This interview with Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan,founder and C.E.O. of Drawbridge, a cross-device advertising platform, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant
Tell me about your early years.
I grew up in Bombay, which is now called Mumbai. Education was always important in our family. I remember my mother saying often that if you study hard and do well, then you should achieve the success that you desire.
There was a natural proclivity to mathematics in our family, going back for generations, with a lot of accountants and civil servants. But there is zero entrepreneurial background. I never had a lemonade stand. All I wanted to have was a stellar academic career. And that stayed true through the course of my education, including in the U.S. for my advanced degrees. The fields that I chose were some version of applied mathematics for engineers.
My parents inspired me to pursue higher education, but at some point, the choices I was making appeared to them to be one challenge after another along an uncharted course. I remember my father asking, “Is there a reason that you don’t choose something that is considered to be normal? You’re always sort of moving toward the most challenging path, and not one that has been charted by us. We are not able to help you.” But it felt like a natural path to me.
I became an entrepreneur probably by accident. As you pursue a Ph.D., you’re an innovator, and that process is something I was constantly seeking. Being an entrepreneur is more about creating impact.
Back to your father’s point about your choices. Why have you always picked the more difficult path?
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