#200: Sidu Ponnappa on why culture is a 'dangerous label', hiring a dream team of makers and engineers, and applying product thinking to solve for attrition

March 10, 2022
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Welcome to the 200th episode of The Shape of Work podcast. 

In this episode, we’ll be speaking to Sidu Ponnappa who, as described by him, is an engineer by training, a manager by profession, an entrepreneur at heart, and a programmer for pleasure.

Having been a serial entrepreneur, Sidu's last startup, C42 Engineering, was acquired in 2015 by GO-JEK Indonesia (now Pt. AKAB) -one of the most valued and on-demand technology platforms in the world. He then spearheaded the engineering team in GoJek for six years.

His 30-year-long experience as a tech entrepreneur has many lessons — on failures, entrepreneurship, and leadership — for anyone aspiring to strike out on their own.

From making complicated concepts accessible to helping rethink the possibilities of creating an engineering brand for hiring at GoJek, his fusion of data and storytelling have made him a self-taught thought leader. 

Our conversation with Sidu covers a litany of insights:

  • How to hire a team of makers: things to look for when hiring engineers
  • How technical stack choices at GoJek made it efficient to attract, hire, and manage the cream of the crop
  • Dealing with engineers who fear their future employment prospects due to the shift in the tech stack
  • What an organization wants to see in the take-home interview and how it is it almost like an assessment of the company
  • How did Gojek turn down its undesired employee attrition to 2% through product thinking
  • Why culture is one of the ‘dangerous labels’
  • Unlimited leaves vs a fixed number
  • Should you use the word ‘family’ at work?

Follow Sidu on LinkedIn and Twitter

Podcast Host: Kartik Mandaville, CEO of Springworks
Produced by: Priya Bhatt

Episode Transcript

Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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