Saji MadapatCountry: United States
BiographyA Brief History of My Nomadic Re-incarnations
“To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
- Sun Tzu's The Art of War (476–221 BC)
I was born and raised in God's Own Country, Kerala, a tropical paradise in India. In Kerala, we are followers of St. Thomas, the Apostle, educated by Christian missionaries brought by colonizers from Portugal, France, and Britain. 100% literacy and high educational standards in Kerala have led to many progressive movements, including Communism. Kerala has many unique records, such as a model COVID-19 recovery rate being higher than most Western countries. The first place where communists became democratically elected to power in world history, ruled as such since 1957. The resulting industrial desert brought on by Communism forced me to pack up my bags after obtaining my Industrial Engineering degree (with specialization in Total Quality Management) and seek a job in Bombay (the commercial capital of India).
I soon realized my prospects beyond the factory floor became limited by my dark skin (as a lungi-wearing Kala Madrasi). Fearing for my future, I fled to the South to escape the racist professional ladder. I obtained my MBA in finance as a candidate for national integration. Providentially for me, in 1990, the entire Indian economy collapsed under the weight of the half-a-century-old mighty Indian License Raj. The result was a liberalized Indian economy. The timing was impeccable, as it provided me the opportunity to start my career as an Investment Banking Analyst. Fortune smiled upon me again when the 1996 stock market crash in India allowed me to come out of my investment banking career.
India took the socialist route and, during the conflict of the 1970s with Pakistan, which declared emergency rule. Due to the Pakistan war and other non-alignments, the US and India’s relationship soured, and IBM abandoned India. Hail to the vacuum (to be filled), TCS and the other Indian IT conglomerates were born out of desperation. They coded us in IT to kickstart the legacy computers and mainframes left behind by IBM. Thanks to the biggest blunder in business history (Y2K), IBM and the other western enterprises saw us (‘Cyber Coolies’) as the thrifty solution to fix the doomsday Armageddon code.
During this time, I managed to migrate from corporate finance to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions and snatched my passport to the epitome of capitalism, the USA. Nevertheless, in 2000, the (Netherlands-based) BaaN Brothers got involved in the Dutch scandal, and the #3 ERP (BaaN) system I was riding became a dead horse.
Since then, I have spent over a decade volunteering for PMI. I have etched my name on PMI’s key standards (including PMBOK, OPM3, PP&PM, etc.), thanks to my PMI papers, publications, and books (especially Project Portfolio Management Standard). I even served in Gartner’s PPM board room panel and later became one of the three PM Methodology SME at E&Y. In 2008, amid the economic tsunami, I served as an advisor to CFO’s office, setting up the Project Portfolio Management Office for a Fortune 10 World's Most Admired Company. I saved them around a half a billion dollars, but I became the victim of my short-term financial engineering. I managed to capitalize on the 90s legacy Hyperion Enterprise and moved on to the fancy world of a CFO’s suites of products for more prominent Financial Engineering in the BIG4 consulting world.
In 2009, I packed my bags for the Cambodian Jungles in search of answers from the bottom of the pyramid through Chinese GIFT (Global Institute for Tomorrow) – a Clinton Global Young executive Leadership Program (YLP). The more I examined the finance world in the West, the more disillusioned I became. I lost faith in the rollercoasters of flash markets (90% of today's stock market without long-term fundamental values is chasing stock buybacks, the Tweets, QE , the hot dollars, and high-frequency algorithmic flash gambles by BOTs) --hail to Hernando de Soto. I was born again to The Mystery of Capital Gospel. Since 9/11, I have won a few dollars betting against the conventional Western market wisdom by gambling in Petro China and Total .
After returning from the wilderness of the Cambodian killing fields , I reincarnated my career yet again, becoming an EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) out of the 2008 Economic Tsunami in the BIG4 world. I made 95% of my net worth between 2008 to 2011 by betting against conventional wisdom. (When the whole world deleveraged, I leveraged to the extreme in some of the most iconic real estate in the world which was on Fire-Sale). I do have a fair share of blood on my hands with mindless EPM Financial Engineering through fancy jargon (aka Cost Cutting) such as Tax Effective Supply Chain Management (TESCM), Business/Finance/IT Transformation, BPR, Six Sigma and Pricing and Profitability strategy.
To greenwash my guilt, I had the fantastic honor of volunteering for the most extensive Professional Not-for-Profit for over a decade (PMI [Project Management Institute]), which serves ~3 million professionals, including over 500,000 members in 208 countries around the world. I have contributed to about half a dozen books and ~50 publications/presentations. I started to become involved in several Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Awards at Ernst & Young.
Sadly, after over two decades, it looks like I need to ride back through that Mad Max fury redemption road and climb through the capitalist apocalypse rubble left from Roosevelt’s days.