Behind every successful company, there is a strong leadership and the sweat of its hardworking employees. If the employees don’t share the same enthusiasm and wavelength as the founders, the chances of the startup tasting success are grim. One such employee who helped Flipkart grow from just an online platform for selling books to India’s largest ecommerce platform is, Ambur Iyyappa, the employee who has gone from earning a meagre Rs 8000 to 6 Lacs per month in a short period of just eight years.
In a classic example of every ending is the start of a new beginning, Iyyappa found himself walking through the doors of 2009 Flipkart when he had just lost his job with First Flight Couriers, a logistics company in Bengaluru where he had invested four long years of his life and advanced from a simple delivery boy to a Key Account Relationship Manager managing the logistics of all incoming mails for south Bengaluru.
Iyyappa found about the opening in Flipkart through the delivery boy who used to manage the Flipkart account back then. All that the Flipkart co-founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, wanted was a person who could speak some English and use a computer, and Iyyappa fit the bill perfectly. But soon, they realised that their first full-time employee was more than just a helping hand.
Within his first week at the job, Iyyappa knew everything about everything that Flipkart was doing and trying to achieve. His photographic memory helped him in becoming a walking human order management system as he remembered every status, every order under the sun.
“When Iyyappa came in, he intuitively took away my workload,” said Binny in a blogpost describing the person that he calls Flipkart’s human ERP. “He took up almost 80 per cent of my professional load within a couple of weeks. This freed up my time to add more selection, to automate order processing, to grow the business.”
Soon the man who got the job for knowing basic English and computer skills, took over the reins of Flipkart’s customer service. His mobile phone number got listed as Flipkart’s de facto customer support hotline and he became the company’s go-to guy for all day-to-day operations. From taking customer calls and calling up vendors to coordinating and following up, he did it all with utmost precision and enthusiasm.
When Iyyappa started his Flipkart journey at a modest salary of less than Rs 8,000, he had also received some shares in the nascent venture along with it. This proved to be a huge turning point in Iyyappa’s life. As the company grew from a small online platform for selling books to a large ecommerce giant, so did the value of his shares in the company. He is now a dollar multimillionaire and working as an associate director managing customer experience at Flipkart. Even though his bank balance is now stronger than ever, he still continues to live a modest lifestyle in the same locality where he lived a decade ago and rides a Suzuki Access 125 scooter to work.