Friday, 2 January 2015

The Factory which Converts Failure into Success

In one of my earlier blogs, I had written about Failure .  Read :  Why Do we fail ?

We all know that failure teaches us to persevere, to become stronger , learn lessons and move on

But have you heard of someone who picks up failures or drop-outs and makes a success out of them and in turn mints money for himself as well as for others ?  

Well, he is by far the smartest unknown  Indian IT entrepreneur - Sridhar Vembu  - the co-founder of ZOHO Corporation - the company behind the ZOHO Suit of online applications. offers a comprehensive suite of award-winning online business, productivity & collaboration applications.  It gives competition to giants like Microsoft.  It has a CRM product which gives a run for money.  

Vembu, a graduate from IIT Chennai and holds a Ph.D from Princeton University in Electrical engineering is a humble, down to earth and low profile person , usually dresses in traditional Indian attire - Dhoti and Kurta has set up the most profitable product organization in India. 

Zoho has sales offices in the Silicon Valley as well as in other parts of the world, but 90% of his workforce in in the Chennai office in India. That makes it very very profitable . And ... ZOHO is Bootstrapped - never accepted a single dollar from Venture Capitalists !

But having development centre in India is not a new concept . 

What is unique about ZOHO are its hiring and people practices. 

Apart from the founders, none of the developers are from premier institutes like IIT. ZOHO believes that coding is an art and not science. It is also emotion and not just logic. 

Their unique idea is to hire drop outs - 12th graders or the students who have not been able to complete their graduation due to economic or family constraints.  The society feels that these drop-outs are failures so much so that the individuals too start feeling the same when they get rejected in admissions and marks are deducted due to their drop out year or status.

For example, a 10th grade pass out joined ZOHO as a Security Guard . But he showed lots of interest in computers and took the initiative to learn a few things by himself. He was noticed and  put through the year long training and now he works as a developer in ZOHO !

Zoho takes rounds of the Government run schools , scouting for 12th graders . These trainees start earning from day one so that they can support themselves as well as their families with some contribution.

The "failures" - the rejected people from big organizations like TCS, Infosys , who are labelled as unemployable graduates are put through a three month paid incubation programme.

According to Vembu, there is no co-relation between academic credentials and job performance. Unlike other IT organizations, employees of ZOHO do not require to produce their Academic certificates or past credentials.  After the three month incubation , ZOHO's hit rate is 60% !

ZOHO has a small HR team - less than 10 people.  The HR team mainly looks after the employees welfare .

Understandably so,  ZOHO enjoys a very low attrition rate. The employees have loads of trust on the company and its management.

Trust is the glue which keeps them together. Loyalty is the oxygen on which ZOHO survives.

 ZOHO is expanding.

Not in big cities of Metro's. But in small towns. Where ZOHO will generate employment as well as grow its business.

ZOHO factory converts Failures into Success !

May we have many more Vembu's and many more ZOHO's 



  1. This is really an eye-opener. The reason why these drop-outs are working awsome is that they have been trusted. When a person is trusted his morale becomes high and he is fully determined to give his best. This is an example worth emulating by other organisations.

  2. I fully agree.
    Those who had smart degrees in their early life...get type-cast and labelled for their qualification. Hence, closed to anything new / different. They also live in pre-conceived 'achievement'. Hunger satiated.

    Now, do I really need to describe the zeal of school / college "drop-outs / failures" ?????