Entrepreneurship, SocietyForward

Evening with Subrato Bagchi

Have been to the “An Evening with Subrato Bagchi” organized by TiE. It was really a good evening which gave an insight to being an High Performace Entrepreneur.

The evening started with a 30 minute video which Mr. Subrato made interviewing his top 3 High Performance Entrepreneurs. Mr. Subrato strongly feels that being an Entrepreneur is different and being a High Performance Entrepreneur is different. His top 3 High Performance Entrepreneur’s are not from the usual Technology start-up’s, but from different sectors:

Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar ShawBiocon
Mr. Sidharth – Cafe Coffee Day
Capt. GopinathAirDeccan

The video is absolutely fantastic. I liked the the way Mr. Subrato started the evening. The video’s were truly inspiring and it was a very good way to start a gathering who are aspiring to be Entrepreneurs.

I tried making notes of key points during the video sessions:

Mr. Sidharth – Cafe Coffee Day

  • Was an average student in class.
  • Comes from modest family who runs coffee estates.
  • Completed college and started working. He was hard-working and was working an average of 16-17 Hours/Day, 6 Days a week (many times even 7 Days a week).
  • “I knew the estate in & out”.
  • His passion of creating capital became smart investment.
  • Today, he manages 10,000 acers of coffee estates.
  • One day, while in Singapore, he was walking down a lane and noticed students browsing Internet with a Beer can. This was where he thought of starting something similar back in India. As he owned Coffee estates, his idea was to start coffee shop with Internet and good ambiance so that people can spend time and doing what they like. This is how Coffee Day was born.
  • First Coffee Day was born in Bangalore on Brigade Road in 1996.
  • In 10 years, today, they have close to 500 Cafe Coffee Day outlets in around 70 cities in India.
  • When he was beginning his business, people around him did not give a good push. “Who would drink your coffee in a posh store paying more when they could get same coffee at Rs.2 in any coffee joint?”. But, he saw a lot of potential in the India consumer and went ahead with his business model.
  • Over a period of time, there were many competitors and Sidharth felt that they were running out of track. Immediately plunged into action and got Cafe Coffee Day back to track. Today, they have many competitors, but still they maintain key differentiators to ensure they are on track. One of their strategy was to open more and more outlets so that it gets synonymous with coffee and they have been successful. Their competitors are not nearing they fast pace.
  • In the next 3 years, their vision is to “Be the largest Coffee Company in India”.
  • In the next 10 years, they want to be a Billion Dollar Coffee Company.
  • In the next 2 years, they want to be a 1,500 Coffee Day outlet chain.
  • His key to success – “Don’t Celebrate success, be calm during downs and THINK BIG.

Take away – During the 10 minute video with Sidharth, I could see his passion in his eyes and modesty in his talk. He has his vision clear and he loves to make capital. As Surato mentions in his book – “If you don’t Love Money, Don’t start a business”, this is one great example of making it big with the love for passion and making capital. Good Luck Sidharth, I am sure you have made all of us proud and you will continue the same.

Capt. Gopinath – Deccan Aviation

For a middle-class, school teacher’s son, life has been quite different and taken different path’s. Capt. Gopinath completed education and joined the India Armed Forces. After his retirement, came back to his village to do something different. They had few acres of land in which he started Organic farming. He has received an award from Central Government for “Ecological Farming”.

Capt. Gopinath was not too happy with his farming as he wanted to come out of the debt-trap. In India, most of the farmers are caught in the debt-trap for one reason or the other and this continued to even generations. He was clear that he wanted to come out of this cycle and create something big and different. He has spent most of his time in villages and he did see a lot of change in the livelihood of villagers. Until recently, villages did not see light of a bulb and even today, there are areas in the country where electricity is still a stranger. Over a period of time, he noticed changes. When one day he was flying in a helicopter, he say TV antenna’s standing out of huts. Today, when you pass by a village, you will might see at least one/two cars and few motorcycles, however, most of the households have a TV. This made him think.

“Villages have become aspirational and people were wanting more.”

One day, when his friend from Army called to tell him that he has got a job after moving out of Armed Forces, which was very different from what he was doing earlier. Capt. Gopinath was happy that his friend could get a job, but was not too happy as he felt that someone was missing a great pilot (His friend was a pilot).

Once, he was in Phoenix airport and was walking along the airport waiting for his pick up helicopter. What he noticed were the number of take-off’s and landing which were happening. He felt that Phoenix airport handles more airplanes in a day than all of Indian airports put together at that time. He saw a potential dream – “BILLION INDIANS CAN FLY”. This is what no major corporation saw.

Deccan Aviation, was born as a Helicopter Service. Today, they have 14 helicopters which they rent out for various business and are the largest helicopter company in the country.

He wanted to take Deccan Aviation to the next level and Air Deccan was born. His only dream is that “Billion Indians can fly”.

When starting Air Deccan, Capt. Gopinath says, that the best thing he did was not to hire a consultant. Because, he feels that if you hire a consultant, you are bound to do what they want and not what you want.
Another key thing which he points to entrepreneurs are the politicians and the way they try to handle you when you are on your way to go big. Simple mantra for this is – “Sell you idea and have the media and Public behind you and the politicians do not come in your way”. Quite simple, but this is an absolute reality and fact. So next time you have a big idea, win the confidence of media and public and you are on your way to success.

Message to Entrepreneurs – “Find a way to do, if you cant, CREATE IT”.

Mrs. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – Biocon

Since the beginning Mrs. Kiran wanted to be independent and wanted to make a Professional Career. She studied in India and went to Australia to do her masters in Brewery. When she came back, she could not get a job anywhere. All prospective employers were politely saying no to a women brew-master. She either got a job in
Quality Control or other administrative divisions except where she specialises in.
One day, she received a call from Biocon Chemicals Limited, an Irish company who were looking at potential partners to step into India. Kiran was suprised, but wanted to take up the challenge.
In 1978, Biocon started its operations with partnership with Biocon Chemicals (this is how Biocon got its name from its parent company).
The venture began in her garage and then slowly moved to a small place in an industrial area in Bangalore. The company grew strong and steady. After 23 years, Biocon became a Listed company in 2001 on the 18 June.

Mrs. Kiran says “Entrepreneurship is having a Vision and Building the Vision”. There is nothing more or less to it. You will have to consistently work towards building your vision and that is what makes you deliver.

Her inspiration – INDIA. She feels that doing these things (what her company does) in India is her true inspiration.

Her Mantra – “Harder I work, Luckier I get” – In my view, this is the absolute key to success and I strongly believe in this.

No wonder why Subrato short-listed the three above as “High Performance Entrepreneurs”, they really are.

Mr. Subrato and his Team

After the video, Surato started with his slides. His slides come as key points from his book – The High Performance Entrepreneur.

Here are few key take-aways from his slides:

  • Of all entrepreneurial activities, less than 5% are likely to be High Performance Enterprises.
  • High Performance Enterprise is not an Accident, it comes with dedication, hard work and paying attention to building your Vision.
  • You will not get pushed into greatness, but you need to be pulled.
  • “Love Money” – then only you can build your dream.
  • During the 1st year of inception, organisations fail because of familiarity between the co-founders.

What are the key ingredients of an organization?

DNA – Who you are?
Mission – Where you are going?
Vision – Set of time-bound and measurable goals.
Values – Shared code of Conduct.

Key differentiations which MindTree has identified before they started – Domain, Tools, Methodology, Quality, Innovation and Branding.

Subrato feels that for any entrepreneurial activity, there will be key differentiators and these differentiators are like horses pulling the chariot. All of them have to move in the same direction, with the same speed and focus.

Message to Entrepreneurs – “Human being is looking for Danger and that is why you have taken this path. To overcome the danger, you will need to work towards having the ropes tight.

Entrepreneurship is like a marathon. In long distant running, you will need to accept and bare segmented pain.

Now, why did I write this here in my Social Entrepreneurship blog, because Entrepreneurship is Entrepreneurship, be it for a social cause or be it for any other motive. Entrepreneurship is realising your dreams and making them come true.

“Love for Money” – Yes, it is required in any kind of Entrepreneurship. As one of the MindTree Co-founders and CFO Rusto mentioned, you will need money to run your enterprise and also ensure it keeps running, realising your dreams.

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