Between Phanindra Sama and Sachin Bansal, there’s over a decade of Indian entrepreneurship. Both of them co-founded their startups, Redbus and Flipkart, respectively in 2007. While Redbus was sold to Ibibo for around $101 million in 2013, Walmart acquired Flipkart for $16 billion this May.
Both the startups were labelled success and failure at different points in time during the past decade, by different people. In many ways, the story of Redbus and Flipkart is also the story of India’s internet and the country’s inspiring journey of new age entrepreneurship. While Sachin calls himself a capitalist, Phani is more of a socialist reformer. Both in their own ways helped shape India’s new age entrepreneurship.
We will get Sachin to share his entrepreneurial journey and look through the decade through his lens. Meanwhile, we sat down with Phani (as he is called in startup circles) for the 86th episode of Outliers Podcast
Why are there hardly any women in top roles in Indian newspapers and magazines? The answer is the same for most business sectors and organizations. These companies have sexual predators lurking around at the workplaces who make sure the bright women don’t rise up the ranks, especially if they don’t succumb to their demands. Yes. It’s that bad. And if you feel this is an exaggeration, please read the stories shared by top women journalists on social media.
This Outliers Podcast is with Sandhya Menon who triggered a revolution on Twitter and elsewhere by sharing her own story of harassment. And while it reinvigorated the #MeToo movement, she stays away from using that hashtag.
This is one among a series of such conversations we will do over the next few weeks to ensure that we all wake up and become sensitive enough to realize the value of shaping a healthy workplace for everyone.
Ravi Venkatesan, the former chairman of Microsoft India and the author of “Conquering the Chaos: Win in India, Win Everywhere” sat down with us for the 56th episode of Outliers. Venkatesan is one of the few people who have spent time thinking deeply about jobs, career and doing business in India.
“Don’t get fooled into thinking you have a lifelong career. At any moment, you need to be prepared to be independent and stand on your own two feet. If you prepare yourself for that, I think you are going to have a much better, sort of ride along the way. So think about yourself as self-employed,” he says.
Every time a new batch of ophthalmologists joins LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, its founder Dr Gullapalli Nageswara Rao tries to instil a sense of empathy for India’s poor.
“The rich didn’t even let you touch their bodies for research. It’s the poor…”
Dr Rao has been able to combine world-class healthcare with compassion in his career. In three decades, his institute has treated over 20 million patients, with nearly half of them availing the services for free.
The institute came on my radar when I read recent announcements about an “eye hackathon”. What’s an eye hospital looking to achieve from hackathon — a contest among coders typically known to be organized by startups and large companies to hunt down the next big idea?
The mention of Infosys founder N. R. Narayana Murthy’s name will evoke strong views. Ever since he co-founded Infosys in July 1981, he’s shaped the company with some strong decisions. From walking away from customers such as General Electric, which accounted for over a quarter of Infosys’ revenues in 1995, to making a comeback in June 2013 as the executive chairman –Murthy’s decisions have been bold and at times considered everything from being foolish and old-worldly to self-fulfilling
If there’s one thing that even his biggest critics agree with his loyalists, it’s the issue of corporate governance and personal integrity. As I sat down with him to record this episode of Outliers, I decided to stay away from analysing all the decisions he’s taken in his career and, instead, try and understand Murthy’s decision-making framework.
If there’s one thing that defines all his decisions, it’s governance and integrity. Listen in to the man credited with creating one of India’s most respected companies.
This isn’t the first time we’re discussing entrepreneurial journey and how it’s lonely and filled with failures and self-doubt. But unlike the do’s and don’ts in entrepreneurship dished out by experts and mentors who have absolutely no experience in building anything.
When a veteran entrepreneur such as Harsh Mariwala openly shares his biggest entrepreneurial failures and how he handles critique, the insights are far more valuable.
“I can talk about my failures all this podcast,” he says.
As for wealth, Mariwala calls himself a caretaker of all he’s earned in his career. “The first 25 years are about learning, the next 25 is when you earn. And the next 25 about sharing that wealth.” Please do listen in.
At 59, Uday Kotak banks on over three decades of business acumen in the financial services world to build the future, and keeps awake at night wondering if he will have his bank the next morning. For incumbent entrepreneurs such as Kotak, the forces of technology disruption are not science fiction anymore.
In this episode of Outliers, I sit down with Kotak, who combines the old world business acumen with a sense of paranoia for the future in a way that very few leaders do. What makes him an Outlier is his hunger to learn the new, new thing and still keep the faith in the core principles of financial services based on trust and risk management.
Here are edited (and abridged) excerpts from the conversation. Please do tune in and enjoy the full podcast
K Vaitheeswaran’s entrepreneurial journey lacks all the fanfare, glory and gyaan that make some of the most visible startup journeys of today, including Flipkart and Ola. It’s a story that underscores how lonely it’s to be a startup founder and how ugly the lows in the journey can get.
On the midnight of December 31, 2012, Vaitheeswaran opened the door of his house to find a bunch of drunk and abusive guys demanding monies his company Indiaplaza owed to several vendors.
“One of the reasons we all enjoy December 31 and look forward to January is because we believe it’s going to start something new and great,” he tells me.
“That day was the most depressing because all sorts of thoughts crossed my mind. I have no shame in saying the thoughts (of ending my life) did cross my mind. I didn’t even want to see January 2nd.”
Do listen and stay grounded, fellow entrepreneurs.
We start the year with a conversation with Bhumika Goyal, a 22-year old computer science graduate with a passion for the Free and Open Source Software movement (FOSS), and is already among the top-ranked Linux Kernel contributors.
In a year when a lot of talk is going to be focused on job losses in the country’s over $100 billion IT sector, Goyal’s choice of career and passion for Open Source does appear brave.