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Raghu Murthi with Seattle’s scenic waterfront in the background. (Photo courtesy of Raghu Murthi)

Over Raghu Murthi’s career, he’s worked for leading tech companies in key sectors, including hardware-maker Intel, software giant Microsoft and enterprise and consumer behemoth Amazon.

Most recently he’s taken the role of senior vice president of hosting at GoDaddy, an internet domain name registrar that works with smaller companies, managing domain names and helping build websites. GoDaddy, which opened a fast-growing engineering center in Kirkland five years ago,  has more than 17 million customers.

“I oversee the development and operations of the largest platform for small- and medium-sized businesses in the world,” Murthi said. “Understanding customer needs, and making sure they’re met via new innovations, technologies and strategies, are what I’m all about.”

Murthi enjoys helping small businesses succeed — he’s also part of Seattle’s Alliance of Angels startup investment group and has served on the boards of small companies, advising their CEOs. But surprisingly, he’s never had the desire to work for a startup or launch one himself.

“I like to work in large scale and have an impact in large scale,” Murthi said. That expansive outlook extends to some of his interests outside of work as well.

“I am always on the look out to go and see how we can impact large numbers of people,” he said. “There is one area that I pay a lot of attention to in terms of my reading and really understanding it, and that’s the energy sector.”

Murthi is eager to grasp the solutions for delivering power to the vast numbers of people internationally who are living in remote areas off the grid. “There’s an energy imbalance in the way that energy is consumed across the world,” he said. So in his spare time, he’s reading about the subject and talking with university professors.

The other issue on Murthi’s mind is artificial intelligence and its effect on peoples’ work and lives.

“In the past when we transitioned from one economic base, people were able to retrain and the transition points were more gradual,” he said. That’s not the case now as changes in AI, machine learning, robotics, software as a service and financial systems like bitcoin are hurdling toward us. How this will shape humanity needs to be addressed not just by software engineers, but people in government, academia and other sectors, Murthi said.

“It’s not just the technology people,” he said. “Everybody has to play a role.”

We caught up with Murthi for the latest Working Geek feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Current location: “Kirkland, Wash.”

Computer types: “I use a Windows desktop, and do my developer work on Linux.”

Mobile devices: “The latest iPhone. I love everything about it except the inconvenience of the change with the headphone aux.”

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: “Outlook Mail is great. It works with all seven (!) of my accounts so it helps me maintain my work/life balance. I also use WhatsApp for communicating with family all over the world.”

GoDaddy’s Raghu Murthi prefers an austere workspace in the Kirkland office. (GoDaddy Photo)

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “Dual monitors are essential to my workspace, and I also prefer to have the option to use either a standing desk or work while seated, since moving between the two enables multi-tasking and I can be more productive. My workspace is also very clutter-free and minimalist. Our Kirkland office location has great views of the natural beauty of Lake Washington, which I love. Despite being a technologist, I’m still a big fan of taking and keeping ‘analog’ notes on paper, so you’ll find a lot of that in my workspace.”

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “I may not be Rocky, but exercise is really important to me. If I don’t workout in the morning, I’m not nearly as productive. While I’m at the gym I can think through my to-do list for the day, relieve some stress and get ready to take on the whole day.”

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “I love to use LinkedIn for recruiting and business connections.”

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? “Across all accounts, more than 500.”

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? “My average is 30-35 appointments a week.”

How do you run meetings? “I drive for decisions and communication of decisions to keep meetings as productive as possible.”

Everyday work uniform? “Jeans and a shirt.”

How do you make time for family? “I keep my evenings and weekends free for my family, and I am disciplined in guarding the time!”

Raghu Murthi, senior vice president of hosting at GoDaddy. (GoDaddy Photo)

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “I find reading, both fiction and nonfiction, as a great stress reliever, as well as hiking. Both activities help me unplug.”

What are you listening to? “Rock, jazz and Indian classical.”

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “WordPress blogs, tech and science sites, and news.”

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “The Rise of Superman,” by Steven Kotler and “Misbehaviour of Markets” by Benoit Mandelbrot and Richard L. Hudson.”

Night owl or early riser? “As required. I’m normally an early riser. I go to bed at 11 p.m. and wake at 5:30 a.m.”

Where do you get your best ideas? “I find it so motivating to meet small business owners who are passionate about growing their business. It’s important to hear their stories and pay attention to their struggles, since every entrepreneur from a restaurant owner to a dentist to a Lyft driver is striving to create a sustainable and satisfying venture. So my answer here would be even in the dentist chair or the backseat of a ride to the airport.”

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “I’d love to learn more about Elon Musk’s work style. He leads three companies at the same time!”

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