Here’s an interesting conversation you don’t want to miss.
Meet Akshay Adik, Technical Head of Inuxu Digital Media Technologies. He joined Inuxu with the ambition to deploy AI & ML capabilities and lead the overall tech roadmap for ‘adgebra’. Please go through an interesting Q and A between Akshay and Palak, where Palak brush upon a number of intriguing questions for Akshay. Read on.
Palak: Tell us a bit about your upbringing, your family, educational and cultural background?
Akshay: My humble childhood in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra and my thoughtful, liberal parents have a very big role to play in who I am today. From childhood, I got the freedom from my parents as well as teachers to pursue my interests. I stepped out of Ahmednagar for my graduation and completed my bachelor in Engineering in computer science in 2005. My work took me to multiple cities like Bangalore, Mumbai before settling down in Pune.
Palak: Walk us through your career trajectory?
Akshay: Throughout my career, I took various roles from software developer to quality analyst, to business analyst, to team lead and technical architect. I have a wide experience working with organizations like Reliance communications, Fujitsu Consulting, IBM, and Deutsche Bank in different capacities. I also did my masters from BITS Pilani in software systems parallelly while working with Fujitsu. From each experience of mine, I have grown as a professional and as a person too!
Palak: What made you choose the technical side of the career? Is it only education or interest and education both?
Akshay: Both in fact. As a child, I was interested in playing video games and my interest level in computers grew with age. But the real game-changer was graduation. During graduation and post-graduation, I studied various subjects and they helped in my interest in building new software systems over a period of time. And as they say, tech learning never stops. I am still learning new technological advancements and trying to implement those in my scope of work.
Palak: Major milestones in your career?
Akshay: Oh wow, let’s see. After 2 years of joining Reliance communications, in 2008 I built a Bluetooth based chat application on a mobile ad-hoc network and published a research paper. During the next 10 years, I took several roles like Business analyst, QA, software developer and challenged myself even further. I also focused on developing my own knowledge base by completing a master of science in software systems. And in 2018, I managed to apply for the first patent in a smart home automation system. So quite a few now that I think about it 🙂 It’s been a fulfilling journey.
Palak: If you have to list down the top 3 teachable moments from your entire career, what will they be?
Akshay: Upgrade your skills with time. While working as a team, make sure to contribute as a team member rather than an individual successor. Also, have a humble attitude. Try to listen. Understand how you can improve from your peers.
Palak: How did you get introduced to Inuxu and what made you join Inuxu?
Akshay: After our first formal interaction about my skills and experience with the product team, I was yet to understand fully how I can contribute to this team. But after our second discussion with the management team including Rohit (CEO), Trushant (COO) and Shashi (product head) my interest in this product grew. During this 5 hour discussion, we touched upon some very interesting business aspects, technological challenges and that convinced me that Inuxu is a place I can work with and make a difference. I took the challenge of enhancing and restructuring the current adgebra platform.
Palak: We are living in a world where technology is dominating every field with innovative approaches. In this scenario, how are you planning to bring a difference in Inuxu and its product through technology?
Akshay: Every tech company has to keep itself ready for the change in technologies. Most of the time, changes in technology bring new growth opportunities as well. As a technical head, my first priority is to upgrade the tech stack. We have data and a lot of scope to harvest more data so that we can utilise this data to improve the ad serving decision engine through AI/ML algorithms. In order to achieve this, we have to change the way we are dealing with this data. So the migration of the services onto the cloud-native platform is going to be a priority as well. While doing so, we will have to keep watch on design, code quality, testing practices and infrastructure management and for that, we will be using industry best practices and tools.
Palak: What do you like the most at Inuxu, which you have not experienced in your earlier job stints?
Akshay: What impressed me the most is the openness. Inuxu has a very open culture and the hierarchy is flat. The management addresses the entire team every month and they talk about the current financial, technical and sales updates. So that every team member is aware of what’s happening in the organization at any point in time. You don’t see this very often in other organizations.
Palak: What keeps you awake at night?
Akshay: Daily challenges and quest to find out the solutions. Sometimes my kid. 🙂
Palak: Under your leadership, where do you see the Inuxu tech stack in the next 3 years?
Akshay: In the next 3 years, AI/ML is going to be a major component in the existing product. Most of the ad serving and inventory management will be done using deep learning and natural language processing. UI upgrade will be a major change from a technology and business perspective. All the components which we will be upgrading as per cloud-native structure. While doing so focus will be on emphasizing code quality, test approach and DevOps.
Palak: Personally speaking, do you connect with brands more if they speak to you in your own language?
Akshay: Yes, absolutely.
Palak: Take us on your personality tour. What are your interests, hobbies, and nature like?
Akshay: I spend most of my spare time working on my hobby projects which could be building home automation devices to small software programs. I also like reading books. I like to spend time with my friends and family.
Palak: What is your ideal work environment?
Akshay: For me, the ideal work environment is where I can get the liberty to make decisions and open communication between the team. Focus on high-quality deliverables. The team should be excited to work with each other every day.
Palak: Tell us about a passion project of yours?
Akshay: At Inuxu, we are currently working on an ad recommendation system that also happens to be my passion project. It will help to improve the ad serving. We are going to use natural language processing and deep learning to achieve it. Definitely, it is a complex problem to solve and hopefully we will be able to create better and recommendations across partners and users.
Palak: What would be your piece of advice for the younger tech guys or students who are planning to make a career in tech?
Akshay: If I have to add my 2 cents, I would say every engineer has to balance the breadth and depth of technology. One must focus and try to achieve the highest level of competency in core technology. One efficient way of doing this is through forming technical networks and sharing knowledge. This advice goes for experienced professionals as well.