Hiver Founder Niraj Ranjan Seeks Solace in Music
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Niraj Ranjan founded Hiver along with Nitesh Nandy in 2011, driven by the vision of turning email into a powerful business communication platform. Ranjan has been instrumental in scaling up Hiver, which currently has 1,100+ customers in more than 30 countries. He took his first entrepreneurial plunge with Nandy when the two started Mobicules, an app and web development company. Entrepreneur finds out the lessons he learnt along the way.
How often do you play guitar?
I play a bit every day, a lot during the weekends. I find playing guitar a lot more relaxing than ‘passive’ activities like reading a book or watching TV. Once you have learnt to play a piece, it’s relaxing to play it again and again, tweaking and changing it all the time.
What have been your learnings in pulling the strings together?
Learning to play a song or a tune is mentally demanding, and if you enjoy it, it is a great digression from the stresses of trying to get a business off the ground. I would say playing the guitar has made a significant contribution to my productivity and general mental makeup.
Stop trying to segregate ‘work’ and ‘life’. I think trying to get to work-life balance by strictly segregating work and life into watertight compartments can be stressful, especially for entrepreneurs and senior executives. What works better for me is to be at peace with the fact that work will manage to seep into the rest of life, and to compensate for that by having a bit of rest of life to seep into work.
Entrepreneur you admire?
Anand Mahindra, for his focus on building good products, ambition, disregarding conventional wisdom and for his amazing personal brand.
Which tech company do you admire the most?
I love Slack for the product they have built and the brand they have created. It takes a lot to build a non-consumer product that is as ubiquitous as Slack.
Noise cancelling headphones, given how much I travel these days. A TC Ditto guitar looper is a great companion.
I hit the gym four days a week. On the other three days, I try to keep the general level of activity high.
Favourite music icon?
Bob Dylan, U2 and AR Rahman — artists who have reinvented themselves multiple times.
Book you are reading currently?
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Your leadership style?
Get out of the way and let people you hired do what you hired them to do.
(This article was first published in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)