Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, people are spending more time on internal lifestyle, instead of external lifestyle. They want the feeling of travel or the thrill of cinema from what they watch. They also want to educate themselves and stay productive. So, home entertainment has grown leaps and bounds during this time, since people are spending more time in front of their screens. At Vu, we have some products in the pipeline that will cater to the new demands of this internal lifestyle.
Having said that, as we eventually transition out of this crisis and embrace the new normal, we must innovate harder and better to make this technology more human. A lot of great technology is simply not human centric, even today. The process of buying, using and experiencing a product is often clinical, scientific, cold and technical, with companies fighting over specifications and prices. My time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, around the time I started Vu, showed me how to give technology a human centric approach. I put this to practice at Vu across the whole spectrum – from the products and company culture to the customer service and digital experience.
This crisis has also shown us that we need to innovate in the way we, as leaders, run our businesses. We should strive to bring smart, new age leadership into what we do. When I started out, there were many things in the industry that were unacceptable for me such as kickbacks, unethical practices of manufacturing, or other unscrupulous strategies like how certain big players would hold on to distribution because of their buying might. I realised then that I did not want to lead and build a company by merely following industry norms. We should learn and respect them, but do what works for us, and makes sense in the present context.
In the tech sector, the term ‘new age’ is usually associated with artificial intelligence and machines taking over. But for me, it is about bringing human compassion into what we do. I also see the importance in being a practical futurist: always looking forward, never resting on past laurels and staying agile like a start-up every single day on the job. This lets you adapt to the consumer, market realities and future technologies.
Going forward, we also need more role models in the space of smart, new age leadership. As a female owner of a large business, I did not have many such role models while growing up. Hence, I want to make sure that the younger generation of men and women do. We need more leaders of massive brands who can change industry norms, compete with foreign players, and uplift the people within their ecosystems. If we can do this for other segments in India, the overall economy and belief in Indian entrepreneurship will grow drastically over the years.