The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Gihan Dias

April 23, 2024 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 89
Gihan Dias
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Gihan Dias
Apr 23, 2024 Season 1 Episode 89
Chris & Zoë

Today we chat with Professor Gihan Dias, who is widely regarded as the father of the Internet in Sri Lanka. He brought the Internet to his country, starting from his post-graduate studies in California, where he first encountered the technology.

We dive into his career journey from setting up the first e-mail system, the Lanka Education and Research Network (LEARN), and the LK domain registry, to his current work on cyber safety, e-learning, and language. He reveals his problem-solving and innovation philosophy, guiding him throughout his career.

Gihan talks about how he overcame the challenges and seized the opportunities he faced in bringing the Internet to Sri Lanka, as well as the skills and technologies he learned along the way. He also shares his passion for making the Internet more accessible, secure, and effective for the people of Sri Lanka.

Join us for this fascinating interview with our friend Professor Gihan Dias.

If something doesn't work, that's not the end of the world.
Just try again.
Back up, maybe move to a different action, and try again.

Gihan's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

Today we chat with Professor Gihan Dias, who is widely regarded as the father of the Internet in Sri Lanka. He brought the Internet to his country, starting from his post-graduate studies in California, where he first encountered the technology.

We dive into his career journey from setting up the first e-mail system, the Lanka Education and Research Network (LEARN), and the LK domain registry, to his current work on cyber safety, e-learning, and language. He reveals his problem-solving and innovation philosophy, guiding him throughout his career.

Gihan talks about how he overcame the challenges and seized the opportunities he faced in bringing the Internet to Sri Lanka, as well as the skills and technologies he learned along the way. He also shares his passion for making the Internet more accessible, secure, and effective for the people of Sri Lanka.

Join us for this fascinating interview with our friend Professor Gihan Dias.

If something doesn't work, that's not the end of the world.
Just try again.
Back up, maybe move to a different action, and try again.

Gihan's Links: 


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Machines made this, mistakes and all...

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the Impostor Syndrome Network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann, and this is the Gihan Diaz episode, which I think you're going to really love. Professor Gihan Diaz's PhD has been a well known figure in the internet world since 1988, and has extensive knowledge and experience in both the technical operation of the internet And socioeconomic issues as well.

[00:00:36] Chris: He was instrumental in setting up and running the academic internet in Sri Lanka called learn, starting with Sri Lanka's first email system in 1990. He led learn from 1993 to 2003, and then was inducted into the internet hall of fame. Fame in 2013 for that pioneering work in building the internet in Sri Lanka.

[00:00:56] Chris: He was also the founder and first president of the Lanka academic network, LACNET, which is a volunteer nonprofit organization focused on increasing the accessibility of information technology to students in Sri Lanka. He's also worked with numerous international organizations such as ICANN. IETF, APRICOT, and several other Asia Pacific bodies, in addition to the Internet Society, where he has served as a trustee and as a chapter leader.

[00:01:23] Chris: Hi, Gihan. Thanks so much for being here. Would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the Imposter Syndrome Network? 

[00:01:30] Gihan: Hi, Chris. Yes. Thank you very much for inviting me here. It's a great pleasure to be here on this. As you said, I'm really an academic, I guess, so I work at the University of Morocco, which is in Sri Lanka, which, if you don't know, is basically in the Indian Ocean, just a little south of India, and, uh, I've been responsible for several things in my career, including, as you mentioned, building the Lanka Education As well as several other things with me, we'll talk about in a little while.

[00:02:04] Gihan: So yeah, that's, I think enough. And we'll expand on this in the next few minutes. 

[00:02:09] Chris: Excellent. Yeah. Let's, let's jump right in. I want to start with the activities, I guess, that led up to your being inducted into the internet hall of fame, which is around. Learn, uh, L E A R N. I think it's, you know, I think that's an acronym.

[00:02:21] Chris: Maybe you can tell us a little bit about that, but what I'm really interested in is, you know, the fact that you were starting Sri Lanka's first email system and kind of building this academic internet. In 1990, which, you know, obviously is very early days and being kind of the first to do some of these things is always interesting to me.

[00:02:39] Chris: And I wonder if you can tell us a little bit about, you know, how that came to be. How did you get involved in that? And where did that start? 

[00:02:45] Gihan: So I came to California, the University of California in 1986 to do my postgraduate work. And I discovered something very interesting, I didn't really know about when I left Sri Lanka.

[00:03:00] Gihan: I mean, it's a long distance, it's pretty much halfway around the world. And that is this internet. And it was fascinating that you could sit in front of Sun Workstation, which, of course, I think most of the people here have never heard of. And type messages which would instantly or in a few minutes get to someone else.

[00:03:24] Gihan: I could log in to computers halfway around the world. And download various files using file transfer protocol or FTP. So this was like magic. But of course one of the most interesting things was email or electronic mail. So I could send messages to people. Remember this was 1986. There was no Google.

[00:03:45] Gihan: There was no, these were not even imagined, right? And so this was long before, in fact, even the World Wide Web, which, uh, came up in about 1992, I think. So, yeah, so this is a very, very early internet. And really, at that time, what we were looking at is email and file transfer. And then I thought, okay. Back in Sri Lanka, can we use these technologies to connect the people of Sri Lanka?

[00:04:14] Gihan: And then we thought, okay, let's try to have some way to get email into Sri Lanka. So we came up with some, uh, ideas. Okay. It's very expensive to get these least lines and, you know, P1 line, all that type of stuff. So we said, we will just use a dial up. And again. I think you two today have never heard of dial up or have heard a dial up modem.

[00:04:43] Gihan: So anyways, we went to, you know, the nearest computer store and said, I want a modem. Got one. It was a basic one. Then, but later on we ordered a Motorola codecs, which is a high quality modem, got these connected and started dialing us. Telephone calls from US to Sri Lanka were very, very expensive. It's not like you could open up WhatsApp or whatever and just talk to someone for basically for free.

[00:05:13] Gihan: They were very, very expensive. I can't remember. It's like more than a dollar a minute. So we had to find some way of funding this. So what we did was, We set up a non profit or a profit organization to find this thing and this was called the Lanka, uh, academic network. And we also use this thing to send news about Sri Lanka to people who are basically graduate students because that was our base.

[00:05:41] Gihan: Oh, in various countries around the world who did not get news from Srinagar. Remember those days there was no social media and the only way you could get news is through this shortwave radio, which again, people have not heard of these days, but anyway. So we did, we sent email back and forth from Sri Lanka and also we distributed news to various grad students across and then we set up this nonprofit organization, collected money, and then used it to fund these things.

[00:06:17] Gihan: So, I would like to mention, this is, I think, has been the cornerstone. of my philosophy, right? If you find there's a problem, don't sit around complaining. Okay, there's a problem. Nobody is solving it. Uh, the authorities are not solving it. There is no money. We applied for a grant and we didn't get the grant, you know, all these stories.

[00:06:39] Gihan: figure out how to solve the problem. If you don't have money, figure out how we can raise some money. So don't sit around complaining, find a way to get resources and overcome obstacles. So I think I have was successful at that time in the 1980s. And then I was also used the same technique later whenever we had problems which we need to fix.

[00:07:06] Chris: Awesome. I love that. I love that philosophy. And also, I think it is really interesting to think back to, you know, those times in, in, in the late eighties, early nineties, when, as you said, just the whole system of telephony and internet and everything was, was very, very different than it is today. Right? One, the access to information, but also the long distance tariffs and those kind of things, a very different world that you're building all of this in.

[00:07:32] Chris: I'm interested, perhaps even before you kind of went to California and got exposed to the internet when you were going after your PhD, What led you on that path originally to go into engineering at all? 

[00:07:44] Gihan: Yes. So interestingly, my father was an engineer. So I think it's one of these, you know, you look up to your father and I can remember every month he used to get this engineering magazine.

[00:07:58] Gihan: And I was fascinated by what is engineering. And if you look at it, engineering is building stuff and of course, then running what we have done and there are others, but if you take the fundamental thing, it is to build stuff, do things which were not there, find the vacuum and then you build something to fill that.

[00:08:20] Gihan: So therefore, When I applied for the university, I made sure to apply for engineering, got into engineering. And then of course, at that time, there were no computers. I mean, there were computers, this was the early eighties, but they were not really available. So I did take the computer course. I was fascinated.

[00:08:40] Gihan: Uh, we use the computer called the RadioShack TRS 80. And it had BASIC and so we wrote all these programs in BASIC just before I went to the university. But when I went to the university, I found, okay, they don't have a computer science degree. They don't have a computer engineering degree because, you know, at that time, those disciplines were not yet ready.

[00:09:03] Gihan: So I decided, okay, we'll take the processed one, which is Electronics engineering. And then later, about the time I was graduating, the university decided to start a computer science department. And in fact, I'm proud to say I was the first employee of that department because as soon as I heard there's a department I said I want to join and then I did join as a junior staff member almost immediately after I graduated.

[00:09:33] Chris: That's fantastic. That's really interesting to be the very first. That's very cool. Indeed. I like that. And so it seems like, you know, this kind of dive into technology for your career. Working in on and around technology and being an engineer and teaching engineering and these things that all started at a pretty young age, really just through this passion to, to build stuff, which I think then shows through in your personal philosophy of, of kind of figuring out the problem, moving forward and, and getting things done.

[00:10:00] Chris: Right. So it's a very engineering mindset all around. So in addition to getting email up and running, kind of bringing the internet to Sri Lanka, so to speak, you also, I believe, I don't know if you found it or you just started working at very early, the, the LK domain registry as well. Is that right? 

[00:10:16] Gihan: Right.

[00:10:17] Gihan: That also was a bit of a serendipitous thing. So we started this email and we use something called UUCP, which. Again, nobody has heard of, but it was possible to use the internet type email address, uh, you know, name at domain in that email system. So we said, okay, we should have our own domain. And then we were looking at EDU and they said, no, no, that's basically for us universities.

[00:10:45] Gihan: You should go and do it in your own country. And as what do we do for Sri Lanka, uh, how, how do we, uh, have a domain in our own country? And they said, Oh, each country in the world has been allocated a domain name, a top level domain name. And then we looked around and we found that the top level domain name for Sri Lanka is LK, which abbreviation of Lanka.

[00:11:12] Gihan: And so I said, okay, that's fine. Now, how do we register domain in that? They said, okay, there's a guy called Jon Postel, who is basically the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, was basically one person. You just speak to the, uh, to Jon Postel. And, uh, he will help you. So we shut off email to John Foster saying, I want to register a domain in LK.

[00:11:38] Gihan: So we said we want, uh, university of morocco. edu. nlk or ac. nlk or something like that, then of course, John Foster says, okay, you take LK and you set it up. It's just a very casual, just one email. And I have no idea. I mean, I have no idea what this whole thing is about. So basically this landed in my lap.

[00:12:01] Gihan: And then, uh, obviously I asked around, uh, some experts remembering that, you know, it's not so possible to do Googling and all because Google was there. So you have to find where things are, maybe go to FTP servers and download RFCs and stuff like that. And we set up this LK, and, uh, first we had to decide what do we have inside LK, we looked around, we saw that other countries, they had AC for the academic network, we decided, okay, we'll use AC, then for our university we decided to use UOM for University of Morotua and so on.

[00:12:37] Gihan: So we first obviously set up a domain for ourselves and then the other universities. As a case, other people saw that we were using these and said, can we have our own domain? And yes, we said, okay, fine. Yes, we can do that. And we started registering these domains until we realized that, okay, this is a bit of a job and it's not something, you know, you can just do part time.

[00:13:01] Gihan: So then we had to actually set up a organization which was initially in the university and then eventually turned into the current organization which registers domains in lk. So it started off unexpectedly, but I don't think it developed by itself. I mean, I believe one of the main things is if you're doing something, then you have to figure out how to do it.

[00:13:27] Gihan: Well, and make sure it does work and your customers are happy, right? If your customers are not happy, then, uh, they would complain. So we, from the beginning, we tried to make people happy, but at the beginning of us, we certainly know what we're doing, but after some time. We figured out what to do, quite well, and I think we can, when we compare ourselves with other country codes, which are set up around the same time, we can say we've done just as well, or maybe sometimes even better than many of the others.

[00:13:59] Chris: That's fantastic. Yeah, that, that's, that's great. I'm always really fascinated about these, you know, kind of very early stage, uh, You know, just the, I guess maybe the pioneering spirit to dive into these things, because as you said, just to kind of reiterate what you already said, this is long before Google or, or being, or even some of the earlier, like Meta crawlers and things, the internet itself, you know, the pages weren't even on the web to start to search for.

[00:14:23] Chris: So 

[00:14:23] Gihan: there was no web 

[00:14:24] Gihan: actually. Yeah. 

[00:14:25] Gihan: So what we had was FTP, file transfer protocol and email. And those are the, basically the two things which, which were there at that time. And we had to somehow get all the things we needed using those. Or of course, go to the library and read paper books. Right, which we used to do, right?

[00:14:42] Gihan: We used to go to these libraries and read paper books. Now we don't do that. 

[00:14:48] Chris: A lot less, yeah. Yeah, that's true. And then, was this work with the LK domain part of what led you to kind of dive into the initiative to make this work? I guess call it computers in the internet available in local languages. I know you've been kind of instrumental in some of that work as well.

[00:15:03] Gihan: Not necessarily that. I think it was more the work we did with through the learn. So the LK was one initiative that sort of ran in parallel. Uh, in addition to that, uh, we started in, uh, around, uh, around the same time, 1990. Three or so, uh, the Lanka education and research network. So we managed to find a nice acronym learn for that.

[00:15:28] Gihan: And, uh, so initially again, this network started off using dial up email fairly soon. We managed to find us a couple of thousand dollars or less. I don't know. We need very small amounts of funding and we managed to get three least lines. Connecting three of our universities. And it was fun because nobody knew what we were doing.

[00:15:53] Gihan: And of course, as you said, we had no Google to look up stuff. So when things didn't work, we really had no one to ask. So we got down some equipment and then when we tried to connect it, obviously it didn't work and then we really had no one to ask. So we had to somehow make sure things work, but eventually we did that.

[00:16:15] Gihan: And we had three universities connected. Via 64 kilobit lines, and it was terribly, terribly fast. 64 kilobits, 64,000 beats per second, terribly fast. Remember, when you run out of your quarter today on your, uh, phone or whatever, they bring you down to 64 kilobits per second. That's what you get when you run out of your quota and you, you don't pay more money.

[00:16:45] Gihan: But you know, in at that time in the 1990s, that was superbly fast. Yeah, so that's where we started and then the technical part was one, but we also had to create awareness, had to show people what internet could do. So we actually went around to all the universities and conducted classes on, you know, how to use email, how to use FTP.

[00:17:08] Gihan: Also realized that a lot of people don't actually know how to use computers and that's still true today, maybe 30 years afterwards, I think it's still true today that. There's lots of people who are not used to computers or even phones, so we had to train them, you know, how to use a computer, how to type, how to, uh, and of course there were no windows at that time, maybe using DOS or something like that.

[00:17:33] Gihan: So we did a whole lot of training and it actually was very good because it allowed us to actually form a team from many universities. So all the university people, each university, we generally found at least one person who was really keen on this. And we got them into the team. So we had a committee, the learned committee, and most of us, you know, went around from one place to the other doing training, uh, advocacy, and, you know, asking for money, obviously, and so on.

[00:18:02] Gihan: And we had a very, very good team. And a few of them are still around. At least three or four of them are still working with me. Others have, you know, moved on to various things. But it was a really, really great team we had there, a pioneering team, as you said. 

[00:18:18] Chris: That's fantastic. And that's great that you're still working together with some of those folks.

[00:18:21] Chris: I mean, obviously, life paths take us in different directions. But the fact that those of, you know, some of those relationships have remained for so long is really fantastic. So, you know, obviously this is a ton of amazing work you did to kind of establish the internet, you know, not just in Sri Lanka, but I think this had, you know, bigger waves that affected a lot of kind of Asia in general and the world at large.

[00:18:42] Chris: I'm really curious to know, you know, what you're up to now, what are you, what are you doing now? 

[00:18:46] Gihan: Okay. Yeah. So now, uh, that early thing of. Getting internet is no longer applicable. I'm Sri Lanka is a small country and pretty much anywhere, especially in any urban area, you can just fire up a phone and you get 4g or 5g, whatever.

[00:19:04] Gihan: That problem is not there, but again, it is. Still there, if you go maybe into a remote area into a mountainous area, because sometimes you may be not very far from a city or at least some kind of town, but if there's a mountain between you and the town, then of course, you don't get any signal. And of course, if you are in a rural area, there is no fiber.

[00:19:28] Gihan: They are, so you are relying on the wireless, uh, or the mobile network, but in general, the network is there. So that part I think is mostly sorted out. So we're looking, okay, how can we make people use the internet? And then also we looked at, okay, a lot of people, when they use the internet, they got into trouble.

[00:19:50] Gihan: They got hacked. They had various people put fake profiles or fake pictures or. Do all sorts of things. So we decided to set up a cyber safety initiative and a helpline where people could call and they could get assistance. So we called it Hitavati, which is basically a confidant, but it's a feminine form because we wanted to Emphasize that this is safe for women and Children, because, as you know, many women, many girls, they would feel very reluctant to discuss their problems with a male person.

[00:20:27] Gihan: So it is even right now. It is staffed by female personnel. And we've done a lot of work over the last 10 years or so in getting a website, getting connected, connecting with companies like Meta and so on, and making sure that we have a good connection with them, connecting with the government, with the police, child protection authorities and all those places.

[00:20:51] Gihan: So that's one major thing I've done. So it's not building the Internet, but of course, there's no point building the Internet if people feel unsafe. If you don't want to go and do something, so even right now, many, many people feel very reluctant to do e-commerce. They don't wanna put their credit card onto some website, which is, I think, reasonable.

[00:21:12] Gihan: I mean, I feel sometimes very, um, scared or I, I am feeling should I actually type in this credit card number onto this site? Which I don't know, I mean, what will happen with the guy just siphon off all the money in my card? So these are some of the things we try to tell people, okay, how you should use it safely, you know, if you are putting your card into a site, how do you make sure it's a legitimate site and all that type of stuff.

[00:21:38] Gihan: So that's one thing we've been doing, and that is cyber safety. Another thing we have been doing is to build e learning. So. One of the things we did, even at the university, not only me, I mean, I don't want to say I'm, take the credit, many other people, we started using technology in learning. We started off by using, you know, PowerPoint, right?

[00:22:03] Gihan: And that was, you know, again, long, long ago, 1990s, and PowerPoint was, you know, something very new. And then we started keeping these online. We started using the Moodle learning management system. So students can get these. We started recording the lectures and putting the videos online, right? And so on.

[00:22:24] Gihan: And in 2020, we really found this was very useful because, what did we get in 2020? We got COVID. And then we realized that since we are already familiar with all of this stuff and using e learning, we actually managed to run our systems with, so the students are at home, we're at home, the university of course kept running the servers, we managed to keep them running, but of course students were not at the university, but we continued all of our classes.

[00:22:56] Gihan: Online and so that showed how useful e learning is and we didn't want to stop after the COVID pandemic. We decided to try to get more and more people using e learning because I think the major thing in e learning is it is. Scalable, right? You do not have this one person getting in front of a class and talking to whatever number of people, right?

[00:23:22] Gihan: I mean, if you take a school, typically they will have, you know, a large number of classes and the teacher goes from class to class to class to class and pretty much repeats the same class, right? You know, morning and afternoon. Uh, so why do you do that, right? Why can't we use? E learning to do that, and that's what we've done a few courses.

[00:23:46] Gihan: So it's a bit of uphill struggle. I mean, people are used to normal, uh, you know, physical classes, and people getting up in front of a blackboard or whiteboard and writing stuff, and students listening to you. And when you say, okay, we are going to convert that to e learning, the students, the learning institutes, the lecturers, everybody sort of has to shift their paradigm.

[00:24:11] Gihan: And we've been doing this gradually, and right now, so we are still doing it, you know, very, very slowly, not in a big way. And we've got a few courses running, and we've got a few students who are doing it, and we are now trying to see how can we improve it. Right, and one thing is, you might say, oh, why don't we use all these e learning platforms available all over the world?

[00:24:32] Gihan: One problem, of course, is language, because in our country, as in many, many, many other countries, The average person does not speak English. So, in fact, we have two languages, two, uh, local languages in our country called Sinhala and Tamil. But if you go to a country like India, they have hundreds of languages.

[00:24:55] Gihan: They have 22 official languages, which are recognized by the government of India. But there are many, many other smaller languages which are also spoken. Now, how do we get stuff across to these people? I mean, we need to either convert the existing e learning or create new e learning in our own languages.

[00:25:19] Gihan: And that's, I think, what we are doing. Also, we find that the quality of the teachers are, you know, very, I mean, there are obviously very good teachers. Also, as we all know, we have, you know, not so good teachers, but how can some student who is stuck with a not so good teacher, how can he or she get a very good education where they can do that if you have things available online.

[00:25:43] Gihan: So that's one thing we've been doing. But as you, as I just said. We've also been working on language. So this actually again came more or less by accident. So we were doing this internet stuff and around, it would have been about 98, 99, somewhere in that region. We said, okay, let's set up a guide to how to use the internet.

[00:26:06] Gihan: Right. And we said, we'll use this technology itself. We'll put all this stuff on the web. And then we realized, okay, we can do it in English. But then, not everybody, only a small percentage of our population speaks English. So we said, okay, fine. Let's do it in our own language. Then the question is, how do we get our language onto the internet?

[00:26:28] Gihan: At that time, there was no real way. So we figured out, or we looked around and we found there is something called Unicode. But the computers at that time did not support Unicode. So we talked to Microsoft, we talked to some other companies, and we said, and Apple and so on, we said, we want our language in Unicode.

[00:26:50] Gihan: They said, well, yes, you tell us exactly how your language works, and then we can do that. Then, here I am, a computer engineer. And they tell us, tell us how your language works. So what did you do? We went and met a professor of language and asked, how does our language work? And then he said, okay, come, I will teach you.

[00:27:12] Gihan: And he actually taught me the language. And at that time, my son was in like grade two or three, and he was learning the basics of language. And here I was learning the basics of language, of course, at a slightly different level. But he was very thrilled that I was also learning the alphabet, you know, at the same time he was learning the alphabet.

[00:27:37] Gihan: So then I did understand, in fact, you know, I realized that language is also like computer science, there's lots of rules. There is, uh, theories, there is a lot of stuff. So anyway, we managed to figure out how language works and then we managed to get Singhala working on computers, phones and various things.

[00:27:58] Gihan: But still, you know, it's a, it's a big uphill task because the newest thing which comes that CPT or whatever turns up, they claim it works in, you know, whatever languages, but when you actually try it, it really is effective only in a couple of languages. So, uh, we have to now look at how these machine learning systems, AI systems, all of these Can work in our language because what we don't want to do is to say, Oh, we are second class or third class citizens of this cyberspace.

[00:28:33] Gihan: We don't know English. We don't know Spanish or Chinese or whatever other language is supported there. We want the technology to speak to us. We don't want to have to learn some other language to use technology. So that's the other major thing we have been doing. So we set up a center called the National Languages Processing Center, and that's doing a lot of work.

[00:29:00] Gihan: We did several things, but one of the things we just finished a couple of years ago is a translation system, which is much better than the commercial systems out there. And so that's really what we have been doing. 

[00:29:15] Chris: That's fantastic. That's great. Gihan, thanks for sharing that with us. Unfortunately, uh, that's about all the time we have for today.

[00:29:22] Chris: Gihan, thank you so much for sharing your story with the imposter syndrome network and thank you to all of our listeners for your time, your attention, and your support. If you found this episode insightful or interesting, or even just entertaining, please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on.

[00:29:39] Chris: Now, one more thing before we totally close out, Gian, I am curious. I love your philosophy of this kind of just get it done attitude. And, and, and obviously it's worked so well for you. You've done some, some really amazing works for, for all of us. Over the years. I wonder though, if there was any times where you felt uncertain or unsure or not smart enough or not good enough, were there ever doubts as you were kind of taking on these, these giant projects?

[00:30:02] Gihan: Um, yes and no. I mean, Always, uh, we always took something as a challenge. As I said, when we started connecting with the internet, we got all this equipment and we had no idea how, how it works. I mean, we read manuals and there are a lot of naysayers people who said, Oh, what you're doing is completely wrong.

[00:30:22] Gihan: That's not how you should do it. Uh, we were talking about Unicode and there was a very strong, uh, I would say a group of people who said. You shouldn't use Unicode. We should do something else. And of course, there's commercial, uh, interest, right? I mean, if I have a product and we are saying, oh, you should do something else, obviously those guys will say, no, you know, we've invested so much in this product.

[00:30:45] Gihan: So we had to then convince them that yes, you've invested so much in your product. If you expand the market tenfold using this new technology, you can expand your market tenfold as well. So at first they didn't believe us, but later when they saw things were happening, they did come back and some of those guys are very close to us now.

[00:31:06] Gihan: Although at the beginning they used to, uh, they thought we were coming there to destroy their business. Yeah, so I think those are the things. And of course, you know, people who are jealous. So there are some people who are jealous and try to take credit for whatever. So I will very clearly say I'm not trying to take credit for all of this stuff.

[00:31:27] Gihan: 90 percent of the credit for what we did goes to the team, right? And I start mentioning names because if I did, I will leave out somebody. So I did not mention any names, but it's a team. Uh, but of course, people who are not on the team also feel, you know, they should also get in. So they start doing all sorts of stuff.

[00:31:48] Gihan: Yeah, but it was mostly, you know, that type of stuff because, you know, success breeds success. So if you, my always, my thing is don't try to do anything large all at once, always do something small, a pilot project, get it to work and then build on that. So if you make mistakes, I mean, so many mistakes are made even right now, you know, we're trying to do some things.

[00:32:12] Gihan: Well, people are saying, you know, but nobody wants to do that. So, you know, we'll somehow do it, right? We'll somehow persuade people that this is what we need. Get some success stories out and show them. So that's what we need to do. I mean, if something doesn't work, that's the end of the world. We just. Try again, you know, back up, maybe move to a different tact and try again.

[00:32:32] Chris: I like that a lot. I really like that advice is a good takeaway here, which is, you know, to, to start small, use those kind of quick wins, easy wins, low hanging fruit, as people call it, build up some small successes and then grow that and grow that as a way to kind of deal with big problems. I think there's a parable that says something about the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

[00:32:53] Chris: Um, yeah, great. I think that's great advice. Yeah. And thank you so much again for being here and we will be back next week.