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Dropout outsources work to America
Sheela Bhatt
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November 01, 2006

Bhuj -- that earthquake-ravaged but still beautiful town in the Kutch district of Gujarat -- is an unlikely place to come across an example of 'outsourcing.' And yet, that is what a 22-year old school dropout has managed to do -- outsource his work to America.

In a town located in the remotest corner of Western India, with a population of a mere 2 lakh residents, Daksh Pandhi is earning hundreds of dollars per week by using, improving and exploiting products manufactured by Microsoft. This young man is a unique, self-made professional who is filling the gap between software developers and users.

His love affair with computers began at age 3, when he learnt alphabets on a computer keyboard even before joining a nursery. His father, Mahim Pandhi, was a senior journalist who wrote extensively on science and technology. It is from him that Daksh inherited a fancy for computers, eventually turning it into a serious endeavour.

Daksh found schooling similar to 'concentration camp'. He hated math, Sanskrit and the heartless discipline. In 1997, after his parents gifted him a new computer, he decided to pursue his interest in graphics and animation. "I like computers and literature," he says. "So, to pursue my interest, I decided to leave school in 1999. I consider October 4 of that year as my 'day of freedom', when I told my father I would no longer go to school."

Mahim and wife Bharti agreed, because they were aware that Daksh was sought after in the small city for any IT-related work. In fact, his dad adds, they were "waiting for this day!"

Many relatives thought it was a bad idea, of course. Some assumed he was bound to fail. But these comments only served to inspire Daksh. He had, by then, helped develop and design many Web sites, including one for a local nature cure centre and some software for a group of architects. Profits at the nature cure centre went up by 250 per cent after its attractive site was launched.

Without books, teachers or instructors, Daksh learnt everything online. He learnt computer graphics and the art of making software more user-friendly. His only handicap in those crucial years was the absence of an efficient Internet connection in his quiet city bordering the great desert of Kutch. At times, his 115-kilobytes-per-second line would take 7 to 15 days to download mere 2GB files. Today, his BSNL connection offers him speeds of 1024 KBPS.

In 1999, Daksh founded Nukeation Studios and began seeking international assignments for graphics design. Being an avid reader, he stumbled upon the Dragonlance series of books designed by Matt Stawicki. When he visited Stawicki's site, he found it lacking a punch. He e-mailed the author offering his services. Stawicki agreed and the site was redesigned in Bhuj.

The real breakthrough in Daksh's search for big opportunities came when he wrote to Carl Franklins of Connecticut. Carl is a popular host of an online radio show for programmers and developers. Daksh was a regular listener. He offered to redo his Web site with little expectation of getting contacts from Carl's amazingly wide network of fans.

Carl agreed and also helped him in a big way, getting him clients. As the radio show was supported by Microsoft, he forwarded Daksh contacts of more than six Microsoft regional directors -- external brand ambassadors who help market Microsoft products amongst the highly technical community. The directors took Daksh's help to design their own Web sites as well as a few community events. Carl also helped him get in touch with Praveen Srivatsa, Microsoft's regional director based in Bangalore and Chris Auld of New Zealand.

Daksh, who has never been in aircraft, never travelled beyond 300 kilometres from his hometown, or ventured out alone without his parents, established his name in the IT world.

He is currently working hard developing software named NukeBall for developers. He is also concentrating on pushing the limits of WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), and believes this latest Microsoft product will change the world. Daksh is sold out on Microsoft products because he thinks the company takes into account need and sensitivity of software developers.

"My only demand from life is that I sleep well," he says. "Otherwise, I have no addictions. My little success is due to my love for freedom. I dislike limits. I don't like offices. I operate from home and do things about which I feel comfortable."

Daksh is unlikely to move out of his town because, he claims, he loves clouds and the hilltops on the outskirts of Bhuj. "It doesn't limit my work, business or creativity in any way," he adds. "After working hard, I go up to the hills and enjoy looking at clouds of various sizes and colours."

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Number of User Comments: 25

Sub: Dropout outsources work to USA

This rag is really more about putting out feel-good crap than about accuracy or journalistic standards. I often ask whether there is an even editor ...

Posted by labrea

Sub: Misleading title

The title is misleading.Should be other way round. Moreover, he is one of many freelancers, so whats great about this? I too worked as a ...

Posted by cirus

Sub: hats off to Dakash

Hats off to Dakash... I feel proud of Dakash and that he is a Indian. And I feel proud to be Indian....

Posted by skottikalapoodi

Sub: Success is do not require reservation

Hi! This should be also for politicians who supports reservation in every sections. Reservetation cannot make them succeed, it only increases gap between them and ...

Posted by Ankur Shah

Sub: Bhuj's pride

He is born genius. His limit is beyond the sky.

Posted by manju


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