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Fireside Chat : Vipul Khanna, MD & CEO, Firstsource talks with Phil Fersht, CEO & Chief Analyst, HFS research

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On this special Fireside Chat, Vipul Khanna, MD & CEO, Firstsource, converses with Phil Fersht, CEO & Chief Analyst, HFS Research on his experiences and learnings over the years. Vipul talks about how he intends to bring his vision for Firstsource to life, the digital-first approach that cuts across business verticals, how we are enhancing the employee experience and being a purpose-led organization.


[00:00:05] Mark Reed-Edwards: I’m Mark Reed-Edwards, VP of Digital Marketing at HFS. Welcome to this HFS videocast of a special fireside chat between HFS CEO, Phil Ferhst and Vipul Khanna, Managing Director and CEO, Firstsource Solutions. Vipul joined Firstsource in 2019 from Cognizant Digital Operations, where he led a startup practice into a $2 billion top five global BPO business. Of course, leading the discussion as always is Phil Fersht HFS, CEO, and Chief Analyst.

Phil founded HFS in 2010 and recently the analyst value survey of 1,000 users of analysts research, ranked HFS as the second most influential analyst firm, including second most influence on enterprise customers, second most subscribed analyst firm, and second mentions by enterprise customers. Let me hand it over to Phil to get the discussion with Vipul going. Phil, take it away.

[00:01:02] Phil Fersht: Thanks, Mark and great to see you again, Vipul. Um, and welcome everybody for taking your time, listening to us for a while, but, um, I’ve known Vipul Khanna for several years now and, uh, I first met him during his-his role, uh, leading, I think Cognizant operations and business process management area. And since then, he’s taken a very exciting role at, um, Firstsource leading the charge there in- in the digital, uh, marketing technology area. So, uh-uh, but I think, I think to start this off, I’d love to maybe hear a bit more about Vipul and maybe a bit more about your background and how you got into this business in the first place.

[00:01:41] Vipul Khanna: Sure. Thank you, Phil. Thank you, Mark. And-and Phil, yeah, it’s been a pleasure to know you over the years and see how you have developed and how your firm has developed, and-and it’s been great to see inspirational, to kinda follow your progress as well, right as we develop our businesses. So, I, um, I grew up in a small town in northern part of the country in India. Um, I was very bad at math and math and science. So, kind of the only option was to go into accounting and business.

Um, as I kind of made that transition in high school, I really liked it, the world of business, uh, couple of, um, couple of biographies that I read in my 11th grade, 12th grade, uh, Sam Walton: Made in America, Lee Iacocca’s biography, some business magazines were very deeply sort of they left a mark and I kind of fell in the love of, uh, love-love with business. Um, so I-I did my CA, Chartered Accountancy in, uh, in the small town and for work, one had to move out to a big town. So, I came to Delhi, uh, way back in early ’90s and got a job in Price Waterhouse.

And I will tell you this, um, I literally felt like a small guy standing right at the base of a skyscraper, looking up with your neck arched, 180 degrees looking at the world of corporate business, how social living happens in large cities and stuff like that. Uh, so very exciting times. And then I was kind of stumbled into American Express, which was the first truly, uh, shared service organization, which was following a-a follow the sun sort of methodology and opened up a shared service in-in Delhi. And I kid you not, it took me two or three months to really sit down and understand them, so explain to me how you’re doing Japanese banks reconciliation sitting in Delhi, or how you’re doing Australian credit loss provisioning models for Australia sitting in Delhi, right ’cause that’s a very early days of sort of the whole offshoring boom.

So those were very foundational days of trying to understand the world of offshoring and outsourcing. And then a senior colleague of mine, uh, left and he joined a startup, which was funded by a US company. And he said, “Hey, you’re gonna come over?” Said, “Yeah, what will I do?” He said, “Yeah, pick your title.” So, I said, “Let-let me be the head of transitions and solutions, uh, in that startup.” And we created a good business, right. We created a good sort of, I think a $200 million business over six years. I remember my first contact center contract, uh, was signed where the client did not visit India before signing the contract.

It’s kind of sacrilege sort of after that, but setting up the first international call center way back in, um, 2000 in-in, um, in Mumbai, was an experience and then kind of grew from there. Uh, UBS came calling to set up their captives and they set it up as an internal service company that was fun to get deep into banking at that point in time. Uh, but they always had a vision that we wanted to stand on its feet, right? So-so there I was trying to run a captive competing with the big guys with no resources, right? Uh, you know, we were competing with all the big-big vendors who serve UBS and I was a little captive kind of competing there, uh, trying to kinda say, “Hey, there are inherent advantages of using a captive versus a third party,” right at that point in time.

Um, but come the financial crisis, the bank took a call on, should we be buying or making? And then they put that captive up for partnership. We went through a process and finally Cognizant bought that captive, uh, end of 2009. And I spent the next nine years at Cognizant, great ride there, first on the operation side in India, then moved to the US, building up a business before Firstsource came calling in 2019. So here I am, uh, kind of bringing my learnings with the evolution of BPO into this world.

[00:05:26] Phil: I think I’ve lost count of the amount of people I know at Cognizant who’ve become CEOs today. Uh, was there some special formula there or?

[00:05:38] Vipul: [laughs] It was very a supportive, very growth-oriented entrepreneurial environment.

[00:05:43] Phil: Right.

[00:05:43] Vipul: And I think that-that allowed people to kind of, you know, the-the CEO at that time used to say for every large account, I want a CEO in charge, right? You are the CEO for this account, or you are the CEO for this business and that ability to kinda chart your course, um, I think that those experiences have helped.

[00:06:01] Phil: Interesting. And then, um, so, so you decided to take this role, um, I think just before the pandemic, right, at-at Firstsource, which I think was predominantly a call center, a contact center business at the time. Um, what inspired you to take that-that position? Um, what excited you about it and has it been everything you-you imagined? [chuckles]

[00:06:24] Vipul: I-I think largely my thesis has worked out. I wanted to kinda personally make the transition from running a division to running a public company. And there’s a steep learning curve to that. And it has been a steep learning curve, including all the knocks on the chin on, on how to kind of manage and learn to manage the investors, and how to think about the value creation equation, right, in- in the true sense of the word. Um, it’s been a very supportive board, um-um, right which-which was very steadfast in what they wanted, demanded they said, well, we want a growth CEO, right? Whatever that means, right?

Uh, that they want a growth CEO. Um, and I think it’s been very supportive from that standpoint on whatever strategy I’ve laid out, the backing that strategy, backing investments behind the strategy, backing the kind of people which I need to kind of, you know, uh, implement on that strategy. Um, and it’s been-been a learning, um, you know, I-I like to call it we are into our third avatar as Firstsource from, we are a 20-year-old company, but we are almost onto our third avatar. And, um, you know, I like to call it, we are like a 20-year startup now, right?

A bunch of guys sit around and-and, you know, a bunch of folks sit around kind of decide where we want go, you know, debate it up, you know, and then get going after that. Um, but the position that we have in the industries that we operate, um, I think has given a good foundation and good runways for growth that we are now traversing to-to get to a-a meaningful place.

[00:07:56] Phil: Interesting. And then how, how did the-the onset of the pandemic change, um, the game plan? Was it significant, uh, looking back from-from what you started out with when that, when you went through that whole experience?

[00:08:10] Vipul: Yeah. So, I joined in August of 2019, I got one or two rounds of traveler rounds to-to India, UK, Philippines, right, different parts of the US. Um, and then sort of everything was shut down in March, right, March of 2020. Um, so the first few months were all like everybody else trying to keep the ops running, trying to get the remote operations and the massive logistics of getting 25,000 people kitted out and getting started to work, right remotely. Um, but I think it’s been an evolution in developing that model from an operating standpoint. I think we’ve all learned along the way of how to engage remote folks, right?

How to get security in place and all the-the bells and whistles of getting that stuff going. Business wise, I think macroeconomics have played different roles on different, uh, different parts of our business. Uh, so for instance, our hospital business, our provider business in the US on healthcare, uh, has been mostly subdued because of pandemic, hospitals have prioritized sort of COVID treatments, right? So, the elective and the other treatments haven’t gone, which means that the volumes going through the hospitals are lesser at this stage, right? So, it’s been a dampener but on the other hand, because of the interest rate environment, the macro environment was good for our mortgage business, uh, right?

And that kind of provided some tailwinds to the mortgage business. Uh, so those are the two macro examples. Uh, obviously like everybody else in our industry, we’ve seen our clients led by consumers adopting digital clients have accelerated their digital timetables, right? And it’s manifesting in different ways. Uh, I think that’s been a good tailwind and it has also accelerated our own transition, right? What I call as digital first has accelerated our own transition, both internally and externally. It is, uh, exaggerated by the-the fact that talent is in short supply everywhere, right? I think I-I joke around that it’s easier to sell to a client than sell to a client now to talent now, right? It’s harder to get talent than it’s- than it’s to get a client or, or business.

[00:10:17] Phil: Wow.

[00:10:18] Vipul: Um, but it has also forced, um, partnerships and given everybody’s remote, I think tactically partnerships have become more stronger because people have gotten used to working across this, right? It doesn’t need a lot of getting together in person to get going. Everybody’s kind of gone into the-the mindset of, Hey, let’s get together quickly on a- on a phone call, on a zoom call and-and get going, right? So, the urgency has forced the partnership ecosystem for us, uh, to flourish and get embedded in our solutions. So, puts and takes but overall, I think business has emerged stronger, uh, growth paths. Uh, you know, we are- we are looking at sort of double-digit growth consistently now, uh, relative to so where we were in the past.

[00:11:04] Phil: So how- how has the nature of the Firstsource business evolved in the last couple of years in terms of the-the service lines that you are looking at, the industries that you’re servicing?

[00:11:14] Vipul: Yeah. So, Phil high level, you know, we do about half of our business is banking, about 30% is healthcare and about 20% is comms in media. Um, the-the one thing which I’ve been very clear about, uh, is, um, and I’ve learned it along the way. I-I didn’t start it to be very focused, right? We-we are a smallish company, um, right? So, we have to choose our background carefully where we go. So, within banking, for instance, we play in just mortgage, receivables management, which is collections, and we play in the UK retail and commercial bank. Okay? Um, and we think within that, there is still a lot of runway for us to find adjacent areas of growth, right? And stay focused to that.

So, we’re trying not to do a lot of things right now, not to get to capital markets, not to get to asset management, not to get to commercial banking. Stick to so where we think we are the leaders, or we can get to the leadership position, right? Um, the thing we’ve added there is the focus on FinTechs and D5, right? Um, like in the last, I think two quarters we’ve signed up like five FinTechs now, okay? Um, that world and the-the financing volume is shifting small volume, but percentage growth is growth, uh, is high for the FinTech and the crypto world. And we wanna make sure we follow that trend, right?

We’ve built capabilities and that is manifesting not necessarily in well-defined processes, but more like design operations for them and then run it. And then you continue to rinse repeat and kind of finesse that operations, right? So-so that’s on the-the one example of staying focused and finding adjacent of various scores. The second aspect, which, um, I mentioned to you is we have kind of coined the term cheekily called digital-first, digital now, right? To bring urgency in our services, our offerings, and our internal ecosystem of technology. And recognizing that our primary heritage is about business knowledge and, and operations.

Um, big part of our technology footprint is about partnerships with product companies and, and service companies alike, right? So, we have already bid out and we won a couple of large engagements where we are not only partnered with a product company but within IT services company as well, so that we can compete with big integrated companies, right? And not disadvantaged because we don’t have a big IT services now, right? Again, we have to choose those areas carefully. But I think, um, partnerships is the way to go uh, from a technology standpoint. We are also building our own technology, but that’s mostly around configuration and putting technology to work, to extract the juice out of, you know, technology for the sake of our clients, uh, business and stuff.

Um, so that’s digital. And then the third, if I may is a little bit more esoteric and abstract is to kind of have that thing about being a purposeful company, right? And to me, purposeful is all about, I have to first change myself before I expect even my kids to change. Right? They even- they won’t listen to me if I ask them to change. So, purpose is all about inside out to say, can we be relevant and purposeful for our employees? Can we give them the right avenue, pay them a decent wage, pay them a competitive wage and benefits, and can we help them find their potential and relate them to the story of what they do? Can they find purpose in what they’re doing day to day and see their contribution to that?

And it manifests itself in a variety of ways, in terms of training development, et cetera, et cetera, all the good stuff goes with it. But if we can attract the right people and empower them, they’ll get the other right people, we’ll have the right reputation in the communities. And we know that clients like it, right? Clients want to work with sort of purposeful companies. Big part of ESG is about people and stuff, right? So, most of our clients now see, like, what is your ESG strategy? People become a big part of it, right? So, so those are the three things I would say, focus, digital and being a purposeful company.

[00:15:12] Phil: Right. And, um, as-as you look at, um, you know, moving into a more transformational, uh, what remit for the business, it’s interesting to hear that you’re working well with FinTechs. Um, I imagine that’s a very different experience from working with Global 2000s where, uh, maybe you’ll move down the stack a little bit at the operational level. Do you feel with the FinTechs you’re more involved in the strategy setting and the transformational pieces as well?

[00:15:44] Vipul: For sure- for sure. I mean, I think depends on what stage we catch them. Like a couple of them are very early stage, right? Like series A and there it’s more about you focus in theory, you focus on the product, the compliance, and the marketing, and we’ll bring all the capabilities around operations, including design, including the operational technology stack together for you, testing it out, right? The user experience and devising the operational policies for you and then running it, right?

Um, that’s a very different level of sort of drawing board sort of experience, um, challenging, but it also allows us to bring the best of the partner ecosystem into play, right? Uh, you know, whether it’s the big-big like Salesforce, or it could be startups like [unintelligible 00:16:28] and, and Cresta and stuff like that in different aspects.

[00:06:34] Phil: Okay. So, do you feel that the talent that you are hiring and training the need is changing from what you maybe were working with two or three years ago, as you’re trying to sort of move into this transformational space with your clients?

[00:16:51] Vipul: 100%, whether it’s hiring or retooling, what-what we already have, right? Uh, because it-it won’t be just all hiring, right? It’s new as well as retraining the existing months. Um, so one big part of my focus since last year is to build almost let’s call it broadly consulting, but it’s mostly a design capability, right? Which is working, uh, with SMEs, with people who have a good process orientation and people who put technology to work, bringing those three things together, right? Technology, uh, process and design together to make sure we’re devising the processes or designing the transformation.

So, it’s people with more consulting, people with more design orientation who are joining. Um, the second aspect is as, like all of our peers, it’s about making sure our managerial partner, right? The team leaders, the managers, the frontline, they are very aware of the tools available to them for manage operating- operations now, right? It’s not just about managing people, but it’s more about where can I deploy technology, the most efficient use of technology? How do I create the culture of con-continuous questioning the process and putting things up for automation where I can? So-so training that sort of population of 2,000 people, that’s a big focus for us on these new tools available in our- in our [unintelligible 00:18:13] right now.

[00:18:15] Phil: Interesting and-and, um, convincing clients that a company like Firstsource can really help in the- in the technology enablement space, as well as process. Is that still a huge challenge for you? Or do you think clients becoming more open-minded, uh, and more willing to work with mid-tiers and things like that?

[00:18:38] Vipul: I-I wouldn’t say it’s a- it’s definitely not a, uh, a walk in the park, uh, right? There’s um, there are, we are not necessarily invited to all big transformation programs, right? Obviously, the big guys with-with sort of some of the older relationships and credibility will get there. Um, so part of it is sort of changing the perception to be recognized for that, getting into the accounts, right? Getting into the, um, the, the sort of drawing board of saying, and then kinda slowly working our way up. Um, but a couple of examples where it’s been outright sort of fight in the market from an RFP standpoint, we’ve been successful. And I think the-the difference there has been how much attention we put into the business knowledge part of it.

To say there are three, three components which have to come together. There is the technology, there is the people, and it’s the training of the people on how to use that technology because ultimately, it’s the triad of those three, which will produce magic at the end of the team, right? On their own they’re not gonna organically come together, right? So how, how are people are taking that technology and case by case function by function, process by process showing you that the output could go from A to B because I’m putting this lever in play and the details of it. I think that’s where we kind of score, right?

To show here’s how I’m showing across the 10 levers that I had to-to put in place, you know, here’s the outcome that I can deliver at the process level, not necessarily at the macro level, right? And I think that credibility of showing familiarity with the business is what has allowed to, and in the back-end, then we can source the technology partnerships where required to actually help us implement to that level of-of-of transformation. Um, personally, I was little bit of a late adopter to RPA personally, right? I-I didn’t believe in it, uh, in the ’13, ’14 and the 15′, from ’15, so from ’16, and I was like, “Oh, now we’ll-we’ll figure it out.”

But that was a hard lesson for me personally, that that was something which is emerging and which has sucked up so much value away, right? Uh, as it is kind of our mainstream. So that’s my personal commitment that every new thing that comes up, I have to be on it to understand and kind of be deploying it. And I do think that RPA process analysis, uh, omnichannel, and now as you get to machine learning deployment, um, these are all hammers’ looking for nails, right? Everybody has access to these hammers. The trick is who’s able to put them in to use- to use in the context of a client or their situation and get better output done?

I think that would be the differentiator and that sweet spot of business analysis, configuration skills, right? And doing the grind of implementing, I think is a sweet spot where-where I think we could make a mark and-and hold our own.

[00:21:29] Phil: Okay. That’s interesting. So, you, are you, um, where are you finding this most demand from your clients, uh, at the moment and, you know, we’ve come through crazy couple of years that feels like there’s a- there’s a rush to do things that clients should have done 10 years ago, and they’re doing them now. Uh, where are you seeing most demand and immediacy for your business? You talk about double-digit growth again, but, uh, where-where do you think that’s gonna come from?

[00:21:56] Vipul: Um, there is a– You know, there is a sector view when there is a sort of a service line view. Um, from a- from a sector standpoint, I think, um, as I said, BFS in the areas that we operate a lot of runway, um, just take one example. Our receivables management business, where we primarily serve the card-card side of the world. We’ve extended it to autos. We are extending it to other industries, uh, like utilities, right? Uh, taking it to that-that form of consumer receivables. We just finished an acquisition of a company called ARSI end of, uh, ’21, which takes us from what we already do early and late stage.

Those guys do legal collections, right? So, where we get to the next stage where you have to use law firms to be able to enforce obligations, which-which, uh, borrowers might have. So, it kinda gives us a huge amount of adjacency and our intention is to combine the two and take it to FinTechs, right? So, take FinTechs, for example, our thesis is that FinTechs are very good at the front-end, as far as the lending and the transaction side is concerned. But in the revolution, they haven’t reached the stage where they’re very good at the back-end, which is receivable management, right?

[00:23:10] Phil: Yeah.

[00:23:11] Vipul: So, can we go and help them design the right receivable management strategy and define decision points or in what stage of a, uh, overview, what strategy do you use for collections, and then kind of run that strategy for them, whether it’s call and collect or whether it’s the legal side of it, right? That’s one example. Um, as well, if we wanna take this to our UK and European market. Today’s it’s a very North America centered business, take it to UK and Europe, right? We have a lot set of clients and with our new offering as well as a digital avatar of collections, right? Because not call based now, no-nobody takes a call, right?

For-for-for marketing, for service or for collecting. So, it has to be, um, a text based. It has to be an email based with the right technology, uh, responsive technology, the backend to make it like a-a pleasant, digital experience. Um, healthcare is, we see a lot of runway in healthcare. Um, we play on both the provider and payer side of it. Uh, on the payer side of it, um, something as basic as digital intake, which is the stuff getting into a health plan, whether it’s claims, authorizations, appeals, et cetera. I-I’m surprised at how messy that process still is, right? Uh, for-for most of the industry.

So-so we’ve retooled our platform and we won like five engagements where we are saying, “It’ll be more digital intake so that it sets your downstream processes more nicely, more-more predictably.” Right? And-and we see a lot of demand in that. That’s kind of the-the basic or the traditional, but done in a new manner. At the same state, we’ve seen pandemic accelerate the adoption of telehealth, right? Um, we are working with our clients in telehealth, but the evolution there is remote patient monitoring or continuous patient monitoring, right? Where devices keep us connected to our service providers.

And-and they’re doing the hard work of data gathering and-and trend isolation and giving it to the human to say, “Yep, the pool needs intervention now is heart-heart rate is running too high because–

[00:25:10] Phil: Right.

[00:25:12] Vipul: -Phil is asking them difficult questions, right? So-so what’s going on with the- with, uh, uh, the ripple at this stage. So, RPM becomes a big, big thing. And then media has been- has been a strong suit, but as that goes through digital, right? The transition of traditional media to digital is something that we are playing in, right? Whether that’s cable going to OTP, uh, or streaming, or whether it’s publishing going to online, right? That transition of customer experience retention is something that we want to, uh, play heavily on through partnerships, you know, bringing new products.

Um, and-and overall, today our portfolio is about 40%, what we call is digitally empowered contact center. About 45% back office and about 10% pure digital, right? Um, I would expect that this starts to lose its relevance and it starts to become end-to-end processes, right? Today we track it and report it that way but people then look to end-to-end sort of journeys and saying, “What do I do in this process?” Could be back office could be a multi-channel engagement. Um, uh, so that’s- that’s kinda of the sense of our-our portfolio and where we’re going.

[00:26:20] Phil: So, you mentioned earlier that, um, selling to your own people can be harder sometimes than selling to your clients. Um, do you think that’s gonna be the crunch point, uh, this year, as we look out at the industry and the demand is-is who can win the talent or who is gonna win, uh, win the market share? And-and if so, what do you think you’re- you’re gonna do that sets you apart there?

[00:26:45] Vipul: Yeah, no, getting good talent is-is, uh, is incredibly hard. Um, I think at the frontline level, um, it’s about making sure, um, you pay a competitive wage, you know, that’s kind of [unintelligible 00:27:00]. Like you better get all those things done, but I think it’s the- it’s the training. Um, and-and I think we as humans, our minds are fundamentally changed. We concept through long sessions, we concept through trainings, go through like endless PowerPoint. So, we are completely revamping our training, right? We are making it bite sized. We’re using lot of videos, we’re gamifying it, we’re making it lot of peer learning, right?

So more conversational and discussion based, right? And I think if you start with that, and if you start with the right tools, um, we’re starting to kind of call it that CX follows EX, right? So, are we getting the right employee experience? It’s the tools, it’s the training, it’s how they connect to their purpose, right? “What am I doing?” Right? So, in our healthcare business, for instance, we do a lot of, uh, patient advocacy, right? Which is for our hospitals, people who come in without insurance coverage, right? How do we help hospital recover revenue in those cases, uh, where people do not have insurance coverage?

So, what we are really doing is we are finding avenues for those patients to find coverage. And I think the-the-the purpose for the employees is that once you find someone to enroll them into a state Medicaid program, then you’ve come– Taken them from no coverage to getting them to coverage, which is for life, right? You’re bringing them onto a medical network. So, if a patient advocate, our employee kind of gets that vision and relates to that, then they’re into it because they’re doing something really meaningful to help someone, right? Um, so it, it’s kind that sort of work at the- at the, uh, frontline level.

At the leadership level, I think good talent attracts good talent, right? Uh, and I find that if I’m able to attract one good leader, they have their own set of followers, which kind of follow. Um, I think where I found particular success in attracting top talent is, um, a lot of talent is-is kind of done with sort of the large company experience, right? Um, you know, and attracting them to a smaller, nimbler, agile organization has been the draw. To say, “Hey, we are at this stage of a revolution. We want to be big, there’s an option to be part of that journey and there’s an opportunity to be for, you know, p-personal financial wealth creation as well.

That’s kind of the-the, uh, the draw, um, of getting talent on from large companies to come into smaller, nimble organizations. So, you’re spending more time externally focused rather than internally focused, right? Uh, and as you do more, as you’ve been marketing engagements, more transformational engagements that in itself makes it more credible that, “Hey, we’ll be doing high quality work, right?” Transformational work and size, not withstanding, it gives us more, more leeway to play around.

[00:29:50] Phil: Excellent. Well, um, answered that very well. Um, so looking at, uh, your-your career, who would you say have been your biggest influencers along the way and even today?

[00:30:04] Vipul: Oh, um, you know, I– Somehow, um, I have nurtured it, but I’m-I’m generally very curious, right? Um, in fact, I have to temper down my curiosity at times, right? Otherwise, I-I get all this to do it and there are personal different areas, right? So, I have to be more focused on where I keep my- keep my focus on. So, a big part of curiosity is that ability to, or that desire to-to learn from a variety of people and situations, right? Um, so-so it-it’s-it’s hard for me to answer that because such a mélange of things and a mélange of incidents, um, of-of people who influence you. And it’s not about people who influence you on what they do, but people you learn from and what not to do as them, right?

A huge part of my learning has always come from what has made me feel less energetic and embracing that and make sure I don’t do that. But no, um, as I mentioned, um, some early business influencers reading some autobiographies, um, like a couple of my leaders in UBS, very influential on how they thought about selling, right? I learned selling from leader in, uh, UBS and that was internal selling. Uh, Frank and Gordon and, uh, Cognizant have been great influencers on how to build businesses. And-and then a lot of my friends, mentors. I’ve been blessed to have two or three mentors, uh, along my- along my journey, uh, right?

Uh, my wife is a big- uh, my wife is a big source of sort of, uh, anchoring down, right. Uh, to say like, “Okay, let’s sit down and talk about it, right? What are you excited about? And is it sustainable?” For instance.

[00:31:41] Phil: [unintelligible 00:31:43]. I hope she’s listening. [laughs] All right. So, to put you on the spot, I have a- I have a final question, which is, uh, so we’re gonna send you to a nice sunny desert island to see out the rest of this pandemic, uh, and you’re gonna have one book to read, one movie to watch, and one piece of music, one song to listen to, what-what would you- what would you go for?

[00:32:07] Vipul: Oh, wow. Um, oddly I do find comforting going back to the familiar at times. So, if I have to go back to my, uh, to my favorite movie, uh, it would be the movie, uh, The Pursuit of Happyness, uh, the Will Smith movie, right?

[00:32:27] Phil: Yes.

[00:32:28] Vipul: Uh, I have found it incredible. I’ve seen it, I don’t know how many times. I could watch it again. Um, the one book to read, uh, I wish I could say I wanna learn machine learning or something, but I think, uh– [laughs] But I think, um, of late, especially with the pandemic, I’ve been going more on the– Uh, somewhat on the spiritual side. Um, so-so I-I kinda started reading those kind of books, um, a little bit sort of Buddhist philosophy, uh, of acceptance and stuff. So, uh, you know, those– One of those topics would come out, right? Um, in terms of how to find purpose and how to find self-fulfillment, right?

Uh, that’s a topic and there are a variety of books there. Uh, music? Unfortunately, I grew up only– Not unfortunately, fortunately, I haven’t still found taste for Western music, right? [laughs] I think I left- I left that stable too late, so I still would go back to Bollywood songs, uh, right? Uh, is what I would kind, uh, go to [crosstalk].

[00:33:34] Phil: Any- and any one specifically?

[00:33:39] Vipul: Um, no, I can’t think of one. You know, I have a playlist of- playlist of like 800 songs with them. So, I-I can’t pick one or that one.

[00:33:49] Phil: [laughs] Sounds like my wife with her Persian music playlist [laughs], there’s so much of it. Um, good. Well, honestly, I’ve really- I’ve really enjoyed, uh, listening to this very much, uh, Vipul. Um, and, uh, look forward to sharing this with our, uh, with our network and-and a lot of people here have known you, followed throughout the years as well. We-we really enjoy hearing-hearing this and people who maybe don’t know you as well. So, I thank you very much for your time, and uh, Mark, maybe, uh, any final thoughts from you here or?

[00:34:21] Mark: I-I just love the-the-the last question. I’ve seen you lob really hard questions at people, and that may be one of the toughest to pick one out of a universe of books and music. That’s a- that’s a tough one, Phil.

[00:34:34] Phil: [laughs] Not sure I could answer it/

[00:34:37] Mark: We’ll put you on the spot in the next video cast, right?

[00:34:41] Phil: There you go.

[00:34:42] Vipul: Exactly, we-we gotta find out one-one body like Phil kinda thing, and then ask him.

[00:34:46] Mark: Yeah.

[00:34:47] Phil: My problem is-is I listen to music when I exercise. So, it tends to have to be a little more higher [laughs], lively, lively. [laughs]

[00:34:58] Mark: Well, thanks, Phil and Vipul. This was a wonderful discussion, really enlightening, and we hope you all enjoyed it there. Out there watching in TV land to learn more about HFS, head over to HFSresearch.com where you can view most of our research for free. Plus, we have a growing library of videos, just like this one that you can take with you wherever you go. Once again, thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you on the next HFS video cast.

[00:35:26] Vipul: Thank you so much. Thank you for inviting me for this one. Bye.

[00:35:29] Phil: Cheers. Take care everyone.

[00:35:36] [END OF AUDIO]

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