Living Strategically


Before my time at Nextenture, I spent a large chunk of my childhood and adult life staring at squares for large portions of the day. This might not make much sense to you, but let me explain myself.

My previous job was in quality control and assurance, but I had also competed at national chess tournaments in India from a very young age. As a result, I tend to relate every life with chess.

Competing has given me quite a few life lessons that relate to situations in my current job. If you think an all-day work conference is brutal, try playing a seven-hour long session of chess. I don’t even think my son could watch television for that long.

Talk to anyone that’s played sports: competing is a character building exercise. Although it’s draining, playing chess has given me a lot of landing space to think through ideas, commit myself to an approach and learn self-discipline.

My time in chess taught me not only how to approach problem solving, but also how to express myself. It’s hard to describe for someone who doesn’t play sports, but the way you play deeply reflects who you are.

As I’ve learned while working in Nextenture’s helpdesk team, the same applies for how you work. Every time I get into a rut, I go back to experiences from sports to clear my mind. It’s fair to say, life at Nextenture and at its helpdesk has given me enough opportunities to draw off chess. Possibly, 10 years down, I will look back at a support call from the store and hopefully be smiling!

I have come to understand the life in a startup is not going to be easy. There will be stressful days, there will be days when you spend the entire day with the whole team extensively planning and strategizing all possible implementations, and finally after several meetings and data extrapolation, deciding on what snacks to load in the pantry! I have also come to understand, that greater the struggle to build something, greater would be the satisfaction when done building. Just the thought that what you build could help make a lot of lives in the retail store easier is simply gratifying.

At Nextenture, we try our best to elevate and challenge each other, while maintaining the same vision and focus needed to tackle issues brought up to us by stores. It doesn’t matter what the problem is – if a store manager feels something will impact sales, work hours, pay checks or even climate change, we’ll take the call.

Taking calls from stores and moving pieces on a board couldn’t sound any more different. After all, working in a helpdesk is cooperative with someone else, while chess is competitive. But once I saw Nextenture’s motto, “because effective retail is a journey,” I knew that chess had prepared me for the next phase in my life.

– Swetha Narayanan