An Entrepreneur’s Tale by Geetha Vallabhaneni

As we celebrate the 10th year of Luminix, a few people have asked me to share my story and how I managed to build and grow a stable and sustainable company without any outside help or capital. It strikes me as odd that I never sat down to put words to my story. For someone who believes in the need for stories and myths, it is kind of odd to leave their own story unspoken. I think I know why now.

Whilst I am known for speaking my mind, I have never been a terribly good self-promoter. In fact, I turned down a couple of interviews about my personal journey before because I am a staunch believer in actions and results speaking for themselves. Nevertheless, it is time for me to share this story and journey with the world. I am extremely proud of the products we built, our customer service, and our growing reputation. It is even more meaningful in these times — when businesses are finding it hard to survive — let alone grow. And a good story is a good story and sometimes it just writes itself when the timing is right. So, grab a cup of coffee and come along on a journey (well, an abridged one anyway because the unabridged one spans over 20 eventful years). I hope you find it useful. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions or feedback.

Chapter 1: The Unconnected Dot

I remember that night. I remember it very vividly. It was different from another night that felt most significant up until that point in my life. But the intensity of thoughts and feelings felt the same. I shall tell you about the other night in a little bit. For now, let us go back to that night 22 years ago. As the world around me fell asleep, my mind kept me awake. I could hear the electricity generated by my own neurons above the sounds of the night on the farm. A farm, for that matter nature, is never truly quiet. I heard the moonlight from the waxing quarter moon drip through the coconut fronds casting everything in silent, silvery shadows. The parrot family that found us and stayed with us for over 15 years was still settling in for the night in their nest in the guava tree. I heard the chicks squabble over the best place to sleep in. The 2-week-old calf was chasing the flies away with his head, making the bell around his neck sing in unsteady rhythms. The scent of cool December air wafted in and whispered something mysterious that made my sister pull her blanket tightly over her head.

What was keeping me awake was the anticipation of change. It would be pretty remarkable change. Here I was, a farmer’s daughter, who grew up with very little, who has never been on an airplane in her life, and whose generation was the first to go to college to make something of themselves. I am about to fly across the oceans to a land I only saw in my mind’s eye. I felt ready and excited for the adventure. The funny thing was I did not see myself as I truly was. If I did, that night would have terrified me. In reality, I was an unconnected dot. Not only unconnected but slightly misshapen too. My parents were from a remote village, they were not even high school graduates. We had no money. No connections. I did not go to elite colleges. So, I should have really felt like an outsider that I was. Instead, I felt like a point in Pointland. Like a world and a universe within. This tendency of not defining myself in ways the world may define me … it may explain a few things about me.

You can read the rest of the article here on Medium.