Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Knowing your alumni- Mr. Ronak Kumar Samantray

By: shiny choudhury
[Interview as taken by Mr. Ashirbad Sathpathy]

Mr. Ronak Kumar Samkantray needs no introduction we are sure. The man! Who left Microsoft at the peak of his career and now has a start up to credit for Nowfloats. The interesting part is how he combined work and play ( He had a DC in his name to credit for :P ) Read along to know how this beloved alumni of ours managed to get a 99 percentile in GATE even without much preparations.

ME: Hello Sir! Good evening! This is Ashirbad Satapathy of Second Year Civil Engg. At CET. I am talking from Alumni Relations Team, CET-B.

RKS: Hello! Hh.. Yaa..

ME: Hello! Hello!!..

RKS: Hello! Can you Hear Me?

ME: Hello! Yes Sir! I can hear you..

RKS: Perfect! Go on!

ME: Sir the purpose of this interview is to enhance the college-alumni relations and to keep in track with the alumni as well. This interview is gonna be posted in the Official Blog of CET, named CET Rising!

RKS: Ohh! Okay! Great!

ME: Sir before moving into the main interview. Let me start with some icebreakers. Sir, It is kind of a privilege as a junior to interview seniors of such stature and awesomeness. I was really excited since i was assigned to interview you and I have been working on my set of questionnaires since morning, so that I don’t miss out something important! So, How did you feel like when you were approached for the interview? I mean your reaction?

RKS: Haha! It is actually a nice feeling. Kind of a feeling like being at CET again and sharing and recollecting memories of the past! And then as you said, you were working on your questions (giggles), it is actually an honour. I certainly said a Yes! You know it is kind of a recognition. I really felt nice.

ME: Thank you Sir! Now moving on to further questions. Tell us about you. Your native place, schooling etc.

RKS: My hometown is Cuttack. I did my schooling at Chinmay Vidyalay, Bokaro. And Offcourse I am a CETian.

ME: Haha! What do you do right now? How is life?

RKS: haha! How is life?? (Giggles) Well, Life is pretty good. I am enjoying my work. A happy man! Yaa, I run a start-up Nowfloats. I have other co-founders as well. It is a Service Provider company that caters the online marketing and advertising needs of small local shopkeepers. It basically builds websites for them.

ME:  Ohh Nice! If you don't mind, Can you brief us about your Professional and Family Life? How do you manage to obtain a perfect balance between the present responsibilities?

RKS: Okay! Professional and what?

ME: Family life? Or just how do you manage your responsibilities?

RKS: Okay! Professional as in, I love working you know. Work so much overwhelms me. I am from Comp. Sc. Background and I do coding stuffs. So, Basically I remain busy at work. And (laughing) I am unmarried and don’t have a family with me as of now! So, Family life.. I love working!!! (Laughs)

ME: Hahaha! Okay Sir! Tell us about your career after passing out from CET. How has life been since you left those golden days of your undergrad life at college?

RKS: Yaa! Okay! Certainly those were golden days, when you were at college. Life was simply awesome and you keep on missing those days throughout the rest of your life. So, as I said, life has been good for me. By the time I was in my 4th Year, I had 14 research projects on CV! That helps and luckily I got into Microsoft. That year, Microsoft had done off-campus recruitment at NIT-RKL while it had come on-campus to CET. I worked at Microsoft from 2008 July to 2011 March (probably) as a Software Development Engineer. Life was pretty good at Microsoft. I loved my work. I was getting promotions almost every year. I even got the Gold Star Award. Everything was fine. And suddenly, in March 2011, I felt like now it’s enough and I must start doing something myself. So, I resigned and came home, blank and blunt. I stayed for three months at BBSR and I started up my own venture along with other co-founders, Nowfloats!

ME: Amazing it is! Sir, what have you been through in the transition from a job at Microsoft to your own start-up?

RKS: See starting up is never easy, you know, as it seems from the outside. You resign from a job at Microsoft at the peak of your career and suddenly you are at zero. Blank! No idea of what are you going to do! But I still had that confidence in me. I had always thought of starting up while I was in Microsoft, but then I waited for the best idea to strike me and it never happened and nothing could work out. So, I decided to resign and within three months I was talking to investors and all about Nowfloats!

ME: Hmm. It really seems tough Sir. Can you brief us a little more about your present startup?

RKS:   Yaa let me tell you the journey so far. So, finally I was talking to investors and I got my co-founders for NowFloats after three months. I started doing market research and analysis. At Nowfloats, as I said, we create and manage websites for local shopkeepers and retailers. The basic idea is, there are many a small shopkeepers who provide good products and even nice offers, yet they remain unnoticed and shadowed by big brands. So, Nowfloats helps them manage all marketing and advertising by providing easy access to them through mobile, apps and all. It is like a machine, you know, like Google for example, where you can search an Italian restaurant at Bhubaneswar. So it works like that. What they(shopkeepers/clients) are required to do is message the name of their shop and the type of commodity and the engine keeps on asking other details via messages and you just have to reply and finally a website is created within 2 minutes!

ME: Wow! It is so fascinating! What really are the roles of incubators, investors and accelerators in a startup?

RKS: Yaa actually they play a big role. Basically, what incubators do is they might not fund you much, but their brand means a lot. Like for example, Microsoft incubated your idea. They might have just paid 10 lakhs or something but still their brand matters a lot!
Investors are like they won’t pay so much time to you, but these are the real people who will fund you. You have to keep ppushing. Like, for me it was still fine; I had the experience of working at Microsoft and that helped me convince people (Investors) to hear me even for 10-15 mins. (Laughs) But it’s tough really. And still at the end, brand matters. You have to be so specific and so much interested and most importantly, confidence in yourself and your idea is what helps you the most.

ME: Okay! Sir I feel glad to inform you that recently few students from our E-Cell have won the Second Prize in a Case Study competiton at the IIT Guwahati Biz Fest Leaving behind some IIT and even IIM teams!

RKS: ohh nice! You people are doing great stuffs! Congratulations!

ME: Thank you! Sir, we find so much entrepreneurship awareness, like Biz competitions popping up every now and then almost in every college in the country. But still, what can you suggest as an entrepreneur to a layman or a student without the basic idea of B-Plans, still having an amazing idea and wanting to startup?

RKS: See, Entrepreneur is someone who is able to find solutions to day-to-day problems. For a startup, what matters is confidence. As far as B-plans for competitions are concerned, I would not comment on that. But for starting up practically, I tell you, It is not at all required. What matters at first is Confidence in yourself. You have to be firm and must have faith in you and your idea. Secondly, interest. You must be really interested to start-up. And then product launching and market analysis. The basic mistake people do is, they spend a lot of time on the product itself. Instead one must be able to listen and be  alert. One must invest more time on market analysis. Infact, a great product is one, which you launch off within a month of getting the idea. Subsequently, once you do market analysis, you tend to understand what people want and what they like. Because, when you launch a product, it is always raw and out of your idea only; It is people’s wants and views that add to it to make it a great product.

ME: Sir, seeing the present competitive scenario of entrance exams for admissions into post grad or management courses or even placement at companies and public sectors, what would you like to suggest to the current batches? What way would you like to influence them?

RKS: haha! Frankly speaking, I haven’t had much experience of entrance exams. But yes! I had applied GATE, just as my friends did. And on the day of the exam, I was playing cricket. And my friends came and said, “Hey you gotta appear the exam”. And i was like “ohh Yes!” (Laughs). Then, I appeared for it and managed to get 99 percentile witout much preparation. And believe me! I didnot attempt a single question from Maths! It was because, I could not mug up all formulae. But I did well in Comp. Sc. Paper. I was clear and thorough with my subjects. So, yaa, What I suggest is that stick to your fundamentals of your branch subjects. That always helps. Do as many research projects as you can. That again helps understanding your texts and subjects deeper. What people generally do is complaining. Don’t get into that. You cannot blame teachers of not teaching in a professional course. You just have four years and you can’t just turn a  college upside down! Be selfish, enjoy your time and at the same time set your goals and stick to fundamentals. Believe me, BPUT prescribed books are the best books. It is only that we don’t read them. Don’t run after local publications. Read your prescribed books.

ME: Thanks for such valuable suggestions Sir! Now, like playing cricket on the day of your exam is so daring.. From being the man behind Zairza to research projects to also being the man behind so many strikes at the college. It must have been fun! Share some of your funny and crispy experiences at CET.

RKS: hahahaha! Okay! I will tell you one. After my first year, I didnot go home in the vacations and instead stayed at hostel and worked on my research project. It was fun. And finally, when I went to our HOD Patra Sir with my project, he just threw out all my papers. But then, I stood over there till he was convinced and at last he saw my work. And after that till my 3rd year or 4th year I didnot have to face any problem. However busy, he might be, he would spend some time to listen to me. Even I had the duplicate keys of the computer lab with me! (giggles) So, yaa it helps, Keep pushing! And then birthday celebrations and sports at hostel is so much fun. Then all those, Placement related strikes, I had a DC in my name. Zairza, Fests everything was awesome!

ME: Haha! That’s fabulous Sir. Have you attended any of the Alumni Meets? Can you please brief out your experience? How would you suggest the Alumni cell to work for the betterment of alumni relations?

RKS: yes! I had attended the one at Hyderabad. It was good. You people are really doing great stuffs. The Alumni always benefit the college. Still I would suggest two things, like Focus on your agenda of the meets and stick to specialised questions.

ME: Okay sir! Thanks again. We will take care of your suggestions henceforth. Sir, I must also hereby inform you that we are planning for a Global Alumni Meet in the coming winters. Hope to see you there!

RKS: Ohh great stuff! Is it a part of xstasy?

ME: No Sir, It might be a separate event. We are planning for it soon. We will let you know the details.

RKS: sure!

ME: Thank you for lending your valuable time. it was really a privilege to have talked to my senior and I feel honoured to have so nice talking with you.

RKS: Ohh Ashirbad! It was my pleasure as well. Take care. And keep me posted about the meets! Bye! Good Night!

ME: Sure Sir! Bye. Good Night!


  1. Well maintained site.
    Nice Interview Mr. Ronak, I must say.
    I remember calling you up during the first year Durga Puja vacation to wish you and you replied that you were bust creating a robot. :)