In conversation with Shalesh Visen Singh, CTO, DogSpot.in
Please elaborate on your personal journey to where you are today?
My professional journey has been very exciting and fulfilling with tremendous learning and growth opportunities. I always had an inclination towards learning about bigger systems and was keen to experiment with technology. I started my career as a JAVA developer and later got the chance to work as a SAP consultant. During this period, I began gaining knowledge about ABAB & Basis which enabled me to understand enterprise solutions in details. Working in SAP was a great learning opportunity and gave me a lot of exposure with regard to working with large data bases and understanding coding language associated big enterprises.
In 2007, I began my entrepreneur career. I joined DogSpot.in as CTO in 2008 and since then have been working to build various systems to help dog lovers in India to transact and celebrate dog keeping with ease.
Can you please tell us a bit about the technology stack used at DogSpot.in and how you decided on it? Is there any technology that you’re personally betting on to help you scale up?
I am a fan of open source technologies. When we started DogSpot.in in 2007 it was a content website and budgets were limited, so we analyzed various off the shelf CMS and tried to map them to our requirements. While we were doing requirement mapping we also checked for the IT infrastructure cost. Since, I had the experience of working with a few CMS earlier; we decided to build our own frame work in core PHP.
In 2011, when DogSpot decided to launch the eCommerce version of the content site for pet lovers, we extended the framework to build a Shopping Cart, OMS, CMS and other eCommerce relevant segments in the platforms. We have always been using LAMP technologies and find them reliable and agile.
What are the major ICT challenges faced in the e-commerce industry and the key technological trends to look out for?
One major challenge that exists and needs to be tackled on urgent basis is security. We need to have more secure and robust systems when we integrate eCommerce. When we start dealing with transactions, there is a need to expose the systems to third party integrations. This concern becomes of paramount importance when there is end consumer money involved in every transaction.
When you are building end consumer product, it is a constant learning cycle. This is because we need to be open to learning from external environment and exceed the expectations of the user.
Can you please describe what a typical day @ Office is like?
A Typical day @ work involves keeping track of all the projects that are running at DogSpot.in. Since I have been part of the firm since its inception, I understand the company’s goals clearly. This ensures that I am able to help align different teams to the core targets and goals of the company.
In addition, I am involved in business discussions to understand the extended impact of our technology requirements.
Besides analytics, how else does IT help Dogspot stand apart from its rivals?
Being an eCommerce player, technology is an integral part of our business. Since we started small, we got an opportunity to build everything from scratch. We studied Magento and osCommerce software in depth and developed our own software solutions based on our learning. This meant that we could fine-tune our program basis our needs. This ensured that our eCommerce platform and our social media platforms could be build in a manner that they spoke to each other. For instance, without intruding on the privacy of consumers, we have built algorithms to help recommend better products for their pets. Our software allows us to do profiling of a customer’s pet based upon the browsing of the products by the user. This is a unique value proposition and enables us to recommend products based on the pet’s profile
In addition, since our systems are completely built by us, we know how to easily maneuver through them. We are able to scale it to run different models with ease. Recently we moved to multi warehousing model and it was only possible because of the agility our system provided.
What are some of the attributes you look out for in prospective technology employees?
The most important attribute is passion for technology and internet. In addition to that the following attributes need to be showcased:
- Fundamentally strong
- Should be research oriented
- Problem solving attitude
- Zeal to learning
How do you personally keep up to date with the latest happenings in the technology word? Any piece of advice for the techies out there.
In order to be informed, one needs to keep reading constantly. There are different types of resources that are available and it is important that one keeps a track of them. So, reading from different types of resources is very important. You should also follow a few tech related forums and news websites because these help you keep up with the recent technology changes in the industry and global markets. I follow lot of news and articles/blog on Feedly.
In addition, reading books is necessary to have a bigger perspective. It is important for understanding the business requirements of an entity. It also helps to build on knowledge that will last longer. I would advise techies to build something which can be scaled up and that would last for long.
Some more Matter for your Grey Cells
- “We are on our way to build a mobile wallet for a billion Indians”, says Virender Bisht, CTO, MobiKwik
- “There is a need to create an intelligent platform which can filter only relevant matches”, says Sarvjeet Ahuja, CTO, hirist.com & iimjobs.com
- “Lacuna in the market was the inspiration behind Intellipaat”, says Diwakar Chittora, Founder & CEO, Intellipaat
- “Our product focus and experience helps us set precedents for everyone in the Mobile CRM field”, says Baishampayan Ghose, Co-founder, Helpshift Inc
- “We are not very stuck on the technology part, use tools which fit best for the job on hand”, says Jimish Jobanputra, Co-founder & CTO, DesiDime.com