Book Review: Connect the Dots

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  • Loved the book.
  • If you are a wantrepreneur (person who is permanently dreaming about being an entrepreneur), this is a book you should read.
  • Talks about a dozen or so start-up stories. And the variety is amazing.
  • The book is in the form of informal interviews with the entrepreneurs.
  • Most of these are folks who broke away from tradition. Son of a government employee turning into a wildlife photographer, or the son of a business man growing brocolli and iceberg lettuce in India, or the person whose passion it was to making cheese in India.
  • Some stories are those of grit – like the Dosa Plaza story. Some are of the kismat/Junoon type. There are some stories of breaking away of monotony. There is of course, the famous story of Veta (the English training institute) starting from a thatched roof for rent.
  • The tantra tshirt story, the Haathi Chaap (recycled paper from Elephant dung) story – fascinating reads.
  • The exotic story of an economics professor in an university wanting to get into the hotel industry, where he worked 3 hours every night (after teaching the whole day) — Oriental cuisines, which owns several mall food courts and fine dining restaurants across India.
  • Read the book in my┬áKindle paperwhite. Gave me the edge to skip chapters that I was not too much into (there are a couple of stories about folks who made it big in the theatre industry).
  • Overall good read. Written in a very engaging style. Lots and lots of research.
  • Kudos to the author – Rashmi Bansal.

 

Richard Branson: Life at 30000ft

Fantastic interview with Richard Branson at TED – Monterey. The humility of the man blows me away.

My biggest takeaway quote from this:

Genuinely, if I bought something or had a particularly bad service in something that I did, I would go and do something myself to fix the problem. Like the time, I flew an airline, and I got really bad customer service, and Virgin Atlantic was born.

Plenty of Fish out there – A success story

Recently read this story in Inc.com, about plentyoffish.com, which is an online dating service. This was built by one man Markus Frind. It is one of the largest and most successful websites to hit the web – probably because of the space in which it is playing in. 1.6 billion personal ads. That is a lot of ads. Most of them are paid. Advertisers line up at Markus’s door to advertise on his website.

All this is something that looks like a typical dotcom success story. But the story takes a slightly different route this time. Usually startups are associated with a bunch of hard core nerd type people, who burn a lot of midnight oil. And all the night outs fructify into this beautiful product, which becomes a success. In this case, it is one man – Markus. And he says, he did not work that hard to get this up and running. It started off as a simple website, which served a great purpose, and people just came.

And to keep it running, Markus just did a big upgrade. His staff strength went up from 1 to 3, and he moved out of his bedroom in his apartment.

Free software hosts his web servers. He wrote his scripts to be fairly automatic. The only manual handling that his 2 customer service staff does, is to screen spam and delete inappropriate images. Markus comes in to office at 10AM, and leaves about an hour later. That is his office hours. He has the rest of the day to relax, while the website runs itself, and generates more money for him. He holidays in the French riviera, and just generally has a good life.

Read the full story here.

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