Have you ever wondered how small things can leave a huge impact on us? a simple acquaintance, situation or a flicker of thought and your entire life can change dramatically. Meeting Varun Agarwal , co-founder Alma Mater was one such incidence in Lollypop’s journey that helped us pace quickly and meet the right people at the right time. Today we are considered among the TOP 5 UX/ UI Design studio of the country and are already in process of expanding to States, all of these in just span of 3 years. Of course one needs to be expert in the field but after that it is just about your attitude and habit towards learning and talking.
Back in the days when we had just started Lollypop, our office was just a cubicle in a sharing space that had just one table shared by me and one of my designers. Like every other normal day we were busy with projects and suddenly my phone buzzed; our first enquiry call from India and the client on other end thought that I was a freelancer. We spoke for a while and he suggested that he will drop by and talk. A very young guy in his twenties walked into our office bustling with high energy and aspiration beyond skies. He discussed his idea of the complete digital transformation of the business and was straight forward honest that he is evaluating couple other design studios also.
I am not sure if we connected that well on business front but we did connect as friends. After he left, I went online to check whom I was actually speaking to (honestly I was amused by his young spirits) and it turns out that he is the famous ‘Varun Agarwal’, a novelist of book titled “How I Braved Anu Aunty and a co-founder of million dollar company ‘Alma Mater’.
Designing for him was not an easy task and I swear there were times when I doubted my decision of designing for him (Pleasing him is harder than moving mountains!). But, we did find the sweet spot where his expectations were combined with users needs and innovation, and finally we designed the website and the design tool for automation that gave overwhelming results and was a super hit. Our trust equation was always high and his belief in us with his vision helped us a lot to ideate and design.
In the process, we had become extremely good friends and catching up on drinks was usual. Though he is extremely young to me, he has always been a mentor to us and I still remember how I had approached him to help me face the public for my first ever workshop, he was such a big help. In our usual catch ups, he introduced me to Dr. Varun Shetty, Surgeon, Narayana Health, (If I act superstitious, I would say ‘Varun’ works wonders for me!) which led me to Dr. Devi Shetty and the whole world of opportunities started unwrapping slowly. Till date Varun calls up and checks on us; he always takes some time out to discuss designs and Lollypop. He is by far the youngest mentor we have and we totally love him for his passion for design.
Here is the secret to catch Varun’s interest from my experience (just in case you want him on your project):
- Conference rooms and extremely formal presentations bores him to death.
- A glass of beer and a chilled out environment makes him talk business and explore ideas.
- He is extremely ambitious, wanting to build that next big thing.
- High on Smoke and high on thoughts.
- Extremely impulsive, if he likes it, he wants to implement it right away.
It’s not about age, it’s about your passion and definitely connections. As, I always say ‘world is our class and world is our client’, you never know how a random acquaintance can make an everlasting impact in your life. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Varun for such wonderful support and what better time when they are celebrating 7 years of success of Alma Mater. Here is wishing you all the success in building many amazing products and better user experiences.