Mr. Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected telecom inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker, and policy maker who has spent 49 years in information and communications technology (ICT) and related global and national developments.
Credited with having laid the foundation for India’s telecommunications and technology revolution of the 1980s, Mr. Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide. During his tenure as Advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Mr. Pitroda led six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy production, and oil seeds. He was also the founder and first Chairman of India’s Telecom Commission. In these plural roles, Mr. Pitroda helped revolutionize India’s development philosophies and policies with a focus on access to technology as the key to social change.
As a way to induce the second phase of India’s technology revolution, in 2005 Mr. Pitroda headed India’s National Knowledge Commission (2005-2009), to provide a blueprint of reform for the knowledge-related institutions and infrastructure for the 21st century in the country.
Recently, Mr. Pitroda served as Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation, with the rank of a Cabinet Minister. He serves as the Chairman of the Smart Grid Task Force, as well as the committees to reform public broadcasting, modernize railways, deliver e-governance, and other developmental activities. He is also a founding Commissioner of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development and Chairman of the International Telecommunication Union’s m-Powering Development Board that looks to empower developing countries with the use of mobile technology.
My Definition Of Success | Success is all about the ability to decide what kind of work you enjoy doing and the satisfaction and fulfillment derived from it. This definition of mine has not changed over time.
I Am Driven By | Excitement to work on different interesting and challenging things.
My Highlights | Opportunity to work in two great democracies of the world, simultaneously- America and India.
The Difference Between Good And Great | The amount of time, energy, and passion they spend on what they want to do.
A Key Talent | Ability to love people and appreciate the best in everyone while ignoring their shortcomings. To replicate this, first you have to be comfortable with yourself and love what you do. Then you have to respect others for what they are and genuinely learn to love them like your family and friends.
Principles I Live By | Character, morals, ethics, truth, discipline, hard work
Critical Skills I Develop | Constantly learning from my environment, others, and quality reading to review, reflect, and redefine yourself.
How I Use My Mind | Be focused, consistent, and determined with perseverance to pursue against all odds.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Never be in a hurry to celebrate success nor be discouraged by failures. What goes up must come down, and if you are down, you must come up. Keep doing what needs to be done. Don’t worry about destinations and results, but enjoy the journey in the process.
Dealing With Doubt | Build better self and self-esteem to look for strength and motivation inside and not outside. After great success in India I had a heart attack, I was broke financially, and my friend Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi got assassinated. That was the lowest point in my life. I had no other option but to rebuild, redefine, and redirect myself to build a new foundation. It was possible only through positive attitude, determination, and hard work.
Performing At My Peak | You don’t have to perform all the time at your peak. It is ok to have peaks and valleys in life.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I normally read the WSJ and the Economist and watch, when time permits, PBS news.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | At my age of 73, I want to focus on making the world better, safer, richer, and cleaner for my children and grandchildren to enjoy.
The Meaning Of Life | Work and love.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Don’t trade anything for your character.
Advice On Building Wealth | Don’t focus on growing rich and building wealth only, but focus on building a good self, being a good human being with capacity to work hard and love.
I Am Inspired By | Gandhi and Einstein.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | My two great children, and hundreds of great friends and family members.