Starting out as an intern and being the group CTO of the same company after a few years down the line, seems like a perfect success story for a movie. Only that in reality, this heightened level of success comes with a lot of perseverance. Kawaljit Singh Bedi, group chief technology and product officer at the NDTV Group, has had a career path like no other. At every stage of his two-decade long association with the company, he has explicitly exhibited his fervour for science, prowess to envision, and eagerness to embrace technologies. He was a part of the team which worked at NDTV during the latter’s inception, working as a software architect. He is now responsible for product, technology, design, user experience, and strategic vision of NDTV’s mobile, web, OTT, broadcast, IT, and emerging platforms.
Bedi has many accolades to his name. He has won several international awards in the field of innovation including Commonwealth Broadcasting Association award for Innovative Engineering and NAB International Broadcasting Excellence award.
Bedi’s father worked for the Civil Services, and was posted in Nagaland with his family. Bedi and his brothers grew up in Nagaland, and pursued most part of their schooling in Patiala. “My father was a technophile himself. Because Nagaland is blessed with abundant scenic beauty, he developed a passion for photography,” recalled Bedi. His father also had a dark room for developing pictures, and started honing his skills in understanding the co-relation between technology and art.
In 1986, Bedi’s father bought a computer, way before even the first colour TV was
in use. “We used to be home during the summer vacations, and it was always a spree at trying out different gadgets which my dad had bought. I must have been in the third or fourth class, I think. Much before children started using computers, I started playing around with technology. My father, in fact, opened up one of the first ever computer centres in Nagaland, after his retirement, where he hired tutors to teach enthusiasts. I owe my exposure to my dad! ” reminisced Bedi.
Bedi moved to Delhi, when he was in the tenth class. He completed his Bachelors in Science – Chemistry. With no specific degree in technology, Bedi is a self-taught man who has made use of his ever-increasing curiosity and passion to learn new things. He and his friend started interning at NDTV, at the time when the news network was hiring fresh graduates to count the ballots during the early nineties’ elections. “I remember I used to supervise the ballots coming in. My friend and I tried our hand at automating this tedious process of manually counting votes by creating a software for it. This is where began my ongoing journey at NDTV!” exclaimed Bedi.
WE USED TO BE HOME DURING THE SUMMER VACATIONS, AND IT WAS ALWAYS A SPREE AT TRYING OUT DIFFERENT GADGETS WHICH MY DAD HAD BOUGHT. I MUST HAVE BEEN IN THE THIRD OR FOURTH CLASS, I THINK. MUCH BEFORE CHILDREN STARTED USING COMPUTERS, I STARTED PLAYING AROUND WITH TECHNOLOGY.
The seniors at NDTV recognised and appreciated Bedi’s efforts, and offered him to work in the elections psephology department of the news network. “Excel sheets and pivot tables all around us, I remember sitting
and analysing data and then presenting it. I continued working with NDTV on all these nuances,” remembered Bedi. Microsoft was working with NDTV in the development of their website, when Bedi showed interest in working and managing the same; Bedi was hired! He became a full-time employee at NDTV, in the year 2000. Bedi, in his journey of over nineteen years, has adorned many hats including those of working as a designer, a full-fledged programmer for NDTV Profit, MD at NDTV Gadgets 360, business development analyst, marketing and sales professional, and everything under the sun!
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BEDI
Bedi manages the entire broadcast and digital legacy of NDTV. His day starts at around 10 AM in the Okhla office, with the digital vertical being of priority, since broadcast news’ prime time is usually evening. “I conduct regular meetings with my team, to ensure we are on track. We are India’s second most used news website, which motivates us to churn out content all day, every day. Over 200 million users login to the NDTV website every month, and that is a lot of traffic to manage. We are a team of around 300-400 working for the digital vertical,” explained Bedi. After lunch, Bedi is in NDTV’s Greater Kailash office, focussing on broadcast.