IWSB Alum Sumit Gunjan, an inspiring changemaker, featured in Indian Express

Delighted to see #IWSB 2010-2012 PGP alum, @SumitGunjan, who anchored the school for children of construction workers in the evenings on campus, being featured in the Indian Express today.

IWSB - SEE : Mull-A-Cause launches library for childrenGUNJAN with friends facilitating children at the IWSB – SEE : Mull-A-Cause launches library for children

Sumit Gunjan has always been an epitome of empathy; a fine human being who always strived to create an impact wherever he was! Blessed to have such purposeful, passionate, persevering human beings who walked into life.

The above photograph is from the occasion of launch of the library for children at the evening school, when Indira and Mallika bought over 200 books for children from CBT and other sources. The evening saw story-telling and book reading sessions. More of the photos can be seen at the album Mull-A-Cause


Here I am copying the Indian Express Story, as it appears on its website. I humbly thank IE.

In hostel for tribal children near Ranchi, lessons on how to stay close to roots

Two events, two years apart, were to set Sumit Gunjan on a journey that would not only change his life but that of scores of tribal children in ‘Bal Nivas’, a hostel he set up for them in Banta-Hajam, a village in Silli Block, 70 km from Ranchi.

The first was eight years ago, in 2010, when Gunjan, then a 20-year-old pursuing a post-graduate management programme in a Greater Noida institute, came across a group of children of construction workers at a plot near his college. He began engaging with them, holding informal classes for them with the help of his batchmates and a few professors.

The second “turning point” was in early 2012, when Gunjan, still with the Greater Noida institute, undertook a “research yatra” to Jharkhand for the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) in Ahmedabad to study medicinal herbs used by the tribals of Jharkhand.

The first time Gunjan, the youngest of three children of a district court lawyer in Jharkhand’s Giridih, visited Banta-Hajam, he stayed for five days. But he kept coming back to the village, fascinated by the tribal way of life, until he finally decided to stay on for good that April.

“Yahaan ka boli, yahaan ka chaal… hum sab kuchh sikhaya usko (I taught him our language, our practices… everything),” says Bhavani Patar Munda at whose mud house Gunjan began by imparting basic literacy lessons to children.

Gunjan also worked in the fields, did errands and lived like any other member of the Munda household. “From then until today, we have never discussed rent. I live with them, work with them, eat with them,” says Gunjan, who has a Bachelor’s degree in management from Durgapur, West Bengal.

A couple of years ago, Gunjan, with help from villagers, friends and well-wishers, set up Bal Nivas, where 35 tribal children are imparted knowledge of traditional tribal languages, and trained in singing, dancing, classical music, computers and spoken English, besides vocational skills such as bee-keeping and knitting.

The children, all of them from the village, live in Bal Niwas, cooking their own food and cleaning their living quarters. While some children go to the primary school in the village and others to schools in Ranchi, they come back to the hostel, where they are encouraged to stay connected with the tribal way of life.

“At any given point, we teach around 35 children, of whom 25 are girls. They learn music, folk and classical, instruments such as the tabla, harmonium and even the tuila, a traditional tribal instrument on the verge of extinction, the do-tara and the mandolin,” says Gunjan.

When he arrived at Banta-Hajam village, Gunjan realised the children had limited language skills, and were not interested in studying. That’s when he came up with the Bal Nivas concept. “Initially, this was a place to give young children time after formal school where they learned basic things like mathematics and language through activities that were part of their own milieu like local games, which children don’t play these days,” he said.

At present, there are around 15 children, including seven girls, who live at the Bal Nivas. “Most of these children either do not have a father or a mother or are orphans. Also, we take children, who are generally dubbed failures by their own community or those who veer towards alcoholism and other vices at a young age,” he said.

The villagers donate rice every week, while the children have created a fund, donating Rs 2-3 a week. Gunjan also earns by teaching at two teachers’ training institutes in Koderma and Giridih.

Gunjan says he realised that to impart education to tribal children, he would have to first understand them better. “They ate rice three times a day. I started having the same diet and realised it was affecting my stamina. It then became easier for me to explain to them why having a balanced diet, especially for children, was necessary,” he says.

Some of his friends from NIF pushed Gunjan to introduce machines for sowing paddy. “But I decided to sow the saplings myself, along with the women. I then realised how it was also a place and platform for women to socialise. They would sing their traditional songs and come to know about each other’s lives. If we introduce machines, this beautiful thing would be lost. I am not against technology, but it has to be integrated with the milieu in which it is to be introduced,” he says.

Villagers are full of praise for Gunjan’s efforts. “Earlier, the only option for a young boy growing up in these parts was to migrate for work, or fall in bad company and take to liquor and other intoxicants. Gunjan has brought the focus back on all the good practices and traditions that we lived by but have now forgotten,” says Jogendra Gope, a folk singer, on whose land Gunjan set up the hostel. His daughter Sumati now learns classical and folk music at the hostel.

However, the journey wasn’t always smooth. “Last year, some people, upset with what Gunjan was doing, approached the panchayat. They wanted to know why so many girls were in the hostel and why they were being trained in music and dance. But, we stood our ground and, finally, they relented,” says Ramesh Chandra Kumhar, a lac businessman who lives opposite the hostel and who trains the children in vocational skills.

Kumhar says the reason why almost all villagers backed Gunjan was that the change he had brought about was for everyone to see.

Suraj Patar Munda, one of the students at Bal Nivas, says, “I had fallen into bad company and would take marijuana and never attend school. Now, I have left all that and I’m getting trained in music, besides English and computer,” says the teenager who is enrolled at the Ramakrishna Mission School in Ranchi.

Gunjan says he could win the trust of parents, especially of girl students at Bal Nivas, because he kept things transparent. “We would invite parents to live with us at Bal Nivas. When they saw for themselves how things were, they felt good about it and believed me,” he says.

The biggest certificate of their trust came in 2015 when he travelled with some of the children to Ahmedabad for the annual Satvik Food Festival of NIF. “For a village where girls are not supposed to go beyond Ranchi without men escorting them, it was a big thing,” says Gunjan.

One of those who made that trip to Ahmedabad was Ashtami Patar Munda, the 15-year-old daughter of Munda, at whose house Gunjan stayed when he first came to the village in 2012. “For the first time, I saw a world outside our village. Had it not been for Gunjan bhaiyya, it would have been unthinkable. I want to follow his footsteps,” she says.

Jharkhand’s Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson, Arti Kujur, who has attended a couple of cultural programmes organised by Gunjan’s students, says, “He got the artistes to perform to themes such as child marriages and human trafficking, which is a problem in these areas. Also, he has gained the confidence of the tribals. It’s not easy.”

But what really matters for Gunjan are lines like these, delivered with a warm smile. “For us, he is one of our own. He has changed our lives for the better,” says Alam Khan, a resident of Banta-Hajam.


Ownership, Purpose, Passion, Responsibility, Perseverance, Excellence…

#Purpose, #Passion, #persevere
#Excellence #success #career #life

Watch the one min video….so much to learn !!
Love to hear your comments. Also kindly share.

#Fascinating #journeys!
#Pushing #boundaries!
#Celebrating #lives!

I was walking briskly with my #camera, with an intention to #photograph #Kite-making, in the short half an hour time I had. This young man, a #logistics-auto plier, tapped me as I was passing by his auto and asked, “#Reporter?”, “Write for #Magazine?”. I said I do write, for my websites and blogs, at times columns in newspapers. His #enthusiasm was so #infectious, I paused to talk to him….. As he started, realized this #interaction will be so invaluable for #youth who give a million reasons for their inability to perform. Hence recorded….

listen to him…..

Since I was in Ahmedabad, I had acceded to requests from Baroda and Ahmedabad offices of CL Educate to take PDP workshops. These we’re eight hour sessions, covering..

A. Understanding self
B. Personal Victory
C. Public Victory
D. Creating a vision for self
E. Building Profile
Leading to excellence in life

At the end of the sessions, quite a few participants started asking questions on how they keep their enthusiasm for long, overcome their language challenge etc…

I just showed them this video that I had just captured… Each one was overawed.

#Ownership is the key. Do you own yourself?

Reinforcements and Realizations this week !

Do what you really love… Life is such a beautiful gift to unfurl the infinite potential within. What ever do, do it in such a way that none in the world could do it!

DO NOT get trampled by others expectations! DO NOT feel guilty and carry the burden!

When you excel, all those who dissuaded you or opposed you will come around. They will first grudgingly acknowledge, then reluctantly accept and then finally celebrate.



SPANDAN 2014 - SPACES and CURATION - dedicated to all gurus who have excelled in their journey of infinity

The World is your arena, play with purpose; The world is your stage, dance with dedication; The world is your canvas, paint with passion. No one can stop you… go! Just do it!


Aham-Bramhasmi – I am the creator! Life is all about purposefulness; work with that focus and perseverance; turn every adversity into an opportunity. If your really want it, you will make it, as you will chase it at any cost. No one can stop you…The whole world is within.


ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु
मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu
Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

1: Om, May All become Happy,
2: May All be Free from Illness.
3: May All See what is Auspicious,
4: May no one Suffer.
5: Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Purpose, Vision, Passion, Conviction and Execution…. make an individual push new boundaries in the journey of realizing potential !


“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Salvador Dalí


Think Big, Start Small! “We come up with quality books, all of which are good” – Sachin Garg (MDI alum) – Co-founder Grapevine

MDI invited me to be part of a panel with four other bright young entrepreneurs to address their B-School graduates recently and I am glad that I was there. Each of the four – Amit Kharabanda from tech world, Sachin – a publisher and talent scouter, Sonal Kapoor – a social entrepreneur, Mattea champeo – an investing evangelist – is very inspiring. As they spoke I captured my own learning notes and their stories. I thought of sharing those notes, one after another…as part of my Think Big Start Small, series..

Here is the story of Sachin Garg


Sachin Garg is an Indian bestselling novelist, best known for his semi-autobiographical chronicles. Garg has authored the bestseller – It’s First Love..Just Like The Last One! And I’m Not Twenty Four…I Have Been Nineteen For Five Years. Sachin Garg’s plots generally embody tragic romances and young love, and are targeted towards the younger generation. His books, though not inclined towards verbose language and more of an easy read, have successfully reached their targeted audience.

Sachin graduated from Delhi College of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and went on to study management at MDI, Gurgaon. After completing his MBA, Sachin found his true calling and started writing novels. In 2011, he co-founded Grapevine India Publishers Pvt. Ltd

Sachin Garg, founder Grapevine publishing, an alum of MDI sharing his story with the current students of MDI

Sachin talking to the students of MDI –

  • When I came to MDI I had already clinched a deal with a publisher to publish my first work
  • 2009 – My first book clicked – Srishti publisher
  • Social media played a huge role in popularizing the book. I was in the first year at MDI
  • I got placed at JSW steel during our campus placements
  • Never expected that I will be posted in a remote location, in their steel plant, beyond Bellary for the next 16 months
  • Especially after being in France for the previous 6 months, during the student exchange program, the posting to the remote location was no less challenging. It was like being thrown back to 18th century
  • But, I must confess, the experiences there became the ‘masala’ for my next project
  • Second book came from my observations and realizations from that experience
  • my book had a girl being posted there, I covered everything… work, romance, love… amidst the rustic hinterlands of India
  • The book hit the market in 2010
  • In May 2011, I thought of being an entrepreneur
  • What is my ARENA going to be? only thing I know about was books and publishing
  • My father was in DDA, a publishing IDEA was beyond his grasp or our family’s
  • I went to Durjoy Dutta (‘Of Course I love you… Till I find someone else’ fame), a big name by then, and a few more joined in
  • By Sept 2011, we had 20+ authors
  • All happened in a couple of weeks
  • One of our books was in the AC Nielsen list at number three
  • Next year AC Nielsen’s list of 250 had Penguin, Rupa too, but Grapevine had 15 in that list, highest number of entries
  • Usually if you want to publish you need connections in those publishers
  • We wanted to give platform for the new authors. From one new author a month, we moved to the short story writers
  • We are creating a self publishing platform
  • We are organizing ‘India lit fest’  in this year’s world book fair at Pragati Maidan this FEB
  • The journey has been exciting… looking forward to many more plots..

I was with my better half, Indira and our book-gorging daughter Mallika at the World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan, early this month. We bumped into Sachin there and he was very excited about the Lit Fest and invited us to be there. Unfortunately we could not make it. Sachin invited Mallika to contribute to the book series that is featuring young authors under 18! Mallika is excited!

If you want to submit a manuscript to Sachin to publish, write to Grapevine with:

  • Author’s Bio
  • A Brief Summary of the novel
  • 3 sample chapters or the full manuscript

Explore and know more about Grapevine and connect with Sachin.

Passion paves the path.. Have you ever thought of what you are passionate about and how to celebrate that passion in a productive way?

An evening with Inspiring M S Sathyu

Thanks to my dear friend, Astha Dixit, the choreographer and lead dancer of the play Dara Shikoh, I was accorded two seats in Stein, for me and my better half, Indira. We reached the audi a couple of hours before the play commenced and I went straight to the green room to capture the candids at the back-stage. I had a wonderful time doing my captures, while listening to the interesting banters, especially in the green room of the ladies!

Dara Shikoh with his advisor

In the empty hall, an elderly gentleman, was quickly going around taking stock of the stage and then sitting in different seats on different rows at different corners of the audi checking the visibility of the stage from various directions before he headed to his place in the lights and sound room upstairs.

The play commenced and the action began with a dance sequence and quickly the entire elite audience got engrossed into the proceedings and I was deep into my clicking penance. The play was crisp as it traversed a couple of decades in the storyline before the curtains came down. The actors assembled on stage and were introducing the cast. They called the name of the Director, M S Sathyu. He was not to be seen and everyone was wondering where he was. The announcer realized that Sathyu was doing his duty today at lights, helping the apprentice. A few minutes later, the very same gentleman who took stock of the empty audi, walked in to the audi with a jhola in his hand and slowly yet surely, moved towards the stage and stood there for a couple of seconds to the grand acknowledgement with no emotions on his face. Then he walked into the audience space, took a seat by the side of an aisle and started gazing into the ceiling. That was M S Sathyu.

M S Sathyu at Stein, after the performance of Dara Shikoh

Meanwhile the audience went about congratulating the cast and shaking hands with the fellow audience. Also asking a question, ‘did you understand the dialogues completely?’  A couple of them asked me too.  The Urdu in the play made it difficult for the audience to follow the dialogues, leaving them a tad disappointed. It might not have had any impact on either the director or the producer, because they are passionate about their work..

“Dara Shikoh”, the modern classic is directed by M.S. Sathyu and written by Danish Iqbal, which encapsulates the play’s portrayal of the young Mughal prince and heir apparent to Shah Jahan. The play, being performed after three years, is once again being directed by the eminent director, stage designer and art director M.S. Sathyu and presented by Impressario Asia.

Danish Iqbal, the playwright, talking to the Hindu, attributes his knowledge about writing and stage skills to Sathyu. “He’s a grand old man of Indian theatre. He has a terrific sense of aesthetics. He makes sketches of every scene before the performance, to work out how the stage characters, headgear, beards, dresses, everything would look. He’s a very meticulous person. It’s a pleasure working with him. His art work is tremendously beautiful.” Iqbal adds that while he has indeed provided the dialogues, characters and content of the play, they’ve been given shape by Sathyu.

I slowly went and sat next to Sathyu ji, at his feet on the aisle, and started talking to him. This young man of 84 is brimming with enthusiasm, talking about his flight today to Mumbai to work with the cast from IPTA for the play scheduled on Feb 5th, at Prithvi, and then heading to Bangalore to take Dara Shikoh, on an eight town tour including Bangalore, Davengere, Bellary, Mysore etc, all in the month of Feb. He was very delighted to share that the play will be staged in a school of theatre set up by an ashram in Davengere. I also gathered that he designed around eight new arenas for theatre in Bangalore including Rang Shankara where Dara Shikoh will have three shows. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Indira and Astha with M S Sathyu

Indira interacted with Sathyu about his films as she has been a fan of his work from the days of the film “Garam Hawa.” Sathyu shared about directing Habib Tanvir and Safdar Hashmi in a play and  the discussion about his works went on…

Sathyu who started his journey as an art director, went on to design sets, lights for productions and then directing plays and finally films. In films, he has worked as an art director, camera-man, screenwriter, producer and director. His filmography includes over 15 documentaries and 8 feature films in Hindi, Urdu and Kannada.

It was an inspiring evening with M S Sathyu. as active and energetic as ever, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm even at 84. Indira and I will treasure this interaction for life time. Looking forward to meeting Sathyu again, very soon.

Sreeni’s humble journey – In Media, Books, publications, collaborations

I feel very elated and humbled at the same time, looking back at my journey as an edupreneur (educationist + entrepreneur) in the last eighteen years. This journey took me to many countries in the world, met many inspiring personalities, gave opportunity to create new businesses, initiate new endeavours that would facilitate thousands of children and youth realize their dreams, yet the most important thing has been that of discovering many more dimensions of my own journey of infinity (discovering the infinite potential within).

Ever since I returned to Delhi in 2008 after a five year stint abroad and then setting up schools in Hyderabad and Indore, I seriously started working on my passions – performing arts, fine arts, introspecting and writing, facilitating passionate artists who need support, apart from motivating youth to excel and young parents on parenting, creating exciting learning environments. I am inspired by all near and dear who have changed their gears in multiple-areas – brothers, Satya in Urdu poetry and lyrics, Param in holistic healing; My colleagues at Career Launcher : Shivku, GP, Nikhil, Sujit have been role models in many ways for their steadfastness in the endeavours they espouse; My friends who have created their own enterprises, eminent personalities and artists who are excelling in their passions have also been prodding me unbeknown to them. When I was taking stock of the outcome of these endeavours, I feel really charged and motivated to change the gears to do so much more.

The outcomes of this passionate journey has been varied, unexpectedly – publishing of my work in media, books magazines, online portals; invitations to programs, workshops on various media; eminent personalities co-opting me in their work and so on. I thought of showcasing it as a way of keeping myself motivated, apart from being a source of inspiration for many more who wish to excel. This reiterates my thought that, “If I am passionate about my work and dedicatedly persevere then the world will conspire to make it much more meaningful; and take me to places that I have never known.”

The most unexpected of the outcomes has been featuring in a book, “Young Leaders Success Code,” published by National HRD network and IMI. This chapter, dedicated to my leadership style, traces my journey from childhood to 2011…

Book - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.Sreenivasan

Media – Both electronic and print have been kind enough to co-opt me, invite me to be a speaker or panelist on various programmes that address the needs of youth : Education, Careers, Parenting; Also covering my motivational tours and workshops – ‘Dream It, Do It’; ‘Think Big, Start Small’

Sreeni on GeNext on DD, April 30, 2011, 1:30pmSreeni in DD News Charcha mein Sept 03, 2011Find the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionEarly Childhood Education - School Leadership Conference2013 posters of Dream It, Do It! tour across the country

As I kept traveling around the world, my constant companion ‘the camera’ did enable me to capture India and the world in its kaleidoscopic spirit and colors; These splendid captures have attracted many publishers to embellish their works across the media – books, magazines, online-works etc from adorning their covers to centre-spreads!

– coffee table book by Ministry of External affairs – “The India Idea” dedicated to Indian Innovation spirit
– Three coffee table travel books published by Parragon on Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and golden triangle
– The cover of a book by Cambridge University Press
– Special issues of Femina; IIMB Alumni magazine
– Penguin’s best five – ‘India – A portrait through your lens’
– Overseas : Online magazines and their offline publications in Singapore (STORM); French publication – Linternaute; Las Vegas city guide

The India Idea – BookThe India Idea – BookThe Golden Triangle - Travel Guide features Sreeni's imagesJaisalmerRajasthan, the land of colors - Travel guidCambridge university press features Sreeni's photo on the cover of the book Devotion and Dissent in Indian HistoryLiving in Two Worlds - Femina Anniversary Issue 2011Living in Two Worlds - Femina Anniversary Issue 2011IIMB Alumni Magazine covers SPANDANIIMB Alumni Magazine covers SPANDANFrench website features my holi photos - LinternautePenguin India : 'India: A Portrait Through Your Lens' - Best 5

My passionate pursuit of performing arts – in front of and also behind the camera – yielded such a rich collection that, in 2013, I initiated my own dance photography exhibition and world dance festival, SPANDAN, that coincides with world dance day; and my annual SPANDAN calendar of Dance – a tribute to Indian dance forms emerged… glad to see the second year taking off in a very auspicious note. I owe my sincere gratitude to India Habitat Centre for being my hospitality partner for my annual exhibition and dance festival. My humble salutations to every artist who has allowed me, encouraged me to capture their performances and participated in my dance endeavours.

SPANDAN in FIRST CITYCalendars 2014 - Spandan and AIDSSpandan Calendar of Dance  - A tribute to Indian Dance Forms 2014Spandan Calendar of Dance  - A tribute to Indian Dance Forms 2014Blogged select captures

I am indebted to many eminent critiques and writers, movements like SPIC MACAY, SRISTI for co-opting me to capture their work and contribute to their cause, and also for embellishing their work in dailies and magazines…

Celebrating selfless service - THE HINDU - June 28, Three photosMedia : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photosSPIC MACAY 25th National Convention, in MediaSPIC MACAY 25th National Convention, in MediaMedia : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photos
Media : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photosSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK Surathkal

Books, publications and Media, a set on Flickr.

In offing, in early 2014 : A couple of books on Indian Classical Dance forms, embellished with my photo-captures, by

a. An eminent dance critique of our country, who is a SNA Awardee and regular columnist,
b. A brilliant young dancer, SNA Yuva puraskar awardee, with an eminent culture ambassador.
c. SPANDAN dance festival and photography exhibition in April

My Journey – Pradeep Gupta, Founder CYBERMEDIA : Addressing TYE participants

Mr Pradeep Gupta, Founder and CEO, CYBERMEDIA addressing TYE participants at the inaugural session

Let me start by sharing my background….

–        1970-75, IIT DELHI

–        1977 IIMC

–        Joined a start up from the campus, very unusual in those days

  • HCL – 1976-77, multibillion dollar company now; first set of management grads there

–        1980 – started a software company

  • 1982 – wanted to get into media, never had any background
  • Cybermedia – Dataquest, PC Quest,…
  • Now DARE for entrepreneurship
  • More than a dozen publications and websites

–        Late 1990s, TIE was coming into the country, got involved with the movement

  • At that time Entrepreneurial ecosystem was lacking
  • A small amount of money required for those who want to start
  • Funding fraternity : Infinity, Indian angel network – India Bulls was funded

–        Asked the youngsters “Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?”

  • Freedom, own boss, own goals
  • Serve people with profit
  • Upliftment of the society / impacting the society
  • No ceilings
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Want to be Job providers
  • Profit / it is all mine
  • Adrenaline rush all the time / ideating

The youngsters participating in TYE

Let me address a few of the issues you have stated…

–        Freedom asks for more responsibility and discipline

  • In social studies, it says, you have rights, but you have responsibility too

–        A friend of mine, quit ad-agencies and became a brand consultant

  • I was working till late and work odd-hours
  • Here I was lounging, then shared that he realized as an entrepreneur I have to be more disciplined

–        Own Boss

  • Own vision, roles, direction
  • “Mera wala pink” – You can create your own canvas

–        Profit

  • Is all mine, for sure
  • You will always have resources short of your dream
    • You will raise resources, then you need to part with your profits then
    • You will create a team to be successful, you will part with equity

–        Sky is the limit

  • Job creation, supporting families

–        Ideas into reality

  • Passion
  • Ideas into reality

PG asked “What is the flip side of entrepreneurship?”

–        You can be a threat to the national security – Bill Gates and the US (E)

–        Risk : No fixed income

–        Lot of responsibility; (E)

–        If idea did not succeed, failure even after investing so much; may even go bankrupt

–        Finding money (E)

–        You have to take care of yourself and losses

–        Lot of instability – emotionally, not limited to financial;  unpredictability, (E),

–        High pressure – (E)

–        Public policy barriers; corruption;  volatile markets and economy

–        Competition ; Leadership challenges (E)

–        Discouragement from being an entrepreneur – not easily accepted (E); social acceptability of failure

–        Work-life balance

What prompted PG to start on his own?

–        One more story, while I was passing out of IIT Delhi

  • Critical decisions in life that will tell you what you are going to do
  • Started applying for jobs
    • TIFR – highly tech questions in the interview, got through
    • Job with TELCO – Now Tata Motors
    • Admissions in the Univ of California, berkley
    • IIMC
  • Each path would have lead me in different direction
    • One friend of mine went to TIFR, now Deputy Director at NIC, Professor at IITD
    • Many friends went to the US, a few became entrepreneurs, acads or high paying jobs
    • Had I joined, Tata Motors; Senior Hierarchy in Tata empire
  • Decision to join HCL, a start up after IIMC was also not a normal one at that time
    • A professor of mine advised me to join the start up
    • Because of that exposure, entrepreneurial juices got released
    • HCL was highly entrepreneurial
    • Those days were pre-personal computer era
    • Mainframes and Mini – 13kb memory; floppy disks – 80 Kb;
    • Disks replaced punch cards that were in vogue then
    • At HCL Software development, training customers, etc…

–        HCL, itself was suffering – needed people, computers very expensive, ..

–        I somehow wanted to buy a computer (4 lakhs)

  • Get the data, process and give the results
  • I will do training
  • Raise some money to start off
  • I put money after raising it from friends and invested

–        Shiv Nadar wanted to have a chat, once I put in my papers

  • I shared that I wanted to become an entrepreneur
  • He said that he was thinking of sending me to Singapore, to head operations
    • Many temptations will be your way; discouragement
  • Once he felt that I am determined, Shiv asked how he could help me
    • got software assignments,

–        Media company : 1981 – Defence colony barsaati

–        A girl from UNICEF – livestock idea… did a back of the envelope calculation

  • Livestock times
  • Paper and reams..
  • Rums and cokes inside
    • I will have to put money, then have to know the business
    • Converted into a magazine – Dataquest : India’s first B-2-B magazine

Why not Berkley, why IIMC?

–        Majority of people going to Berkley did not become entrepreneurship

–        IIMC, I thought will facilitate me


–        Raising money was far difficult during our time

–        It was not accepted / socially was not

–        Setting up a company was difficult

–        Doing your own business is the last choice

–        Business was a dirty word

–        Today incubators, Seed money, angel network, HNI, loans…. Many avenues (in a special session we will deal with them)


–        People would say film magazines, women and political mags work, no other magazine

–        Business mags just came out in 1981

–        I did not have any idea about publishing

–        Sports and Children’s mags did not do well

Four ingredients, key to success

–        Inspiration – Idea that will change, disruptive

  • Idea can just take you that far; it will bring copy-cats
  • Microsoft did not expect google; they could never match google’s search engine

–        Aspiration

  • Passion is important
  • Companies become 6 crore, not go beyond; hunger in the belly stagnates

–        Respiration

  • Build a team,
  • Get people better than you
  • Raise equity, get ideas

–        Perspiration

  • It is all about hardwork
  • Roles
  • First three years, I have not had any vacation
  • You have to pay everyone who works for you; you may not take for yourself

I still remember the first issue of DataQuest. I still have a copy of it. Indescribable pleasure. There are risks, pressures and responsibilities

You will have pressures even when you are working for others. What would the managers of NOKIA be doing today, when from being a leader in the business you have been relegated to a struggle in the market?

Entrepreneurship has been an accepted path today.

–        Do not try entrepreneurship if you are risk averse..

–        When the risks are there, rewards are there..

How do entrepreneurs chase the rewards – How does wealth get enhanced?

–        Sense of accomplishment is there…

  • Recognition

–        Profits : how will you take it from a company

  • Salary /  incentives / commissions / perks
  • Shares – dividends get paid
    • Value of the shares go up – defined by capital markets perception
    • Buy out
  • IPO, stock markets  you know the valuation

–        We need to realize that a few CEOs will get paid more than an entrepreneur

–        Serial entrepreneur is the height of entrepreneurship

  • One kind of entrepreneurship required in early stages
  • Second kind of DNA required to run in the second stage
    • Systems, processes, consolidation…

–        If ambitions are high, then resources are needed

  • IPO
  • Diluting
  • Other shareholders
  • Responsible for all

Q & A

–        As a Cyber Media CEO – how do you balance between Work and Family

  • The choices are not binary in nature
  • We need to create balance
  • We need to deal with multiple pressures, in the limited hours
  • If we plan well time-wise, you can always work
  • Quality of time is as much important as quantity

–        What happens to the employees, when one company is sold off to another

  • Employees will continue to be part of the new company
  • As long as you are performing, need not worry

–        Were there any time, when you were going through huge losses, how you dealt with

  • 2009 slow down affected very badly
  • Borrowed money from banks
  • Shutdown business that are not profitable
  • IBM went through sever losses in 1990s and then came back
  • Steps to overcome
    • Reassess what you are doing wrong or right, strategize
    • Cash needs to be available
      • You must be able to pay
      • Close down a few business, sell assets
      • Restructure the business to spare money

–        What was the driving force to continue entrepreneurship

  • Passionate
  • Sense of achievement
  • Hurdles will come in the way, how do we handle is very important

–        Had you gone to the US would it have impacted better

  • I thought of an Idea, and wanted to make it happen
  • Possible could have postponed, but someone would have come with a magazine
  • We have not seen the future..
  • If you have entrepreneurial bent, see an opportunity, why postpone
  • Becoming an entrepreneur is difficult in later part of life

–        Ideal path – job then entrepreneur, or start off?

  • What worked for me might not work for you..
  • Each one has his or her own path….
  • Idea is the key..
  • Jagdish Kattar – Carnation

–        Infinity ventures : 5-7 years fund

  • Every fund has life, it gets distributed
  • India Bulls was the greatest company; India games is now with disney
  • Then we formed Angel Network
    • Every year new money is raised, new investments every year (2 every month)

–        1999-2000

  • Boom helped many entrepreneurs
  • Money was flowing, about 1000 companies came into existence; only 10 might have survived
  • Money is just one among many things required; it is perhaps the least

–        Did you have plan B, while starting a company?

  • Sometimes we really think too much;
  • safety nets are there for all of us who are educated
  • Once you are passionate, you will not think of anything

–        Stereotypes

  • Any for females now?
    • No one rule fits everything
    • Create own path
  • Social stereotypes
    • Risk takers
    • Aspirational

Knowledge is sitting in this room; we have everything here…. Just go and believe in your ideas and create your business.

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