As I prepare for the Goa trip with my team, I am filled with nostalgia about how life has shaped up in the past 5 years.
Tomorrow, the UCC team will meet in person after a long time. We are all so excited to meet and interact with people with whom we have worked remotely for days and nights together, delivering world-class research that has enabled our clients to shape their business and product strategies.
The journey has been exceptionally extraordinary as I set out to challenge almost everything that was considered as the norm, the only way to function and run a business. To start with, UCC has always been a remote-only company, and as some say, we were ahead of our time to conceptualize, and formulate team structures and operations that were a 100% remote setup. Never did we miss a deadline or deliver less than great research outcomes and deliverables. People worked from wherever and whenever they felt like it on that particular day. We planned our days by our energy levels and not by the clock. Result – everyone is 100% productive for all the hours that we work, are fully focused, and have a great sense of balance within ourselves as we get time to do everything that we wish to do on all days and not only on the weekends 😊
The kind of projects that we have picked up in the 5 years of UCC’s existence has been well filtered, selected, and deliberated upon before signing up for the engagement. I have always been committed to adding value right at the strategy-building stage through projects that need research to impact their business, revenue, and positioning and not merely fix features. Doing this required tons of patience and self-belief and it sometimes also meant not having projects for a couple of months but waiting patiently to come across people and organizations that believed in UR to impact their strategies. Fast forward to the current day- we have an impressive portfolio of clients and projects where we have functioned as partners, taking full responsibility for strategizing, executing, and delivering research projects that have without any exception impacted sales, business, product, revenue strategies - both for domestic and global products.
And guess how it all started?
During a casual but heart-heart conversation with a very dear friend, Kedar was when the idea of UCC was born. We have been friends since the NID days and had met over dinner during one of my ethnography research trips to Mumbai. We had met late at night after wrapping up our day’s work/engagements. The conversation started with a general catch-up about families, and our current engagements, and then as it always happens - complained about what’s not happening right and how we wish there was a way to change things and do the right thing, realise our full potential etc etc
By this time, we had paneer curry, naan, and some raita and it was time for the caramel custard - one of my favourite desserts. I vividly remember that by the time we finished the second caramel custard, (yes, that’s how much I love it!) We decided to start our own respective studios. I would run my research consultancy – UCC, and Kedar will pursue his love for furniture design and start his branding studio- Russet and The Turtle Story. That was all it took for us to convince ourselves and each other to commit to this new journey. A week later, we registered the companies and started running the show.
Siddharth, my dear friend since NID days, runs his December Design Studio, gave me my first UCC branding and patiently spent hours discussing everything that I wanted to challenge and
do differently. Be it the remote working, team, types of projects and clients I wanted to engage with etc.
“Pata nahi in dosto ke bagair mera kya hota :P”
As I pause to recount the experiences, learnings, events & achievements that made the 5 years worth the journey, I am filled with immense gratitude towards my team, friends, mentors, clients who believed in me, and my super awesome daughters and hubby dear.
I can’t wait until tomorrow when I get to meet and interact with my UCC and The Turtle Story team as we celebrate our 5 year anniversary together 😊
Here’s to more epiphanous journeys! Cheers!
Photo by Max Griss on Unsplash