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Meet Nihar Naigaonkar: The Fast Interview

Nihar Naigaonkar, Technical Product Manager - Solutions Architect at Fast

Nihar Naigaonkar

Role: Technical Product Manager - Solutions Architect

Team: Product

Why did you decide to join Fast?

It is not very difficult to be aware of up and coming fintech startups while you're in a fintech company (previously at Affirm) yourself. I'd heard of Fast through Twitter from Domm (Holland, Fast Co-Founder and CEO). Looking into them, it seemed like Fast is on a rocket ship trying to solve a problem which has always been there but no one has yet looked for a way to solve it. It was just a LinkedIn connection with Allison (Barr Allen, Fast Co-Founder and COO), and that led to me being at Fast. After Allison connected with me, I reached out generally curious about what Fast is doing and then got connected to Domm. And from there, everything went fast.

Where did you grow up, and what were you like as a child?

I grew up in Bangalore, previously famous for being the Garden City but more recently being the unofficial Silicon Valley of India. As a child, I was a competitive kid with interests in learning and playing music and cricket. I fondly remember the daily routine of playing cricket on the streets and neighborhood grounds. I loved playing video games, as well, and still have my Gameboy with me. 

What was your first job ever?

It was an exhibition called That was pretty hot in India when IT was just becoming popular, and a lot of technology companies came to showcase their product. My first job was to man a particular stall, and I think it was into computer assembling. I had to be one of those guys to talk about what the product does and why the company is relevant.

What career got away from you?

I was very fascinated with being a chess player and showbiz, but none of that worked out. It was just a fascination. I think if not for the job I'm doing today, I would have probably been an actor.

What public figure do you admire the most and why?

Paul McCartney. His music is timeless, universally accepted by all ages, and his energy at almost 80 is inspiring.

What app on your phone do you use the most?

Actually, I looked at it, and there were two, one was Twitter and one was Google Photos.

What food do you uncontrollably eat?

Chips and guacamole are my favorites. Anytime you give me guac and chips, it is done.

Who is your favorite TV or film character?

I do like (Jerry) Seinfeld a lot. I just like the way he comes up with his line but also his performances. That's definitely a go-to person if I'm stressed. From a movie perspective, Jason Bourne. If I had to choose right now, I would probably say Jason Bourne. I can watch more Jason Bourne than Jerry Seinfeld anytime.

What was the last thing you binge-watched?

“The Queen’s Gambit.” Loved it and highly recommend it. 

What personal goal would you like to achieve in the next five years?

Personally, the goal is to definitely get into fitness more. I started this whole goal of making a five-mile run a day, then 10 miles of biking a day, and also doing some rollerblading, which I just started learning.

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