Beginning with Just $100 to Becoming a CEO: Decoding The Warrior Woman

Padmasree Warrior strongly believes breakthroughs happen when divergent viewpoints collide

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In the list of most powerful women in Silicon Valley, is Padmasree Warrior, 56, the CEO of NIO U.S. After graduating from IIT, Warrior left for an adventure far away from her home in India.

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She went to the United States to attend graduate school at Cornell University with only $100 and a one-way ticket and the rest is history now. At NIO U.S., they believe that the car will be the smartest device people will own.

This not only means that they have to provide cutting edge technology, but also means that they must approach every aspect of the design from a userfirst point of view. In the digital age, consumers expect a one-click experience to buy service and upgrade their vehicle.

"My job as CEO is to align and bring the best out of this diaspora of talent. Our team at NIO US is multi-domain, multi-generational and multi-cultural. I hired the first 100 people at NIO, knowing that they would hire the next 1000," says Warrior.

On disrupting the status quo, she says, "At NIO, we are thinking of developing a model which is more of a robot but looks like a beautiful highperformance car. We call it Car 3.0." She strongly believes breakthroughs happen when divergent viewpoints collide. She is quite deliberate about fostering diversity on her team with people from very different industries and backgrounds. She is the former Chief Technology and Strategy Officer (CTO) of Cisco Systems, and the former CTO of Motorola.

(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)