The Barra Dozen: 12 Things You Might Not Know About the Mi Man
It came out of nowhere and hit the tech industry like a wrecking ball. Hugo Barra, the global vice president of Xiaomi soon after unveiling the Redmi Note 4 in India stepped from his current post at the Chinese brand. The Mi Man through a Facebook post today announced that he is leaving the company, although he will continue in an advisory role. Barra moved to Xiaomi in September 2013 from Google where he was heading Google’s Android division. Ever since Barra has taken over the position in Xiaomi, he pretty much has been the face of the company. But in spite of his very public presence, there are many things people do not know about the Mi Man. So if you think you know everything about Hugo Barra, check out the following:
- People might know that Hugo Barra went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he studied management science in his Bachelor’s and did Masters in electrical engineering and computer science but what people might not know is the fact that Hugo Barra firstly enrolled at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in 1995 where he wanted to study electrical engineering. He transferred to MIT later in 1996.
- If you think Barra became a leader after getting into Xiaomi then you are so wrong. Barra and his charisma are well-established. No, no, you do not have to travel in a time machine to know this. Hugo Barra was actually was the president of class 2000 in MIT and was also a keynote student speaker at MIT commencement 2000. Told you: born leader.
- Barra’s Google tenure and pretty much all about his time at Xiaomi are well documented, but we think very few people know the fact that Barra was involved in projects before that too. In 2000, he co-founded a company called LOBBY7 with his MIT classmates which provided mobile speech recognition software. The company was later taken over by ScanSoft in 2003 which later turned into Nuance in 2005, where Barra worked in various capacities before moving to Google.
- The name of his first company LOBBY7 was not a random pick. The name of the organization was actually inspired by the lobby of the main entrance to the Infinite Corridor at MIT and it was building 7, hence the name LOBBY7.
- Ever since Hugo Barra has joined Xiaomi, many have accused Xiaomi of copying the Cupertino kid, Apple. Although Barra has strictly denied any such claims, the Android man has admitted to the fact that the company is an inspiration. Not only the company, Barra has also confessed that he derives a lot of inspiration from the man behind the company, Steve Jobs. It is also believed that Barra wears black at events because of this.
- Barra has not been as famous as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates but the man has had his share of fame. In 2011, he was ranked #23 in Wired Magazine’s Wired 100. He was also named one of the most influential Brazilian people in 2011 and in 2013 by `Epoca and was also included in Business Insider’s top 100 Silicon Valley star list in 2013.
- A voracious reader, Barra reads in multiple languages and is seldom seen without his Kindle when he has time to spare. And he still thinks he does not read enough!
- Barra is extremely fitness conscious by nature, although he is very open to trying new cuisines (not always with the best results for his digestive system). He swims regularly and is a very good tennis player.
- Although Xiaomi has launched some massive devices (including the Mi Max), Barra is famous for his love for relatively compact phones. “How big can your hand get?” he once queried during the launch of the Mi4i in India.
- For a person in such a senior position, Barra is surprisingly communicative with consumers of his company’s products. He often delivers handsets to consumers, responds in detail to mail and people were surprised to see him actually answering queries on Flipkart once!
- He has a fascination for languages and prefers using the language of the nation he is in. He has sent greeting cards in Chinese and famously asked “Kitna Doge” before revealing the prices of products in India.
- He loves dogs, is fascinated by HDR photography and given a choice, would ride a Ninebot all around the world.