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Magnit CTO Mohan Natarajan on The Contingent Workforce, The Future of Magnit & Car Collecting

Magnit | April 17 2023 |

Interview Blog

As part our monthly interview series with Magnit leaders, we recently chatted with Mohan Natarajan, CTO, about his background, how he came into the contingent workforce space, what he hopes to accomplish at Magnit and more:  

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Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Delhi, India. I got my bachelor's in physics from Delhi and my master's in computer science from the School of Computer Science in Europe. I grew up in a family of four, and my current family resides in the Bay Area. I've been there for more than three decades. My oldest son, Neil, is already in the software industry, and my youngest is aspiring to have a career in computer software development as well.

How did you come to the contingent workforce space?

I've done a lot of different things. I started my career in India working on defense writing software for self-service missiles. So when people say, “It’s rocket science,” I've really done rocket science. At Silicon Graphics I worked on different technologies, from video to graphics, to CSU NUMA-based architectures. I also worked at Cisco on different technologies like ATM Frame Relay, circuit emulation, and networking. Then I was at a startup called Jasmine Networks, where we worked on optical networking, switches and boxes.

I was also with Motorola for a couple of years. And after that I was at a startup called Firetide Inc., where I raised $50 million in capital and worked on some amazing pioneering technologies. I've been associated with more than 25 patents, many of them which came from Firetide. Most recently, I was at Salesforce, which is phenomenal company in web scaling technology, where I was responsible for leading major portions of data center infrastructure development software.

From rocket science to the contingent workforce, I’ve worked on very different technologies. And I like that. Software involves automating areas, and once a software developer does a good job at it, he or she can essentially put themselves out of business. And then they move on to new areas and greener pastures.

What ambitions did you have as a child?

I was very interested in sports and I was crazy for cricket. I also had the aspiration to become a physicist. I stumbled upon computer science by chance through a government program in India as I finished my bachelor’s and went on to get my master’s degree.

I am innately a sportsman. And having played sports, I've learned that you take everything day by day and what is done in the past has no relevance today. And today, I have the same amount of fear and fire in my belly to make Magnit as successful as my past companies. While I'm very proud of my past accomplishments, I'm also anticipating all the things to come that will lead to the success of Magnit in a glorious way.

What do you hope to accomplish at Magnit in your first year?

When I started at Magnit, I saw an amazing business opportunity. In the last three months, I've done my discovery and talked to multiple customers, peers, and industry leads about how this industry should look and deepened my understanding of our competitors. And I see an amazing opportunity for us to innovate. Magnit is at the top of the list of VMS providers in the industry and is a top integrated workforce management platform.

I'm looking forward to creating a scenario where we bring in new-age developments that are happening in the industry. Years ago the workforce management platform was seen as very hierarchical. The manager was the person responsible for providing input on employee performance, salary changes, approving PTO, etc. But today, the industry doesn't work like that. It's no longer hierarchical. Today workforce management is a full mesh management of people that form that particular ecosystem. So Magnit has this tremendous opportunity to unleash the new means of working, which lends to optimal processes for people to contribute toward moving the business needle.

Tell us about the upcoming Magnit Hackathon.

We are undertaking an exciting journey that involves leveraging and implementing innovative technologies, and we need premiere talent to help us accomplish that. We are leading the change in how the world works with its workforce, and that's a tall order. That’s why we are looking for people who want to join us on this journey, so we can provide them with all the tools necessary to further their career skill set, dreams and ambitions.

What is a fun fact about you?

I love cars. So I have a reasonable collection of cars, ranging from a pickup truck, to a spider and an Audi TDI (a diesel engine car), which is very unique.

What is something not a lot of people know about you?

I used to have a fear of heights. And I hate any kind of fear in me. So to get rid of it, I learned how to skydive - and I used to go skydiving very often. I became very comfortable. Now that fear of jumping out of planes is totally gone. But when it comes to buildings with more than five or six floors, that is still a work in progress.

For more on Magnit and our approach to innovation, visit our “Leadership” and “About Magnit” pages.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Magnit is helping organizations implement winning contingent workforce programs globally, please contact a Magnit representative at

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. The blog post reflects the opinion of Magnit and is not to be construed as legal solutions and positions. Contact an attorney for specific advice and guidance for specific issues or questions.

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