Outliers 45: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on handling criticism and trolls

Pankaj Mishra December 22, 2017 1 min

With over a million Twitter followers and hundreds of thousands on other social platforms, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw keeps a really visible and busy profile. This fan following also brings trolls and critics who can get really personal at times.

As I sat down with Shaw, the founder of India’s biggest biotech company, Biocon, to record the last Outliers podcast of 2017, I asked her how she manages criticism and trolls.

“From the very start I’ve faced criticism…..being a woman entrepreneur, and trying to build a startup in an area not understood by many,” she told me. “More recently, some retail investors even asked me to step aside and hand over the reins to someone else who understands the business better. There’s even been criticism about my gender, and so on.”

“I believe if you’re honest about your beliefs then you’ll be able to take criticism. I don’t hesitate in apologising or retracting what I said if someone points to factual inaccuracies etc..”

In this age of extreme and polarized opinions, it doesn’t matter if you have one follower or a million. Keeping a balanced view and asking for fact/evidence-based debates on Twitter and elsewhere is scoffed upon.

How does Shaw manage all that? How can she critique and praise the government at different times?

These are among the questions I asked. Do listen in for some bold insights from one of the most important business leaders in the country.


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