Employee Speak: Sambit Bal, Editor - Cricinfo

About the company: Cricinfo, the world's leading cricket website, ranked number one in all of its major markets has live coverage of all Test and one-day international matches, news and features written by world's best cricket writers and in-depth statistics of all the first class cricketers. The Cricinfo Magazine features insights, information and comments from the world's best cricket minds. Regular contributors include Harsha Bhogle, Sanjay Manjrekar, Peter Roebuck, Gideon Haigh and Patrick Eagar.

1. What does your organization do?

Cricinfo is an organization which acts as a complete one roof outlet for Cricket.

2. What is your role?

I am the editor for Cricinfo’s both online and offline website and magazine. I manage our global editorial operations spread across Bangalore, London, Australia, and Pakistan. Cricinfo is easily the world's biggest cricket website and we see ourselves as being the global voice of cricket. It’s not only our job to give scorecards and data, but also to make sense of everything that happens in the world of cricket. It’s our job to deliver all the news in real time without compromising quality.

3. What are the key challenges you face in your industry and specifically in your role? How do you deal with them?

 The biggest challenge is in the technology arena. It is important for us to constantly reassess our delivery mechanism because in our space technology is updating constantly.  The internet is the most democratic of mediums and users are always being presented with new choices. So the challenge for us to stay relevant and contemporary! And we must offer the users a wide range of choices.

4. What are the future plans for Cricinfo?

Cricinfo is the best in the global market and we want to increase our breadth by becoming best in all local markets. Cricinfo should be first and last stop if you want to look at cricket online or offline.

5. What motivates you at work?

Keeping people motivated, finding talented people and watching them grow. Also creating and maintaining a work environment that is informal, creative and challenging and empowering people to do their job to the best of their ability. I have received trust and freedom from my company to deliver the best that I have to offer and I believe in doing the same with my colleagues. What matters to me is what you deliver, not what you wear to work or what time you land up in the office. And in my experience, if you trust people to do their job they don’t let you down.

6. What have been some turning points in your career?

I started my career at the age of 19 and have been working for last 20 years. I have worked with newspapers, magazines and websites. I have had eight jobs, but spent more than 15 years in three of them, and those have been the places I have enjoyed working the most. This is my sixth year with the Wisden Group.

My most significant job before this was editing Gentleman, a features magazine for people who wanted to read. It covered literature, art, culture, movie, food and people.

My first job in cricket was with www.totalcricket.com  started by Mark Masceranhas who brought big time cricket television into India. He was Sachin’s first agent and was his agent when Sachin brought 96 world cup to India. When Wisden was setting up their business in Asia they asked me to join them as the Asian editor both for the magazine and website. I have been here ever since.

I always taken life as it comes and haven’t at any point planned my career. I never applied for a job.  I never ever made a CV. I have stayed in organizations for long only if I enjoyed the work there and was valued. I have been part of many start up companies especially dotcoms. I have enjoyed every bit of work though short term.

7. What has helped you succeed?

The most important thing about working is enjoying what you do. In a sense my jobs have chosen me and very often they haven’t felt like jobs because I have had such a good time doing them. The most important decision of my life was to become a journalist. I was studying commerce and couldn’t bear to imagine a life spent in numbers. Journalism provided me an escape route, and luckily this is a profession that brings freedom and fulfillment in good measure. If you enjoy what you do, and do it to the best of your ability, the rest follows automatically.

8. What are the challenges you face as a manager? How do you deal with them?

The biggest challenge is to keep people motivated and challenged. And keeping a balance between a relaxed and happy atmosphere and yet keeping everyone on their toes. Comfort zones are the enemy in a creative workplace, so you have to constantly create challenges for team members to ensure that they don’t slip into monotony.

9. How do you help your team members deal with stress?

By giving them work that they enjoy and making sure they are looked after. We have an informal and non-hierarchical set up. I tell them that we are equals, but the only difference is that the buck stops with me. They get credit for the work, but they know that if they have a problem, I am there to deal with it.