redesign | bio: Rakesh Agrawal

Who am I?

headshot

I’m the CEO of redesign | mobile. Fundamentally, I believe that the nature of work is changing. Work today follows an industrial-age mindset. We drive to the office. We show up more or less at the same time. We sit in meetings. We leave roughly at the same time. This made sense when the tools of production were expensive and fixed in location.

That isn’t the case anymore.

For many of us, the tools of production fit in our briefcases or pockets. I typed this bio on a $200 Chromebook while in Villarrica, Chile.

This was my day:

  • Woke up and wrote a blog post.
  • Skyped with a colleague in Raleigh, N. Carolina.
  • Drove through a Chilean forest to a thermal hot spring.
  • Soaked in the pools.
  • Got a massage.
  • Soaked in the pools.
  • FaceTimed with my girlfriend in San Francisco.
  • Came back and wrote this bio.
  • iMessaged with a co-worker in Todos Santos, Mexico.

That is what technology frees us to do! We should be able to take advantage of that freedom.

I’ve been working on products in a variety of roles: business development, corporate development, product management, user experience design and market research. With redesign | mobile, I get to wear all those hats and then some.

I’ve worked at startups, as well as large companies like AOL and Microsoft.

I’ve been widely quoted as a technology expert in The New York Times, Businessweek, washingtonpost.com, CNBC, NPR, Marketplace, Radio New Zealand, Bloomberg Television, TechCrunch, VentureBeat and dozens of other publications, television and radio outlets, and blogs.

Why I decided to start redesign | mobile

Despite the best efforts of Google, it’s really hard to find some things on the Internet. Service providers are one of the most poorly served categories. You generally have two choices: directories, which only provide basic information such as name, address and phone number; and other sites that might have a single review from a random person for an attorney. That’s not very helpful.

At redesign | mobile, we connect consumers to providers in a way that breeds trust and simplicity. We carefully vet providers for you, and you can read high-quality content from them and then engage them directly. We’ve made the payment process just as easy. The old way is to negotiate a service contract and then try to arrange payment via check or cash. We simplify the process, allowing you to click to schedule time with a trusted provider and pay with your credit card. Easy.

Our simple web-based model also allows entrepreneurial experts to make money in their spare time. This opens up a whole new opportunity to earn money for people like stay-at-home parents and the disabled.

My contribution to the redesign | mobile office

At Cal Academy of Sciences, we each picked an item for the new office. I chose a block of wood engraved with the San Francisco skyline. It hangs in the office between a picture of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges. I picked it because the picturesque city is my home and the home of redesign | mobile.

One of my favorite books

Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson.

Branson is one of my favorite entrepreneurs. Although he is a billionaire, he doesn’t act like it. He believes in being good to the planet and good to people, especially those in need. He also knows how to have a lot of fun.

The book talks about how capitalism can help change the world for good. The world thrives on making money. If you do charity as charity, it’s among the first things that go when hard times hit. But if you do charitable things as part of your business, it’s sustainable.

I had the opportunity to meet and interview Sir Richard a few years ago. He is charismatic and inspirational.

In Part 1, we talked about business strategy and the airline industry.

In Part 2, we talked about Sir Richard’s approach to helping the less fortunate.

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