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Seeing ahead of the curve with Vivek Ranadivé

Visionary basketball and decision making

Many Sacramentans already know that software pioneer Vivek Ranadivé is the new majority owner of the Sacramento Kings. What people may not yet know is how visionary he is at crafting new ideas for whatever paradigm he decides to redesign. Like an artistic inventor, be creates winning innovative systems that take competitors by surprise. Business executives who still use last century’s playbook and wonder why they may be sinking in financial quicksand need to get a healthy fresh perspective from this amazing mover and shaker. 

This week I’ve compiled compelling videos of the successful entrepreneur for SacTV.com. Each of these videos offers insight on Vivek’s thinking process about success, not just in tech or basketball, but in business and life in general. Sacramento needs a burst of inspiration from this exact type of proven winner. He may not yet be a household name, but in the tech world and in the financial world he’s considered iconic. His revolutionary software in the 80s was what digitized Wall Street and put him on the path to becoming a multi-millionaire. 

While his career story is fascinating enough, Vivek’s brilliance can be more readily appreciated when watching his videos that give business tips as well as visions of 21st century business. Similar to Steve Jobs, he thinks outside the box and redefines whatever he’s working on, creating visionary products. Also like Steve, Vivek sees art as part of business. In fact, in one video he talks about business being run like a band. Last century’s business model, he suggests, was like a marching band, in which each player had to follow exact instructions, note for note and beat for beat. But Vivek sees this century’s business model for success to be more reflective of a jazz band, in which players get to improvise and be creative. 

Vivek was born in India in 1957. In college he studied electrical engineering and business and earned degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University.  In one of his videos he called himself  "unemployable" and that his focus was to start his own company, which turned out to be Teknekron Software Systems. In 1986 this company began to consult investment company Goldman Sachs on creating a software platform for Wall Street traders. The concept was called a "software bus," which combined several live data streams on one screen so that traders could gain a wealth of real time market information in a matter of seconds. By the following year several Wall Street firms were using his software.

Teknekron was bought out by Reuters in 1994. Three years later Vivek started a new company called TIBCO Software, in which he began using the same concept for other industries. Basically, he revolutionized software to handle multiple functions and components on one screen, as opposed to the clunky old world of toggling between screens.  After writing a few books on business success, he began to branch out into sports in 2010 when he became co-owner of the Golden State Warriors. In May of this year he announced his purchase of a majority stake in the Sacramento Kings, setting an NBA record of $534 million for the most expensive team in history. 

One of his most mind opening perspectives is how the tech world is full of inefficiency and waste as far as infrastructure. According to Vivek, 80 percent of a software program is related to code that talks to code to make code work while only 20 percent is the actual program. He sees this disparity changing in the future, speculating that China and India will be the main places where the bulk of code will be written at a fraction of the cost. He also projects that most left brain analytical functions will be handled by computers in the future. So what are techies supposed to do once the bulk of software programming is automated and outsouced? His answer is art. His point is that every person has their own unique identity and creative thinking to be an artistic collaborator in business. 

The new Kings owner also explains his simple three steps to winning at anything. First, you have to think out of the box instead of conforming to old playbooks. Second, you need to create your own rules that throw competitors off guard. Third, you need to work hard. It will be interesting to see how much of this philosophy becomes embedded into the Kings’ strategies. Vivek already has a little bit of his own personal experience as a basketball coach for his daughter’s team. Using full court press to throw off opponents, he was able to trounce teams one after the other. Yet, he’s a very mild mannered friendly guy. If he can bring this same spirit of innovation and success to the Kings, Sacramento will shine in the national spotlight and attract more amazing innovators and investors.

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