Sridhar Vembu – Founder of Zoho and recipient of the Padma Shri award by Sherral Joseph

Innovation Check

Sridhar Vembu social entrepreneur noted for introducing software and product development functions from Urban centers to rural villages in India.  His company Zoho became popular after setting up offices in rural districts in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.   In 2004, the company further went ahead to establish educational institutions to provide vocational software development education to rural students as an alternative to formal university education.  The company takes pride in the fact that 15% to 20% of their engineers have received vocational education from Zoho schools with no college degree.  In 2020, the company made a landmark move when they announced the setup of a ‘rural school startup’ which focused on free primary education.

Sridhar Vembu’s Alma mater is Princeton University in New Jersey, having secured his MS and PhD from there. His decision to move from Bay Area to Mathalamparai is historical and has been lauded by many, winning him many awards for his iconic work in the field of education.  In 2019, Vembu was conferred with the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year Award’’ in India.  Recently in 2021, he became the recipient of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor.

His amazing business instinct and acumen helped him to identify the right focus area to apply his knowledge, skills and innovative ideas.  His legacy in education in the rural areas will live on for years to come. We hope that India will witness more social entrepreneurs of this calibre.

Silence. Deafening silence. by Darshini Shah

March 22nd, 2020. A historic day. An uncertain fate.

A year which began with prayers for China, Italy and France saw the borders closing worldwide. While the fear increased amongst the countrymen about an uncertain future, a Janta curfew was announced. 8 p.m on the day of the curfew changed everything.

The initial days were filled with a mix of relief and fear, but people saw the unity and humanity across the globe help people with their sanity.

The viral videos of people dancing in their balconies and singing ballads with their neighbours, volunteers helping the underprivileged with the basic necessities provided rays of sunshine. The spirit of humanity glowed brightest in the darkest of times.

While dalgona coffee experiments were done, the household lingered with the aura of home cooked meals. Passion and hobbies found time to grow.
People tried to find out ki “Rasode me kaun tha” and wildlife found itself on the empty roads and everyone rejoiced at the dolphins in the waters of Marines.

While many struggled, many found help and hope in these times and many were the faces of hope and help. Humanity bloomed even in the darkness. We can only hope that 2021 has something better in store for everyone and world is Covid free.

Silence. Deafening silence.

March 22nd, 2020. A historic day. An uncertain fate.

Personality Check – Elon Musk by Sherral Joseph

He was raised in Pretoria, Africa, born to a South African father and Canadian mother.   He dropped out of Standford University after two days to pursue a business career.   It was very early in his career that he founded, an online bank which merged with Confinity in 2000.  This company had launched Paypal and was subsequently bought by eBay  for $1.5 billion.  He is often the subject of many publicised controversies, one of them being the ‘Tham Luang cave rescue and defamation case. ‘  Who are we talking about?

Who would dare defy local government’s lockdown orders to reopen an assembly plant to restart production? Hereafter, be termed as the world’s richest person.

This week, we look at Elon Musk in our ‘Personality Check’ series. We talk about a few of his innovative adventures and his entry to India

In the year 2018, he was ranked 25th on the Forbes list of ‘ The World’s Most Powerful People.’ And was also ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leader of 2019.   In the first week of January 2021, Musk became the richest person in the world, post the pandemic.

In 2002, Musk founded Spacex, of which he is CEO and lead designer.  SpaceX is an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company. In 2006, he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy services company.   In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI, a non- profit research company that aims to promote friendly artificial intelligence.  In 2016, he co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on developing brain-computer interfaces.  In May 2020, Elon Musk’s SpaceX made history by launching the first crewed mission to space by a private company.  It was the first such mission since 2011 and was a crucial mission as it was sent with a specific purpose of sending humans to space and colonizing Mars.  With innumerable innovations and cutting-edge scientific developments under his radar, Elon Musk has now shifted his interest to India as well

HE generated a lot of interest recently on twitter with two words ‘as promised’  This was in reference to the buzz he created in the Indian Business world when Tesla incorporated a company in Bangalore, Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Ltd – with a paid-up capital of Rs lakh and 3 directors.  Highly known for its electric cars in the US, Tesla has taken a tax-friendly route in India.  All Indian eyes on this baby . We can’t wait to see the impact of this business decision on the Indian economy and world as a whole.


Historic win from India and what we can learn from it- by Sherral Joseph

 Before I continue, I must tell you that I don’t watch cricket.  But like the rest of the world, I’ve learned something from the victory today.

I just watched Thangarasu Natrajan in an interview post his win. On being questioned about the bowling, he just laughed and said ‘I didn’t see it coming the first time’

First lesson – A) Humour is a great attitude to have in any situation. It definitely realigns the mind to a more broader and a more positive perspective

Incidentally post this series, T. Natrajan has become the first India cricketer to make his International debut across all three formats while playing the 20-21 tour of Australia. What a tour has been! History in the making for India and the world.

Some journalists have drawn a parallel to ‘Horatio on the bridge’ to the Indian team’s position throughout the test amidst continuous assault on ‘Gabbatoir’ soil.  The victory is amazing, for this test series had more challenges besides not having Virat Kohali on board.

Lesson 2 – The absence of a leader can be a strong motivator for team co-operation and outstanding performance. An opportunity for the team to prove themselves and new leaders to arise.

Do we see a new leader in Rishab Pant?

The whole nation was on edge as India played beyond expectations through the ‘intimidating’ balls and vicious bowling, all meant to throw the Indian players off the game.   As all the umpires were Australian, the Indian team did seem to be at quite a disadvantage.  A ‘deja-vu’ scenario for the cricket world, as something similar happened way back in 1970-71 in the series between Australia and England.

Players Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant,Hanuma Vihari and Ravi Ashwin resisted all manner of physical and verbal abuse for more than 40 overs, as cited by certain articles.

Lesson 3 – There is an undeniable link between strong character and outstanding sportsmanship.

A victory under such circumstances could have been achieved only with a strong will to win,  determined focus and most importantly a passion for the sport.

So, it is not surprising when the BCCI announced a Rs. 5 crore bonus for the Indian cricket team after the Ajinkya Rahane –led side won the fourth and final test against Australia.

Ganguly tweeted ‘The value of this win is beyond any number..well done to every member of the touring party,’’

This whole series has been an incredible example of the grit and character of the Indian team.  The nation and the whole world has poured in accolades for their exemplary sportsmanship.  This game is definitely an iconic footprint in the history of cricket.

As reported by, an article written by a NZ writer, “But only one side has played with honor.  The other, with their scuffing of every moral crease line, has shamed cricket and shamed their country”.

The World’s largest vaccination drive by Sherral Joseph

Tomorrow is a big day for India, as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will launch the pan-India rollout of 2 COVID 19  vaccines Covaxin and Covishield,  as they get formally approved for  what could be the world’s largest vaccination drive.  The launch will be held at 10.30 am virtually by the Prime Minister and will be covering 3006 session sites across all states and UTs virtually.

The vaccines developed by the Astra Zeneca with Oxford University and local firm Bharat Biotech will be part of the drive that could inoculate about 300 million people on priority basis this year.   Nationwide mock drills have been conducted to prepare healthcare workers for the vaccination drive. In Tamil Nadu, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan supervised the dry run operations during his visit to Tamil Nadu in the first week of Jan.

The Covishield vaccine which is developed by Astra Zeneca with Oxford University is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.  The Institute is currently producing 50 million doses a month and according to its CEO Adar Poonawalla, is aiming for a production of 100 million does a month after regulatory approval.

The online platform being used to monitor vaccination stocks, storage temperature and individual tracking of beneficiaries for COVID 19 is Co-WIN.  A dedicated 24/7 call center -1075 has been established to address all queries related to the software, vaccine roll-out and the COVID 19 pandemic.

The Health Ministry announced that Bharat Biotech plans to donate 16.5 lakh worth of vaccines and is charging the government only for 55 lakh doses at Rs.206 per dose. The Serum Institute of India is charging Rs. 200 per dose for 1.1 crore doses.  (as published by