CTzen Stories: Jacob Joseph on the Power and Potential of Taking Risks

CTzen Stories: Jacob Joseph on the Power and Potential of Taking Risks

Everyone has a story waiting to be heard. We’re highlighting some of the amazing stories from within CleverTap — from our very own CTzen’s — because we believe in the amazing people we work with every day and want to share the exciting work culture that we’ve built together. Presenting: the CTzen’s of CleverTap.

Jacob Joseph: In His Own Words

Certain types of people enjoy taking risks, while others prefer stability and are averse to any risk at all. I’ve always been the first kind and therefore the same has been reflected in my professional career. 

I’ve been through many transitions. I’ve been an investment banker, consultant, fund manager, and now a data scientist. What’s remained constant is my love for numbers and my continued amazement at the power of data and what it can do. 

During my stint as a fund manager, I was exposed to data models which led me to develop an interest in data analytics. I was driven by the ability these mathematical models had and the impact of what they could create when applied to several obstacles across industries—apart from the typical application in financial assets trading. 

The Pivot

Back in 2011, the awareness about data models was low in India, but with my research, I could see its potential value. The more I learned about data analytics, the more I wanted to dive further into it. At the same time, I was losing interest and had reached a saturation point in investment banking. 

It made me restless, and I discussed it at home with my wife. Knowing that I was always a risk-taker, she supported my decision and strongly believed in me and helped me solidify my thoughts. Around the same time, I was blessed with my daughter in December 2011, and that was another motivating factor to give it my best shot. With support from my partner and a surge to explore what I strongly believed in, I quit my job in January 2012. 

Even though my immediate family was supportive of my decision, a lot of my relatives thought it wasn’t right for me to leave a well-settled job, especially with a newborn’s responsibility on my shoulders. Fortunately for me, I discussed the same with my boss, and he agreed to give me a sabbatical. He gave me an option to come back if things didn’t go as planned. I took this as an indication that I was taking the right path and decided to put in my best efforts.

Diving Headfirst Into Data Analytics

I didn’t come from a mathematics or statistics or engineering background and therefore decided to learn everything from scratch. I studied things that I learned back in school and started learning from websites offering free courses. I immersed myself deeply and decided to give the learning process two years. I took several courses in programming and also began participating in hackathons. 

The two years that I had given myself extended by another year, and during one of my courses, I was introduced to the opportunity at CleverTap. When I was approached for this opportunity, CleverTap was at its initial stages, and I saw that as an amazing opportunity where my skill set could contribute greatly to the company’s growth. 

I joined CleverTap in 2015. I was given a huge responsibility to build the Data Science team from scratch. The product space is different from services and, therefore, extremely enticing. 

Technology Advancing

The pace at which technology is advancing is breathtaking. Both the processing power and algorithms that derive meaning from data have vastly improved. Can you believe if I told you a couple of decades back that I can auto-tag your images or auto complete a sentence. These things seem trivial today. But what does the future look like? One of the key bottlenecks today is the time taken to build and serve predictions from very heavy machine learning models.

With the advancement in quantum computing, I am betting we will not only be able to process much larger sizes of data but also drastically reduce the time to build and serve even bigger and better models.

I am amazed at how much automation has taken place over the years, and so far the journey has been truly enlightening. We have one of the leanest teams in the company—about four of us handling a huge set of data—and this is possible only because the processes have been developed and automated to a large extent. The impact of the solutions we provide on our clients’ businesses is significant and I am proud to see the difference  CleverTap  has been able to make in the last six years.

Achieving Goals Means Taking Risks

If you want to achieve your goals, you have to take risks. I can now see how self-belief, perseverance, and family support have helped me live and fulfill my passion. 

I believe in the process of ‘unlearning’ to constantly keep discovering and learning new things and therefore have decided to explore all my passions. Recently, I developed a keen interest in martial arts, and I have been practicing it regularly for the last three years. All I know is, there’s no shortcut to success. 

I want to sum it up with a quote by Jane Goodall: “If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.”

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Last updated on August 17, 2022