Sanjib Sahoo of Naperville went from living in a remote area in India, where education was a privilege, to becoming an awarding-winning chief technology officer for Chicago-based TradeMonster, an online retail options and stock broker.
Sahoo, 36, was a keynote speaker over the weekend at the 4th annual TEDxIIT in Chicago and discussed the concept of disruptive technology, a technology that changes the way people interact with their finances on a worldwide level and the impact on personal financial decisions. After all, he knows about changes.
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Since 2006, Sahoo has helped TradeMonster become one of the top 2 online trading firms, according to Barron's. He also has won several industry awards, the most recent being 2013 CIO of the Year by Executive Club of Chicago.
And it all started from humble beginnings.
He was born in a remote area outside Kolkata and near Haldia in India.
"Education was a privilege there," he said. "Not a lot of people had jobs. There was no electricity, no public water. Then I migrated to a residential school."
When Sahoo was 10, his father, who was a survey commissioner in India, died from cancer and his mother then raised him and his brother.
"My mother had a job of $100 per month and fought very hard to bring me and my brother up," he said. "I fought hard from there, overcame many challenges and am here today.
When his father died, that's when Sahoo decided his fate.
"That day an entrepreneur was born in me," said Sahoo. "I was prepared to take on more risks, eliminate the fear to fail and take on challenges life. He did not leave behind much money, and was not prepared. I learned to be more planned, take calculated risks and plan my finances as anything unplanned can happen any day. It made me more courageous having seen the worst in life so soon and overcome many challenges."
He was also inspired by his mother's perseverance as well, he said.
"I was inspired by my mother who supported me and made me strong and strong enough the sustain in financial technology. Is is a highly stressful, risky industry."
Sahoo came to the United States in 2004 and worked at Deutsche Bank. In 2006, he joined the team when TradeMonster was founded and worked as its CTO ever since.
Over the weekend, he talked at the conference about disruptive technology, something that changes your life and the way you interact with technology to do something.
Guess that's what he experienced after his father died, a disruption that compelled him to make changes and move ahead in life. He was also part of TradeMonster's launch of a browser in 2008 that changed the way trading was done on Wall Street.
"The mission was to empower people to achieve their financial goals with tools and technology," he said. "First any where, any time platform. The mobile trading revolution through TradeMonster. Today traders have desktop power on the go."
Just like him.
"Technology will come and go, technology is a medium. It is not just about building another app, or another platform in another device," Sahoo said. "It is about empowering people with the tools that actually make a difference to them. Be it mobile, or wearables, or navigation, or robots, the aim is hand that right to people."
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