AI Ages: The Secret to Build up an International Team
Author/ Rick Wu
5 years ago, I met with my Indian technical lead in Taiwan headquarter. He has worked in IT industries for more than 10 years, speaking fluent English without strong Indian accent. He told me he was from the southern part of India, Bengaluru. In his province, English is the main communication language, so their accent doesn’t sound like Hindi-spoken people.
During the half a year they stayed in Taiwan, I accompanied them almost every day and introduced our traditional culture to them. For instance, we went to a earth oven event together and learnt how to make incense. They also shared their Indian culture with me, such as Diwali festival. That was my first time to know so much about India, so much and learn from the “incredible” India.
Next year, I went to India on business.
In Bengaluru, I drank the masala tea (Indian spice tea) and ate dosa (pancake) almost every day. Then, I went to the office and began a busy day. At that moment, my Indian team was not so mature. Whenever a new technical issue was received, they usually didn’t know how to deal with it and needed some instant support. I was like a runner running to different destinations.
"Pull a chair straight into the middle of everyone so you don't have to walk around all the time!" my Indian colleague said and all my teammates laughed.
During the lunch time, we went to the staff restaurant together. There were many local indian cuisines and most of them were not well-known in Taiwan. I asked my colleagues to order some special food for me and we began to eat our meal with hands.They was so surprised and said, "You must be an Indian in your previous life!"
As a result of such kind of subtle interactions, I gradually became their trusted partner, although they were older than me. I respected their experience and always gave them room to gain new knowledge. This was my first time to manage a global team, especially in the English-spoken environment. Many colleagues complained about Indian accent and work attitudes, but I considered them as a nutrition to help Taiwanese engineers. The main reason was that we should respect difference and take their advantages. Then, we could understand each other.
In general, there are several stages to establish a new team, including member recruitment, job transfer, workflow building, and independent operation. After this long-period of collaboration, Indian engineer teams are going to be a independent department. In the final conference call, my Indian technical lead first expressed his gratitude towards our support over the past four years and hoped that we could still have more connections in this company.
I told him the most difficult issue in this company was not technique but "people", especially the people with different backgrounds. In recent years, AI has become a very hot topic, most enterprises have also begun to think about how to automate and be more efficient. Because of these new ideas, the cost of human training has quickly reduced. Engineers could easily find the root cause.through automatic analysis. Nevertheless, even these "AI systems" could help human, they still rely on experienced experts to provide rules.
The rules would be our key to the continued growth and thrive.
To sum up, the secret to build up a brand-new Indian team is to respect the difference, tolerance and diversity. It sounds very simple, but there are many unknown scenarios behind it. I am very lucky to have this chance of working with Indian friends. Those experiences have made my life better and meaningful, especially when I received a sincere blessing during important Indian festivals.
"No matter how the organization changes, you will always be our best friend. When you have a vacation, you are always welcome to visit us again.", they said in the last meeting.