Hari V Krishnan likes life on the edge. He learned to ski while studying engineering in the United States, and is a trained scuba diver as well as a semi-pro tennis player. He gets the same adrenalin rush looking for opportunities and chasing deals.
In a relatively short time, Krishnan has gone from working in the United States with tech major Cisco to becoming the India head of social networking site LinkedIn. During this time, he did his MBA from INSEAD, worked with Yahoo! and was an early member of travel portal makemytrip.
The big change in his career came when he attended a lecture at INSEAD by Jake Cohen, who said China was an opportunity today and India, tomorrow. “This was an opportunity to come home, but also to work in the most exciting market in the world,” says Krishnan. While the Internet was to become his specialisation, joining LinkedIn was his defining moment. As its first hire in the Asia Pacific, he has grown the business to include recruiters, advertising agencies and users.
Krishnan looks to his parents for inspiration. His father was an engineer and his mother is a professional painter. “I invariably illustrate on white boards during meetings and find myself analysing every move we make to the finest detail,” he says. The techie has also learnt to take regular breaks these days. “I used to work myself to the ground.”
For now LinkedIn is his passion. “My high point was at a recent CEO forum,” he says, “where a top manager told me he used the Internet only to check his e-mail and update his LinkedIn account. I knew I was on the right track.”