Stat Hungry Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal

Stat Hungry Stay Foolish
From the book
“I have spent most of my life in Delhi. My father was in the
government, he was a doctor. My mother was a housewife; there
was no business person in the family.”
Nothing out of the ordinary and yet Sanjeev, at age 12 had more
or less decided which direction his career would take. “At that
stage, the idea started forming in my head that, look, somewhere
along the way, I should be starting a company of my own.”
Sanjeev went on to study economics at St Stephen’s college. The
interesting thing is that he had got admission to IIT but did not
take it.
“I thought it was a five year course whereas BA was a three year
course, so let me study economics instead. Then, let me work for
two years and go to IIM Ahmedabad.”
The truth is, he wasn't inspired by engineering. Like most middle
class kids living in government colonies, he just took the exam. But
unlike others he had a mind of his own and the careless confidence
to buck the trend. A trait you commonly find in entrepreneurs!
Sanjeev worked for three years and then got into IIMA. “While
on campus, there was a group of us who would talk
about entrepreneurship, think entrepreneurship. I took a few
courses like LEM and PPID, which are more oriented towards
The plan was to work for a year or two and then start a company.
“I was clear that I was going to be in Delhi because my parents
had a home - there was a safety net. I didn't have any capital. I
thought I would work for while, look for an opportunity and then
branch out on my own.”

Sanjeev Bikhchandani (PGP '89),

01_The book of Jobjuly4edit.qxd 7/19/08 2:16 PM Page 4
There was a desire to be different but Sanjeev did not actually do
something different when he first started out. Except for the act of
leaving a fairly comfortable job marketing Horlicks at HMM (now
known as GlaxoSmithKline). Along with a partner, Sanjeev set up
two companies - Indmark and Info Edge. The first specialised in
pharmaceutical trademarks and the second produced salary 
surveys and reports.
But the thrill of doing one's own thing was palpable.
The company started life in the servant's quarter of his father's
house, at a modest rent of 800 rupees per month. There were
employees to be paid and often, a cashflow crisis on the 29th -just before payday. Sanjeev's own paycheque came from teaching
at a couple of business schools over the weekend.
Luckily, there was an ‘angel investor’: Sanjeev's wife - and
batchmate - who was working with Nestle. That's how they
managed to run the house.
What I like is how he says this, matter-of-factly. “I had told
Surabhi, even before we got married that I would soon quit and
become an entrepreneur. I had told her that we will be living off
your salary for quite a while. She was cool with it.”
The more important bit:hewas cool with it. Not all men are.
The thing with entrepreneurship is you can't afford to have a big
ego. You want to stay in business, you do every bit of business
that comes along. You want to keep the dream afloat, you don't
care what the neighbours and relatives have to say about who
wears the pants in your house.
And all the while you keep searching.
For that one idea, that one product or service which is going to
make your company something more than a writer of reports, a
doer of projects.
That one idea which makes you a brand.
Ideas can come from anywhere. You could be sitting in a tub and
have a eureka moment. Or in a bus or at your dining table. And so
it was with the idea of a job database.
Sitting around in the open plan HMM office Sanjeev would see
colleagues flipping through Business India,the leading business
magazine of that era. In those days the back of the magazine
carried 35 to 40 pages of appointment ads and Sanjeev noticed
that everyone read the magazine backto front.
The eureka moment? 

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