Sandeep Chennakeshu

Sandeep Chennakeshu is the Chief Operating Officer of Uhnder, Inc., which designs and builds state-of-the-art digital imaging radar chips for industrial and automotive applications. He is also the author of Your Company Is Your Castle, where he compares building a company to a medieval castle. Upon entering the electronics industry, Sandeep led the development and launches of global technology. He is a fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and a named inventor of 180 patents.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • [0:00] Technology business enthusiast Sandeep Chennakeshu joins What The Teck?
  • [5:53] Sandeep talks about the origin of Bluetooth
  • [12:50] The demise of formerly renowned smartphone manufacturers — and how to remain relevant in the space 
  • [22:19] Sony Ericsson’s disruptive smartphone model
  • [27:45] Navigating continuous product innovation
  • [33:12] How companies can harness curiosity 
  • [44:48] Sandeep’s secrets to building a sustainable technology business
  • [51:16] Tips for avoiding technology burnout
  • [101:07] Sandeep explains how he joined BlackBerry as president

In this episode…

In the early 2000s, companies like Motorola, Nokia, and BlackBerry released the first smartphone models, labeling them the leading cell phone manufacturers. However, Apple and Samsung soon replaced these businesses after they failed to innovate to meet customer expectations and distribution demands. How can you differentiate your value proposition from competitors to build an acclaimed technology company?

As one of the early pioneers of smartphones and BlueTooth technologies, Sandeep Chennakeshu has experienced industry disruption, fluctuating trends, and rising business costs. He maintains that you must capture trends in hypercompetitive markets and innovate continuously to retain consumers and outperform the competition. Leaders should exhibit five characteristics to initiate new technology and build revolutionary businesses. Developing a clear vision, displaying managerial courage, leading with conviction, communicating clearly, and possessing the curiosity to evolve rapidly ensures you can prevail in competitive and uncertain markets.

Tune in to this episode of What The Teck? as Rolando Rosas and Dave Kelly meet with Sandeep Chennakeshu, the COO of Uhnder, Inc., to talk about technology disruption in the competitive smartphone market. Sandeep shares how to avoid technology burnout, the origin of BlueTooth, and his experience as BlackBerry’s president during the company’s peak.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript:

Rolando Rosas 0:00

Motorola Paam, Nokia, LG and one of the oldies but goodies HTC. Why is it so difficult? Or was it so difficult for these hardware manufacturers to stay on top,

Sandeep Chennakeshu 0:11

each generation brings a different disruption, you have to basically intersect those trends. If you miss the trend in a hyper competitive market, you get destroy. When Apple came out, they realized that the killer app was the user interface. They taught people to use the phone differently. And that’s what people crave. And everyone missed it. The reason I admire Steve Jobs so much is he had conviction. You remember he had sold over 400 million iPods and he realized that the iPod had limited day. So he transformed to the iPhone, he also needed to create that ecosystem and hook them on with all the applications, if you look at what Apple is doing systematically is creating more and more stickiness today. For example, if you look at Apple Pay, that’s an additional level of stickiness, you get used to Apple Pay, you get used to a number of things that you say Okay, switching is still difficult

Rolando Rosas 1:09

Welcome to What The Teck?, your gateway to business strategies and tech secrets, shaping today’s workplace. Dave, I’m gonna send you a text message from my Blackberry right now.

Dave Kelly 1:22

Man, I’m gonna have to dig really deep. I know that I still have a Blackberry that I first bought way back in the day. I think that was the first device that ever had Bluetooth. I ever

Rolando Rosas 1:32

had that happen. There’s one, there’s one that is before the Blackberry. And you know what day I want to call him the godfather of Bluetooth. He shared some interesting stories. I hope we can bring some of those out when we’re talking with them. And some of it may be reveal when it comes to some of the things he did Sony Ericsson at Blackberry, but nevertheless, these devices if you’re watching us on the video, the BlackBerry was a revolutionary device. But did you know Dave, there was some interesting developments that came prior to the BlackBerry out of Sony Ericsson, I remember sitting in at a desk and where we did a test this was before blackberries were out a Sony Ericsson or Ericsson devices it was called first in Ericsson device the T 28. And then sitting a Motorola next to it making a call from each and in the office. When we did these tests, we found that the sound of the Sony Ericsson or actually Ericsson the T 28 device was far superior in audio quality and it means everybody that was in the room with me at the time like how can that be? Well I’ve got the guy that can tell us why that is the new we also have the guy who can tell us how this some of these developments came to be about Bluetooth the or some of the origin stories around it some fascinating things that happened prior to the iPhone being released. Hopefully he can share some of that with us today and a lot of other interesting things on management how to run a how to run a company in a way so that it can grow it can last it can be sustainable and what’s the right guy for for for all of these types of companies? Is there a right type of person that can need to be developed them? How do you get ready to maybe in the line of succession move up and do some of that things Sandeep got a whole wealth of knowledge. And I’m so glad that he’s on the show today. Yeah, me too. So you know what, without further ado, let’s give a proper introduction to Sandeep. All right, here we go. So Sandeep is an author, a lifelong learner and a technology business enthusiast. His book Your Company Is Your Castle has proven methods for building a resilient business and he delves into building robust companies making him a unique blend of innovation and strategy. You know, they’ve he’s a he is a believer, mathematician or scientist by trade. If I got that wrong, Sandeep when you’re claiming you strike me out, but that’s an interesting blend of knowledge there that he’s got. His impressive educational journey includes a postgraduate diploma in industrial management, from the esteemed Indian Institute of Science and a PhD in electrical engineering from SMU Southern Methodist University. His contributions to the electronics industry have touched billions, Dave billions of people through technologies like the cell phones, laptops, satellites, more with 180 patents to his name. Oh, that’s an amazing stat within itself. He’s held pivotal roles at companies like I mentioned earlier Ericsson, Sony Ericsson, which is the division between Sony and Ericsson, Freescale Blackberry, and AMD, his strategic decisions have shaped industries Dave, I can’t wait for him to share some of that. And he currently serves as the CEO of Under I hope I pronounced that correct, which is a pioneer in digital imaging radar technology, and he also advises exciting tech startups. So without further ado, let’s welcome to the podcast Mr. Sandeep.

Dave Kelly 5:00


Rolando Rosas 5:01

welcome. Thank you, Dave, how are you today?

Sandeep Chennakeshu 5:05

I am fine. Thank you.

Rolando Rosas 5:07

Well, I’m so glad you came on today because at heart I am, we are a tech company ourselves. Not quite the same, like what you’ve worked with. But we’ve sold a lot of those devices that I mentioned, to all kinds of companies now for the last 20 years. And so, I’m, I’m just fascinated with where you have been, what you’ve done and your life’s journey through the corporate world, from your start in coming out and working at Sony Ericsson and then a Blackberry and further in further along. Am I doing you justice by calling you the godfather of Bluetooth? Or are you too humble to you know, take on that moniker?

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