Book Review #15 of 2021: How I almost blew it.

Incredible lessons from India most successful digital entrepreneurs by Sidharth Rao

A fascinating and must-read book for people who want to get a synopsis of start-ups of India.   The book details the struggles of some of the Indian start-ups and how they almost blew it.  One common theme in the success of all startups was the perseverance of founders and sheer dumb luck of raising capital at opportune times. While The Golden tap by Kashyap Deorah sticks to the Big boys, this book details many entrepreneurs the author was personally involved with. 

One of the reasons I picked up the book was Sanjeev Bhikchandani – the mentor and poster boy for the startup world shared a tweet on the book from Bookmyshow founder. One cannot agree more that the focus of startups should be to like cockroaches and only a few survived the dot-com bust and GFC. 

I have been lucky to have known Sanjeev Bhikchandani professionally.  As a media Analyst, his business was competing with the classifieds section of Indian print and I had to gauge the trends.  Also, because HT media and TOI group had businesses that compete with Infoegde.  Sanjeev Bikhchandani would never miss an ICIC securities conference probably because we were the IPO bankers. I had on multiple occasions the chance to listen to Sanjeev’s views in between breaks and lunch during conferences. Sanjeev loves to talk.  

During the Rahul Yadav – fiasco, I happened to quiz Sanjeev on what will happen to Rahul and how does he see the situation. While one would expect competitors to enjoy such developments. Sanjeev clearly had kind words to say of Rahul Yadav, how the guy is very competent technically and should be able to definitely start something new. Sanjeev was always focused on profitability and he narrates an interesting incident on how a VC would react saying that “ If you are making a profit then you have a vision problem “

Some interesting quotes:

Investors and business owners compare their relationships to marriage. I believe that their relationship is somewhere between a friendship, marriage, and business relationship. was to India what Yahoo! Was to the silicon Valley in the nineties. Sadly, both blew up. 

If you want to succeed in China get close to the government, if you want to succeed in India – stay away from the government.

Deep Kalra – Makemytrip – I understood that online stock broking will ultimately belong to a financial institution.  So he chose online travel company.  Time for Deep to Meet Nitin Kamath – Zerodha.

Once you spot the opportunity, acting as fast as cheetah is the only right move. 


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