Ajay Godhwani, the Founder and CEO of Intuary (the creator of the Verbally app, which is a speech solution designed for the iPad) shares his touching story with SocialBusiness.org.
Four Questions with Ajay Godhwani
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
My aunt was diagnosed with ALS and completely lost her ability to speak shortly after. When my cousins, Anil and Gautam Godhwani, saw the impact that the loss of communication was having on their mother, they asked me to help them research the available products. Our research revealed expensive options with lengthy wait-times for delivery. Because ALS is a degenerative disease, the delay was even more frustrating than the cost. Our aggravation grew as we started to use one of the products with Auntie and found it hard to learn, cumbersome and unreliable.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
Out of this frustration and fear of losing valuable time with someone we loved so dearly, some major decisions were made. I left my job overseeing the Tallan's consulting business at Disney and other West Coast clients, founded Intuary, and began working full-time toward designing and building my own solution for Auntie. That is how Verbally was created.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
Verbally was inspired by the loss of my aunt's voice to the devastating effects of ALS and the lack of good solutions for her to communicate.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
Exercise, friends, family, reading, getting outside... I don't have a stand-out ritual, because I find that I recharge in a variety of ways. Within the constructs of work, it's great to talk with the team about things other than work; deepening the bonds in the office makes the work more fun. I also find it incredibly rewarding to interface with users and learn how they our products can be made better for them.
Outside of the office, I try to find a balance between solitary and social time to recharge. My solitary time is typically spent reading, exercising or taking a walk. My social time tends to be primarily with my wife and our friends, and all too often involves food -- I love cooking and trying new foods.