With Rajesh Setty on Life Beyond Code (EN)

How will “Beyond Code” help us?

I wrote “Beyond Code” based on my observations of the marketplace over 15 years living and working in three different continents. Here is some background:

What I observed clearly was the temptation for knowledge workers to go after learning the skills that are currently “hot” (in-demand) in the marketplace. The cycle remains the same and it lasts for a few years. Something is “hot” in the marketplace. Since too many people “gravitate” towards learning these skills, very soon there is an oversupply in that area or sometimes simply the marketplace moves towards something else. These knowledge workers now move on to the next thing in the marketplace. This seems like a fine option.

The real breakdown happens when these knowledge workers try to repeat the same ritual third or the fourth time in their life. By that time, they are close to their middle age. They have a series of commitments (family, health, children’s education etc.) that is taking away a bunch of time and they just can’t repeat this cycle as efficiently as they did the first time around. All of a sudden, they realize that they are in a hole and they attribute to it some marketplace shift that happened recently (example: Outsourcing, 9/11 etc.) In reality, they did not end up in that situation suddenly. It was their collective actions over 10-15 years that brought them to that position.

My point in “Beyond Code” is to urge knowledge workers to learn to balance “flawless delivery” of their current projects and “investment to build future capacity and power” simultaneously. Both are required and important.

I cover nine things or practices that will enable knowledge workers to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Ultimately if you don’t distinguish yourself, you face the risk of commoditization. This, in turn, will erode your value in the marketplace.

Is the book intended only for IT crowd?

Yes and No. The examples in the book are related to the IT crowd but the principles apply very much to knowledge workers in any industry. I say this because of all the emails that I have received from people in other industries. Although I don’t claim to an expert outside the IT domain, over years I have realized that knowledge workers in any industry have no choice but to distinguish themselves in the marketplace – first to survive and then to thrive.

Anything else you would like to say about the book?

The book is a short read and you can probably finish reading the book in less than three hours. I have carefully chosen about nine exercises that just helps put the learning into practice. If you are serious about the topic of distinguishing yourself, then I urge (request or beg) you to complete the exercises and not postpone working on them to a later date.

I have also written more than 900 articles on my blog that covers similar and related topics. There are also a set of free eBooks in the resources section of the blog. I would love to get feedback and comments on the book, blog and the eBooks.

What are your 3 favorite movies?

1. 24 (A TV show but I wish the movies were of this standard)
2. Shawshank Redemption
3. Hoosiers

What are your Top 3 brands?

I love many brands. If I have to pick three, here they are:
1. Apple: They make cool products
2. IDEO: They design cool products
3. SAS: They have a cool culture.

And with SAS we conclude the three part interview series with Raj. It enriched me
and hopefully all of you as well. Thanks Raj.

About Rajesh Setty:

Rajesh Setty is a serial entrepreneur, investor and author based in Silicon Valley. Rajesh is involved in several companies in US and India mostly in some combination of investor, advisor or operating executive. His latest book “Beyond Code” (foreword by Tom Peters) was published late 2005.

Photo by Claus Grünstäudl on Unsplash