Amber: Hi, welcome to BusinessMakers USA from San Antonio, Texas, brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Today, our guest is Ajay Tejwani of Digital Sapiens, Inc. Welcome to the show.
Ajay: Thank you so much, Amber.
Amber: Tell me about Digital Sapiens. I’m very intrigued by the name.
Ajay: Like Homo sapiens, like human beings, I came up with the concept of digital sapiens because we are digital beings. My experience has been working for Fortune 200 companies all my life. I’m an engineer with an MBA and I started in Qualcomm, and then moved to Home Depot, and then USA got me here to the Alamo city in 2004. There was something in me telling me that I need to do something different. This is not what I’m made to do.
Amber: And when you were an engineer, what were you doing inside these companies?
Ajay: I started doing my engineering stuff, I was a telecom engineer, so I was installing base stations and stuff. I traveled the world, I traveled around 11 countries, and then I said it was way too much and I should get into something more exciting like marketing. So, I got myself transferred to the marketing department.
Amber: Using both sides of your brain.
Ajay: Yeah, I was trying to. I was like, let’s be creative, because there’s a science to marketing too. The best part of it is that digital marketing is all about both being the creative person and then measuring what’s working and what’s not.
Amber: In real time.
Ajay: In real time. So, my journey started like that and then in 2008 after I finished my MBA, I said, you know, I cannot just continue down the same path of corporate ladder, climbing to the next level. I need to make a positive contribution to 5 million people or more before I leave earth. And how can I do that?
Amber: Lofty goal.
Ajay: Lofty goal. You’ve got to think big to make it big, right? So, I said I need to leave a footprint that my family can be proud of; that my father did this, or my husband did this, or my son did this; and money is such a, I don’t want to be so poor that I only have money in life. So, that’s what decided me to start something on my own, and I said that’s the only way I can make a difference where I can say I did it, started from ground zero. So, in 2008 I started at part-time, and full-time in 2011 was my full-time gig with this. What I did was that I made the purpose very clear to anybody joining us, saying that we are making a positive impact. So, we are not taking on clients or anybody else that doesn’t align with that purpose. That was very crucial to me, and to live the core values of integrity, passion, innovation, gratitude, and continuous learning.
Amber: And so, I know you do several things. You’re not just a client services company, although that is part of what you do.
Ajay: Absolutely. We started off with my consulting background because I was working for a big company and a lot of other companies wanted to know how they were innovating and being different. So, the first couple of years were just consulting, and then after the first couple of years when you start a company you realize, ok, what is the next step? Where do I take this now? And then we started developing some products and then having client services as well. You can create a strategy, Amber, and then who is going to execute it? So, why don’t we give them the full enchilada and say, you know what, we’re going to do the strategy, and we’re going to execute and show you the results. And then in the middle of all this, we’ve should have some cash cows like having our own product. So, we always keep coming up with ideas to create new products. One of our products is for reputation management called 1 Question Reputation App, that allows customers to give real time feedback. So, if it’s positive, it shows up on your website, and if it’s negative, it gives you a chance as a business owner to fix the issue before your customer leaves.
Amber: What are some other products that you guys have developed over the years?
Ajay: We have developed membership products. My girls used to go to karate, so I said, there should be some solution for that. So, I created a solution for their summer camps for karate classes, for membership and stuff like that. Another solution we have, we are currently working on some AI based solutions for the healthcare industry, artificial intelligence that allows diabetic and other patients to interact with an app that knows them and can react to their situation.
Amber: So, you have a diverse portfolio of products, it sounds like. So, what you do on the client services side, what is an example of what you do for them?
Ajay: Typically, it starts with really understanding the client. Like, what are your goals, what are your current challenges? A lot of companies will say, you know what, we have this cookie cutter solution for all our clients. I would beg to differ and say, you know what, we need to understand you. How are you different than your competitors? What are your challenges? How is your internal organization aligned to make this change or not? If you cannot make that change I’m not going to recommend that to you as a strategy. Once we understand the client and we understand their brand, then we create strategies around it to meet their goals. For example, the goals have to be smart.
Amber: Right; realistic, achievable.
Ajay: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound. So, what it means to them is that we are looking at you for launching a relationship, we are setting goals that are realistic, and we are going to create a strategy along with the execution plan that helps you reach that goal. If you’re not able to reach the goal, and we come and tell our clients that we are able to deliver at least 3:1 return on investment. If we don’t give them 3:1, we do our services at no cost.
Amber: How many employees do you have?
Ajay: We have 8 employees here. We have 15 employees in Dubai, and we have 10 employees in India. Serbia, we have 3 employees right now, so that is our make up of the company.
Amber: Ok. So, you have offices all over the world. What are some of the reasons that you’re so spread out?
Ajay: A few things. First is that I have traveled a lot and my goal was to travel to 50 countries before I turned 50. So, I have 5 more years left before I can reach that goal. I am at 26 right now, so I plan to do 11 this year, hopefully, because once you go to Europe you can cover a lot of countries there. Just go on a train to a lot of countries. The second thing is I was raised in Dubai, so I have an affiliation there and I found there was going to be a good opportunity for us to develop an IBU, Independent Business Unit there. So, we have a lot of clients as well. It’s not just an execution office. We started appreciating the fact that there’s going to be some global challenges, but there’s going to be some global expertise that we can think globally and act locally.
Amber: So, is it to service clients in those markets?
Amber: Ok, that makes sense. So, what is your vision of the future?
Ajay: The vision is very clear. We want to be one of the top digital marketing agencies in the next five years in Texas. The big, hairy, audacious goal, the bag, as they call it, that is to be the top digital agency in the US in the next 15-20 years.
Amber: Well, good luck. We’ll be staying in touch to see where your progress is at, and if you’ve made 50 countries.
Amber: Well, thank you for joining us, Ajay. It’s really a pleasure.
Ajay: Thanks, Amber.
Amber: Once again, this is BusinessMakers USA in San Antonio, Texas. We really appreciate you joining us today.
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