This is one of the best business reads i have come across in a long time. Ambi Parameswaran has captured his years of experience at top notch advertising firms like Rediffusion, FCB Ulka to give us a masterpiece.
And he has said in a story form. Various stories culled from his vast experience in a beautifully written simple format. Every story is dovetailed into a theme with lessons garnered from that theme and plus he gives us book recommendations relating to that theme, so i have a long list of “to read” books, which i am going to delve into. The story headings are also very apt for each story like “The Chaiwala Test”, “Biases, Biases, Biases” etc.
Most of the stories have positive endings but a few of them not so good, but there are lessons to be learnt from them as well. So all in all, its an excellent book, the narrative is quite good and not at all heavy like many business/ management books. Goodreads 5/5
This book starts off well, but degenerates into too much jargon speak for the average reader to understand. Basically what Michael is advocating as a panacea for small business owners success is franchise model. But he has couched it in so much of jargon speak that it becomes boring after a while.
There are very few live examples to go by, which would have made the book and the concepts laid down in it, easier to understand. Few ideas are good like “don’t let your curtain down” which is basically meaning don’t get comfortable in your comfort zone. Goodreads 1/5
This is undoubtedly one of the best business books that i have read for a long long time. K. Vaitheeswaran’s story of founding India’s first ever e-commerce company Fabmart.com which later became Indiaplaza.com, its true success and its subsequent failure. Vaitheeswaran has written the book with as much emotions and integrity as he put into building the business. Very nice flowing narrative with lot of stories with a little dash of humour here and there. This is a first class primer on how to set up an e-commerce company, a true e-commerce company based on profitability i.e. not on insane valuations that we are seeing these days, the soonicorns, unicorns and the gonicorns. Vaitheeswaran is scathing in his indictment of the fake start up culture in India, i.e based on sky high valuations and some funny metrics, high cost employees having zany designations, deep discount strategy etc. He says “several unicorns have pursued the LMS (Last Man Standing) strategy so far with enthusiasm by raising humongous amounts of capital, pricing their products and services well below cost that pushed several competitors out of business.” Another gem “the purpose of business is to make money, not raise money” and another one “Entrepreneurs must treat their start-ups like children” alluding to the investors’ craze to create pop-bubble valuations which are again based on crazy metrics like head count to the detriment of creating a profitable sound business. The most important of all traits for an entrepreneur is integrity, he says in page 195 “at a start up event, when asked what would be the one thing i would look for in any entrepreneur, i said integrity” Vaitheeswaran’s angst is mostly on the investors who let him down time and again and badly too. They just left him in the lurch, and it was sad to read the latter part of the book which deals with the failure of his portal and the severe problems that came with it. And this for a person who is virtually the founder of an industry – e-commerce, was founded by him and friends with nothing to learn from – even programmers did not know how to write codes for creating an e-commerce web site. Fabmart was a pioneer in India in those days when nobody knew anything about e-commerce. This book should be made must read in all MBA syllabus in the country – must read for all the wannabe capital advisors, entrepreneurs alike – it has so much of wealth of information you will not find in any text book on business. Goodreads 5/5