Atul Satija had a clear vision in his mind. He wanted to leave his comfy job at Google and embark on a journey to do some social good.
The 39-year-old had one goal: to get on his personal journey before he hit 40. “I was eager to move to the social sector full time. The actual rumblings started while I was in Google, during 2006-10. Whilst there, I enrolled in a programme EndPoverty, a non-profit. Though I joined them as a volunteer, the idea stuck, since poverty alleviation is close to my heart,” said Satija.
Satija, who has an MBA from the Indian School of Business and a BTech from the National Institute of Technology, was Head of Business Development for India at Google and was also leading its mobile business for Japan and Asia-Pacific.
“Google wanted me to relocate either to Japan or to Mountain View, US. It was then that I decided to find something new to do, because I wanted to continue to be in India,” said Satija, realising that his work on various poverty-related issues, including water, sanitation, education, skill development and women empowerment was “heaps more satisfying” than his 9-5 job.
He joined Inmobi, a mobile ad network in India backed by SoftBank. “Though it offered me a much smaller canvas as compared to Google, as Inmobi’s global chief revenue officer, I was responsible for global sales, marketing and business development. The insights I gathered in this role further fuelled my personal ambition, to work full-time to alleviate poverty,” he said.
Satija insists that every human being deserves a dignified life out of poverty, and that collective means can help achieve that goal.
“The intent was there: to do the right thing. That is a latent intent with everyone. But how do you get others involved? How do you become a social nudge, and ensure collectively to give back, to do good to society. How can you nudge an entire system to help pull people out of poverty. These were the questions I asked myself, though push creates a pull, with action and reaction,” said Satija.