Interview with Sriram Somayajula
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In my childhood like many, I was dreaming of playing a sport for my country. I played multiple sports (badminton, football, cricket) all for my state team and I was really good at sports. It was my interest in sports that brought me to continue in this career and I’m one of those lucky ones to be doing what I’m doing as a sports performance analyst today, travelled 35 odd countries for doing this work over the last 18 years and I’ve been part of various Olympic contingency, formula 1 set up, football world cup, cricket world cups, other franchise leagues for cricket, badminton, football, and other sports and represented playing for various clubs in England and India and now part of the world’s best cricket league in IPL for a number of years as a working professional. In one word if I have to sum it up, “Passion” drove me all the way.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
Well, as I said earlier I’m very lucky to be doing what I liked the most. The most interesting thing that happened for me was, Since my playing days as a kid (as a 14-year-old), I used Idolise Ricky Ponting as my Cricket God and followed him so closely. I used to wear caps, chewing gums like him, bat-like him (at least try to) haha…, had massive posters of Ricky Ponting in my room, my phone number, my car number, all after his birthdate, and I was so much crazy about him as a cricketer and the charisma he carried. back in those days, never in my career, I dreamt of working together with him one day as a professional. Of course, I did play in his club earlier but never played with him. It was dream come true for me when I heard I was selected to be part of the Delhi Capitals franchise in the Indian Premier League and a bigger surprise when I heard Ricky Ponting be the head coach of the franchise. This is one such experience in life as a working professional.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To work with passion and not look at results. If you are too result-oriented and not be passionate about the work, we will not be able to celebrate the work or life. For instance, when you are passionate about something, you don’t tend to find faults or flaws. With a clear mind, we tend to achieve greater clarity and produce better results. During the course of your work in this industry, one will come across so many hurdles, so many problems with the role, one has to be able to find a balance and not get burned out.
“Passion with commitment and perseverance is the only way to achieve success”.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Yes, of course, So many have helped me in this past and every single learning has made me a better person and that goes for the present day too.
Firstly, when I was playing my mentor Mr. Bharat Reddy (A former Indian Cricketer & a self-made entrepreneur) identified my strengths both as an athlete and also what I could effectively do post my playing days. My playing career got jolted with severe injuries and I really had to think one day where am I heading towards and quickly turned out to become the performance analyst with my academic background (In Information Technology) and He motivated me to give it all and today I’m sitting pretty because of his motivation then.
Secondly, my close family. My dad, wife (we weren’t married then, dating) were two pillars of support for me since day 1. I initiated a company called Sports Insight, a super specialised game analytics company, and right from its inception they guided, helped, assisted me throughout my journey. But for them, I wouldn’t be where I am and I am ever grateful for such lovely people around me in my life.
Importantly, my IDOL Ricky Ponting has been a turning point in my profession. I have worked with at least 30-40 coaches in my life and all of them have some great qualities in them but this man got the best in me and everytime I saw him, he looked at me with that bit of confidence in his eyes giving me the feeling that I am alright, I am in the right direction and that soothing comfort. Win or loss in a sport is irrelevant and it is all about the process. I learnt that the hard way since my playing days and realised how important that process is for everyone and anyone through him. He is someone who has seen so much success in his career as a cricketer and as a coach now. Learning the best from him over the last 5 years of my association with him has been magnificent and I can’t thank all the stars above me for that wonderful experience.
Finally, all those employees, peers, my friends, my clients, people who encouraged me through this journey, and people who have worked against me at times also have taught me so many lessons and made me stronger at every instance. While I have a long way to go in my professional career, one day my aim is to leave a legacy behind in the field of sports analytics and empower a group of people.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The pandemic has brought out this thought in me, to be honest. Over the last 2 years or so, I have been nurturing nearly 500 odd aspirants to be in this field of sports analytics. I floated a new company “Transform Passion into Profession” globally and have conducted various workshops online and offline.
Participants from over 23 countries have attended my training programs (nearly 1800 hours of personal mentoring and coaching sessions). over 10,000 students have attended.
My workshops are both paid and internship-based. Paid programs are for institutions and the rest of them are purely out of passion. I personally interview the candidates whom I want to work with and handpick them for training them in specific sports. Prior to the interview process, we give the students/aspirants an assessment form where we ask them for their goal, sports of their interest, where they see themselves in 2 years from now and some technical questions too.
I wish to continue this exercise with as many as possible worldwide as I see great potential in today’s generation.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
Many quotes, but very few are relatable to my current life.
I used to see myself as a perfectionist. In the process of seeing perfection, I built some relationships and I broke some. Being perfect or trying to be perfect is not by will.
For instance, as a human everyone can make mistakes and we all are bound to make mistakes in life.
“Never appear too perfect”
For a perfectionist, One small imperfection can disturb them and shake them up. To elaborate that, you seem to be doing this in a perfect manner, but what appears to me may not be the same from the other person’s point of view and it need not be!
Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. “Envy creates silent enemies”.
“Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in Victory Learn when to stop”. The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance, overconfidence can push you past the goal one aimed for.
and many such…
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can connect me on Linkedin or even my website www.sriramsomayajula.com and be constantly connected. I love connecting with people on social media where we share our ideas about work-life, social life, and conversing with new people every day brings so much learning.