We had the good fortune of connecting with Sunil Kowlgi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sunil, what do you attribute your success to?
We’ve built a software product for creating lesson videos. The question we ask ourselves everyday is are people using our product. If people are using our product it confirms we are on the right track. If people are not using our product then we have to improve the product. We learn what users need by talking to them on what they like or don’t like about the product. Communicating with users is the most important factor for our success. All our new product ideas are a result of talking to users about problems they face and coming up with an innovative product to solve them.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Some years ago, while working in a software company in Austin, I was in charge of a customer issue. I had to find and fix the root cause of a bug in our software that was affecting a customer, a cellphone manufacturer. Because of the bug, the customer had manufacturing delays and wanted our urgent attention. I got a visa to travel overseas to help the customer out and was preparing to travel. Then I had an idea on how to debug the problem and went in to work on a weekend. I had a major breakthrough and we ended up fixing the problem without needing to travel to the customer. Later, I received an award for excellence in customer service at a company event. Through this episode, I realized I enjoyed communicating with and helping customers. Through my years of work at the company and working with talented programmers, I realized programming was a strength. I felt I had it in me to build a software company on a foundation of good product and customer service so I started Outklip. Some companies start out as an act of self expression by the founder and that’s true in my case. A mix of good product and customer service is key to our success so far and will be pivotal in the future too.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’d start the day by catching sunrise at Brazos Bend State Park and hike one of the trails. After a tiring hike, we get Big Al and a protein smoothie at Bean Here Coffee in Missouri city. Then drive across to The Heights for the rest of the day. We are starving by now, so we get brunch at Verdine and ask them to bring out the orange cauliflower first. After lunch, we head over to Kaboom books where we’ll browse, ask John for book recommendations and pick up books. Now it’s afternoon and we are in the mood for refreshments, so we drive to EQ Heights and get Acaju yogurt and drinks. After EQ we head to Momentum climbing gym on Washington Ave. and climb walls for a couple hours. All the climbing has made us hungry so we go to Sinfull Bakery for quick bites. Definitely getting the biscuit sandwich there. Then we head to Menil Park and check out Rothko chapel and the museum. I want to get my friend something to take back, so we go to Dromgoole’s in Rice Village. There I’ll pick out a fountain pen for my friend. After that we’ll go to Local Foods in Rice Village for dinner. I’ll have my friend try out the tofu pastrami. After dinner we stroll around Rice Village before calling it a day. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The pandemic has opened our eyes to the real heroes in society. Some of these heroes were earlier not given the recognition they were due. Among these unsung heroes are teachers, who shifted from in-person to remote teaching. Our company has a ringside view to this shift as teachers use our product to create educational videos. A mutual support community of teachers emerged overnight. New teacher communities sprung up on Facebook. Teachers shared lesson videos on YouTube and wrote blogs with useful tips. We’d like to give a shoutout to teachers for handling challenges during the pandemic with ingenuity and mutual support.
Aaron Brodsky Matt Dinsmore