Winning Stroke: Interview With Jaspreet Singh, Founder & CEO, Druva

"I think luck can help put you into favorable situations, but it takes hard work to take advantage of the situation and to take your success to another level"


If not in the current profession, you would be?

I come from a science background and chemistry as a discipline has always interested me (after computers of course). If I wasn’t the CEO of Druva, I have no doubt I would be in a lab working on new innovations or trying to make new discoveries.

One tune you always hum?

Kandisa by Indian Ocean. I find the song so soothing and it's a very interesting song. They took a traditional prayer from the Syrian Orthodox church and turned it into something very unique and powerful. 

One book to read when you want to motivate yourself?

One of the books I’m really enjoying right now is The Art of Thinking Clearly, by Rolf Dobelli. The ability to recognize our own biases, whether it’s the decision to spend more time on a task than necessary, or making decisions that in hindsight may have been unwise, is critical to being a leader, and being present. Staying in the moment, and trying to clear away those influences to make rational decisions is always easier said than done, but I find is an important piece of finding mindfulness.

One dialogue of a movie that motivates you or you like the most?

"Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." - Shawshank Redemption. It's one of my favorite movies, and I just love this line. I can be hard to keep going and pursuing a dream when you're facing tough odds, so I think this is a good reminder about staying motivated and keeping your dreams alive. 

The place you never been to and always want to go?

The base camp of Mount Everest. Base camp is at 17,000 feet and while I'm not sure I would want to attempt a climb of Mount Everest, I’d love to be there and see the beauty of the world around you. I think that would be an incredible, and incredibly humbling experience to be in such a place, surrounded by those mountains.

An animal that signifies you & why?

Bengal tiger. It is strong, graceful and thoughtful. Animals like the tiger understand how and when to attack - they plan, they scheme and wait for the moment to pounce. I think understanding the lay of the land and knowing the right moment to jump is critical in life, and qualities that I think I have.

A Movie Character you most resemble or resonate with?

I love The Matrix movies, and especially the character Morpheus. I think it's really his leadership that resonates with me. He sees a version of the future, and the potential in the people he recruits, especially Neo, that they do not see in themselves. He challenges, pushes them and inspires them to reach their full potential. I think like an entrepreneur and CEO, that is one of the most important things you can do in your job.

If your life was to be turned into a movie who would you like to play your part?

Tom Hanks or Johnny Depp. They are both world-class actors, and I think it would be fun to watch them to capture my thinking, my way of looking at the world.

Luck or Hard Work, what do you think weighs more in defining a successful person?

I think luck can help put you into favorable situations, but it takes hard work to take advantage of the situation and to take your success to another level. Learning where and when to apply that hard work, at those moments of luck, can propel you to things you never thought possible.

One best decision you ever made?

To venture into the world of startups soon after starting my career. After starting my career at some of the larger companies in India, I knew it wasn't where I wanted to spend my career. We started Druva in 2008, which was the height of one of the worst financial crises in history, and yet we decided to keep going. We only thought about the opportunity in front of us and what could be, and that's what drove us.

A strategy that you always use to take your decisions in Personal or Professional life?

One thing I always try to do is predict how the decision will impact those around me. It's very easy to think about decisions in terms of your immediate needs and impact, but especially as you grow - professionally and personally - your decisions have far-reaching implications for others. Trying to think through those ripple effects is important and can dramatically impact your course of action.

Whose advise you seek when in dilemma?

My closest circle of friends. I'm lucky in that I've built a strong network, both personally and professionally and I'm able to turn to different people when situations arise, whether it's my wife, close friends, or those I've met through business to help talk through situations.

What has been your biggest achievement?

Building Druva with my co-founders. We started as three people in 2008, and now we are a family of more than 700 spread across three continents.

One thing that you want to change in yourself?

I think making sure I take time each day to practice mindfulness and get some perspective. Mindfulness can be so tough to find these days with all of the distractions and stressors you experience daily. I think one of the best ways is to put our devices down and take in the world around you. We bury ourselves in technology, but taking the screen away from your eyes and looking at what is going on around you is one of the most powerful ways to bring yourself into the moment and help prioritize what’s most important. So I constantly try to remind myself to take that break from screens and do some deep breathing exercises.

A line said by your close one that you never forget?

“Don't walk as if you own the world, walk as if you don't care who does.” Self-awareness is important, and the understanding that you, or anyone else for that matter, is not in control of everything. But, it is important to have confidence and to not be scared by a challenge laid in front of you. That’s what should excite you and drive you.

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