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When Zac Met Mak: The Story of Vital India

Mak Velusamy

There’s something not too many people know about Vital: In addition to our team of 15+ full-time and contract developers working from our offices in Portsmouth, NH, Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA, we have a handful of developers working from our office in India!

Even with the distance, the developers at our Vital India office are a big part of our personal and professional lives. We’ve visited them and they’ve come to visit us. We celebrate milestones together, like when we all gathered to watch video footage of Ram’s 2019 wedding. They have become so much more than just coworkers; they are our extended family.

So how exactly did they become a part of our agency? Here’s how it all started:

When Zac Met Mak

As an investor and entrepreneur, Vital’s fearless leader Zac Gregg was developing a conference room booking software for one of his businesses. Vital was making the transition from a brand agency to a digital agency and had yet to find a senior programmer who could take charge of complicated web and eCommerce builds.

It was through this project that Zac met Mak Velusamy, a web developer and software development engineer based in Chennai, India. Mak has a master’s degree in computer applications and started his career as an SEO analyst. He quickly moved into PHP development and works with open source technologies like Magento, Joomla, WordPress, Zencart, and countless others.

Mak and Zac spoke directly on almost a daily basis and became fast friends. They became so close that they made plans to bring Mak on board as a full-time Vital employee. As with any third-party middleman, Mak’s company took a significant portion of the salary Vital was paying for his services, and Zac wanted Mak to be a fairly paid, permanent, full-time employee who could receive all the benefits that his hard work and talent deserved. Luckily, Mak was able to join Vital as a contractor.

The stipulations of Mak’s contract with his previous company and the legalities of hiring a global worker required a lot of planning and navigating through red tape.

During this time, Mak got to work growing the Vital India team from an office in Downtown Chennai. If you’re not familiar with India, Chennai is a technology hotspot where the majority of businesses work on U.S. time. Mak recruited, interviewed, and hired a few highly experienced local professionals including his friend and former coworker, Murali Yoga. Working closely with Vital’s creative services team, Mak and the burgeoning team were drilled on our tight-knit processes and high standards of quality.

Zac and Mak navigated the legalities of operating a Vital office in India, and in 2014 they created a private entity called Mandy Technologies — “mandy” is a shorter form of “mandatory,” which has a similar meaning as “vital.”

2020 & Beyond
A decade later, Mak and Zac are still good friends and communicate daily as colleagues. Both are excited about Vital India’s future. The team has already moved from the hustle and bustle of life in Chennai to Mak’s quieter, more family-friendly hometown a few hours away.

Our Vital India office now houses these rock star team members:

Did You Know?
Vital also has remote workers in California, Connecticut, Colorado, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

6 Quick Facts About Vital India

1. They Only Work for Vital
Whether it’s in the U.S., India, or Mars, no one on our team is outsourced.

2. They Keep U.S. Hours
Even though they are 10.5 hours ahead of us, Vital India works the same shift as our Portsmouth, NH, team — that means they are in the office from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. This is a common practice for many companies in India; restaurants are even open for lunch at midnight!

No matter what, the Vital India team is always on the same clock as us. And just like our U.S.-based team members, many Vital India developers log on to work early and keep working long past our office hours. We’re always talking to them through Google Chat, email, video conferences, text messages, and phone calls throughout the day, so there’s never a concern about lag times or delays.

“I’ve found that my clients really appreciate the fact that they work the same hours as us,” said Lauren Reilly, director of accounts. “They are arguably the most reliable team to work with.”

3. We All Use the Same Tools
Basecamp, Jira, Freshbooks, Forecast, WP Engine, etc. If Vital U.S. uses a tool, so do our friends in India.

“Sometimes they are more accessible than people in the next room,” said Emily Fitzpatrick, senior account manager.

Apple computers are not very accessible (due to price) in India. In 2013, when we outfitted the team with brand new Apple computers, the reaction was as if we had bought them each a Ferrari!

4. We All Follow the Same Processes
From planning our production schedule to weekly check-ins, Vital India is an integral part of our day-to-day processes. That means HR and operational processes too, like annual performance reviews.

5. We Take Care of Them
Mak recently shared something poignant with us. “In a similar role at a similar company in India, we would make only 30 or 40% of what we make at Vital.” Just like our domestic team, Vital India is paid competitively and receives well-earned raises and holiday bonuses. Vital takes care of their operating costs, like rent for their office and an office/equipment budget.

6. They Have Orange Walls & A Giraffe Too
You may have noticed our orange aesthetic or seen our mascot Tango. Our India office has enthusiastically embraced all of our little quirks too!

Vital India

As Vital as a whole grows, so will our team in the East. If you have any questions about Vital India, Vital U.S., or our future Vital Mars location, contact us anytime!

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