Jul 14, 2016

Mom insists on getting first dibs on everything we launch: Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra

BYRamarko Sengupta

Hugo Barra is seen professing his love for Xiaomi’s products across the world. You seldom hear about his personal side (except when he reveals himself as a Shah Rukh Khan fan on Twitter; he even attempted the classic SRK pose during the MIUI7 launch event in Delhi in August 2015).
In this interview, we talk to Barra, who heads international operations for the company, about his mother, and the now famous black polo t-shirt.

Mum’s the word
“My mom insists on getting first dibs on everything we launch,” says Barra, speaking of his mother who lives at the family home in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
In fact, Mrs Barra was one of the beta testers for Xiaomi’s latest offering to the world, the Mi Max. She also shot a full video review of the phone and sent it to Barra, which he plans to release soon.
“She is a total techie and geek,” says Barra, who lives in the Chinese capital of Beijing. She gets pre-release version of all new Xiaomi phones, as soon as they are announced. She had the Mi5 almost as soon as Barra himself had one, the Xiaomi boss says.
Man in black
The black polo t-shirt has become synonymous with the ex-Googler, just as a classic grey tee is with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Barra is always seen at public appearances wearing his signature black t-shirt.
“I don’t like shopping, I don’t have time, I don’t have patience. So, when I found something that kind of worked well, it was great,” says Barra. It all started with Google I/O about six years ago and has stuck ever since. Barra says he realises people now identify him with the black tee, and in fact would be surprised if he turned up at a public event wearing anything else.
“I can easily find a black polo even if I forgot to bring one, I can always buy one. I just buy 10 t-shirts at a time, I don’t have to think about what I am going to wear, it’s just very practical. Even if I forget to carry one, I can easily buy a black polo from anywhere,” says Barra.
Lead Image: https://twitter.com/hbarra

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Ramarko Sengupta is a writer of FactorDaily.