“I have made bold decisions that have taken me along unconventional paths.”


I have made bold decisions that have taken me along unconventional paths. We all use technology in some form on a daily basis. But how many of us have an understanding of what goes behind creating ground-breaking technology? Meet Arvind Saraf – Engineering Leader & Entrepreneur trained at IIT, MIT & Google. Skilled in building technology products from scratch hands-on, Arvind is working towards changing the manufacturing industry through the application of AI, computer vision, and product platform thinking. 

GLEAC has partnered with this inspirational entrepreneur for Lovely Humans. As part of this one-of-its-kind project, GLEAC will be minting Arvind’s time as an NFT! What does that mean? You will be able to bid for 5 hours of Arvind’s time that you can use over the period of a year. Arvind is a prestigious member of the #GLEACMentorCommunity and he talks passionately about applying deep technology in emerging markets.

In a chat with GLEAC, Arvind spoke about the soft skills and hard skills needed for his job and why the technology sector is at its peak. Take a look! 

GLEAC: Which past version of yourself are you thankful for?

Arvind: The part of me that just wanted to learn without any specific short-term agenda or goal, and hence picked up the thrill and joy of learning. Be it as a 5-year-old who discovered that I could make a green color pen by using blue and yellow, a grade-schooler who loved munching numbers in his mind and discovering their patterns, or even a high schooler who was handed SL Loney’s “Trignometry” and worked through the book in a little over a month – the joy of learning and discovering kept me going throughout.

GLEAC: If a future version of yourself had to thank you for something you are doing right now that will contribute to your future, what would it be for?

Arvind: Stepping back from more operational work and multi-tasking, and reflecting on and synthesizing my learnings. These are bold, staggering decisions I have taken in my life that have taken me along the most unconventional paths.

GLEAC: What is your superpower soft skill?

Arvind: I like to visualize – This includes numbers when I’m doing arithmetic, understanding physical sciences or computer science concepts (be it data structures such as trees, linked lists, etc), or even complex system architectures. I also like to visualize software product pages to user journeys on the software by putting myself in the user’s shoes. This enables me to think beyond the obvious cases, issues, or functionality.

GLEAC: What hard skills v/s soft skills are needed for your job?

Arvind: Anyone, who is looking to build scalable large software-based systems needs the following skills. Hard skills – data science & analytics, computer systems, and design of scalable systems. Soft skills – people management, roadmap planning, communication, articulation, influencing, perseverance, and empathy. The above is obviously not exhaustive but just some items on the list.

GLEAC: How does your job impact the balance sheet of your company- which departments does it affect and how?

Arvind: For any core technology product company, a good engineering team is core to the product and hence the revenue. The product built by the engineering team, in close conjunction with the product team – is also what the sales, marketing & support team sell, market or support respectively.

GLEAC: With all the changes happening in the world, is your sector going to survive, and if yes, why?

Arvind: With all the digitization and globalization, technology, and innovation, my sector has become all the more important. The industry need is and always will be there. It is important for the companies on the edge of innovation to preserve the innovation culture – including getting the best talent and keeping them motivated. Services or software product companies need to keep evolving their services and products. This will prepare them to sell more scalably. I have dealt with technology upgrades of various traditional sectors – i.e. healthcare, small businesses, retail, and manufacturing. Constant use of technology to unearth new markets and increase efficiency is vital for them.

GLEAC: Are there any soft skills you need to work on to better yourself?

Arvind: We all strive to continuously learn and improve. Especially for those of us who are passionate about doing great work. It is important that we continue to retain empathy while working with the team. If you need to press hard on issues, make sure it’s done with empathy. This is an aspect I feel I have to continuously watch out for.

GLEAC: What is the one learning of your professional journey you would like to share with the world?

Arvind: I have seen tremendous value in immersing in the problem I am building the solution for. For an entrepreneur, this could mean getting in their customer’s shoes – knowing their process so they are able to see the gaps, and how their proposed solution could fit in. For a researcher, this could mean having a strong intuition of the problem one is solving – often, this intuition leads to possible conjectures of innovation, which could be further validated or built on.

GLEAC: Every career has its pros and cons. What are the good and bad of your career?

Arvind: Technology and innovation are constantly evolving, so there are always new problems to solve. Yet, the core conceptual foundations of computer science underlying even some of the recent computer systems are common – thus, one gets the thrill of solving new problems, while retaining the advantage of a solid conceptual academic understanding. Added experiential wisdom helps.

GLEAC: Work in your sector can get rigorous. How do you keep up the mojo?

Arvind: The satisfaction of discovering an existing but non-obvious pattern in processes or systems, and using it to design something like new software, process, or solution is priceless. In many cases, the above understanding leads to a product – building the product & seeing it being used gives additional satisfaction. I work with very many smart and young people. They too challenge me, question me – and keep me on my toes.

Arvind Saraf is part of our ‘Lovely Humans’ NFT drop happening on the 15th of October 2022! We give you access to 5 hours of his time through this one-of-a-kind NFT.

For more awesome content from our other mentors check out our blog (www.gleac.com/blog). Visit at our website (www.gleac.com) and also for our NFTs head on over to Lovely Humans (www.lovelyhumans.io) to learn more!

Arvind is the Vice President of Engineering at Drishti.

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