Seven years ago when I entered graduation, my father handed me the first mobile phone of my life. It was not a really great phone in terms of the ones we see today. There wasn’t any camera, MP3 player, 3G etc. It was just a normal Nokia phone which could be used to do the basic functions like making a call, using the GPRS, sending an SMS etc. Since then a lot has changed in the world of Nokia as its market share in India plummeted from about 90% to 30-35% today. But nothing changed in my world of mobile phones until a week back.
Nokia built its reputation by always being ahead of its competition. Whether it was making personalized phones like the Nokia 1100 for India or connecting people in any way, Nokia was the name which was synonymous. It had become a generic name so much so that whenever people used to go to mobile shops, they would say “Please give me a Nokia” rather than saying “Please give me a phone.” That was then.
2011 has been a pretty interesting year in many terms. From the highs of India’s World Cup victory on April 2nd to the lows of the 2G scam and the death of many prominent personalities, we have seen it all. But nothing could beat Team Anna and their campaign to bring forward the Jan Lokpal Bill.
As far as the Indian industry is concerned, Infosys and Tata lost their captains to youngsters of the next generation. But Kingfisher began facing some serious turbulence in its flight of “Good Times”. “Kolaveri” and “Flash Mobs” became the buzzwords among all of us for their own reasons.
“Connect the Dots” is a book written by Rashmi Bansal (entrepreneur, writer, blogger all rolled into one). It tells the stories of courage, determination and inspiration of 20 people from different backgrounds who chose to become entrepreneurs without doing an MBA. This is her 2nd book. Her 1st book “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” was a similar story of famous entrepreneurs. But the difference was that all of them had done their MBAs from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
When you pick up the book, you cant help but notice the cover page. The title is written inverted and even both her book titles were famous quotes of none other than Steve Jobs. Rashmi does seem to have a lot of admiration for him. I feel the reason for the inverted title is to show how these people who rose to success connected the dots in their lives which many times seemed upside down or confusing. Her style of writing the stories of each of the entrepreneurs is exactly identical to her first book. Few pages on what they did, how they did and the difficulties they faced finally ending up with a small advice given by each of the entrepreneurs. The interesting part of the book is the three sections – Junoon (Those who are driven by ideas well ahead of their times), Jugaad (Those who dont have any formal training in business) and Zubaan (The creative minds!).
The book is really one of the most inspiring books I have read in recent times. Reading different stories of how people have come from nowhere to do something for mankind made me really wonder as to what have I done in life despite being provided with so much on a platter. Be it Prem Ganapathy of Dosa Plaza who rose from being a dishwasher to head a 150 odd employee company with 26 outlets in India and 3 in New Zealand or Kalyan Varma who left his high fly job in Yahoo to become a wildlife photographer or Suresh Kamath who started Laser Soft Infosystems which is an IT company with a difference, each of the stories are amazingly inspirational.
Two of my greatest learnings from the book are -
1. It isnt necessary to do an MBA to become an entrepreneur because academic qualifications shouldnt decide a person’s future and career.
2. The entrepreneurs today are in hurry to make as much money as possible as fast as they can. In any new project the first few years are really challenging and one should be ready for that.
Many people would criticise Rashmi Bansal or the book because she has just interviewed some people and put the facts in both her books rather than add something new. But I would like to say that she has at least given us something inspirational to read other than the usual books on Ambanis, Tatas, Birlas and others.
All in all, this book is highly recommended for anyone and everyone who wants to know how can success be achieved against all odds in this country.