Nigel Abraham Jacob is CEO of his company, Nebula Robotics based in Mumbai India. ‘I’m Chief Everything Officer as our company is still scaling,’ he says. The company is into developing industrial robots that automate and streamline repetitive industrial tasks.
A serial entrepreneur with a passion for technology, strategy and human psychology, Nigel enjoys nothing more than spending hours researching ‘what’s new and how to make a change’. A former Dubai student, he has worked on projects for India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Robotics Dept., and NTPC. ‘Currently we are disrupting the Indian automation industry from Mumbai,’ says the 27-year-old who after graduating in robotics and automation engineering from IIT Bombay, started the industrial robot business that is making waves in the industry.
The young entrepreneur believes the education system needs to keep up with the times and be more than just about memorising. ‘As a student, I was very curious to learn and was very happy making presentations rather than taking exams,’ he says.
Excerpts from an interview:
Who were your mentors while in school/college? What advice did they give you?
I had a senior who saw my first year project and said that I was going to do some great stuff soon. That gave me an early boost in motivation. The Director of Mechanical Dept, Dr. T.V. Christy, was a big support to me during college and would always encourage me to get things done.
What is your job profile and are you enjoying your work?
My role is evolving more into a coach who guides my team and not getting into the work I can delegate. My greatest joy in my career is being inquisitive. I believe in running experiments that create wealth and jobs.
How important do you think academic achievements are when it comes to landing the career of your choice?
Education should largely shape people for jobs as well as society. The world is changing rapidly and the new generation needs to be up to date on information. Academic achievements attempt, but don’t guarantee, rationality.
Humans, I believe, are purpose-driven animals. In the absence of concrete goals, people make validation by others as their goal. An astronaut whose goal is to go to Mars will care less about how he or she looks; an athlete who has an aim to win the Olympic gold, will not care about what their friends think. Continuous learning and experiments will help you land your dream career.
Did you face parental pressure when choosing a career stream?
No. I’ve realised that people can use a painful event in two ways: as an excuse to fail or as fuel to excel. It all depends on your mindset and how you set goals.
I think it is vital to strive to be self dependent. I find it amusing that people complain about not being able to manage parents but dream of changing the world.
What do you think are important factors that can help you succeed in the career of your choice?
Being curious. Most people are living in their comfort zones. Curious people tend to create more wealth and have less turbulence.
You can ignore knowledge like the masses but you have to accept that your life won’t be easy.
Fun fact: Only 1.6 per cent of Indian workforce make more than INR50,000 a year and this has been the situation since last three decades.
You need to have a passion to excel in something that requires diligence and hard work. You can pick anything and become good at it. I would pick a passion that also makes money so that you have less regrets in life. Success for humans is about having more choices than others. Success unlocks more choices. We can choose to be envious of people who are more successful or use them as inspiration.
Are you content with your job?
Building robots is a dream and every day feels like living in a dream and doing things people only get to see in the movies or can’t fathom. My dream career is building businesses that solve problems using technology.
Your advice to students
We live in a world of information overload and super low cognitive bandwidth.
Explore. Strive for more experience. Love books. Question everything. Don’t be a validation addict. Instead of chasing fame, chase skill, knowledge and understanding.
Have a goal to be wiser and be able to see things from multiple unique perspectives.