Monday, April 26, 2010

Connect the Dots

Well, it reminds of the game we used to play during our childhood? It isn’t. After the first bestselling book (sold over 150000 copies) ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’, Rashmi Bansal has recently launched her second book ‘Connect the Dots’! And the name, yet again was taken from Steve Jobs’ commencement address given at the Stanford University in 2005.

The excerpt from his speech is like this – “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust… in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”.

I had ordered the signed copy of her book from Flipkart as soon as the book was launched and got sometime in the past few days to read it completely. This again, like her previous book, is yet another inspiring book. While her first book was on 25 successful entrepreneurs who passed out of IIM-A, Connect the Dots is the success stories of 20 successful entrepreneurs without an MBA who dared to find their own path.

I have read and inspired by both the books of course, but this book is a challenge particularly to me being an MBA and still being a juvenile in my entrepreneurial journey. Every story that I have read in this book is an eye opener. It says, there is enough out there in the world that is calling me.  Nothing, literally, can stop me from achieving things. All that is required is to dare and move on with my intuition.

All the stories in this book are of course successful stories. But to call it successful, each story takes you through its own adventure that one can never expect. In the end, success tag is just a satisfactory reward. None of them are content enough with their success. As I can see, they are still on their way in their dream journey. Destination is still far and dreams are growing higher and higher.

Rashmi Bansal has chosen stories from all the professions and across several states of India. You can see stories starting from Restaurant owners, story writers, and Movie makers and to the stories of even IT folks. And the classification that is being done is very neat and meaningful. The stories are classified into three categories – Jugaad, Junoon and Zubaan.  

Jugaad – has the stories of entrepreneurs who have no formal training in business. They learnt by observation, experimentation and application of mind. Because ultimately, business is not ‘rocket science’.  It has nine stories and out of which I was really blown away by these stories- Prem Ganapathy who ventures out successfully to set up the Dosa Plaza inspired by McDonald’s; Kunwer Sachdev who founded Su-kam inverters without any formal course in electronics and making it a 500 crore business; Ganesh Ram – an NSS volunteer eventually sets up the VETA – India’s largest trainer in the field of spoken English; Hanmant Gaikwad – the owner of BVG (Bharat Vikas Group) – a facilities management firm which not only has the cream of corporate clients, but also is currently managing Rashtrapati Bhavan; Ranjiv Ramchandani of Tantra t-shirts and Suresh Kamath of Laser soft systems – who believes that social responsibility and sound business can go hand in hand and his company is a living example of it; he is currently employing many physically challenged people and made them successful IT professionals.

All the stories under Jugaad are inspiring. Also one more pattern that I have observed in these stories is that there is some spiritual inspiration for all these people which made them successful. Like in the above mentioned stories, there are many people who were inspired by Swami Vivekananda.

Junoon – has stories of seven entrepreneurs who are driven by a particular idea, or passion. Something which is different, ahead of its time. These ventures are about making that dream, a living reality. Some of the stories that I loved under this are – R Sriram with his passion for books venturing out into one of the most successful book stores in India, Crossword; Satyajit Singh of Shakti Sudha Industries who took on the challenge of commercializing makhana; Chetan Miani, the founder of Reva Electric car company who was driven by his passion for electronics and cars that led him to pursue the dream of producing an electric car. Seriously, until I read this story, I was considering Reva car as just another toy! But Boy, Chetan is an amazing talent and Reva car is truly a commendable invention.

Zubaan – has the stories of creative people who were in need of a platform to express themselves. When that talent is unique, the platform must be created. And in doing so, the artist too becomes an ‘entrepreneur’. All the four stories in this category are extremely good. I read the story of Kalyan Varma first because he is our local Bengaluru boy and I am a fan of his photography. Having a dream job with Yahoo, Kalyan decides to quit and pursue his wildlife photography dream. I follow his work all the time and he is certainly a great talent and a successful entrepreneur. The other stories in this section are – Abhijit Bansod – the founder of Studio ABD, a product design company. He wondered why desi designers are inspired by the west and he went on to pioneer the uniquely Indian ‘Heritage’ and ‘Raga’ collections at Titan, and now runs his own product design company. Paresh Mokashi – wanted to be an actor, but found his niche as a playwright and director on the Marathi stage. A chance reading of Dadasaheb Phalke’s biography led him to a new adventure – a widely acclaimed feature film which was india’s official entry at the Oscars in 2009. The fourth story under this section is of Krishna Reddy of Prince Dance Group. Assembling a group of daily wage laborers, this troupe won the hotly competed ‘India’s got talent’ show, enthralling the audience with its unique brand of mythology – inspired choreography.

Other than the usage of Hindi wordings here-and-there (which makes it a bit difficult to read), Rashmi Bansal has beautifully worked on all the stories and has really come out well. I really thank her and appreciate the kind of work she has done. This might not just inspire many people; this will certainly bring more number of entrepreneurs into the big ocean of opportunities and possibilities!

I recommend this book to both MBAs (those who will be still thinking of becoming entrepreneurs and for those who will be thinking only MBA made it possible) and non-MBAs (those who will be thinking I do not have MBA, can I become a successful entrepreneur?).

Now, let me try connecting my dots!



Raghu said...

Good to see the second book on entrepreneurs by Rashmi Bansal. Having read the first book of her, I am sure even this book would be a good read.

Padma said...

Thank you Sri for your remarkable review. I felt I too journeyed through the book.

Hari said...

Rashmi Bansal is going great guns ....Will certainly not miss reading this ...Thanks

Vaishnavi said...

Sounds interesting. I'm always in awe of people who tread the path less travelled. This should be a good lesson to all those who think that it's a degree that matters. Well, you don't always need an MBA to go big things.

shailu said...

Good review, thanks for making us to understand the importance of her second book. will certainly read and "connect the Dots"

Sudhi said...

Thanks Sri for sharing stories of non-MBA entrepreneurs... I will definitely go through this inspiring book.

Narasim said...

Thank you for an excellent review of the second inspiring book by Rashmi Bansal.

It was particularly thrilling to see her focus on non-MBAs. Just goes to show what entrepreneurs can do without the straight jacket of formal degrees.

When the world was young we used to shoot the breeze in the first school where they offered the Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration or BBA. We used to say, BBA stands for Beginning of Bad Administration and MBA stands for More Bad Administration.

Bansal has finally provided empirical evidence for that line of reasoning. I am grateful to her.

Your review has made me think about the waste of creative talent in a country that can contribute so much to the world. Maybe, people like Bansal will liberate the innate Indian talent.

Manavadharmashastra and Narada Smrithi have done immense damage to creativity. After all if you are told by hegemons what you can and cannot do, even the potential for creativity is stifled at birth.

Of course, you cannot connect the dots for the future because there are no dots to be connected. The creative class creates the dots by their imagination. The followers with MBAs come along and connect the dots.

It is wonderful to read about the achievers. Thank you for introducing me to the creators.

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Connect The Dots by Rashmi Bansal. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

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