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Punit Soni Tries To Bring Google’s Culture To Flipkart

May 16, 2015 - Written By Cory McNutt

This past September when Punit Soni announced that he was leaving Google after being onboard for eight years, most recently serving with the Motorola division, he made no mention as to where he would be going or what he would be doing.  He was a big influence at Motorola and very active in the G+ community, often keeping users in the loop when Motorola updates or new products would be announced.  His presence will be missed and it is hoped Motorola will still keep consumers updated in the same manner as Punit Soni did.  Early in March, Punit Soni made it known that he was leaving to become the Chief Product Officer (CPO) for Flipkart where he will be tasked with turning them into a “world class product and engineering company.”

Since arriving at Flipkart, Punit Soni has tried to foster the same sort of work atmosphere found at Google.  Some companies believe that a small group of people at the top should make all of the decisions and then tell the workers what to do.  A Google-like atmosphere believes that great ideas can come from any employee, so they foster that type of working relationship. Rutvik Doshi, a former Google product manager said, “Google recognizes the fact that innovation doesn’t lie in the hands of one or two leaders and created an environment where every individual is empowered to create something new.”  Soni adds, “If I let people make calls and assume responsibility, it will be an egalitarian organization…that’s the kind of organization that I’d like to build.  Google has gone a long way down that path.”  This goes hand-in-hand with what Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt wrote in his latest book, “How Google Works,” about their success and ability to keep engineers happy by this rather unique business culture.

Flipkart already has their own existing culture and Nirmala Menon, founder of Interweave Consultancy said, “It is not easy to change an existing culture overnight.  A startup will bring in every resource they have and try to accommodate but bringing in a Google culture should not lead to misfits that impact the firm.”  She believes, as does Punit Soni, that Flipkart founders have been trying to push the Google type philosophy from day one, so Punit Soni may have an easy job on his hands. In fact, Punit Soni is not the only former Google employee trying to replicate their former work environment – Nikesh Arora, now a top executive at SoftBank and Hugo Barra who is global vice-president at Xiaomi would like to foster that same Google atmosphere in their new companies where Bara said, “Small teams do great things.”