Managing a Global Startup from Home

For Darren Palmer Amundson, building a virtual U.S.-Indian tech enterprise has been hard -- but highly rewarding -- work

I currently run a digital medical transcription business with my partner, Tharunidhar Narravula (everybody calls him Tarun), who I met in business school. We met during an entrepreneurship program at MIT, where students from both the business school and the engineering program work for a high-tech startup for a semester. Our semester together was very successful, and because we had similar business interests we kept in touch.

Immediately after school, I worked as a consultant. But a year-and-a-half after graduating, Tarun and I got together again and decided to start Neoscribe in 2001. My heart was never in consulting, and I always knew I would do a startup. This was my plan.

Our business converts voice files to text files for doctors, clinics, and hospitals. Our ultimate product becomes part of a patient's medical record. We're small, we lack resources, and we struggle to grow, but we see lots of opportunity, and that's all I ask for. We have about 50 employees in both the U.S. and India, with all of our U.S. employees working from home.


  I'm involved in every aspect of the business. Currently, I do whatever the business needs in order to continue operations. On top of that, I head the sales and business-development effort. My next hire will be a sales employee, but sales are vital enough that I will always lead the sales effort.

I also manage our nine U.S. employees. Tarun contributes in all areas, while his main thrust is managing our technical services and our operations -- mainly we do all of the real work in India (voice-to-text). We make investment decisions and major business decisions together, and because we're self-funded, we don't have to answer to any outsiders.


6:30 to 7:15 a.m. -- I wake up and eat breakfast. My commute is short. Since we're a virtual organization, I work from home. We run a 24-hour operation, and a lot happens at night, so the first item of business in the morning is to read and answer all of my e-mail from the night before.

7:15 a.m. -- I head to the gym for a workout. I have been working out on a regular basis for the last year, and I love it. I hardly ever miss a day.

8:30 a.m. -- I eat another meal and read the day's business news.

9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. -- I field phone calls and help our new customers use our service. I usually have a proposal for a new customer or some marketing material that I work on between calls.

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