[Techie Tuesday] Meet STS Prasad who built databases and algorithms for Amazon and Walmart Labs and now heads engineering at Freshworks

[Techie Tuesday] Meet STS Prasad who built databases and algorithms for Amazon and Walmart Labs and now heads engineering at Freshworks




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Knowledge, “theyre saying”, is strength. And 55 -year-old STS Prasad, the SVP of Engineering at business software corporation Freshworks, is a firm believer.

He may look like a philosopher with depth introspective gazes and a cherubic disposition, but Prasad believes that there’s only one truth to engineering.

” Get your basic maths and logic right. Then you can apply any engineering communication for any given question testimony with suffer and rule ,” he says. STS Prasad

STS Prasad, SVP of Engineering at Freshworks

Prasad, who graduated from IIT-Madras and went on to work with HCL, Junglee, and Amazon, am of the view that” rule and perseverance alone can make an individual successful “.

YourStory caught up with him at Refresh 19, the flagship event of Freshworks, in Las Vegas, US, recently, where he has spoken about his wander and his successful tryst with engineering.

The journey to IIT

Prasad’s storey isn’t limited to one township; his childhood was wasted chugging across India as his father is an engineer in Indian Railways.

Born to their own families into bibles and literature, Prasad was prepped with a broader view of the world at home. In the late 70 s, he was completely drawn to mathematics. He cleared his Class 12 review in 1982 from Rishi Valley School in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, cracked the IIT entrance, and took the train to Chennai( then Madras ).

He recalls that there was ” no mad rush” for IITs back then and the” computer science stream was the least in demand “. It was clearly not the pecking order of things in post-independent, pre-liberalisation India. It was a time when chemical engineering and mechanical engineering were the most preferred topics, and computer science was only available to graduate students.

Prasad’s batch was one of the first to take up the computer science programme in 1982. The computer science undergraduate program became formally available to students at IIT-Madras from 1983. Languages like C and Fortran were learnt, and only students who could afford access to computers could learn Applesoft Basic.

” Back then , no one had access to computers. But I was mesmerized by the fact that you could programme machines to do human job ,” he says.

After graduating from IIT-Madras, Prasad flew to the US to study at breezy Wisconsin. He accomplished his MSc in computer science, graduating in 1988.

” I was just blown away with the showing; so many programming languages and new technologies. Those daylights, database technologies were going through a revolt and the world was just waking up to the power of data. Business were spending a lot of time and effort creating their own databases ,” Prasad says.

The common delusion is that databases are easy to build. But back then, designing and implementing them made a great deal of time. Relational database simulates- where data was stored under rows and editorials – began to take precedence over hierarchical and network database models.

Returning to his roots

Back then, “it wouldve been” common had Prasad been one of IITians who left the country for good. But he returned to India immediately after his master’s to work for one of India’s premier IT companies, HCL.

Prasad says he was married then, and he and his wife wanted to do something in India. Landing a racket was easy as the fledgling IT firms of India were more than eager to hire someone with a master’s degree. Prasad spotted a residence in HCL, and his job description was akin to a long-term science project.

In those days, the likes of Infosys, Wipro, and HCL were improving software produces.

At HCL, Prasad and his unit had to build a relational database from feet up. HCL called the project ” Genesis” and built the part operating system on Unix. For the next eight years, he was a technical individual contributor and too presumed leader capacities in database storage, indexing, event processing, and inquiry optimisation organizations. While at HCL, which likewise had a tie-up with Sybase, he began to hone his abilities in Sql engineering, a database language.

From a startup to Amazon

In 1996, life took another turn when Prasad hurtled back to Sunnyvale, California, to work with the Founders of Junglee.com, Venky Harinarayan, Ashish Gupta, Anand Rajaraman, and Rakesh Mathur. His work has been noticed by various in the IT world, and Venky and Anand, his juniors at IIT-Madras, roped him in to be part of the tech crew.

”There, I built a organized virtual database by crawling information received from the early web. It was like an early search engine for job descriptions that morphed into concoction probe on the internet ,” Prasad says.

The power of those algorithms passed Junglee to be acquired by Amazon in 1998.

In the two years he spent at Junglee, he architected and developed the Junglee Shopping Guide, an application of web data aggregation engineering in retail ecommerce. The Junglee Shopping Guide powered the store services of Yahoo! and other resulting entrances, prior to the acquisition of Junglee by Amazon.com.




At Amazon, he was an architect and technical lead for the Amazon Marketplace where third-party vendors sold applied and new records, CDs, and other produces through Amazon.com.

This led to the development of Amazon.com& apos; s Universal Product Finder, a comprehensive supermarket usher of over one million concoctions from over 1,000 merchants. Junglee& apos; s web data aggregation engineering was enhanced to improve scalability of agent creation and reliability of agent execution, which mostly means handling data against a answer create. Think of it like a examine inquiry performed to various results and recommendations.

Life seemed prepared for Prasad, but then he caught that biggest of infections from Silicon Valley, a certain bug announced& apos; entrepreneurship& apos ;. He felt that” threat making unexpectedly becomes a necessity, extremely when one is endowed with knowledge and insight “.

STS Prasad

STS Prasad

Bitten by the startup imperfection

By 2001, Silicon Valley was watching the early dotcom success fizzle out and the bubble had interred countless an entrepreneur. Swimming against the ebb was Prasad, who co-founded Aventeon, an enterprise mobile solutions produce that allowed porting data from ERP works to mobile phones.

This solution gained in power when his team built an access organization between a gift application and a mobile manoeuvre.” We use GPRS and WAP to cache enterprise data and it was technology that was ahead of its time ,” Prasad says.

Aventeon originated organically and went on to raise money in 2004 from 3i, Intel Capital, and TVM. The concoction was used in the logistics industry and Prasad spent season shuffling between the US( Seattle ), India, and Europe to build the concoction and magnitude the company. In 2005, he decided that it was time to move on and left his startup.

Prasad, who had by then mastered databases, data collection, and caching data for mobile works, saw himself involved with another startup, Kosmix.

He guided the development of the Muppet( mupd8) real-time flow analytics programme and created the foundation for the Tweetbeat product, spying happens from social media creeks. At Kosmix, he again worked for one of Junglee’s Founders, Anand Rajaraman.

Kosmix gave businesses to categorise the internet into topic pages and caused personal dashboards for consumers. The fellowship was eventually acquired by Walmart in 2011 in a multi-million-dollar deal and became what is today known as Walmart Labs. As VP of Engineering in that company, Prasad scaled the business from 100 members of parliament to over 2,000 members.

His advice to young people is that it is imperative to learn new developments under existing engineering and that one can adapt to any programming language. He had improved Genesis on C, Junglee and Aventeon on Perl, and at Amazon he had to work with Java. He most recommends Python and GoLang for automation.

The move to Freshworks

By then, Prasad had wasted 20 times in the US and was keen to return to India. An introduction to Girish Mathrubootham, the Co-founder of Freshworks, preceded him to a new cry.

Today, he is responsible for technology development and overseeing infrastructure enhancements to support the growing customer base of Freshworks, which is a bonafide Unicorn with 35,000 customers and a patron basi of 250,000 professions. He has 300 engineers submit reports to him.

” Today, I have blended my knowledge in business and technology. I understand what the customers want and situated myself in their shoes ,” Prasad says.

He remains extremely focused on ensuring that the Freshworks platform aces the user experience.” Technology is powerful and it should be able to identify what troubles can I solve ,” says Prasad, a firm follower in the fact that tradition and hard work trump talent.

That said, he credits his success to his wife, Sharanya, and his four boys “whos had” seen their daddy build one business after the other.

Prasad’s occupation stands information given the fact that once the basics are in place, you can mount from infrastructure technology and databases to mobile employments, data discipline, and automation.

What’s next? Artificial ability, for certain. However, Prasad urges people” not to be artificial about their knowledge” and” draw your footing solid “.

( Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

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