I am Amitava Gupta, working as Global Delivery Manager for IBM GBS in India for over a decade. I am a very optimistic and solution-oriented person, like to communicate with people at work or otherwise, and dream of a world where people will show more love and affection towards all animals on earth.
I hail from Kolkata, West Bengal – a very crowded city on the bank of river Ganges. People from this region like to be colorful, they value emotions over money, and for them morning newspaper and rice with fish are more important than growth in their mutual funds (however, things are changing recently). I have over 14 years of overall IT experience most of which I have gained in IBM, working with wonderful people in India and across the globe, learning their culture, their good/bad habits and most importantly got several opportunities to be a part of multi-cultural team which was also high performing.
I believe in “being happy” in whatever situation life throws you at. Finding and doing the right enjoyment for living is as important as earning the required money to execute it. I like to travel to new places (maybe near or far), meet new people and know them, their culture; play with my child which to me has been the purest form of pleasure so far experienced, and explore Indian Classical music which taught to focus or concentration and meditate.
1.) How does technology improve your life?
Technology helps in a kind of augmentation to human life in terms of achieving more by reducing the human effort. Maybe it started even before the invention Levers way back 3rd Century BC by Archimedes, however now-a-days essence of Technology is mainly understood around computer aided functions or machines. I believe Technology has a great contribution in simplifying human life (or Enterprise) but ONLY IF it is used with limitations. Technology with its fast-evolving trajectory, rapid improvements in AI algorithms and decision-making precisions, Dynamic Automations are all working towards the same objective of reducing human effort and human error. However, hitting the correct balance is the KEY – and it will ultimately depend on the individual or the Enterprise as in till what level it needs technology to support its daily routine or to meet its objectives.
I can foresee, in a few years we can order food, groceries, clothes or anything you name it, from a big e-commerce site with help of some button clicks on my mobile phone, pay the money through payment gateways, and within few hours/days a drone can deliver all my stuff perfectly till my doorstep – beautiful use of technology. But sometimes we must also visit our near-by store, exchange few words with the shop owner or a mere smile, and a final “see you again!” just to keep the human touch or empathy which cannot be catered by any machine.
2.) What future technology are you looking forward to?
I believe technology should help us in, predicting natural calamities, provide connectivity to remotest areas of the world where Government provided facilities are slow to reach, healthcare research to find new medicines, spreading knowledge around the world and free of cost (Google is the BEST example), transporting people around the globe or in space – just to name a few.
I believe we are already living in a time where all these above, and much more are being done, and it’s always improving. It is excellent to live this time and very exciting what will come next. We are sitting on edge of our chairs – for new and new surprises, which are yet to come.
3.) Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the ever-growing usage of technology?
Being away from my family and friends for long time, I have personally obtained the benefits of technology since early 2004. With telecommunication revolution in India, internet revolution, introduction of Microsoft Windows – all are examples of technology becoming reachable to mankind, in terms of affordability and usability. This was not there in the 1980s, at least not in India.
We could make long distance phone calls which were affordable, video calling through YAHOO messenger (later improved by Skype or Whatsapp), Apple brought the concept of APPs where they made several client applications making RPC or calling web-services (better experience than browsers in a mobile gadget) – all these made us feel long distances are not as long as it used to be. This is wonderful. I am always optimistic about it.
But as I said before, we should not overdo it. To me, I enjoy more when I meet my mother, than when I talk to her on Skype. That human touch is always important.
4.) Who inspired / inspires you as a leader?
When I think of leadership, I see: Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (renowned scientist in Indian Space Research Organization and also former President of India). There were and still are several great leaders in this world who inspire me, however the meaning of true leadership, I first understood from speeches of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Below is one of my favorites:
5.) What do you think is crucial for modern leadership (in tech)?
Here I want to quote the great entrepreneur and Alibaba founder Jack Ma:
“Values, Believing, Independent Thinking, Teamwork, Care for others – these are the soft parts.”
Leadership is not an authority, it is a responsibility. The responsibility to make others feel safe in an organization, to listen to others regardless of their position, be approachable to all for whom he/she is the leader, and to communicate his/her vision and objective and explain why they should all work together to make it successful.
Modern day leadership often is mixed with management or authority, and it makes one-way communication. For any great organizations, this always has been different. Good leaders always find the right people, and once that’s done it is always a journey – a journey together.
6.) Where and how can people improve their leadership skills?
I believe leadership is something that cannot be taught or be learnt. It is something which comes from deep inside. It is about a feeling, care for others, be a pioneer in the path and show light to others who wish to follow the same path.
I believe good environment can make good leaders.
7.) What were the best and worst leadership experiences you had personally?
I experienced and worked with many good leaders who taught me to become a more matured and independent human being today. I never had bad leadership experiences – the ones I did not like, came to me as learning; I learnt what I should never do when I become a leader myself.