How Alagan Mahalingam of Rootcode Labs is developing great mobile and web apps.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Alagan Mahalingam: Thank you for asking! Fortunately, everyone is doing fine. We are currently focused on following strict guidelines, so everyone is safe, as this is not just our issue; it’s a global issue. We are doing our best to maintain social distancing while the crew works from home, which is made easier by various communication platforms we use. Overall, I’m happy to say that everyone is doing good!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Rootcode Labs.
Alagan Mahalingam: I’m a Software Engineer by profession. When I was in college, I first started my company, and I had to build an AI karaoke application that understands what people sing and help them sing better. It was a very tough process, but I managed to make it through and keep it going until the product became a success. Afterward, the product was acquired by a UK-based company, and I invested the money back into building a Software Product Engineering company – which is now known as “Rootcode Labs.”
So now we support not only bigger corporations but also start-ups on building software and Artificial Intelligence better and faster.
How does Rootcode Labs innovate?
Alagan Mahalingam: We are a young group of engineers, Data Scientists, Analysts, and Designers. Since we compete with global companies, we are naturally drawn to innovating and striving to always differentiate. Winston Churchill once said, “never let a good crisis go to waste,” and that’s exactly what we did. We are open to trying out new and challenging technologies. It was definitely a tough situation being one of the first companies to dive into hardcore Artificial Intelligence and release a video conferencing application (Expert Republic) when the pandemic hit. Likewise, we have a need to stay ahead of the game and be very ambitious to develop and reconfigure our products when required.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Alagan Mahalingam: IT, Software industries are a few fortunate industries for which we are able to produce work and be productive amidst all the offices being closed. But many of our customers rely on physical interactions for them to do business, so when Covid19 hit the world, some of them encountered financial difficulties and even postponed all their plans to invest in technology. At a point, we decided to offer concessions and offered our valuable customers a helping hand, which helped them get through the pandemic. Then we initiated building our own product, “Expert Republic.”- A platform built for 1-1 video calls with experts ranging from Fitness trainers, Coaches, Teachers, Legal experts, and many other services worldwide. Because we took these steps and maintained customer contacts, the ride was less exhausting. We quickly regained our stability and were back on track within just six months.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Alagan Mahalingam: Along with pandemic, every choice we made mattered significantly. We had to optimize our finances because we were heavily involved in helping other businesses as well as individual customers. Some sacrifices had to be made, but the result was fruitful. We are now better than we were before and have learned to embrace this environment and situation as the ‘new normal.’ I’d say the most important lesson we all could learn is the importance of staying agile in a fast-paced business environment. Staying alert and responsive to any incoming challenge is what we could all get used to.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Alagan Mahalingam: I practice meditation and take walks regularly. Before the Covid pandemic, I traveled a lot, which helped me a great deal to relieve any sort of stress. Due to the global lockdown, I’ve started to read many books and explore places around my city. I also reach out to my support mentor network, enabling me to discuss and speak my mind about certain matters and reflect on them more.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Alagan Mahalingam: Right now, we are a product Engineering company that produces high-quality mobile, web apps, and AI products. We compete with Global firms such as Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, and Tata Consulting. While we enjoy a good competition, almost all our business comes through referrals, and we aim to produce high-quality tech at an affordable price and keep doing what we are best at.
Your final thoughts?
Alagan Mahalingam: If you’re a business owner or an employee that’s affected by Covid19, who went through difficult times, I want to say not to lose hope. Things are never permanent, and this is something we cannot control. The world has seen similar (or even worse) things before, and we aren’t the first generation to be affected by something as severe as Covid19. Humanity has seen and encountered incidents like the Spanish flu in 1918 and the 2008 financial crisis, but in both cases, we have recovered and stood up even stronger. This time we will too. So keep hustling and help others along your journey. Lift everyone up, and we are sure to overcome this within no time.
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