOTO, Pink Floyd, Boney M and of course, my favourite, Linkin Park. I listen to them on repeat and power through my tasks — no distractions, no challenge too big.
Who would you like to nominate for the next workflow interview: Sreelesh Pillai, General Manager, Freshworks Australia.
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