Before you head to sell those soaps…
Chennai: The IIMA qualification is the best possible ‘income insurance’ you can get in India today, so if at all there is anyone who can take risks with a low downside, it has to be you, says Venkat Krishnan of GiveIndia in one of the ‘advice’ sections included in ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’ (www.ciieindia.org).
He lays down ‘the 3-year rule’ for wannabe entrepreneurs, thus: “If you are able to hang in and survive for 3 years, you’ll be up and running and by the fourth year, you will be better off as an entrepreneur than you’d have been in a job.” Interestingly, from the ‘4 years+ old entrepreneurs,’ Venkat seeks advice ‘on how to take yourself out of an institution and leave it better off without you than it is with you.’
The book, written by Rashmi Bansal (an alumnus of the IIMA and the editor of JAM), for CIIE (the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad), is ‘the first attempt to document the insights and experiences of IIMA entrepreneurs.’ The collection has 25 stories, grouped into the believers, the opportunists, and the alternate vision.
In ‘the believers’ section are tales about Sanjeev Bikhchandani (naukri.com), Shantanu Prakash (Educomp), Vinayak Chatterjee (Feedback Ventures), Ashank Desai (Mastek), R. Subramanian (Subhiksha), Narendra Murkumbi (Shree Renuka Sugars), Chender Baljee (Royal Orchid Hotels), Madan Mohanka (Tega Industries), Sunil Handa (Eklavya Education Foundation), and Vardan Kabra (Fountainhead School).
Deep Kalra (makemytrip.com), Rashesh Shah (Edelweiss Capital), Nirmal Jain (India Infoline), Vikram Talwar (EXL Service), K. Raghavendra Rao (Orchid Pharma), Jerry Rao (Mphasis), Shivraman Dugal (Institute for Clinical Research in India), Shankar Maruwada (Marketics), Ruby Ashraf (Precious Formals), Deepta Rangarajan (IRIS), and Cyrus Driver (Calorie Care) fill ‘the opportunists’ section.
And in the final group of individuals, who use entrepreneurship to create social impact or as a platform which allows them creative expression, are Anand Halve (chlorophyll), S.B. Dangayach (Sintex), and Vijay Mahajan (Basix), apart from Venkat.
“Written in a conversational style, the book lucidly captures how these individuals, with fire in their bellies and stars in their eyes, overcame the odds to realise their dreams of being their own masters as they ventured into uncharted territories, some with little else than their beliefs in themselves,” commends the foreword by Samir K. Barua, the Institute’s Director.
The book is about those who stood in front of the mirror and saw their true selves, Bansal introduces. “That self told them it was meaningless to sell soap just because you’re paid well to do so. That being a corporate slave was the easy option, but not the one that felt right. That there was something bigger and better to do with their talents.”
The title phrase ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ is what Steve Jobs advised the graduating class of Stanford University in his commencement address to the class of 2005, the author acknowledges.
Each story may be different but at another level they are all the same, she observes. “The entrepreneur took a leap of faith. Then struggled and strived for years. Before finally achieving a size and scale which made the effort what we call a ‘success’.”
And if you routinely look in the mirror each morning before heading off ‘to sell those soaps,’ Bansal wonders if you’d catch in it a glimpse… ‘a glimpse of your hungry and foolish true self.’