TalkingHeadz with Ram Menghani of NEC

by Dave Michels

NEC is a brand I’ve admired for a long time. I cherished my 17″ NEC MultiSync monitor in the 90s as well as so many other NEC products. I’ve followed its UC solutions closely over the decades.

NEC, like Avaya, goes back to the very beginning of telecom. NEC today is a diversified, global technology leader. When I think of telecom, I think of UCaaS. When NEC thinks of telecom it also thinks of undersea cables, satellites, high speed networks, and more.

As far as I can tell, the man behind the NEC UNIVERGE brand, is Ram Menghani. I’ve known him for at least 10 years. I’ve been to his current and prior office in Dallas many times. We’ve met here in Boulder, at many NEC events around the world, and we even made it to Japan once.

Ram has always impressed me. He inherently understands what everyone needs and works to ensure their success – be it product managers, customers, partners, or analysts. While answering questions or addressing concerns, he always takes a moment to get updates on personal matters that he somehow remembers.

He’s an excellent spokesman for NEC – he’s technical, business-oriented, explains things thoroughly, and as  you might expect from an Indian in Dallas at a Japanese company, he’s also very diplomatic.


Evan Kirstel 0:00
Hi. And welcome to Talking Heads. We have a spectacular discussion today with Ron magani, VP at NEC Corporation of America. But first, Dave, how are you?

Dave Michels 0:22
I’m doing good. How you doing?

Evan Kirstel 0:24
I’m good. So I wonder where we both work at home by ourselves. If you ever thought about a co op working, you know, like, we work

Dave Michels 0:32
well as you know, I’m, I’m about to move and my office at my new home is going to be approximately 5% of the size of my old office. So it’s an interesting question, I might have to give some serious thought to, I don’t know, I’m kind of anti commute. But there’s so many of these spaces, I guess you can get one pretty close to your home almost wondering where you live? Have you done? What have you done a co working space

Evan Kirstel 0:56
I’ve been to we work many times. And the reason I bring up the topic is it’s all in the news again. So the former WeWork CEO, Adam Newman, who failed spectacularly with WeWork and essentially blew up the company in amazing fashion with Softbank has gotten another new 350 million investment in a another co working co living community called flow. That’s a pretty, pretty spectacular amount of money to come out of a failure. What are we doing wrong, David? We’re more important thing. What am I doing? Yeah,

Dave Michels 1:32
most people tend to fail down and he somehow managed to fail. But you know, I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Elizabeth Holmes. But you know, she Elizabeth Holmes was a fraud and broke the law. He didn’t actually do that. He was just a really good salesman, and really good salesmen are valuable. I would say that he has kind of been proven right. It failed before the pandemic and the pandemic kind of, maybe we don’t need to go back to the headquarters office, but maybe we just need a place to go. So I think he’s been more or less been proven, right? I don’t really understand this new business as much. But I will say that commercial real estate is a dumpster fire right now. And quite honestly, that’s the best time you’re supposed to invest in stuff when it’s a dumpster fire or maybe a little after the fire is out. So all right,

Evan Kirstel 2:16
well, I’m just gonna have to find a spectacular failure that I can lose my revenue, mostly as you do. Okay, well, that’s smaller failures, but I think I need a big one to really boost my street cred. Hopefully not on this episode, but which we’ll jump into now. All right,

god 2:31
talking. It is a semi monthly podcast with interviews of the top movers and shakers and enterprise communications and collaboration, your host Dave Michaels and Evan Kirkstall, both of which offer extraordinary services including research, analysis and social media marketing. You can find them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or at talking That’s points with a Z and Evan That’s Kr s t e l. Today we have with us Rehman Ghani, the Vice President, a vice president, I don’t know there’s lots of vice presidents. They’re a vice president at NEC Corporation of America. Welcome ROM.

Unknown Speaker 3:09
Thank you, Dave. And thank you, Evan, for inviting me to talk to you about many topics that we’ll go through. So I appreciate the opportunity.

Dave Michels 3:17
We’re just gonna have one one question and then we’re done. No, no, no, no, what this is gonna be a great conversation. So I want to start wrong. I’ve known you for a long time. I’m just trying to think about this last night, that at least a decade, I think well over. And that entire time. You’ve been at one company at NEC this entire time, that’s really rare in this industry. Are you as on hireable as Evan is that the issue?

Unknown Speaker 3:40
That’s a great observation, the so that’s unheard of in this age. But fortunately, the way I have survived to stay with one company with a few years of some startups, and this is a big global giant. And the advantage there is, though it’s one company, within that company, you have many different companies. So being in the technical field, I am always trying to join in the leading edge of the business and NEC provides that so I did move from one business group to another business group and then continued to stay with NEC and especially lead specially in the unified communication which has changed so much. It creates more excitement for me to stay with one company and help leave that. So that’s the reason I have continued to stay there. And I love Japan. I love Japanese company and that’s another area that is important to me. Yeah, I

Evan Kirstel 4:37
would agree about Japan Japanese culture, Japanese food, Dave and I are big fans. But 20 years at NEC that’s a lot of product life cycles. So what are those some of the more memorable and forgettable products that you worked on?

Unknown Speaker 4:50
Excellent question. So when we when I started with NEC as an engineer, I started supporting developing products like A new digital switches. So NEC was one of the company who design the initial digital switches which are very famous. But immediately after that you had Cisco driving ROI. So that gave me an opportunity to dive into why working with companies like natural microsystem, and others to bring in a lot of products there, then you had the voicemail evolving into becoming a big deal in the United States. So how can we make the voicemail integrated into the unified communication? So I’ve changed and I’ve seen the evolution of unified communication from TDM, to IP, unified messaging to mobility, and then the cloud, and then from hardware to software switch. So all these are very, very exciting that has happened in last 20 years. And then it’s still evolving into the future. So that’s another way I see it as a future moving forward.

Dave Michels 5:57
So you basically answered the last few questions the same way. I mean, you’ve been there, you’ve got to see all these things. And you, you keep on getting new challenges. I’ve noticed NEC as a company seems to have pretty low turnover in general, certainly lower than other comps, companies. Do you think that’s why? Because? Or why is that? Let me ask you that? Why is that?

Unknown Speaker 6:15
Excellent question. There are two. So if you look at the NEC culture in Japan, once you join the company, you are there for life, that’s number one, they take care of you, they give you the respect, and you have the ecosystem that supports you. So they build the same culture and US for example, or EMEA or Australia. So they provide you very valuable benefits. They provide you path to growth, as I explained, I can move from one business unit to another business unit, so and then they build the social culture. So the financial package may not be as strong, but they provide you the job security and other benefits that helps employees to stay there and be a part of the family.

Evan Kirstel 6:59
Nice. Yeah, I always thought of NEC as a big diversified company. But the more I learned from Dave and others, it’s even bigger and more diversified in Japan. So it’s one of the biggest and most global companies in the UCC space that we don’t think of off the top of our head.

Unknown Speaker 7:16
Very good point. Again, NEC is more leading edge technological companies with 1000s of patents and 1000s of innovation happening, they’re not the marketing company. So therefore, the brand outside Japan is still a challenge for NEC. But again, NEC is doing a lot of work to help improve that.

Dave Michels 7:34
I remember when I went to Japan, you know, you stand there, the airport will go through passport control. And the first thing you see on passport control, they take your picture your biometrics, and that’s all NEC equipment is like, it’s the very first thing you’ve read the first brand new welcomes you to Japan. And that’s just the beginning. You know, the NEC ATMs. Everything is NEC in Japan. It’s amazing. I don’t know why more of those products are in here. But speaking of travel, you know, you obviously your headquarters is in Japan. So you probably go there pretty often. You are a product person. So you’d meet with customers around the world. So you’ve done a lot of travel in the past. Do you see that picking up again? And do you think we’ll ever get back to where it was pre pandemic,

Unknown Speaker 8:18
Dave, I’ve already seen that within NEC, we have started traveling again, I personally have traveled this year to Japan to Amsterdam, Italy, India. So the travel has started already. We thought with the pandemic. And with the remote communication, collaboration, the travel may go down. But I see that that may not be the case, having FaceTime is very critical for the businesses for internal and outside. And I’m seeing that very often it’s time

Evan Kirstel 8:48
impressive. So I’m we’re connected on LinkedIn, I’m looking you have many senior level positions at NEC over the years currently your GM, product management and development. So what does that exactly mean? Like what do you do week to week, month to month?

Unknown Speaker 9:02
And that’s another very interesting question you asked. So as Dave introduced me as VP, I do on multiple positions. So I do. I’m a VP of or senior VP now at the NEC America supporting mostly sales and marketing organization there. And with that, we also formed a new company called NEC cloud services as we started offering cloud business. So that’s one portion of my performance and the job condition. On the other hand, I’m also a president of NEC enterprise communication technology, which is more a global based design and development and innovation company. So what we do is we take the products that are designed in Japan, those are more Japan focus, we then work with third parties or a development team that I have in US, India and Europe. And we then complement that and design the solution for vertical markets over There’s healthcare, hospitality, and then take the innovative products like biometric and combine it and provide the new products or new solutions in both service model on prem and hybrid, right. So that’s the main area that I focused on. And once the products are done, I have a whole team of pre sales post sales that I support on a global basis, and US EMEA, and APAC.

Dave Michels 10:25
Well, let’s get to the topic that I think everyone’s waiting for us to get to, which is your relationship with with intermedia. Most UC PBX makers, first develop their their own cloud solutions, and and if there were a few successes, but the vast majority, that didn’t work out, so Well, we’ve seen Alcatel Lucent, Itos unify Avaya Mitel. They all partnered with RingCentral. So clearly, that’s the thing you’re supposed to do. But whatever whatever reason NEC has to be different. So tell us about universe blue.

Unknown Speaker 11:00
So when we saw the market is changing from hardware to software, and then moving into the cloud, this happened around 2013. NEC was, as always, first one to jump into it, we took our universe three C product, and that was branded as univerge Blue initially. And we took that product, put it in the cloud and started selling as the public cloud. Of course, we did realize that to scale up the cloud business, you need to have a product that’s designed to be born in the cloud. So from that viewpoint, we had two options. One is to redesign a new unified communication product, or maybe find a partner who can meet all the requirements. So we did a serious study on several new cloud providers, including RingCentral intermedia eight by eight, one H, all of those were evaluated, our requirement being NEC quality is very important brand is very important for us. And then at the same time, we needed some of the integration to our installed base of 80 million users. So we didn’t want to leave the install base of users hanging in the middle and tell them you just forklift at right. So finally, intermediate was the one who was willing, we saw their product, very nicely designed with UCaaS, we wanted to make sure there’s a C cache, which is fully integrated with the product because we saw that is an important factor moving into the cloud, from the customer experience viewpoint. So we struggled a partnership. And then finally, the most important on top of that was the channel. So we sell our products through channel and protecting the channel and keeping the channel who our feet on the street, they have the relationship intermediate was the only one who can provide us the business model with the product where we can still sell through the channel, a product that’s fully NEC branded. And then we can take it globally where we can support all our installed base customers. So that’s the reason we picked intermediate as a partner under the NEC universe blue logo, and we’re marketing and now globally, all over the place.

Dave Michels 13:09
So let me just clarify the branding here. So you’ve got NEC, which is the company name, you’ve got univerge, which I know is your comms brand. But I think it’s actually broader than that. I’m not sure. And then you’ve got univerge Blue, which is inexplicably the cloud Brown. But blue is the will there’s no cloud. White is when there’s clouds. But if you can explain to me what is universe in the universe blue Exactly.

Unknown Speaker 13:32
So universe is our flagship name for all our Office Communication product. And then we add, depending on the actual product, like for example univerge, SP 9500 That’s on prem product that’s used for enterprise business. Anything that goes with the blue is a cloud based hosted product that we’re supporting. So within NEC universe blue you have Connect which is basically a unified communication you have meet which is collaboration. So blue universe blue is our cloud based portfolio that we are adding many other cloud services like backup as a service another example right? So we will continue to use more services in the cloud with the universe blue as the brand name behind

Evan Kirstel 14:24
interesting so any see univerge Blue is actually powered by intermedia very impressive company we had Michael gold their CEO on Talking Heads recently impressive organization to say the least. But how is universal blue different from other intermedia offers?

Unknown Speaker 14:42
That’s a great point. So what we have done when we

Dave Michels 14:46
say everyone keeps getting that was a great question. I’m just gonna, you know, quietly observe that but go ahead and look around well.

Unknown Speaker 14:55
No, you guys, you guys are excellent questions. And of course why Will somebody buy Eye blue versus intermediate original brand, right? So what are the differences? So there are several areas that we differentiate ourselves. So first of all, when we design the product with intermedia, we did ask them to add some of the feature functionality that are needed for any specific having the experience and an on prem business. We know in certain verticals, there are many features missing. So we were able to introduce that. So those features are sold through NEC. Secondly, we have the bridge product, which basically, is the integration middleware between the universe blue intermediate product and NEC on prem product, that’s also exclusively for NEC. The third area that we made the changes to integrate NEC phones, because our customers have invested in the phones, so they can use their existing NEC phone and not buy a new one, and connect the universe blue services to that. Finally, NEC has many other third party solutions or NEC developed solutions, especially, let’s say biometric. So we have designed several solution that are tagged as universe blue smart workspaces. And those are integrated with the universe blue. So the customer can also continue to use it as a part of differentiation.

Dave Michels 16:23
So Rome was one of the challenges that a lot of the traditional PBX VARs have had. They’ve moved their business to cloud businesses, has been the agent commission model. They’re used to getting all their funds up front, has that been a problem for your partners with the universe blue.

Unknown Speaker 16:38
So I think, very important topic that you bring up channel partners, our biggest party, we’re very ecosystem. And one of the challenges we saw front, when we started selling the cloud based services like SIP trunk and those type also, the recurring revenue model provides some challenges to them for from the cash flow viewpoint, right. So that was originally one of the problem, the ownership to the customer was another problem. And the third is the trying to migrate the customer who have already paid for their capex, how why will they come to the cloud, right? So the way we have solved that is, first of all, we provide them what we call the revenue share, where they own the customer or customer ownership where they still own the customer. But they will directly revenue share, rebuild it for them. And then there’s an agent model. If they decide they don’t want to spend money and time and resources, they can still go in agent master agent model. In all three models, they still have the problem of cashflow. So the way we have solved the cashflow problem is the NEC has finance services. So we offer what we call the Cash Cloud. The Cash Cloud is where the channel partner can decide to get paid upfront for the term of the contract, let’s say the customer signs for three years channel partner will get the full free for the whole three years, we will still collect as NEC on monthly basis from the end user, and then pay off to our NEC finance company. So that solves the problem of the cash flow. And finally, the last problem that the ownership of the customer is important. So we let the channel partner on the customers, they decide how they want to manage it and continue to do it in the same way we did on prem product.

Evan Kirstel 18:24
Wow, that’s pretty significant. That sort of financing opportunity. It sounds like any C’s is one of the few companies that could offer that, given your very deep pockets. So you’ve had some very loyal and long standing partners over the years decades. But tell me more about them. And are you recruiting partners.

Unknown Speaker 18:44
That’s a very good point. As you know, we had different channel model, we had the national channels, we had direct, we had regional and then we had distributors in our on prem product line. So our goal was to continue to maintain that relationship, which we have done coming little bit late in the game, we did lose some of the channel partner to other cloud providers directly. So we it was difficult to get them back. But again, we did get about 70% of the channel back to NEC selling our cloud services, selling still on prem wherever needed and selling hybrid. But for us to scale up faster, what was important to us is we need to start looking into adding more channels. So since we launched universe blue with intermedia, we had about close to 400 channel partners existing one and since then we have added about another 600 channels. So we are continuously adding more channel across North America, for example, because we think in the cloud business, it’s important to scale up faster using the feet on the street and that’s the channel for us.

Dave Michels 19:55
I imagine that recruitment effort is facilitated by what you were just describing as is different revenue models, looking over your material looks like your partners can sell UCAS or universe blue under three different revenue models, is that right? That’s correct. So explain all three, clearly. So we

Unknown Speaker 20:11
give the partner an option, whether they want to pick customer ownership. So large global national partners, they have the bandwidth, they have the infrastructure, they have the back office. So they buy the clouds product as a license from us on per month per user. And then they markup the way they want it, they provide the level one support to the customer, they build them and they add other services. So this is the very popular and good model for very large channel partner like Forerunner black box and see one, for example, right, then you have majority of our partners who are loyal to us, they are in the mid range, they would love to still have the flexibility of keeping the margin not wait on NEC to decide how much commission they will make. So that’s called the revenue share. And majority of the partners assigned in that, in that case, we put the pricing at the end user level at the channel level, they decide what price they want to sell it to end user, and then we help them with the billing collection, and then giving back the money to them. And the final one is the master agent agent model, where we basically give the Commission’s to the distributors or master agent and agent. In all three models, the partner still has the flexibility to have all three at the same time. So example, a great example was black box had an opportunity with the government. And in that case, using the customer ownership model was a little bit of a challenge because of the billing and the certification to sell to the government was not there, NEC has no certification. So they came back to us. And they signed up as an agent model, where NEC sold directly to the government. And they became an agent in that case, right? So providing that flexibility really helps our channel partner who come to us and work with us.

Evan Kirstel 22:04
Yeah, there’s so much opportunity there. And what’s interesting I find about intermediate is that, as a partner, I mean supplier, you’re many, many times bigger than they are. But when I look at like the RingCentral partnerships, it’s kind of a reverse dynamic, you know, they’re much bigger than their channel partners. I mean, you must be one of intermediates biggest customers globally.

Unknown Speaker 22:25
That’s correct. So that’s one of the important factor that help intermediate to sign up with NEC and we’re able to work together mutually agree on some of the conditions that helps both sides. So the it’s an exclusive contract with intermedia. And EC will sell intermedia product branded as NEC on a global basis. Since the partnership happened. We originally launched in North America, which is the US and Canada. And then we moved into EMEA, we’ve launched into four major countries UK, Germany, Netherlands and Italy. And then finally, we have launched in Japan also, Japan market is different going in the market, we knew it’s going to take a little time, it’s because of the culture because of the way they work is very different. So the product is launched, the bridge was the product that we launched their first, the bridge is where we integrate on prem to the cloud and give them more features like collaboration and mobility, which are quite important in this pandemic. And then Australia is the other one that we have launched and will continue to expand into about 160 countries that we have today where we sell this product

Dave Michels 23:37
on top of that dynamic that Evans talking about. I think you’re also either an investor in intermediate or an LLC will be an investor. Can you talk about that?

Unknown Speaker 23:46
So we have looked at that, because we’re investing and working with intermediate so closely, or the exclusiveness. So when intermediate was planning to go IPO, and he agreed to invest into the IPO, however, the IPO has been delayed because of market situation. So when the markets are ready and intermediate sites go IPO, and etc, we’ll be working with them and investing in that.

Evan Kirstel 24:11
Interesting sounds like a win win. So How challenging is the intermediate relationship? I mean, as an NEC, executive of long standing, don’t you want to gravitate towards, you know, the, the old native NEC products for UC and CC? And how do you know when to lead with universal blue cloud versus your other solutions?

Unknown Speaker 24:31
Overall, the demand is generated by the market, what we see in North America, the cloud, specially in SMB, which NEC has the one of the biggest market share is driving requirements for the cloud. In that case, we are leading and driving the business to move into the cloud faster. On the enterprise market. We see quote, totally different where the customers are not migrating into the cloud. They’re looking at some kind of high hybrid option. The example is we have a very large healthcare customer with 100,000 Plus seeds and northeast. And they decided that they can move into the cloud because of the reliability their on prem provides. But then they have satellites clinics, right, for example, or they had multiple contact centers, like from different vendors. So we strategically worked with them, they have moved into about the 300 location, which are remote into the cloud, which are connected to the on prem through the bridge. So that provides them a seamless communication. And contact center in the cloud provides one single contact center for all the location, right? So those are some of the areas that we decide how and where to position cloud. And intermediate has been extremely flexible working with us. A lot of times we find out there are new requirements that needs to be met. And intermediate executives are extremely flexible working with us to make an app.

Evan Kirstel 26:00
Impressive. So it sounds like you’re one of the few vendors that can you know straddle the premises the private cloud, right to pure cloud, you know, requirements. So how is the traditional premises based market? Looking, I assume its steady, declining to some degree.

Unknown Speaker 26:18
So basically, if I look at it in a bigger picture, so there are about 400 million UCCS. Today, globally, if you look at that cloud has penetrated only just let’s say RingCentral, EF elite with that their 5 million just they announced that Right? Which is nothing any see as a base of 80 million users today, right? So what we see is, especially in markets like North America, definitely the SMB is the one that’s moving into the cloud much faster. But still majority of the SMB and enterprise are still holding on to the on prem, we have seen the growth in on prem business also. Now, that could be for a few reason. So the on prem is not going away from our viewpoint immediately. It’s another next five to seven years. But if you look at it, the players and onpremise are gone almost right. So and this is probably one of the main one left Mitel is also focusing on on prem, we do see a lot of struggle at other level like Avaya, Cisco, on the on prem side, right. So we do see uptick in our on prem business, we just signed up five very, very large customers, which we never thought is happening all on prem. Right. So so we have seen the uptick in on prem for NEC on a global basis.

Dave Michels 27:41
What platform is that? What is the blue product in your brim?

Unknown Speaker 27:44
So we is SB 9500 is a platform for enterprise are very solid, very

Dave Michels 27:50
remember when it was as the Indy 500 has been a that’s been a workhorse for quite some time for you?

Unknown Speaker 27:55
That’s correct, sir. All right. It’s great customer wants to know that like example, in Europe, a very large partner like BK and Switzerland, Germany, that market is not moving into the cloud, they want on prem. And we were very surprised that that’s the case. But Germany especially is very slow in moving into the cloud. So they

Dave Michels 28:14
are learning because I was gonna ask you about the Japanese market? Because I know the Japanese market was slow to embrace UCAS. But is that going to change? what’s your what’s your thoughts on what’s going to happen over there.

Unknown Speaker 28:25
So I think what will happen in Japan market, they will continue to still hold on to the on prem for a few reasons, especially the infrastructure that’s there, they want to see if they can continue to keep the on prem system. And then the areas that they would like to adopt the cloud is mobility and collaboration. Now those two have been provided zoom did a good job initially, and Microsoft, providing them the license. And then the requirement to work remote in Japan is actually happening more often than you see there, because of the commute time and all that. So the companies are encouraging people to work from home. And therefore you need collaboration and the mobility, so the product like bridge are perfect for the Japan market. So I don’t see Japan moving into the full cloud very quickly. At this time.

Dave Michels 29:16
Let’s talk about you mentioned that earlier, that univerge Blue bridge product that brings cloud services to your premises based customers, it actually seems like a really obvious thing to do, but most traditional PBX makers don’t have a cloud service. So is that the future do you think or is that really more of a migration step to the cloud or what? What’s the vision on bridge?

Unknown Speaker 29:39
Today what we see is from NEC perspective, how can we solve the pain point of our customers right? So if they have invested in us an SMB case the investment is not much and we have seen people initially ask us to give them a code to go to the bridge because they need to add mobility and collab ration. Mobility is most commonly the main thing that the SMB people needed. But once they see the mobility price, because they have to pay per month, they still have to pay for the trunk per month, when they see the ROI for both of them. And majority of the case, they go with the full cloud. And that comes out cheaper, if you are a small business, let’s say with 20 users, your full cloud is actually coming out cheaper in our calculation, because of the trunk cost that you’re paying today, the maintenance and the other things, you get all free hardware and go from there. So bridge is helping us to drive some of the SMB business into the full cloud. On the other hand, for large enterprise, which I gave an example of a big healthcare, they have invested so much reliability is still very, very important to them, then they are adding bridge just to have those functionality that helps them into moving them into the future of mobility, collaboration, File Share and those types of things. What we also see in many other countries where the trunking and porting of the number is a big challenge, bring your own trunk is becoming a big, big popular demand. Because the channel partner and the end user have contracts with the carrier, and they cannot move more out of it. And the porting of the numbers are not that easy as we have in North America, for example. So in that case, we have a variation of bridge where you can basically connect the existing trunk to an SBC for example, or to your existing installed PBX, and then add the cloud based functions and mobility, File Share and all that. So we see that also becoming very, very popular, and especially outside us

Dave Michels 31:46
that’s really interested in bringing it on trunk. It’s kind of like, I guess Ringling Brothers is coming back without the elephants. So that’s great. I think the bridge product is really clever. And I imagine that might be one of your most popular products over time. That’s correct. Yep.

Evan Kirstel 32:00
Fantastic. Well, thanks for all the insights into any see a little bit of a peek behind the curtain. I’m actually curious personally, if you don’t mind my asking, what’s it like being an Indian and American national, in a Japanese company like NEC in America, in Texas, and then traveling the world? What’s your life like?

Unknown Speaker 32:22
So I’m in the best place of being in that situation. So you have a local American culture, and then you have a Japanese who are coming in into an American culture. So what I found, again, abhorrent to Me is the adoption of Japanese working with me. And basically, the chemistry that I could relate to them was much easier for them. And they’ve got very comfortable working with me, or maybe there’s an Indian, then with the American because of the accent because of the differential. So that was one of the initial rate glue for me to a great relationship with Japanese. And I had great relationship with the local Americans too, so that I can glue them together. And that gave me an opportunity to move up within NEC, and help them out in establishing many, many businesses since last 15 to 20 years.

Dave Michels 33:18
What’s your go to at Starbucks? Are you more likely to order a coffee or an Americano? or green tea or Indian Chai? I’m just kind of curious what your what your standard default is.

Unknown Speaker 33:29
So I have been Japanese to after staying 20 years. So typically, when I go to Starbucks, I order now green tea, or chai tea latte, right. So those are the two things because of my cultural and also for my relationship with the Japanese colleagues here.

Evan Kirstel 33:45
Right? Well, we’ll see we’re coming together under one brand Starbucks, but but we’re all we’re all coming together. But speaking of coming together, it’s been great chatting with you. Thanks so much for all the insight and onwards and upwards a tremendous opportunity ahead of you.

Unknown Speaker 34:00
Great, thank you so much. This was a great discussion. And there’s a lot a lot more opportunities. I love Japanese culture, as we talked about, I’ve been to Japan, maybe several 100 times great people good to work with very humble and great food. And again, I’m very excited to continue to be in this situation, unique situation and helping my Japanese colleague and also my American friends here. So I’m very excited to work here and continue to work and support you. Well. Thank you, Dave.

Dave Michels 34:31
Well, I really enjoyed talking to Ron, he’s so insightful. He’s got such a global perspective. I mean, he’s, you know, as you pointed out, being an Indian American working at a Japanese company in Texas, but at a global company, and he says such a unique perspective. Yeah, and

Evan Kirstel 34:44
he’s very easy to talk to and humble and down to earth. You can really see why there are so many Indian American nationals running global tech companies these days from Microsoft to Google and there’s a long list. They have a certain style that is It’s really fascinating to watch so great discussion.

Dave Michels 35:03
Yeah, and I think Campbell really is the right word. We’ve talked about a lot of stuff and he’s I know for a fact that he’s got his fingerprints on a lot of the major successes at NEC. So with that, Evan until our next episode, I look forward to whoever that may be. See you ever made a conversation with a man never gotta get out of here. Phone don’t don’t read your phone. No man knows me.

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