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Managers vs. Techies

One of my friend doing his M.Tech in IIT Bombay got placed in a biotech start-up. When I gave this news to another friend he exclaimed - "I don't know why joining startups is such a craze in IITs while we MBA's always look out for established brands and mature companies!". Reflecting upon his words I came to the following conclusion also leading to a comparison of Indian and American start-ups.
Management is control; managers are people who do things right, they handle day-to-day routine but never ask whether the routine should be done at all. For a business manager, a mature company offers a learning platform for best practices - in other words 'the way to do things right'. An MBA is also a quest to standardise oneself - we learn a bit of all viz. marketing, finance, operations, and even IT nowadays and learn how to do that 'bit' right.
Technology however is about inovation - it is about questioning what is right and what is wrong. It is about 'doing the right things'. To a sceintist or technologist an established and mature organisation with proper systems to carry out day to day tasks is not intellectually challenging - because he does not come to learn the way to do things right. He is interested in a quest, a quest for newer ways and an unformed system.
In this sense, a techno-manager is a contradiction of sorts. If you allow me to be a bit generous, a Technomanager must be a good leader. This follows from the something I learnt in the course on business leadership - leaders are good at managing contradictions :D.
On a serious note, a techno-manager muist have the following characteristics
1. S/he must be passionate about technology
2. S/he must be comfortable with ambguity and uncertainities
3. S/he must understand people - because people are the machines in technology companies
4. S/he should be able to make a trade-off between 'doing right things' and 'doing things right', which is a layman's view of time-cost tradeoff.

A dreamer with a vision coupled with a strong sense of direction and time is what it would mean. I should say, this time on a very serious note, a leader is what we are talking about. No wonder one of the designations in IT companies is called 'Team leader' !


  1. Hey Nikhil,
    That was an gr8 comparison.
    I've a chance to get a call frm NITIE this yr. If I make it'll be a choice b/w M.Tech n NITIE. I m more of a techie and want to be a technopreneur. Will NITIE be good 4 me?
    Plz mail me at echirag [at] if u can suggest me.


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