“I know only one thing, to paint. I do what I love” : KEN HOWARD R A, by the pichola lake, UDAIPUR

I was on a quick trip to Udaipur on an interesting assignment which I will talk about in another article While in Udaipur, as is my want, I walked about in the city early mornings, to catch people getting ready for the day or capture them doing what they do the best. Rajasthan is a prominent destination in the itinerary of most visitors to India, and Udaipur the preferred destination for almost all of those who visit Rajasthan.

The alleys around the lake Pichola are full of life. The interplay between the residents and the visitors is very interesting, with the residents always greeting even strangers with an ‘intriguing’ Hello! The Lake Pichola witnesses a buzz of activity, from children diving and bathing to the ladies of the locality washing clothes early in the day. The flock of pigeons frolicking and whirring in circles, celebrating the advent of a new day, when you see many a visitor with a camera in hand capturing these special moments.

Every lane leading to lake Pichola will offer something new if you walk through. I was on one such walking expedition. I crossed one of the pedestrian bridges across Pichola and walked through an alley, that I had never been through before, towards one of the ghats that seemed to be calm and quiet.

KEN Howard R A in Udaipur, by lake Pichola

As I took a turn right and approached the ghat, just behind a large peepal tree that is worshipped (orange threads tied around), I was delighted to see an elderly gentleman painting a canvas. I sought his permission and sat on the steps behind him observing his working. He was looking at a visual frame that spanned across the lake – with a pillared dome on one side, a bridge going across and ending into a gate on the other side. His army of brushes quickly changed places in his hands, as he was capturing on canvas, with flurry of subtle strokes, a variety of hues he was seeing in the visual frame. The layers of colors emerged one over the other on the canvas, slowly revealing his observation and translation of the palette into combination of colors that truly reflects his visual frame. Stroke by stroke, hue by hue he was filling the canvas. As he was doing the work, he was nodding and making various sounds, that was reflecting his internal struggle as well as delight. It was fascinating to observe him work. Surely for me, a great lesson in the art of painting.

After a while, he broke his silence and spoke, “it is a frustrating experience capturing the vast hues of nature. This size canvas takes at least two sittings, not an easy one for my 80 year-old body. That is why I usually paint small sized canvases.”

Artist Ken Howard R A in Udaipur, by the lake Pichola

I got to know that he exhibits in London couple of times a year, each featuring the impressions of his travel. He came to India last year for the first time and fell in love. He has been here for the last three months and is heading back this weekend with a few canvases ready. His itinerary, for the next few weeks, include Morocco and Switzerland before he exhibits in the coming May. He does three or four exhibitions every year, and the earnings from the sale has paid off for his explorations of the world, in the last eighty years. It has been an exciting journey.

“I know only one thing, to paint, since my childhood. People told me to go to university, but, I found this is my calling. This is my university. Only thing I ever did was paint, whether inside the class or outside. I do what I love. Very few people are lucky to be doing that. It has helped me to discover myself and the world.” There is a great learning in what he said.

I captured him working, for my article and shared with him that I am going to write about this experience. The gentleman is known in the art-world by the name Ken Howard, and is a distinguished member of Royal Academy. I took leave of him with quite a few lessons to follow in my own life.

I searched for, “KEN HOWARD R A,” on professor GOOGLE, and found quite a few links, including the website of Ken Howard R A.

True to his sharing and my belief too, I realized how important it is “to do what I love, and I love whatever I do”.


Get Inspired : Subodh Raheja, inventor and innovator igniting the young minds – My Journey

Change Makers @ My Journey - Subodh Raheja, innovator from Manak Engineering

Change Makers @ My Journey – Subodh Raheja, innovator, lit by his solar innovations

Subodh Raheja is an inspiration to be with. When I met him a few weeks ago I just got taken in by his outlook towards life and surroundings. He is an inventor and innovator at heart and in deed too. If someone says, “It is impossible,” he gets challenged and cannot wait till he finds a solution to the problem being faced.

I was very keen that all young entrepreneurial leaders at IWSB campus should experience him and his way of looking at the world. Subodh, in his journey of over two decades as an inno-preneur has contributed remarkably for the society by his innovations in the space of power and lighting – inverters, solar and wind power.

This evening Subodh was at IWSB campus to interact with the youngsters and share his journey and also to challenge them. Here I typed his interaction as it happened, and you will see the narration in the first person.

Education is all about broadening horizons and excelling. Today I will share my 32 years of experience as how I kept discovering myself.

It is not about that you started in science, commerce or arts and continued to be in the same space. If you are a keen learner, you can find huge possibilities. I know of a person who started as a graduate in humanities, but went on to do medicine and excel as a doctor.

My principal in school, Mr Kapoor always said and also made us feel that, “if you really want to, you can.” When I reached the middle school, I was moved to a section that had toppers, and I performed badly. Mr Kapoor came to me and said, “what stops you from being a topper”. That small interaction made such a difference to me. It became the guiding principle for my life.

Change Makers @ My Journey - Subodh Raheja, innovator from Manak Engineering

Change Makers @ My Journey – Subodh Raheja, innovator and his solar street light

My family does not have any business background. He came from West-Pakistan, though fore-fathers had printing business. My grandfather was a teacher, he went on to do social services, serving people and educating masses. After partition, he came to India and due to his academic excellence he was called into planning commission.

After my schooling, I was in quite a fix – whether to go into medicine or something else. I did cleared pre-medical test. But, father was not keen, as he felt it takes longer time to establish my career. So, I decided to move away. I was not clear what to do. I applied for various courses. Finally took Physics honours… then did my post-grad, then MTech. Worked for about 9 years… Then finally thought of taking plunge into business, why my father was about to retire.

During my education, there were a couple of learning curves and inflections. While in the post-graduation, I was made the secretary of the students club and I used to interact with eminent scientists like Dr. Raja Ramanna. I anchored a trip to Kota atomic power plant of our class. It was an eye-opener. It helped us to think, work and leave a mark. For the first time we moved out of the university. When we are onto something, and we jump headlong, then we realize the challenges – like here, getting permissions, logistics, reservations, food, stay etc. These things trigger thoughts and realizations about our capabilities. So it always helps to be in the thick of activities while studying and push ones boundaries.

Change Makers @ My Journey - Subodh Raheja, innovator from Manak Engineering

Change Makers @ My Journey – Subodh Raheja, innovator with his complete home solution, that has two lights and charger for mobiles

I got opportunities to travel and meet scientists nationally and internationally. Today, Internet is helping us to reduce gaps, but it depends on how we make use of it. In our days nothing of these sorts was there. We needed to go through challenges – importing would cost us duties of 200-300% etc.

Once I got an opportunity to interact with Science and defense laboratories in India, and abroad too, I found huge gaps internationally and also with in India too. Once I did my Management from DU, I realized that we could build capabilities and capacities within India. We can bridge the gap. That is when I was seriously contemplating about “Should I start something on my own.”

Power was a challenge in those days, so power stabilization and management was the thought that struck me. I thought of an inverter. People laughed at my idea. It was in 1985-86. I thought of MOS-FET technologies, as I was reading literature. We came out with inverter based on MOSFET. That kept me busy for a couple of years.

While I was going through this product, a lot of commercialization had to be done. I inducted a few into the distribution network. About 10 of them were spread across. I used to train and send them to different offices.

During the process of supplying invertors to SONY India limited, SONY had a plan to come and set up a factory in India. They were designing their factory in India. The consultants locally were taking them on a royal ride. I told them how it could be done in an interaction. I was asked to scribble on board my thought and idea and explain. It was extempore. They just saved it and faxed to their headquarters in Japan. After a wait of a couple of hours, they immediately asked me to be their consultant on their setting up project.

In five months, I had to deliver and with complete involvement, I delivered the solution within the stipulated time. Many more farmhouses happened after this project.

While I was away on these projects, my personal production set up went through a lot of turmoil and losses mounted, as the team that was handling the operations mis-managed the business and I had close it down. It was a big set back.

Since I had interest in product creation, I used that as a business model. Creating new contraptions gave me a thrill. I started focusing on it. So, Voltage stabilizer + Inverter 90v to 300v for those coming from hinterland. I was coming out with solutions for challenges people have been facing in the power space.

Since 1994, defense has been seeking solutions. All the junked sources of power was repaired. Army VSAT systems in the remote parts of the country was powered by my solutions. Eg. –

–         Earth quake in Bhuj is a case

o       Army commander called me, and said ‘yours was the only supply that stood the shocks all others including from the big MNCs failed!!

o       I was told to supply for Siachin, Arunachal etc…

–         In Arunachal, where you will have to go for days walking to reach the spots. We created sturdy ones that are still in use

Marketing has been my weakest link. Different people have been coming to me with their requirements and I have been solving their problems. But never have been able to scale this up, as I was not interested much in doing so.

Then maintaining UPS across Government came my way. But there are many ‘Undertaking’ and ‘overtaking’ happening!! It was a struggle.

Change Makers @ My Journey - Subodh Raheja, innovator from Manak Engineering

Change Makers @ My Journey – Subodh Raheja, innovation for rural doctors – light to operate

There was another period of struggle during 2003-2006 when father was ill, when I could not devote much time for business and it was ebbing. This gave my a great lesson, “You should not lose heart, one should be strong enough to face the challenge”. For paying the fees of children, I had to take loan. I sailed through the challenges.

While I was developing and doing business here, I got an opportunity to work with a US firm called HEART INTERFACE. They were working with inverters for solar systems. That was the breakthrough I got in Solar space. This was in 1994. All those who were in Solar companies used to buy circuits from me. I started handling their business in India. This company went on to buy many companies. I used supply to BEL, Central electronics etc.

All these companies are world class. Anyone who had to set up anything would have to go to any of these companies, and these companies would come to me. We did work in Zaire, Morocco, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.. They used to come to me for the design, while they handled the installation.

What we are today, is totally a different platform from where we started. We started with inverter and UPS. Now it has become the second line of business while Solar has become the first.

Solar is an alternate source of energy. You can generate energy from roof-top. Since the components were costlier they were not being used as often. But it is now economical. We can create hybrid Solar + Wind + Electricity supplied + DG set,

in that order of usage. We can create design wherein DG set can also get started automatically.

Let me give you a brief about Products that we make –

  1. Solar charge controllers
    1. Through Central Electronics, Moser Bier etc
    2. Idea came from customer
    3. One should not go beyond 40V DC, if any human comes in touch it, it can be fatal.
    4.  High voltage charge controllers can give charge for storing for 8 hours
    5. BHEL uses extensively, at the top, is our inverter
    6. Railways uses our Charge controller extensively
  1. Second series is home lighting. Especially started from Bangladesh
    1. Small home light at 3000Rs can give sufficient light
    2. If some one is keen on taking it as an entrepreneurial, you can take it
    3. Similarly solar torches and lanterns
  1. Solar pumps – surface pumps, booster pumps up to 30 HP. Only company in the world
    1. One petrol pump needs for dispensing – 1.5 HP pump
    2. With 300v solar power, by replacing 1.5HP, installing small invertors, connecting to the battery and solar panel
    3. They wanted me to prove it and sent me to a place called Mahavir ji, PAHADI

i.      I never saw so many stars there

ii.      I used batteries of cars

iii.      Absolutely no electricity in the village

iv.      We could work only till 11am and start at 4pm again as the afternoons are very hot at 50+degree

v.      That petrol pump is still using our solution

vi.      Some how since we have done only for government, it did not go beyond

         4. Solar air-conditioners – 1KV – 1-1.5 tonne – for telecom towers

    1. They have now selected this product from African markets
    2. This is something which we would like to take more places in India too
    3. Thisswas my next project
  1. Water purification is the next project. Our principals have developed a portable solar panel array. This can be taken to anywhere – pump in the river or raw water. That gives 99% pure water. River waters can be of value especially when there are disasters
  1. Trozen battery is another product, we have just introduced. This has the capability of deep discharges. It has a life of 80 years. It is used in UPS / Invertor market. Presently 98% of electric vehicles use Trozan batteries.

Q&A –

Q. In a day, for how many hours a solar panel can charge effectively?

1. Since the sun’s intensity is different during the day… the wattage varies from 0-12 at various times. It is absorption of light that gives energy. For full wattage it gives five hours of output
2. It is the capacity of the panel and battery that drives the duration
3. Bulbs are not manufactured in India, though now a few or available in India. Solid state. Diode – Direct power. If diode characteristics changed – light emitting diode we can use many ways. A few diodes can go on for 50K years

Q. What are the other exciting innovations?

· Streetlight – Heat dissipation has to be taken care of. The light is very strong and you cannot see it with naked eye.
· Solar cooler – with only 20watts of power
· Name plate – Imagine CAR nameplates glowing during the nights. How much it can reduce the challenges of Police
· Solar switch…. Usually we see wastage of electricity during the day. Solar switch created to switch on and off as per the brightness. It has been bought by Moradabad electricity for streetlights, then Delhi government bought it. Sensor will sense and switch on and off
· Sound triggered light, especially at night when there is some sound it will glow. You can use it the moment you wake up by making a sound.
· Public toilets and bathrooms – sensing lights and fans that can save energy wastage
· Fans – Sold at about 1000Rs in the market; Extensively used by pavement vendors.
· Solution to mosquito menace.
· Right now working on a solution for Coke. Invertors for freezers in the Rural space..

The moment some one comes and say, this is not possible. I get interested in it.

1. created Motor pump – at 300 watts when the gentleman challenged me to make one for anything less than 500 watts…

2. Billboard lighting….

3. Lighting homes in the remote areas…

Doing job is fine, but you are at others disposal. But, if you really love something, just jump and do. You need to know about everything in the business – laws, finances, and so much more that you need to know.

When I left job, first few months were difficult – finalizing the product, marketing it. The moment the inverter took off, I never looked back. I have done so many things… We were the first to introduce paging, traffic lights in Delhi – police department said you can make money (but never that happened), solar booths at traffic signals – Moolchand, Ashram, Bhikaji Cama place..

We came out with many products and ideas –
· Telecom towers – MPPT controller that gives 30% extra power in the worst environmental conditions. It is very rugged. It is the heart of the equipment…

Q.Water purifier – how is it better than any one else? It is the same unit but how do you charge and help the charge to be retained in harsh conditions so that it can continue to purify.

Q. Marketing problems – What are the ones you are facing?
· We do have skeletal marketing team.
· We do special types of projects
· We are looking for creating networks. The trozan battery is unmatchable. Cyclic batteries that are the demand of telecom companies or international operators
· They have application everywhere – in invertors and electric vehicles

Q. Any thing for Automobiles?
· Dippers sense light from on-coming traffic, it dips whenever oncoming traffic is spotted. This helps a better driving.

Q. In Punjab most of the towers use DG. Do you have any solutions.
· We have the solution but many of them do not use it. Why? We need to ask them..
· We are anyways moving from capex model to Opex model in the towers…

Q. Cost of photo-voltaic systems are costly. In India in central and eastern India we need a lot of electricity. Is there some way that we can get economical solution?
· For a starter, think small and think about mass
· My focus is on electronics
· We have suppliers like BTW to set up mega plants

The discussions moved on to demonstration of his inventions and innovations.

At the end of the session, the challenge of working and creating the sales and marketing strategy and its execution for the company Manak Engineering was thrown at the young entrepreneurs. I am waiting for a few to take it up.

It was an inspiring session and I felt charged to take the challenge.

I had more time interacting with Subodh and his family while I drove with them all the way back. I will treasure this evening for lifetime.

My Journey “Vacuum TUBE to You TUBE” @ IWSB – Prof Srivathsan, Eminent changemaker, a developmental catalyst with technolgy

Nation building, in these times of ANNA, is a very ‘in thing’. There are quite a few people who have been working tirelessly for years now and prof Srivathsan is one such person. He is a visionary with great combination of Modern and Tradition. While, on one hand he has headed IIT kanpur Computer science department and then went onto head Indian Institute of Information technology (IIIT), Trivandrum as founder director and now Pro-VC of IGNOU with a mandate to use technology to change the education delivery; on the other hand he is a philosopher and a scholar in the Indian thoughts – well read about all the ancient books and literature from all religions. His energy is infectious.

Here are a few of the imprints left by prof. Srivathsan –

– kisannet kerala : The kissan project : His brainchild and it is actually headquartered in IIIT.
– Elements of the television channel based on Kissan net kerala – A You TUBE feature on Kissan Net
– His work along with quite a few heads of IITs and IISc resulted in NPTEL channel on Youtube as the project took off. It is to support all technical institutions that need support for academics. You can watch these links on the web and youtube. NPTEL HOmepae; NPTEL CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE

– His vision and work at IGNOU and beyond can be gauged by his paper that you can access on WIKIPEDIA

His talk at IWSB took him back to the days of his struggles with vacuum tube and his experiments with it in his childhood days, and tracing the journey through to bringing in the net connectivity to IIT Kanpur in the early days of internet. How he had to interact with universities in the US to do the troubleshooting, and oversee the laying of the cables at the last mile between the telephone exchange and IIT Kanpur. He shared about the memory on the computers being 64KB in those days and how today people say a few GBs is less.

The session was very insightful and enriching.

He then shared his idea of creating community centres for development. Al these are going to be learning and facilitation centres for Rural development. He has named them interestingly HEART of the real India –

H – Healthcare
E – Education
A – Agriculture
R – Rural Development
T – Tourism and Artists

We are looking forward to contributing in every way to make the HEART matters come true.


If you don’t dare to make mistakes now, when will you – My Journey with Piyush Sharma

Piyush Sharma, Dean (internationalization), Hong kong polytechnic university on IWSB campus

Piyush Sharma, Dean (internationalization), Hong kong polytechnic university on IWSB campus

Prof. Piyush Sharma, Dean (internationalization) from Hong Kong Polytechnic university was on the IWSB campus to deliver and interact as part of My Journey series of June. This initiated the Pg 11-13 batch too as it was their first My Journey interaction. The new batch was still trickling in and the pg12 was eager to take off this year.

Piyush who has had his university education in Engineering at Delhi College of Engineering, continued his MBA from IIM Bangalore after a few years of working in the corporate world. He went on to do his Ph.D. in marketing from Nanyang University a good 15 years later. In this interactive session he was not only sharing his journey but also was challenging the students to push themselves. Most of his interaction was through questions he himself raised or the ones raised by participants.

Why join acads, even when there was not much money?

Reasons could be –
– like to teach
– make name as a good facilitator and mentor
– Quest for knowledge
– Stable life

Then thought came about PhD.
o Which discipline
o After PhD what, where?

My education broadly can be summarised as –
– 1987 : BE, DCE
– 1993 : IIM Bangalore
– 2006 : Phd, Nanyang, Spore

What did I do before your PhD?

– 1987-89 BHEL, Jhansi
– 89-91 Consulting, Bureau of public enterprises, Delhi
o Economy opened up
o Mandal commission agitation
o Tinanmen square
o Government was thinking of selling off public enterprises
Then went to IIMB, followed by –
– 1993-2002
o Marketing at ITC, Dabur, Becton Dickinson, Hometrade
§ Move from one company to another, mostly for money. That doubles at every jump!!
– 2006-Nov
o Hong Kong Polytechnic, Hong Kong

What do you expect from your job and career? piyush asked
– Money
– Job satisfaction
– Discovering self
o Discovered that I can work under stress too
– Good work environment
o Physical
o Psychological
– Designation and status
– Challenges

What am I passionate about? Questions to be asked :
– What do I love
– What is my personality
– What gets me going

A few are successful and not every one. What are chief ingredients to succeed

o Forming an outlook that is positive
o Solution finder than problem creator
o Self correcting attitude
o Humility to acknowledge that I need to improve
Risk Taking
o To get into places
Ability to learn
Ability to analyse
o Recognizing right time to do MBA
o Should know when to strike it to make big impact
Think like a manager
o If I were the manager in the org, how will I go about.
o Balancing between how to act quickly and
o If it is my company, what would I do
o To be able to be in the zone 24/7
Take more informed decision
o Do good research
Be a good people person
o Understand people
o Motivating people
Be aware of the value that you are adding;
o Do not lose sight of what is happening beyond or behind

[OCB – Organizations Citizenship Behaviour : Understand
of Knowing about the organization, how it is impacting and how it is growing]

– Being able to learn on the job
o You are living in a world that is fast changing
o [Black Swann – book…]
o It always existed, but not many have seen it
o You cannot plan for a few incidents, but have to cope with
o There are people who have wider perspective and are able to see what every one talks about
o Make and see that you can adopt a few of things that you learn from
o Try and innovate and come out with your own ideas

– Have your voice
o Try and do things to raise your visibility in the organization
o When you are working in a team, take initiatives
o Eg When I was in ITC, based in odisha
§ Need to develop network with people with similar situations
§ Turn over tax was an Issue, which I thought should be taken up at the highest level
· Distribution via Bihar than directly in Odisha
· Presentation to be made to the CM
· Later they withdrew the tax
o It is about risk taking too
o Be open to learning

What motivated to do PhD?

– Passion, family in education could be one of the influencers
– I always took training modules in which ever company I have served in
· I was the best trainer in the company even when I was a sales guy
· Selling, talking to people is a passion,

How did you realize that money is not your motivation time?

– I could not see my son for the first four years of his existence
– So being with family was an important parameter

Changing companies? why?

– In the beginning it was mostly for money
– As I grew, things changed and I learnt more

Learning regarding human beings

– I worked through India and outside too
– Do not judge by the cover
– People look very different but give them a chance
– Let them share what they want to
– Do not pre-judge people

Structured vs Start up
– If you enjoy being in creative mode, dirtying hands then you will thrive
– Make mistakes now if you want to, since opportunities cost is low now

– Organizations shape the behaviour of people within, though People shape organizational behaviour too
– Cultural intelligence
o Different levels
o People are different – do not judge through your lense
o You have to have passion – learnt tamil when I was posted in Chennai

Understanding with my boss is a process, it is not an event. You have to be very cautious and figure out what and how.

Two of the take homes from the session are –
· Passion is fundamental
· If you do not make mistakes now, when will you!!

“My Journey” features Vishwadeep Bajaj, Founder, ValueFirst at IWSB campus

entrepreneurial journey across borders - Vishwadeep Bajaj. ValueFirst

entrepreneurial journey across borders - Vishwadeep Bajaj. ValueFirst

Mr. Vishwadeep Bajaj, Founder, ValueFirst, one of the new-age mobile technology major, delighted the young CEO aspirants at IWSB (iwsb.in) campus. It was a first for him and also students at the IWSB campus though he has been figuring in our brochure and communications and also has been a judge at one of the regional rounds of ‘SRIJAN’, business plan competition of IWSB this year.

Vishwadeep did his MCA and CFA, and went on to work with CMC and then Siemens in India and Germany. Even during his college days he used to dabble in Stock Markets! He switched between corporate life and entrepreneurial life a couple of times, before starting his steadfast journey as an entrepreneur in Europe in the technology space. He has since then founded a couple of companies in UK/Germany and exited before founding Valuefirst. Valuefirst, with headquarters in India, serves in many countries across Asian, African and European continents.

Vishwadeep is a down to earth, approachable, jovial person ever keen to help a learner. He has been a great risk-taker. Not so great on technology, but has always managed to rope in core-technologists to execute his ideas. As we always hear, ‘Hire a guy who is better than you’ to run your company. He has been doing it all the time.

His talk at IWSB :

– About ValueFirst : An organization where learning comes first
o We go to office to learn
o 240 of us are on a journey, fun along the way.
o Most of what we do is controlled from outside (market forces and changes); But we give our best shot to whatever we can control
o We experience the joy in negotiating/shaping the world
– Main goal is of enjoying
– Every moment is an exciting moment
o Current vision 2010 – Touch billion lives daily as a publicly traded communication services company by December 2010
– Touching lives meaningfully
– Not unsolicited content
– Publicly IPO

“My Journey” – Starts his wonderful journey

Childhood and Education

– Childhood in Srinagar and Jammu
– At class 11. Was thinking of who am I and why am I here? Started what is the purpose of life
– Did not perform well in board exams
– Got admissions in
o BITS Pilani – MSc in Museum studies – wondered what will I do there?
o Lucknow college of Architecture – short on age
– Graduation I joined in Agra? I am not able to recall which stream..see!!
– One day I bumped into a boy, in many places in a couple of days while going across shopping. I discovered that he is doing something called CA
– I thought that is a wonderful Idea and shared with parents. I convinced parents.
– Parents moved out of Agra. I continued to be there
– At 21 while I was studying, got chicken pox…came home, parents were in Gwalior.
– Mother convinced to look at some interesting advertisement in newspaper..
– MCA happened from MITS, Gwalior, the third institution to introduce MCA in the country after DU and JNU.

Into the corporate world and Entrepreneurship
– Went to CMC for summers, and joined them after MCA.
– First assignment was at RITES – Train reservation system, very impressive, many from the US, UK were wondering how India managed it?
– I fell in love with my boss, and married her within six months!!
– I thought, now I can start my own company, with someone at home who can support

– Started my own company, software development
– I did not know how to sell, I thought people will buy, targeted big companies.
– Finally thought will sell to small companies; went around got some projects

– Delivery guys were my friends from CMC, all moonlighting for myself
– I used to capture all requirements, and started delivering.
– I started making three times my salary 3K (10K in those days)

Stockbroking and UPWARD CURVE plunges

– One of the clients is stock broker. I got intrigued by the way he makes money
– I made 5 rupees per share, in a couple of hours I made 500 rupees
– I thought Wow! this is a great way to make money. Fast and Quick.
– I then opted to become a sub-broker, convinced the broker. He accepted me
– I got to know, a lot about the scrips, market behaviour etc.
– In 6 months made 33 lakh rupees.. in 1993

– I thought of starting a company.. planned
– Harshad Mehta scam happened
– I kept myself thinking that it is a correction
– In no time everything was wiped off…
– I had a contessa, best car in those days (better than my house owner)

– I had to sell every thing… borrow from father (from his PF)
– Everyone in family was worried. They asked me to get back to a job.

Seimens’ interview
– Seimens ad came up. Went to the exam with a friend..
– Were late, the manager reluctantly accepted us.
– Copied through the test from my friend. Go thru!!
– There was GD. I could not speak a word, a south Indian girl dominated it.
– A gentleman walks in. Looked like the big boss. He asked me to summarize. As my luck would have it. I was the only one short listed!!

– I was told the last round is Technical interview. When they spotted about my stock market dabblings, due to Harshad Mehta episode, everything ended being technical analysis of stock market!! I could answer reasonably well.
– Got selected…

Packed off to Germany
– I was sent to Germany, surprising! On landing, I was told that the project was cancelled and I have to get back to India.
– The German boss, CHRIS, called me for dinner. To my surprise something else unraveled.
– He told me that, I have been asked to prove myself and I can select a two member team and you are there in it. CHRIS is a great boss who goes all out..
– What are you really good at, he asked me? I told that I work hard and I will deliver.
– We have to find a job, and the boss started internal sales within SIEMENS.
– He chanced upon Performance management Analysis order from one of the departments
– Finally we became a performance management guru team, multiple orders came within SIEMENS
– Our name spread, and we started to get orders from everywhere
– My boss was spotted as a potential CEO, and he was sent for a business school
– My boss said I will send you to a friend who needs people like you..

Found myself in England
– In the new place. I was hired for writing emails on SS7, as I was very good in English (Germany had very few people of my language capability)
– One gentleman from England came visiting, he saw me working..
– He went back and called me saying that looking for SS7 specialists
– WELSH boss, in ENGLAND siemens pulled me..SS7 Guru arrives..
– Finally they wanted Something more than SS7 as there were not many projects
– Why do not you do pre-sales he asked.

Who the hell knows, What is BPR?
– I would work hard and do very well in the sales..
– Manchester trip happend– Business process re-engineering needs? No one knew about it? A Potential order for BPR.
– Went to a shop to buy books on BPR.
– We went and pitched saying, We know the business of telecom from down up… hence we are a better company. We got orders…
– When I got back, the boss said “You won the order.. you Deliver”
– I thought Siemens is a great company and I will find someone to do it within
– I spotted a team in Siemens germany. They landed. My drive from Heathrow to Manchester revealed that they are no good.
– My boss told me “Fire them…”. I just dropped them at airport..

India Calling –
– I thought I will find some consultant in India.
– I got three people from India… best brains…
– They could not get to understand even the language and pronounciation
– So I kept them in the back office, and did all front-ending; Went on delivering…
– Management Consulting Practice was set up in Seimens..
– My boss asked me to set up my own company to help Seimens. Which I did in Chandigarh to help with development.
– My boss was promoted to become Seimens global telecom head
– Management conculting business is so person intensive. I thought of parking the company..

New move – Internet Technologies
– A British ISP was set up providing free services
– I jumped in as a CTO. THE CEO was 26yr English man
– Profiling Engine. Target advertising
– I convinced that we will do it in India
– Consulting company of mine in India is converted into software development
– We developed the free service in England…
– We were go to live. It was 1999.
– ALTAVISTA made an announcement in press. Said free complete internet service. One interview was enough to collapse our 43 people company
– Let me start my own company. I was reasonably networked. E-Commerce portals
– Model was sales in UK develop in India; also started Body shopping – Staff augumenting service…
– 2001 – Dot com bust. Many of our customers failed, and our business collapsed

Wireless and Mobile services
– We thought wireless application company. Appln for PDA – parcel, London metropolitan service etc..
– Management consulting  e company -> wireless etc.
– 25 crore business happened
– I was in the process of progressing – 9/11 happened – US collapsed..
– All techies from US moved to EUROPE and UK
– I started losing all my customers to WIPRO, inexpensive labour
– Went to banks. I was pitching for funds. I was told – YOU ARE AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST SALE
– We will have to give you money and own your business? We cannot run it.
– FIRST time I realized that if you own an IPR then greater possibility of success!!
– We were wondering what to do?

– One day walking on OXFORD street. I bumped into CHRIS, my first boss in Germany, It was a sheer confidence..
– He shared that he was running mobile messaging company. MTV service and said that we will work together.
– He went back and I got a call saying that all money invested in his company, he realized was of SERBIAN MAFIA and he has to close his company.
– I am looking for a product and CHRIS had it. CHRIS did not mind shifting to India.
– He came to INDIA to help us build MOBILE SERVER. A product was built finally, our IPR.
– I went to VCs for funds, they said that kindly show that it can be sold …
– In England it was costly to sell, people use it as a pilot, but none would buy
– We sold first in INDIA to MODI CARE…
– We went back for funding
– They said that you are very confusing…
– we consolidated every business under ValueFirst in2003
– NOW we have 25oo customers.. 3-4 crore messages every day.
– I had to convince family to get back…to INDIA
– Finally the family moved 2 years back!! Though my daughter is heading back to UK for her O level courses now…



– WHEN I First set VALUEFIRST. I want to do it with right values, there comes the name of the company too..
– Unconditional acceptance of the other human being
– We do not restrict with the company
• Express the same happiness beyond – families, customers, public
• ALCHEMY – we will be able to convert everything into gold
– Say what you think; Do what you say
– Thought, speech and action
• Most of the times there is no congruence …we are focused on the truthfulness in every way
• We never peep into any data
– You are extraordinary; Whatever you believe in – Will come true
– The Universe is designed to accomplish your will
• Will the highest of your dreams and see them coming true.
• Act with this faith..
o EXCELLENCE in each effort
– Your each act must ensure excellence
– The results of your effort will be available with highest quality
• We measure effort and not result
• Karmanyevadhikareste…

discussing business Models

discussing business Models


1. How is that you can make things happen, whatever you wished?

VB :

Have you read the book? CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD by Neale Donald Walsch

Three steps –
– Dream the dream
– Share your dream with as many people as you can
– Whatever you dreamt, you should feel it has happened..
o get rid of self doubts in any context

Example –
– MCA days – I always told myself and told openly that I will top and I continued to top…
– ” I succeeded in getting two kids to be born on two different continents on the same day just by willing it”!!! : Vishwadeep was narrating another real life experience about how he wanted both his wife and sister-jn-law who were pregnant, DDays apart by 25 days, to deliver on the same day. One day when he was walking with his wife in shopping plaza in London, got a call from India that his sister-in-law has delivered. He thought to himself that a few more hours to go and his wish may come true. They reached home and his wife shared that she is feeling uneasy and asked Vish to feed two kids. In a while, wife asked Vish to take her to the hospital and in a couple of hours they had the baby in their hands !! The POWER OF DREAMING and BELIEF !!
– Recently, waiting at the airport, I saw a pretty lady in the boarding Que. I was sitting and reading a book waiting for the crowd to board. But kept on telling myself that I will be sitting next to that pretty lady. I was the last one to board and it so happened that the seat next her was the only empty seat, and I occupied it !! (students had a hearty laugh at this story)

2. HOW does this really happen –

VB :

– Atom building blocks of Universe
– Matter changed into energy
– Energy gets converted to matter…
– Whatever thought we have is energy..
– Energy has physical property..
– Energy will find its resonance…matching…
– Challenge is to communicate to the universe only one frequency… one thought..
– Universe follows…
– Share it as many, let it resonate.

3. How do you market your company?

wonderful interacting with you..

wonderful interacting with you..

VB : We follow multiple approaches…
– Online marketing and PR
– Online search engine optimizing…GOOGLE ads…[articles/blogs/appears on the screen]
– OFFLine marketing – Industry events
– Niche journals – Banking journals; Real Estate, Retail etc

4. Your experience in India Vs West?

VB :
– My SON was asked to write about three fruits in 300 words..
o He wrote Cheeku, Rosgulla, Gulamjamun
– Western markets are very mature
– SME segment in India no maturity and it is 90% of the economy
o Process are yet to take sophistication
– In West, they plan and Act, In India, we Act and Plan
o Germany : Airport was shifted without any hassles in a one shot operation, not impacting a single aircraft taking off on time.
– India is much bigger market, sheer size and scale, it is huge. We will be profitable. No economy (baring China) can match our scale.

5. What is next.. technologically?

– Black swan theory : (Taleb regards almost all major scientific discoveries, historical events, and artistic accomplishments as “black swans”—undirected and unpredicted. He gives the rise of the Internet, the personal computer, World War I, and the September 11, 2001 attacks, as examples of Black Swan events. Check wikipedia)
o Whatever you dream will happen in uncanny way…
o Everything gets driven by the UNKNOWN; Yes, planning will reduce the cycles of reinventing
– Technologically we are moving from TXT to VOICE
o SMS – call originating… call centre mapping
– Refer book BLINK? – decision comes from GUT
o Critical to find the right people…
o Look problems holistically…

6. What is the secret to your MOBILITY? Your ability to ADAPT ACROSS VARIOUS SECTORS and Countries?
– Fundamental trait is perseverance
– I never thought of shutting shop
– You need to continuously play… score a six
– Relearn and work hard
– Get the right people better than yourself

7. What is your Biggest failure?
– I never felt ever failed
– I feel like this door has shut..will do something else
– Enjoying the moment

8. As young entrepreneurs and business grads..what is your advise?
– Whatever you choose to do, do with utmost passion
– I do not feel the right Idea, People are more important
o Execution is more important and that happens because of people
– GOD lies in execution
o Many people have ideas….execution is paramount
o Execution will be through trial and error and thru people
o Will hire who will help me succeed
o Convince a story about how upside will happen…
o Investing in hiring in advance of the need…
– DREAM…SHARE…Have no doubt about it…
– Following your heart or mind
o In doing what your heart says.. will always help
o I am can dream better than others….

” Have the courage to want things. Life has its way of delivering them to you in the most unexpected ways”

Thanks to Vibha, an entrepreneurial student at IWSB, I have been able to add a couple of more points.

Kindly leave your comments here or mail me at sreeni@iwsb.indeep

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