Konotor's Founder Srikrishnan Ganesan On Making User Engaging Product For Mobile Apps
Konotor, a user engagement product for mobile apps, was started by Srikrishnan Ganesan in the year 2012. Konotor lets you create a persistent two-way rich messaging inbox. It provides tools for businesses for engaging users in a personalized and contextual manner for marketing, feedback and support. Konotor has also won the Qualcomm QPrize India in 2014.
Srikrishnan completed engineering in Computer Science from Anna University in the year 2005. He then worked as a Business Analyst and then Product Manager for Verizon for more than three years. He has also worked with Rediff.com as a Senior Product Manager and as a Head of Products with Jigsee Inc., before he co-founded Konotor.
In an exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers.com, we got Srikrishnan to talk about his entrepreneurial journey, the source of inspiration behind Konotor, his and how he motivates the team and a lot more. Read on!
CE: Hello Srikrishnan. Could you give our readers a brief overview of Konotor?
Srikrishnan: Konotor is marketing and CRM solution for mobile apps - a solution we are starting to call a “user engagement platform”. It powers a rich 2-way messaging inbox in the apps we integrate into (like a whatsapp within the app), and provides the businesses behind these apps with tools to reach out and converse with their app users in a personalized and contextual manner.
CE: What inspired you to startup with Konotor?
Srikrishnan: Konotor is the result of difficulties we faced as product owners building our previous product - a messaging app called PhonOn.
We used to try to engage our app users in different ways - through blog posts, social media, email. We wanted to share with our users about new features and content we added to our app, tell users on older versions to update and try new capabilities, and have active conversations with our app users around how we can improve the product. We thus ended up creating a channel within our own app where we could message back and forth with our users, and segment them based on app usage, feature usage, user profile, and more. Once we saw this working well for us, we thought we should take this to other app developers as well.
CE : What do you personally prefer - being an entrepreneur or pursuing a high paying job?
Srikrishnan: I will never regret being an entrepreneur. That said, I believe an entrepreneur is often always an entrepreneur and brings the same attitude and ownership even while they work for others. The trade off for me is sacrificing salary today to potentially build something huge, the ability to change the world and payoff if you succeed in doing so being primary motivators at this point.
I actually don’t miss high salaries and that helps with taking the leap ?.
CE: How big is the team at Konotor? How do you find motivated employees?
Srikrishnan: We’re 3 co-founders and our first employee just joined us. There are highly motivated youngsters who want to contribute more, learn more, and are never satisfied with stagnation. We have made offers to 2 more such people who can have big impact for us and are waiting for them to join ?
CE: What would you prefer - win the lottery or find your perfect job? Why?
Srikrishnan: I’m biased against lotteries. As the comic strip “pearls before swine” once put it, a lottery is a tax on those who don’t understand math and probabilities.
But when you look at degrees of freedom that winning a lottery and finding a perfect job have to offer, I think winning a very big lottery would provide more freedom to pursue anything that interests you anyway.
CE : What one thing would you change if you had to do it over?
Srikrishnan: There are people out there willing to back teams like us. If I had to do it again, I’d start with more resources and hire early.
CE: If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? Why?
Srikrishnan: 2001 perhaps. Four years of college life where one could have started up with zero opportunity cost and with plenty of time at hand. I used to think it was only cool to build system software and operating systems back then. Now I know better!
CE: What perks do you offer to your employees to keep them motivated?
Srikrishnan: Too early to say, but what we want is for everyone to find their best rythm so they feel happy and productive - so anything that helps them find their rhythm is #1. We have access to great facilities being incubated in the Paypal start tank. So thats a positive as well!
Most of all, everyone needs to feel excited about what they are building and believe in it. That’s what keeps them really motivated and we encourage inputs/feedback on all fronts to make sure we are all aligned and are believers.
CE: What has been your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?
Srikrishnan: Our own bandwidth is the biggest challenge. There are always so many avenues of improvement and opportunities to go after, but we are limited by time and resources. We are hiring and looking to bring on some awesome folks on our team to overcome this challenge. Its been promising so far!
CE: Thank you for the time you have spent with us. Any message for our readers?
Srikrishnan: This is something all of us probably know, but I wanted to re-iterate that its never been easier to build products globally than it is today. The appstore has contributed in a big way to change the way distribution of software works. The audience of this portal being engineering professionals and students, I'd say its a great idea (definitely worth your time) to build side projects as hobbies in the mobile app space and see where things go ?. Best of luck!