Pinaki Saha – An Entrepreneur Navigating the South Asian Diaspora

Pinaki Saha is a creative missionary, digital explorer and CEO / Founder of Anshar Labs, a global engineering powerhouse delivering outstanding user experiences to Fortune 500 firms, mid-level organizations, and fledgling startups. After graduating from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, he moved to the US in 1996 and began a flourishing information technology career. This culminated in the launch of Anshar Labs.

In this episode, Nikhil speaks with Pinaki about his journey as an entrepreneur, father, and immigrant, navigating the twists and turns of the American Dream. He touches on the challenges of parenthood, encouraging innovation, managing mental health as a South Asian immigrant, and the importance of consistency.

Nikhil 

Hey everyone, this is Nikhil coming in from Chicago with The Shelly Story. Typically on our program, we talk about a lot of different topics, everything ranging from mental health to careers to health and wellness, through the lens of the South Asian diaspora, being a first generation immigrant with parents who came here from India.

And today’s discussion is more of a free-flowing discussion with a good friend of mine, Pinaki. Pinaki and I went to business school at the University of Chicago many moons ago. He’s a jack of all trades, really; he knows a lot about a lot of different things. He’s done a lot of interesting things. And today, we’re just going to have just a general free flowing conversation about his journey as an immigrant to this country, his triumphs and challenges and struggles as an entrepreneur, as a father as a husband.

So Pinaki, thanks so much for joining us. Can you go ahead and give a brief overview and introduction to who you are your story?

Pinaki Saha

Absolutely, thank you, Nikhil, thank you once again. And it’s a pleasure to be on your podcast. I have been aspiring to come and talk someday. And I said, Nikhil has never invited me. (laughs) So thank you. But I’m really happy and fortunate to be here.

To give a little background, I have been in this country for the last 25-26 years. I came in 1996. And back in the days when there is no WhatsApp, there is no Skype, there are no communicating platforms like we have today. And I remember when I first landed here, it used to cost $1.15 per minute to call India. And I am not kidding, it was painful for a student in the first place, we are destitute, and you come land and you move into place. And what do you do first, you have to go back and talk to your parents, you’re so lonely, you feel like so isolated, and then you get hit by a $1.15 per minute. So that was that was like a total highway robbery.

So yeah, so back in the day, so I came then. And interestingly, my career profile has changed significantly. But I come from a theoretical physics background. So back in India, I was at Indian Institute of Technology. I did my Master’s in Physics. And then I came here for PhD in theoretical  environmental physics. And, and then I finished my master’s and didn’t pursue with the PhD because it was back in 98. At that point, when the first dot com boom was happening in Silicon Valley, I decided to leave my PhD program and go out and make some dough.

And because of my numerical modeling and scientific, other things that I was working on, it was pretty easy to get into the market. And then my career moved from physics into a technology analyst. And then eventually, I kept on moving as a traveling consultant across the country, and finally settled down in Chicago in 2000.

And then my roadmap completely shifted away from academia by then, and moved into consulting. I was with Chase for close to 10 years. And I was a product analyst, I was a data architect, all bunch of things I did over there for 9 to 10 years. And then eventually I got burned out, I wanted to do something of my own, I wanted to explore opportunities of pursuing the golden dream that you know, be an entrepreneur build something and have an impact.

And that’s when I kind of came out of Chase and tried to raise some capital, and eventually were successful in my first startup. And then we had a good runway for a year. And it was an early days of video streaming back in the days. And then we ran out of dough, and we had to go out for series A we could not raise that money. And so I finally came out of that startup and launched my own agency. And it was more like a development agency with just three people. And eventually, we grew that to 75. Over the years. I’ve been doing this now 11 years now.

Nikhil 

What’s the name of the company again?

Pinaki Saha 

it’s called Anshar Labs (ansharlabs.com). And we are a development agency helping mature to small business, to go to mobile and digital and all that stuff. And the premise of the whole agency and those days early days, back in 2011 and 2012 was to take enterprises from legacy applications into mobility back when iPhone 5s came back in the day. So then eventually we kept on evolving and building the company around mobility and then where we ended up today we have grown kind of pretty big same size as a small business technology business.

I have an interesting part though. And this I have to give it a year, before COVID, people have to COVID-19 They’re talking about all remote work, right employs a remote, people are not even joining or taking a job offer if the job doesn’t allow remote, right. So that whole dimension was not there back in 2011, people could not believe that you can run a company, a technology company or anything digitally, fully remote.

And I’m talking back in 2010, that I installed the full team, building the entire product, prototype and everything, all that stuff from three different continents, we had in North America location, we had an India because of my parent, my birth country. And then we had a team in Ukraine.

So and then we started developing the teams around that we established culture, accountability, trust, all that stuff. I had been writing that in my working DNA from those days back there. So now when there’s a shift, because a pandemic, and people are talking about remote, it is so much easier for us to even understand that or kind of promote that.

So yeah, so we are fully remote, we have all these teams like on to different places in the world. And, and now our clients understand and respect that and appreciate that, that and even believe that it’s doable. So So that’s in a nutshell that what I have been doing now, there’s one small element also to this, even with my agency that I have developed, I always wanted to help startups because I just love startups, because starting from zero, right, and, and that I have been doing all these years, even to the 10 years that have helped so many startups to go to market with a product prototype.

Five years back, I have to give this to a good friend of mine, Jason. He invited me to go to Founder Institute, a global pre-seed incubator, which helps companies build chapters inside every city to build to bring the entrepreneurs together, and make them in a kind of a cohort environment to build and experiment things. And I was invited to start the Chicago chapter back in 2017, I believe, to come in and help mentor these budding entrepreneurs

Nikhil 

Founders Institute – is that a Chicago based organization? Are they nationwide?

Pinaki Saha 

No, so Founder Institute, good question, Founder institute a bit is originated from Silicon Valley. So Bay Area, and Adeo Ressi, who started it, a friend of Elon Musk, and he launched that thing back in the days, and then eventually started building chapters across the nation and eventually became a global entity. I believe hundreds of cities across the world has founder and CEO chapters.

And they have the director, they have their cohorts, they have different spring, fall summer sessions and all that stuff. And so yeah, it is a global chapter network. And I belong to the Chicago chapter network. And I have been helping mentoring entrepreneurs through the Chicago chapter network for the last four or five years now.

And then eventually, I was invited to join the EIR (Entrepreneur In Residence) for the Chicago chapter. And I’m also providing guidance and mentorship forum for entrepreneurs from across the world who are subscribing to the Silicon Valley Chapter as well, because it’s a kind of global network of mentoring and all that. So I help people from across the world as well.

Nikhil 

When we talk about entrepreneurship in this country. You know, Chicago, its nickname or moniker, whatever you wanna call is typically the “Second City.” Now with entrepreneurships and startups it seems to correlate or align with that image of sort of being like the underdog, when it comes to stocks, startups, cities, like people typically think of Silicon Valley out in San Francisco or Silicon Alley in New York.

What’s your assessment of the startup scene in Chicago? I mean, we’ve got like 1871 downtown, and there’s some other incubators, but what’s, what’s your read on the startup scene here in Chicago, good and bad. And as it compares to some of these other epicenters of entrepreneurial activity.

Pinaki Saha 

Historically, it’s Silicon Valley, right has been there for last 20 years, 30 years have been building platforms, companies and all these famous companies. But if you look at from the mid 2000, I think 2004 or 2007, there has been an influx of knowledge share coming into different cities, bigger cities, specifically New York started first but different other bigger cities started growing their environment to culture and germinate the startup ideas and startup incubators and concepts.

So I believe Chicago back in 2007 or 2008, or even before that gained traction significantly in 2014. But of course 1871 had a has a big part to it to contribute in there. But there’s some other incubators also came along and a lot of conventional funding started evolving into early stage seed stage startups.

Now, Chicago had always been if you look at it kind of a manufacturing and trading and and you know pharmaceuticals a lot of hardcore engineering involved in in Chicagoland right and and from a software standpoint internet standpoint Chicago was not not the ideal pivotal city to start with, right, it was always the Valley and San Francisco.

But that changed over these years. I’m like when people see that talent can be anywhere and digitization of economy, digitization of services have come on board, the interest started growing here as well to to create those kinds of applications and problem solving techniques. And when that started, it’s a supply and demand thing, right? If you it is a marketplace.

So in any city, it’s a marketplace. And you have to have a supply and demand to have that marketplace work. And Chicago, if you consider that as a marketplace, there has to be a supply side means the talent, creating incredible technologies or ideas and versioning things and all that on the demand side, you will have to have the funding people, they’re seeing enough technologies out there. So they can invest, right?

So whichever way you look at it, the two parties to the marketplace has to come together. And then when the tipping point happens, right? So I believe over the last five, seven or more 10 years, but now it’s more than ever, that that confluence has evolved into a more crystallized a bigger version where lots of big size capital coming in into these inventions and these ideas.

And that’s why Chicago has (if you look at the numbers) billions of dollars flowing into investment VC investments in Chicago market over the last year. And it’s growing continuously. So I think there’s a lot of exciting things happening in Chicago. But hey, I tell you what, it’s true for everybody. Right, Austin, Texas, and the Miami is growing. Los Angeles has been a bigger market to Dallas. It’s huge.

And now in Houston, New York has been there and Chicago. So I think from a collaborative standpoint, from a panoramic standpoint, as a whole, all the big metros are participating in creating ideas and making it to life. It is not limited to Silicon Valley alone anymore. And I’d say Chicago has a very good contribution to that process, too.

Nikhil 

Yeah, yeah, definitely. So one thing that I recall, you had done a lot of these stories about startups and you know, the, the, the journey, the odyssey as a founder and going through having worn those shoes yourself. I wanted to maybe do a throwback and just kind of understand if there are any common themes that emerge that you found to be pretty enlightening. And also if there was a start up or two that that you found to have a very interesting story.

Pinaki Saha 

Why did I do Anshar Media? So okay, let me give you a little bit of background. Back in 2017, I used to be a wallflower. Okay, means I was very uncomfortable talking to people up front, like, you know, I could not break the ice, I could not go up and talk. And, and I realized being in business, if you are not selling if you have some salespeople in front of you, and you’re just developing makes sense. But if you’re a business owner, and you’re promoting your business, or you’re talking anything, you have to talk, you have to communicate, you have to you have to transfer the idea, you have to communicate that idea, and you have to convince people.

And that all comes from articulating your thoughts. Now, what is the best protected environment to do that, where I’m not talking to anybody directly and having a feedback real time, but I’m talking and I thought maybe video video will be interesting, where I can start promoting my ideas, or my thoughts or my learnings through a one channel communication means I don’t have to encounter somebody who is talking to me back. So that inspired me to start a video podcast like a video cast kind of a thing. So I started I build a channel. I just started have some thoughts and ideas what I’ll talk about, and the first thing comes came to my mind was entrepreneurship because I am myself an entrepreneur. So I can relate to every story of an entrepreneur.

I started I find out an idea. I’ll do some research, just the way you write journals, newsletters, all that stuff. I try to do everything between one and two minutes, because people have very small, short attention span and span. So I want to keep it short, but to the point very succinct, articulated and Practice the origin of it, practice the delivery of it. So I do a few dry runs and practice and then eventually turn my camera on.

And early days, I used to do it with my iPhone, and would have bought a tripod, put a phone on it and started recording it and started doing that. And then eventually, when I became kind of a little familiar with the process, I bought a good 4k camera, and Panasonic and all that and started recording and editing and editing in Final Cut Pro and put it up on the LinkedIn page. As I kept on doing this, I realized there’s not initially you’ll only see two or three guys liking it, you know.

But then eventually, after five or six episodes, I started getting likes or comments from people who I don’t know. And that was the first I’d say the main micro tipping point for me from excitement standpoint, oh, I am putting some content out there that is even valuable for people who I don’t know, then people started reaching out to me, Hey, I liked that video, the concept was great. We’d love to chat about that. All that then I will come across well known entities in LinkedIn and they’re doing some stuff and say, Hey, can I interview you? Can I come over and take a video shoot of what you’re doing and all that stuff. And those could be startups.

So I started doing that as well. So eventually, my goal was to do one video in on LinkedIn every week so that I can get 48 videos, I was closed, I was forced to it.

Consistency is everything in life. If you don’t have consistency, you don’t have anything. And if you want to crack it, you just have to be consistent. And it’s like almost like a whole bamboo tree grows. And you pour water on it for innumerable days, and the bamboo tree shoots off into 30-40 meters in like seven years, right. But you have to keep on working on it, then one little sprout.

So I kept on doing that and worked. And I did that for 14 to 16 months and then work and other things came along and I could not pursue it, then the consistency dropped and I had to phase out. But I want to come back and do that. I just don’t figure it out. And what format and what timing.

Nikhil 

I really liked it; as I said you were kind of like the Indian Steven Spielberg at the time. Yeah, it’d be great if you could get back into that, because I thought it was some very valuable content.

Pinaki Saha 

Thank you. It was helpful, yeah.

Nikhil 

As you and I have talked about my wife, Shelly and I wrote a book and we’re working on a screenplay, about our experience as South Asian immigrants, one of the things that we touch on in the book is sort of the mixed blessing of being part of the South Asian or Indian culture, which is that, you know, as a group, we’re collectively a very successful demographic, when you think about the CEOs of big companies like Microsoft, IBM, Google, they’re all now Twitter. They’re all Indians.

And so obviously, we’re a very motivated, driven group. But the flip side of that is, obviously, there’s always a lot of pressure, whether it’s internal, or whether it’s external, just sort of keeping up with your peers, competitors, there’s always this need to be the best and always put your best foot forward on different social media channels.

And can you touch on that, about what it’s been like for you being a South Asian, very successful, very driven, a lot of accomplishments, but what that’s been like in terms of good and bad, and how do you how do you feel that the South Asian community is doing in terms of supporting one another?

Pinaki Saha 

Yeah. So you have hit the right spot, I mean, it is difficult it is, it is because who we are, and how we grew up in back in there, and India, the ethos, the cultural epithet, and the fabric is still the same, right? It might have evolved based on how many years you have been the US, but there’s certain underlying expectations and objectives in life that never changes are changes, but um, this change is brought by yourself.

So when I came here, everybody wants to be a doctor, or an engineer, right? And or scientist or something back in the day, and I went to the science path and became trying to pursue being a physicist, and then I completely changed gears after two years, right? But then I did not change altogether, I did not make it become a filmmaker.

After I graduated from physics, I still went to technology for because aspiration to be successful, you have to maintain a trajectory to effectively monetize on the skills that you have. That’s what happened with me now, from a cultural standpoint, the Indian diaspora, the Indian culture over here.

Now remember, our kids are all Gen Z, and we are Gen X. And Gen X was a different equation Gen Z. I’m seeing I’m delighted to see that there’s so many diversity now that kids of Indian diaspora Indian culture are not limited by that fact of becoming a doctor an engineer, even though even though so Still 70% of the household tries to try to push their kids into being a doctor or an engineer in the first place. But there is still a 25 to 80%, who likes to who are trying to push their kids to law, the social studies and all that stuff.

So, in essence, things have changed, and it’ll take time to change. And I have been kind of I’ve witnessed that myself on my career as well. And now I’m trying to instill that diversity to some degree among my kids, but then even then, even then, we been South Asians and Indians, specifically, we still ask for that our kids should be called become a doctor, out of a great school in United States or engineer in computer science.

So I believe that creates a toxic environment, lots of pressure and, and kid’s life. And sometimes, you kind of sway kids away from what their likings are, I’m gonna think about it. Kids nowadays are in the United States of America, white Caucasians, or African Americans or Hispanic Latino, do whatever diversity it is, there’s YouTubers who are making million dollar per year, right, right

Nikhil 

Or playing FortNite, or gamers or whatever.

Pinaki Saha 

And then Twitch; the people in Twitch are making $2 million a year. And these are kids, right? And then YouTube and TikTok and they’re making tons of money and tick tock advertisement, all that stuff. So and it’s a struggle for us because we are we are conflating ourselves with the fact that “you can’t go to YouTube, because you have to be in science and computer science.”

So that struggle in our culture will always be there for a while I believe. And more success stories start coming out from the South Asian side of in those spaces will create that that will champion that that possible possibility and opportunity, right.

Nikhil 

I’m always fascinated to understand…people who come from a different culture, a different country, they come to this country, and a lot of the rules and the norms that applied in the old environment are not always compatible with the new, you know, adopted home, I wanted to understand a little bit more about, you know, growing up in India, you know, what, what was it like, in terms of the pressure that was put on you in terms of the choices?

And how did that sort of how did that shape your choices that you made as a parent, you know, because you have two children? Like, how did that evolve, like, how did that impact or influence your philosophies and styles as a parent?

Pinaki Saha 

It has influenced me influenced me a lot. So when I was growing up in a middle class family, we were not rich parents, and my parents were not rich parents. And I was growing up in a very, very modest middle class family. And, and one thing we were taught and told back in the days that if you want to shine, if you want to be career from a career standpoint, from like, successful, the first thing, you have to be educated, right, highly educated.

And education is the only way to freedom, right? Freedom from poverty, that for the needs for life requirements, and an enjoy life, education due to that. So that starts from like, let’s say, first and second grade, like study, you have to study to be having good grades, then in the middle, like, fifth and sixth grade, they start instilling in their that you have to be an engineer or a doctor, right? That’s it, there’s nothing else, you have to be educated, then you have to be engineer or doctor. That’s all it is.

And I had a passion for painting. And I used to paint a love painting, and I used to do oil, painting, watercolor, charcoal, all that stuff. And that was became that was like treated as a hobby, right? People can never could never comprehend that, that that skill can be converted into a monetization, or you can monetize that skill, right? Because there are not enough ecosystem support, to monetize that skill to that level that doctor can make, or an engineer can make.

So what happened as they progressed towards my graduation, the pressure was heavy that you know, now that hobby has to go away because you have to focus your time on becoming an engineer or doctor. Right. So that pressure took that whole painting equation away from me, the art side of it right now. I completely modulated my brain, my rewiring of my head that that my focus is only want to become an engineer or a doctor.

I could never think about the fact that I will be an artist. Now I come to the US and I start my career start my family I got married, the two kids are born and everything happens and I have a spot that my brain is still the amygdala, the limbic side of the brain has been completely evolved to believe that the only way to be successful is to Be in science and engineering. Right? Now there’s a neocortex that’s sitting on top of the amygdala which just goes by logic.

Now there’s a fight going on between amygdala and neocortex. So the so the amphibious brain is whatever our pre studies are – reptilian brain, if you call it – where the DNA part of it as well as the training part of it and the formative years and all that, and our belief system that were grown and built by our parents association, all that stuff is struggling to force ourselves to do something and the neocortex, which is knowledge that is gathering now over the years in us, and logical interpreting things are conflicting, that conflict will stay I am a survivor of the conflict on an everyday basis.

Now, it all comes down to what decision I make with that as the outcome of the conflict. If my decision is made back into what the amphibious brain is asking or reptilian brain is asking, then that’s that path I will take. Or if my neocortex makes wins, and logically helps and empathizes with the pursuit of my kids, then that becomes the part of path of their lives, right.

So I am struggling with that. I have to be very honest about it. I cannot say that oh, yeah, I you know, go ahead and become a YouTuber. Oh, absolutely. Pursue TikTok. I am not in that spot at this moment. But I am debating and fighting with that in that conflict. And hopefully there’s something good will come out of that.

Nikhil 

I always laugh when I think about when my mom was telling her grandkids or my kids, that “when I was a kid stress didn’t exist.” You know, I always laugh because I think oh, you know, is this something that was created in the lab or something like that?

Do you feel that that was something that was a part of your upbringing, where it was just like, if there was any kind of anxiety? Or if there was any kind of doubt, you were had this compunction to maybe push it down? Or, you know, is it was it something that, you know, that was sort of looked down upon like, what was your experience growing up?

Pinaki Saha 

It’s a very, very interesting place that you have brought me into. So when we were growing up, you know, think about the competition, think of the population of India, again, going back there, think about the competition, think about the joint the entrance exam, that entrance exam that you have to clear to go to IITs of the India right? Or become a medical professional doctor, you have to go to the MBBS and I want to call it for the training. You have to excel and you have to be top .02% Right.

So the competition is absolutely ridiculous. It’s fierce. I mean, like you if you cannot make it you’re done, you’re cooked you’re over your life is done. So that creates so much mental anxiety and mental this the burden of defeat it’s such made up crap, right? It’s just made up by the people by saying that if you cannot succeed here, you are a failure in life. And it is absolutely culture. It is practiced in the culture.

So that anxiety the kids, you have it, they have it, they have it, they had it in my time. But what happened it was considered a taboo. So if you have such anxiety, “oh, he’s just making it up. It’s a joke, doesn’t it? This guy, this kid is absolutely using this as an excuse. There’s no such thing. What is mental anxiety, we are such an open environment, their relatives, the parents, everybody together to talk to us what it is, but if you try to go and talk to us or shut you down. Alright, so So what are you talking about? No, go and do study, you have to become an engineer again.”

Right? So I’m giving one example. There’s so many other things in life that are practice there were mental instability is not even considered a prospect of growing up, or being an urban lifestyle in your life. So I believe that’s much different here. Right? You have lots of opportunities of addressing that here, right, in a more constructive way. It is not a taboo. You I’m not talking about Indian culture, I’m talking about in general American System write us it is not considered taboo.

You will go to a therapist, you will go to different treatments and go to different medication, there’s different paths to the to getting well becoming well. But in the Indian culture, let’s come back now. It’s still a problem.

Nikhil 

What’s interesting, Pinaki is, in my social circle – I live in a pretty good part of the city. Pretty successful Indian professionals. And what I found interesting is, you know, we grew up with understandable pressure put upon us I mean, I completely I don’t subscribe to this whole you know, blame your parents for everything. I mean, our parents did the best they Could, they came here, they didn’t know, they didn’t know, quote, unquote, how the story ends, right?

For them, it was all about getting into the best college, getting the best medical school just, you know, being the best at all expenses. And you know, a lot of our friends, you know, a lot of them did succeed, but then a lot of them did burn out. And, you know, they really spent a lot of time just trying to make up for that lost youth, right. So they made bad decisions and their life kind of went the wrong way. What I find interesting is a lot of them, knowing that you know, what the adverse consequences of that excessive pressure, they’re still doing the same, they’re repeating the same habits, they’re repeating the same patterns where everything is about, I always say, like, you know, there’s so many equation that X number of trophies equals, you know, a certain score of self worth, they’re still doing that.

And it’s unfortunate that their kids are probably going to have the same kind of struggles. What’s your experience been? I mean, with Indians in this country or South Asians? What are you observing? Are you seeing that same pattern repeating itself? Or do you feel that we’re doing better and learning from the past?

Pinaki Saha 

Yeah, it is getting better. I mean, like, even 10 years back, things were different. But what I like about it is that the Gen Z, because Gen Z gives me hope. My, my daughter is both the daughters of Gen z’s. And I’m blending with Gen z’s, their friends and all that stuff, right. So I’m seeing that they are now more attuned to different experimentation.

You know, whether you are trying to not become a doctor or engineer, you’re trying to do other skills, other things that you could not have anticipated or even entertained back in, like 15 years back, right. So so that change is happening. It is not pervasive, it’s not like everybody has changed, I’d say it’s still it says 70 / 30 or 65 / 35, to 65%, are still pursuing that old computer science and this and that engineering doctor.

But there is a big proportion of these kids that are coming up and initiating change by themselves and pushing back and sustaining with that push back and pursuing it. And eventually, the parents are understanding that the value that bring in that faculty, so it is happening, it’s just happening slower. And we always want change to be fast. But sometimes you have to be also be receptive about the fact that too fast to change will not go tangent off too quickly. Right? It will not, it will not get grounded,

Nikhil 

You feel like it’s more bi directional, not this top down, command and control “my way or the highway?” You feel like kids are sort of taking their destiny more into their hands, I guess.

Pinaki Saha 

Yes, I am seeing it. I’m seeing it around me for sure.

Nikhil 

Yeah, no, let’s you know, and I gotta get my wife credit on this one. Because you know, our daughter, she’s going off to college in the fall, she’s, she’s going to School of Visual Arts in New York City. Now, I gotta tell you, I mean, as a, you know, as a kid who grew up with the unspoken mantra that you’re either a doctor or you’re nothing, this was a cultural shift for me to what my wife kind of impressed upon me was just that it’s our children’s future.

It’s not ours to decide, you know, it’s not our job as parents to impose this impossible standard on them, when you’ve got to encourage them to really think about what they like, what they want out of life, who they want to be, and encourage that. And eventually, the prosperity and the fulfillment and all that will follow. So I think you bring up a good point, because that’s, that’s an evolution that I hope, you know, a lot of people out there making and just seeing that there are it is a different playing field right now. You know, it is a broader tapestry of options, the buffet or whatever analogy you want to use, the Buffet has a lot more options, and choices. Right.

And so we should definitely do our best to, you know, to expand our kids vision to that. But I guess that’s a good take, because I will be honest, I mean, sometimes I do get a little bit discouraged. Because, again, I’m very inspired and impressed by all the achievements of my fellow South Asians in this country and in India as well. But you know, sometimes that pressure, it does seem like that impossible standard has persisted in our DNA for another generation. But it’s, you know, it’s good to sort of see another take on this.

Yeah, absolutely. Another thing with Indians and South Asians, it’s so fascinating, because on the one hand, yes, there is that professional drive to achieve. But there’s so much spirituality sort of, as I like to say it’s kind of encoded in our DNA. And that’s something that I kind of took for granted all these years, you know, having been exposed to some of the most amazing spiritual teachings as a kid. I kind of moved away from it.

But then recently, you know, as most people do, as they get older, they get more philosophical, more interest. spective so, you know, I’ve started embracing spiritual teachings, meditation, mindfulness, yoga and things like that. You and I talked a little bit ago about about this topic. And, you know, I wanted to get a sense from you, what, what have your tactics or what has been in your toolkit for managing a lot of the stresses and anxieties of being an entrepreneur?

Pinaki Saha 

Yeah, absolutely. And I used to meditate. But back in the days, you know, I didn’t consider the strength of what meditation or habit in our pursuit of consistency or perseverance, but can help with mental stability. Meditation, to me has a different interesting meaning. There are two kinds of meditation, you can always as Indians, come from an average Indians come from a lot of religious backgrounds, different fabric of understanding of faith, for me individually, I, even five years back, I did not understand the value of real meditation.

And I thought, I thought, it’s just like something very hyperbolic. It’s like a very, very subliminal, something that has no tangible results right up front, and doesn’t affect you in real way. Right. Now, since 2017, there are some professional things that happened in my life that had to change the course, and from from my business standpoint, and all that stuff. And there was a lot of anxiety that was associated with that, that came with her. And, and if I had to give in into that anxiety, I would not have been where I am today.

Now, it took me five years to come here, slowly, but from the standpoint of mitigating that anxiety that came off of that professional career movement shift. But where I found the right value was a meditation in a sense that I practice it, meditating. Like, there are two kinds, lots of everybody has their own belief of meditation and practice and methods and framework. And I have mine too. But it all comes down to clearing your head, like, how can you stay focused?

Meditation and focus is very important, because there’s so much of distraction everyday and more. So with all the gadgets, all the stuff, all the email on social media, social media, push notifications, everything you name it, there’s too much distraction, too many distractions and the distractions create anxiety.

Because you try to act on those distraction, somebody is asking you to do something, you want to act on it right away. And feedback from that action, that it creates more stress, right? I had to refocus and realign my mindset from a standpoint of I call it rewiring my brain. And I had to rewire my entire mindset to the fact that parallel to me, parallel tasking is absolute BS.

Nikhil 

It’s there’s, there’s no such thing is multitasking. Yeah, this whole multitasking is zero tasking.

Pinaki Saha 

Exactly. And when I used to be all you have to do multitasking, multitasking. And that’s where I had to walk away from it and stay focused. If you do something, stay focused, and do that, and then move to the next thing. Do not try to do two things together.

So yes, meditation got me focus meditation got me concentration, meditation got me patience, patience, the virtue, they always say that. But we don’t practice that. We almost feel like the world is going to end today, tomorrow. But over time, things take effect. So yes, I would say meditation is a is a very important part of my lifestyle. It resolves a lot of these problems for them for me, and it has enabled me to be more focused and execute much, much faster.

Nikhil 

Anything else you want to say? Good conclusion. I mean, we’ve talked about some really great stuff here. But

Pinaki Saha 

absolutely. Well, I think we covered amazing things. I mean, like, thank you so much for putting all these bringing all these great points I had. And I couldn’t I tried to answer as much as I could. But I loved the way you navigated this. And hopefully, we can talk again soon with some other things in life for the diaspora.

Oh, one small thing I’d like to add, please, please, who I’m like, from a standpoint of career growth, mental growth, any growth, you call yourself, your personal growth, read books. There’s nothing better than reading books. And more you read books, more you understand more, you learn more you think, and more you are able to mitigate distraction.

Nikhil 

So you got to feed your head. I always say, you’re really not just feed your body, but feed your head with good things, not just Yes,

Pinaki Saha 

yes. And yeah. So I look forward to talking to you again. And now. I think we covered a lot in the space and thank you very much for inviting me.

Nikhil 

Yep, absolutely. Thanks so much. Pinaki. I’ll let you hop off to your next adventure and we will talk soon again, my friend.

Pinaki Saha 

Thank you. Thank you, Nikhil. Appreciate it. Alright, take care. Bye.