Naga Kataru belongs to Gampalagudam, a farming village in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He was a great student. His father was the principal of the school he went to. Kataru’s father decided to keep his son college-bound. Kataru graduated with a degree in computer science and engineering. He then got himself admitted at Indian Institute of Technology in Computer Science program, that was country’s best during that time.
Kataru was hired by Google in 2000. He being the 40th engineer in the 110 employee startup. When he had first introduced the idea of Google alerts it was rejected because Kataru’s manager felt that setting alerts would lead Google to lose money as people would drift away from Google. But trusting his instincts Kataru went to Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The Google founders tested it and loved the idea. Kataru is listed in three patents for Google alerts.
Google alerts was launched in 2003. It became a very helpful feature for people using it to monitor web-specific content. Kataru feels that Google gave a jolt to his creativity. But after working for eight long years in Google Kataru became restless. He wanted to explore more. So he decided to quit Google and entered new zones trying his hand at documentary short films and improve theatre. He also applied and was accepted for directing a programme at second city, the world-famous improve group.
In 2008, Kataru turned his career’s steering towards farming. He bought 320 acre farm in Modesto, California. He had thought of it as a diversified investment and was planning to sell it after five years. But this farm reminded him of his life in India. Hence, he converted the land into an almond farm.
Initially he was clueless about farming. But since he loved learning and exploring new things he taught himself about it. Slowly and steadily the farm started generating revenues. Today his farm produces apricots as well. It has eight employees and its annual revenue is 2.5 million dollars.
Presently Kataru is working on two degrees at Stanford – an MBA and an MS in Environment and Resources as he plans to make farming more tech.
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