Rahul Saini doesn’t quite look like an arch-typical lead designer of One97. Dressed in jeans and blue shirt, he has the persona of a rockstar. Of course, a star he is… in designing just about everything in One97.
A veteran in One97 at a young age, Rahul is a “unique brand ambassador of the company” and is the one responsible for creating the brand of One97. “Though I always like to work behind the scenes, my main focus has always been to make the One97 brand more visible and visually stronger. Overtime, our designs have evolved into something hip and sophisticated.”
Rahul’s workday is anything but typical. He flashes a smile and says, “ I like to start my day with the last thing I did the previous day. But otherwise, I take things as they come and we don’t have any set routine. Sometimes we keep changing designs and sometimes it just clicks.”
Rahul is the kind of a leader who is unflappable and believes in inspiring his team to come up with original ideas. His strategy with his team is very simple – he gives them the necessary freedom and encourages them “to stay two steps ahead of competition”.
“I am very pleased that my team doesn’t copy designs and tries never-before-done things. All of us keep going back and forth in terms of drafts so that we only retain the best designs. We have an encouraging atmosphere here and we support one another even when things are not working out with someone. We are like one big family and we find success together.”
Hailing from Delhi, becoming a lead designer was a happy accident for Rahul. “I am blessed to have finally found my way into this. I had the right mentors in the early stage of my life who became my torchbearers. Since I was connected with the finest designers in India, I had to be part of the designing world.”
Without a doubt, Rahul seems totally in sync with what he has achieved for One97 and for himself. But it was his interest in mobile technology that proved to be the turning point in his career.
“Now looking back, I can say with confidence I was meant to do only this. For me, it is all about improvement and innovation. One97 as a company has provided me with the right working environment. We don’t rest until we achieve what we set out to – and that has resulted in One97 becoming the number 1 player in the mobile Internet space in India,” he says proudly but quickly adds, “At the end of the day, it is all about incubating creative ideas through trial and error. Vijay Shekar Sharma (MD of One97) is the one who pushes each one of us beyond the envelope and makes us achieve bigger things.”
With his brand-new innovation, VideoPind, he has indeed done that. As an early stage start-up incubated in One97, Rahul is the brains behind this fascinating app which has already become one of the most popular apps on the AppStore.
Talk about VideoPind and there is a sparkle of conviction in Rahul’s eyes. As he walks me through his new product, I can sense his sincerity and passion. “VideoPind intends to give its users the best videos with the finest user experience. So essentially, it acts as a filter that removes all the clutter and provides an incredible platform for browsing videos on your mobile phone.”
To say the least, Rahul’s job goes well beyond just developing new apps – he is involved in creating environmental graphics within One97 and is also responsible for all their offerings to the end user. In addition to the above, he has also initiated (and created) the iconic One97 calendar series. Since its launch four years back, the calendars have become such a roaring success that every year their numbers are increasing manifold.
When Rahul is not playing with design and technology, he is absolutely at peace rock climbing with his friends. “We are a group of people who love this sport. I think rock climbing is similar to life. One has to be aware of what is ahead or else you lose it,” he says matter-of-factly.
Apart from rock climbing, Rahul enjoys participating in everything in One97. He believes, “the culture of One97 is so vibrant and colourful just like their off-the-office events. We celebrate many things – right from the annual function and rafting trips to music events and festival days. For instance, Diwali is spectacular here, all the teams decorate their workspace as they please. Like any game, one team is chosen the winner. It all adds to the fantastic team spirit we have at One97”.
That is one of the many things that Rahul is proud about in One97. But if there is one thing that Rahul Saini doesn’t understand at all, it is mediocrity. For him, it is all about striving for excellence, setting a benchmark and attaining insurmountable heights… as a team! Connect with Rahul on Facebook