Heading for the heights

clock • 3 min read

Reminiscing with family and friends in a mountain village could well be the top way to end one's days, according to Ankush Korla

What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?

My first job was selling computer-aided design (CAD) software to major automotive companies for a reseller. I spent four years studying engineering in the full expectation of becoming an R&D software engineer. However, I attended a campus recruitment drive given by a sales company at uni, switched to selling - and have never looked back.

Planes, trains or automobiles?

As Paul Theroux writes in The Great Railway Bazaar: "The train can reassure you in awful places - a far cry from the anxious sweats of doom the aeroplane inspires... or the paralysis that afflicts the car passenger."

I have done three-day, 2,000-mile one-way train treks from my university in south India to visit my parents near the Himalayas in the north. It's the best and certainly the most romantic way to see a country.

What sport should be in the Olympics but isn't?

It has to be cricket. Here's a game that brings joy to billions of people around the world, one that manages to combine an enormously rich heritage with an ability to adapt with the times. I prefer the Twenty20 format, though. It would be difficult to squeeze test matches into the Olympics fortnight.

Should Prince William shave his head?

Why not? I'm sure if he shaved the royal barnet he'd raise millions for good causes. And besides, it's not like he's got a lot of hair to lose.

If you had a week to live, how would you fill the time?

With my family and friends in a mountain village, walking the hills and reminiscing about the great life I had.

Is IT well taught in schools?

We need improvement to catch up with today's "touch" generation. Many children today have smartphones or tablets, so education must incorporate these latest devices and interfaces. IT should not become a siloed subject at school. In my opinion, technology can bring huge benefits whether for art, science or English. Mobile technology is bringing about a revolution in efficiency and productivity in the business world; why should it not bring similar benefits to schools?

Print or online news?

Online and Twitter on work days, nothing on Saturday, followed by the Sunday papers in bed - and my weekly Economist to try to make sense of the world.

Do you use social media?

Yes, more and more, for both personal and business purposes. Twitter will tell you this morning what will be in the papers tomorrow, and is indispensable in our industry.

Do you think your online persona accurately reflects who you are?

There's the famous saying: "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog." You can create any identity you like for yourself online. I think it's important to be as honest and open as possible, and I hope my online persona gives a good reflection of my character, passions and interests. I'm hoping also that this interview will be a step in the right direction.

What does the channel most need to learn in order to succeed this year?

Customer centricity is key. The channel needs to get closer to the customers, understand their problems from a business and process perspective and clearly demonstrate the business value of their solutions.

It needs to be much less of a technology pitch and more a collaborative process that creates real business value.

Where would you like life to take you next?

I like to think I know, but it does have a habit of throwing surprises - and life is no fun without surprises.

If you had your time again, what career would you choose?

I think I would be a film director. It combines so many disciplines, inspires creativity in people and it is filled with drama - both off-screen and on.

Ankush Korla is EMEA channel and alliances director at OpenText

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