In the vast realm of digital marketing, there are few individuals whose journeys are as intriguing and inspiring as that of Tejinder Kumar, better known as “TJ”. Serving as the Chief Commercial Officer and Board Member at Finixio, a leading digital marketing firm, TJ’s journey from school in India to the corporate boardrooms of the UK is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with him for a candid conversation as part of our Bright Founders Talk at Temy, the innovative software development company. Hosted by Matthew, the interview offers a deep dive into TJ’s early aspirations, the adversities he overcame, and the hustle required to navigate the challenges of life as an international student and budding professional.
From his school days in India to his bold move to London, and from his initial struggles to find work to his rapid rise in the corporate world, TJ’s story is a testament to perseverance, determination, and hard work. Join us as we explore the life and times of a man whose journey has been marked by both challenges and triumphs, and who continues to inspire many in the world of digital marketing and beyond.
From Classroom Antics in India to Digital Dynamo: TJ’s Journey to the Top
A Humble Hustle:
Listening to Tejinder, fondly called TJ, it’s hard to miss the twinkle in his eyes when he talks about his school days in India. “I definitely wasn’t the good kid,” he says, a playful grin stretching across his face. It wasn’t all rosy; with physics proving to be a formidable foe, leading him to retake exams and watch peers progress to the next educational stage. Yet, adversity served as a catalyst for TJ. The daunting prospect of lagging behind friends pushed him to relocate continents, seeking a fresh start in a country where no one knew of his academic hiccups.
The initial days in London weren’t a stroll in Hyde Park. “On the third day, I thought I’d made a mistake,” TJ confides, recounting the overwhelming feelings of relocating at 17. But, life in the UK, filled with its highs and lows, chiseled the resilient individual in front of us today. At one point, his weekend routine was simple yet grueling—walking long stretches, handing out CVs, hoping for an opportunity to prove himself. His tenacity paid off. Soon, he was the talk of his uni, the guy who wore suits because he hustled in an office while others took on typical student jobs.
Every Day I’m Hustling:
As TJ puts it, his life echoed the rhythm of the song, “Every day I’m hustling.” Between lectures, he’d dash to work, ensuring he made the most of every sale, every commission. With a determination to achieve and an unparalleled work ethic, TJ climbed the ladder, eventually finding his footing in the dynamic world of digital marketing. “Every day was just the hustle to get to uni, get to work, and then finish uni homework,” he reflects. And while TJ’s journey has been anything but ordinary, it’s a testament to his grit, ambition, and the power of perseverance.
From Sleeping at Leytonstone Station to the Peaks of Crypto: Tejinder’s Incredible Journey
Tejinder’s story reads like a novel, with chapters penned in adversity, determination, and the unpredictable world of fintech. As snow blanketed the landscape in February, a younger Tejinder once braved chilly nights sleeping outside Leytonstone train station. Such hardships, however, did not deter him. Instead, it’s stories like these that highlight his resilience. “My past wasn’t easy,” he shares with a nostalgic laugh, “but those nights at the train station made me value every opportunity that came my way.”
The word ‘crypto’ is synonymous with unpredictability and high stakes. Yet, for Tejinder, the world of cryptocurrency wasn’t merely about taking risks. It was about understanding opportunities. From the moment his school friend in India raved about Bitcoin back in 2010, advising him to invest, Tejinder was intrigued. He candidly admits to initially missing the boat, but by 2014, his belief in the potential of cryptocurrency was solidified. “It wasn’t just about becoming wealthy,” Tejinder recalls, “For me, the thrill was in recognizing the seismic shift in finance, especially when I realized how it could transform the traditional payment industry.”
Beyond crypto, Tejinder’s professional journey saw him at eToro, a company which, under his tenure, saw exponential growth. Starting with just a handful of UK colleagues, by the time he left, the company was valued over 10 billion. But it’s not just the numbers that excite him. Tejinder has an uncanny ability to spot potential in people, prioritizing character over mere skill sets. In his own words, skills can be taught, but personality is innate. And it’s this philosophy that’s echoed in his approach to team-building and leadership. As he looks to the future, Tejinder’s narrative remains one of passion, adaptability, and an undying belief in the human spirit.
Tejinder on Finding Balance, Cultivating Teams, and the Future of Digital Currency
Tejinder chuckles, reflecting on the challenges of balancing a bustling professional life with a vibrant family of four. It’s not just a Monday to Friday grind for him, as he admits that “on my side, it’s a seven-day work basically.” With remote teams in different time zones and preparations for the upcoming week, weekends are anything but idle. Yet, he finds solace in the fact that working from home has given him moments with his family, moments that many traditional roles might rob him of. “I’m also available for work if they need me any time of the day,” he adds, highlighting the paradox of his professional life.
TJ, as his colleagues affectionately call him, emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with intelligent minds. The fear of being outsmarted or replaced isn’t in his playbook. “Hiring smart people,” he asserts, “gives you a head start.” Instead of seeing these hires as threats, Tejinder views them as affirmations of his leadership, particularly when they rise to significant roles within an organization. “My job is… to tell me how you can do it. And they will figure it out.” This collaborative mindset, he believes, is the secret sauce to business growth and innovation.
But the conversation takes a futuristic turn as the topic shifts to digital currency. Tejinder, with a thoughtful pause, delves into the history of plastic cards and how the adaptation of digital assets mirrors this evolution. Yet, his enthusiasm for digital currency is tempered by concerns regarding centralized control, especially by banks. He recalls China’s Digital Yuan, expressing concerns over government overreach. “Banks launching Central [digital currencies]… I’m not a big fan,” he admits. The power and potential of digital assets, in his eyes, lie in its decentralized nature – a currency truly “owned by the people.”
Narrative style and conversational tone make it easy to envision this part of the interview, and Tejinder’s insights make for a compelling read. The next segment promises to delve even deeper into the worlds of technology and personal growth.
Tejinder Speaks: Digital Currency, The Illusion of Bank Balance, and Real-World Financial Literacy
“Did you ever hear the one about the lady in Australia who walked into a bank to withdraw $15,000?” Tejinder leans in with a smirk, setting the scene for a tale that might be funnier if it weren’t so true. “She’s told they don’t have the cash. ‘We’re cashless,’ they say. Imagine the shock on her face!” He laughs, shaking his head. “Your money’s in the bank, but it doesn’t really exist – not in the way we think. All you’ve got is that screen number. That’s the reality.”
It’s evident Tejinder is passionate about financial literacy – or rather, the lack of it in today’s education system. The man grew up watching his father work six-day weeks in a bank, and yet, here he is, astounded at how little most people understand about the world of money. “No one taught us about taxes, how trust funds work, investing rules, or even the basic selling skills we use daily,” he laments, animatedly. “School tells you to get a good job and save. But when you hit the real world, you realize you can’t just save your way to wealth.”
Rounding off, Tejinder, with his infectious enthusiasm, recounts tales from his school days. Getting reprimanded for not getting algebra right, but never once being taught Excel – a tool he uses daily now. “I swear, I never used algebra in real life!” he exclaims. His journey, peppered with memories from India to South Africa, speaks of resilience, a robust work ethic, and an unquenchable thirst to keep learning. With a nod and a wink, he signs off, leaving us with much to ponder about our financial futures and the true value of our digital dollars.