Sep 12, 2023

Asokan Ashok: Unfolding A New Era In Mobile Technology

How Asokan Ashok turned feedback into a blueprint for success

Asokan Ashok: Unfolding A New Era In Mobile Technology

Interview multiple candidates

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Search for the right experience

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Ask for past work examples & results

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Vet candidates & ask for past references before hiring

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Once you hire them, give them access for all tools & resources for success

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Asokan Ashok embarked on his professional journey as an Embedded Systems Engineer, crafting intricate software for embedded controller systems. "I delved into operating system internals," Asokan recalls, "building platforms, creating innovative application solutions, and over time, I found myself plumbing operating systems, writing linkers and compilers." Such extensive technical work may sound daunting to the average individual, but for Asokan, it was just the beginning.

It was during his tenure at Ericsson that a spark of business interest ignited. Observing gaps in their product range, Asokan was handed the pivotal role of evaluating tech firms. "I embarked on a business journey, aligning products with portfolios." And as the story goes, after leaving his mark on behemoths like Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung, 2015 marked a turning point. Asokan recalls, "I took the leap to establish my own path." Today, he stands at the helm of two thriving enterprises, showcasing a seamless marriage between technological acumen and strategic entrepreneurship.

Yet, every journey has its tales of hurdles and triumphs. UnfoldLabs was born from Asokan's fervor for transformative product development. "The driving force behind its inception,” he says, “was the desire to create transformative user experiences that could transform the world." But like any startup tale, the path wasn't devoid of challenges. Building a team with a "can-do" mindset, gaining initial traction, and navigating through negative feedback—each served as a stepping stone. It's here where Asokan's perspective stands out. "Negative feedback became a catalyst for introspection and refinement," he reveals. The company's embrace of feedback, both positive and negative, has been central to its success.

Peering at Asokan's impressive resume elucidates his diverse contributions to the tech world. Beyond his role as the Founder & CEO of UnfoldLabs, his 30+ years of experience spans from senior management roles at global tech giants to serving on the boards of startups like SoftClouds and neXva. His accolades—ranging from being a "Top Tech Awards 2019" nominee to his company being recognized among the "Top 30 Most Innovative Companies in the USA"—mirror his expertise and contributions.

His published patents and authored articles paint a portrait of a leader who is as technically skilled as he is business-savvy. But if you're looking for labels, it's tough to pin just one on Asokan. Engineer? Sure. Entrepreneur? Definitely. But at his core, Asokan is a passionate advocate for technology, innovation, and strategic vision—whether it's through angel investing, leading startups, or imparting knowledge at major tech conferences.

In today's tech-driven era, it's figures like Asokan Ashok who remind us that with the right blend of expertise and vision, one can truly unfold new paradigms in the industry. Let's delve into his journey that straddles both worlds.

Your company, UnfoldLabs, has been recognized for its innovative solutions in Mobile & Cloud Platform Technologies. Can you discuss a particular project or product that you feel embodies the company's commitment to innovation?

UnfoldLabs stands distinguished for its inventive prowess in Mobile & Cloud Platform Technologies. A striking manifestation of this commitment is "SecureME," our ground-breaking Android kiosk and lockdown solution. Empowered with personalized kiosk modes (MDM), it adeptly resolves security concerns in corporate offices and schools. Our product's resounding success, with over 200K+ downloads, reflects its utility to customers and its transformative impact. SecureME encapsulates UnfoldLabs' dedication to pioneering solutions that revolutionize security paradigms, exemplifying our pursuit of innovation at its zenith.

Having served in leadership positions at companies like Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia, how have those experiences shaped your approach to technology management at UnfoldLabs?

Drawing from my leadership roles at prominent technology giants like Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia, my approach to technology management at UnfoldLabs is deeply influenced. These experiences have honed my understanding of innovation, market dynamics, and customer-centricity. From Samsung's drive for cutting-edge consumer electronics to Motorola's emphasis on mobile communication advancements, and Nokia's legacy in telecommunication, I've imbibed the value of staying agile, fostering collaboration, and adapting to evolving tech landscapes. These experiences guide me to steer UnfoldLabs with a strategic vision, fostering innovation, and ensuring our solutions align with industry trends while always keeping customer needs at the forefront.

As a serial entrepreneur and high-tech inventor, what are the core principles that guide your decision-making process in starting new ventures?

My decision-making process in launching new ventures is steered by innovation, market demand, and feasibility that can transform humankind and help create a better world. I prioritize identifying unmet needs, crafting unique solutions, and ensuring sustainable business models. By fostering creativity, addressing real-world challenges, and maintaining practicality, I aim for impactful and enduring success in the high-tech landscape.

How does UnfoldLabs forge strategic alliances with other tech companies or industry stakeholders? Can you provide an example of a successful partnership?

A notable example is our partnership with SoftClouds, an Oracle Platinum Partner. This collaboration enables the delivery of cutting-edge cloud, mobile, and digital solutions. By combining UnfoldLabs creativity with SoftClouds industry expertise, clients benefit from enhanced profitability and improved customer experiences. Through joint efforts in Oracle and Salesforce implementation, custom App/ERP/SaaS development, the alliance empowers clients to achieve their business goals effectively.

With over 30 years of international experience, how do you leverage global perspectives in driving the strategic direction of UnfoldLabs?

With a rich background in prominent tech firms, I harness three decades of global exposure to steer UnfoldLabs. By infusing international insights, we refine UnfoldLabs strategic trajectory. And by capitalizing on our pioneering products in mobile, cloud, and software tech, we align innovation with market needs. From enhancing mobile efficiency to safeguarding data and cherishing memories through cutting-edge solutions, UnfoldLabs remains committed to impactful and forward-looking product development.

As a serial entrepreneur who also sits on the board of directors/advisors of some technology start-ups, what advice do you often give to new tech entrepreneurs, and what common challenges do you see them facing?

I consistently emphasize the importance of pinpointing a real problem and devising solutions that enhance human well-being.

To budding tech entrepreneurs, I stress concentrating on problem-solving over fixating on technology. Prioritizing customers is paramount, urging them to engage rapidly with end users. Common challenges include losing sight of the core problem and neglecting customer needs, both of which I encourage vigilance against.

As a respected speaker at international conferences, how do you approach sharing your knowledge with a wider audience, and what topics are you most passionate about discussing?

As a prominent speaker at global conferences, I engage with a diverse audience by simplifying intricate concepts while emphasizing real-world applications. My passion lies in discussing emerging technologies and mobile innovation. By blending technical insights with relatable examples, I strive to make complex ideas accessible to all. This approach fosters greater understanding and excitement among attendees, enabling them to grasp the transformative potential of these dynamic fields. Speaking to the audience, connecting to the way they would understand is one of the most important aspects of my engagement skills.

Looking back at your prolific career, what are some key lessons you've learned, challenges you've overcome, and accomplishments that stand out? How have they shaped the leader you are today?

When facing hurdles, I've learned to adopt a multidimensional perspective, envisioning solutions from diverse angles and mirroring alternate viewpoints. Effective communication with my team and stakeholders has been pivotal in clarifying uncertainties. Responsible for ensuring high-quality outcomes, I've strived to lead my team adeptly. Notably, I earned distinctions such as “Entrepreneur of the Year” from Stevie Awards and recognition among the "World's 10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs Making a Difference" by World’s Leaders Magazine. These accomplishments underscore my leadership and affirm that a successful team mirrors its leader's prowess, shaping the leader I stand as today.

Images courtesy of: Asokan Ashok

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