When new technologies pop up, there is a common misconception that potential users will take one look, realize how helpful that new technology is, and simply bring it into their daily lives. However, companies that work in the technology space have seen the massive failures that come with a lack of engagement, and, more broadly, a lack of community. Sarath Kuruganty, a renowned product expert in the industry, has always worked in the technology space, but not as a developer, and instead, in roles that converge community and technology.
After graduating from JNTU Hyderabad in India with a bachelor's degree in Information Technology, Sarath went on to get his master's degree in Information Systems at the University of Houston. His move to the US brought new career prospects, but for Sarath, the true excitement was getting to build community in a place that would be a challenge for him.
He began to work with Fortune 500 companies, such as Walgreens, helping them to bring their capabilities into the present landscape. As a product owner at Photon Infotech, Sarath worked as a contractor for Walgreens Digital, helping Walgreen's customers transition to a digital experience, a transformation to which many were reluctant at first. The experience every customer had needed to be amazing in order to convince them that this product would add value to their lives, and with some genius communication strategies, helpful messaging, and lots of time understanding user requirements, the digital experience took shape as a successful shape at that! With a 4.8/5 score in the App Store and over 6M monthly active users, the Walgreens Digital platform paved the way in its industry, with many competitors following suit.
Next, Sarath found a role that seemed to be tailor-made for his skillset. He worked at a YC-backed startup called Draft bit that empowered people to build mobile applications without writing a single line of code. As the no-code movement was taking shape, it was caught in the crosshairs of the rising popularity of programming with a subset of the "non-technical" population writing off application development entirely. Knowing that didn't have to be the case, Sarath worked diligently to create engaging forums and build a sense of community, helping all the no-code developers find their place in technology. In time, the application grew and the product became even more robust, but none of it would have been possible without Sarath bridging the gap between the technical and non-technical worlds.
When the opportunity to take on the role of Community Programs Manager at Product Hunt came up, Sarath jumped in. The platform was built to bring great products to one place, alerting its users of all the best products across various industries, but still, the launch strategy needed a bullet-proof community-focused approach. With successful community programs like "Ask Me Anything" interactions, an ambassador program, and the Maker Grant Program, Product Hunt excelled. These community-minded strategies brought people together over more than just a product hub; they were connected to each other, using technology to create community. This experience launched him into his key role of Head of Community at Threado, where he handles all things "community" and leads a team toward achieving community-led growth.
Throughout his career, Sarath developed over 15 different technical products without the knowledge of programming. It's not often that someone with a non-technical background can create something in the technical world, but Sarath leads by example, reminding everyone who knows him that with a little determination, anything is possible. His passion for his work has always been clear, but his ability to bring his ideas to life without a traditional technical skillset underlines that passion.
There is often a fear that sits behind technology; people think that the sense of community and belonging cultivated by people will be tanked by technology. However, as Sarath proves, it's actually the opposite. Technology needs people in the same way people need technology, and with people, community is inherent if it's given a space to blossom. The adoption of new technology, applications, and more will only ever be as good as the community surrounding that new technology is. With people like Sarath doing this work day in and day out, we can all be a bit more confident that technology won't get in the way of our community, as long as Sarath has anything to say about it, that is.