We talked to Mohan Ramanujam of UPJAUNT on how the firm has improved traveling experience.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mohan Ramanujam: We are doing well. My spouse is a cancer doctor at a top center, so we, as a family, we see NYC from a medical lens as well. Providing service to cancer patients is particularly challenging with travel restrictions.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded UPJAUNT.
Mohan Ramanujam: As a lead architect and product evangelist at the top Silicon Valley enterprise software companies was to design solutions around products that reduced the product-customer gaps. One learns a lot fast when servicing different industries and finding solutions to business and product challenges in short time frames. I love the arts, fashion and find it as a unifying creative process, and I put software and systems design in the same genre. As a trained business analyst and software technologist, I co-founded UPJAUNT to solve a shifting forward trend in travel with the next generation of technology, focusing on where the traveler and business will be in 10 years.
How does UPJAUNT innovate?
Mohan Ramanujam: Look around to see what’s there and what’s happening. Let marketing and engineering be part of the same creative process and speak the same language — avoid silos. And most importantly, the thing so big that it is scary and run as fast as you can — Steve Jobs think.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mohan Ramanujam: We had a go to market strategy that was initially predicated on travel businesses jump-starting us. With COVID, we shifted to the consumer side, focusing on engagement and entertainment in all things travel with businesses joining in the engagement organically.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mohan Ramanujam: Letting go of staff was the hardest. Working with a lot less cash is a rethink. But when you get down to it, you will end up asking why I did not do that before. Small teams have high focus, and things move faster.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and UPJAUNT in the future?
Mohan Ramanujam: Multiple creative activities that refresh and reinforce. Life and work are two sides of the same coin in my case that both are creative.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mohan Ramanujam: Top competition would be Instagram/Facebook, followed by Airbnb experiences and TripAdvisor. Have to have a clear focus on customer, solution, and execute.
Your final thoughts?
Mohan Ramanujam: Think different and old problems will look completely new. Learning to build a personal brand in a new consumer context to reinforce the company brand. Exciting challenge.