Meet Mr. Naga Kataru, a native of Gampalagudem, Andhra Pradesh, a former employee of the tech conglomerate Google who has now turned into an almond farmer.

Mr. Naga Kataru grew up in a small farming village, where education wasn’t a priority. However, he happened to be a gifted student, and eventually ended up passing out with a degree in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology(IIT). He eventually joined Google, where he pioneered one of Google’s best services.

Mr. Naga Kataru happens to be the pioneer behind Google Alerts! However, the backdrop to this story happens to be quite interesting. When he approached his manager at Google with this idea, he was apparently shot down because his manager didn’t believe in his idea. However, he persisted, and eventually approached Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and they loved his prototype. Funnily, Larry Page and Google were the first few words to be tested on Google Alerts. For a person who first encountered a computer during his under-graduation, this presents a huge achievement.

Kataru credits Google for spurring his creativity as a technologist. “There was so much freedom to explore and invent,” he said.

However, it turns out Mr. Naga Kataru is a man of infinite energies and innumerable interests. After having worked for Google for nearly eight years he felt like it was time to explore other career options.

naga kataru google

“I felt I was stagnating,” he said. “I had worked on one side of my brain for so long. I wanted to explore the other side.” Thus, he decided to take up sail in new waters: short film documentaries and improv theater.

However, in 2008 he eventually decided to take inspiration from his Indian roots. Hence, he started a farm. The farm, located in Modesto, California, turned out to be a bad investment and he started losing money. However, instead of selling the 320-acre property, he turned it into an almond farm, which had reduced labor needs. Today, the farm grows apricots and earns around $2.5 Million in annual revenue.

The village boy from Andhra Pradesh said that he missed how the fruits and flowers would smell back in his homeland. Hence, he taught himself to be a farmer. After hiring around eight employees and turning his farm into a profitable business, Mr. Naga Kataru is now pursuing two degrees from Stanford: an MS in Environment and Resources, and an MBA.

His ultimate motive, however, is integrating modern technology with farming. He feels that while the agriculture sector is physically located less than a hundred miles away from Silicon Valley, technology has never been fully integrated to improve farming and crop yields. Thus, he aims to change this imbalance.

Mr. Naga Kataru’s story is an inspirational story, and one that certainly teaches us to never abandon our roots.

To take a look at his amazing work done while he was at Google, you can check his patents at:

Rajdeep Mukherjee

A web developer, coder and a startup enthusiast. He is vigorously active and passionate about MUNs (Model United Nations).