Brickwork India is not just the pioneer of the virtual assistant services concept but the most famous one as well. It has prominently featured in two global bestsellers—The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman and the 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris and is the India Representative for Fairfax County Government (USA). What gives the cutting edge to the company in this competitive arena is their path-breaking concept, REA™, a trademark application, launched in early 2005. The idea fuelling the development of this service was “simple but powerful”, said Mr Vivek Kulkarni, Founder and Chairman, Brickwork India. He had observed that while in India most senior executives have a lot of help, in developed countries like the US, Europe and Australia, secretaries are available to only a few senior executives. The middle management and often some senior management as well, have to depend on either a shared assistant or manage on their own. “The idea of a REA™ germinated from the needs of large global organisations to free up their executives from non-core, routine and process-driven activities and instead repurpose their time towards more strategic and business critical activities,” he explains.
The concept was new and avant-garde and instantly caught the imagination of the global community. The idea to provide basic to most complex business assistance sitting at a distance had not yet been conceptualised of by the fast growing outsourcing industry. The media blitzkrieg that followed saw the company feature in top dailies, TV shows and print publications. At the centre of the hype was one former top officer of India’s administrative services—the pioneer—Mr Vivek Kulkarni.