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Title: The Start-up Diaries

Author(s): Neeti Jain, Gagan Jain

Publisher: Cinnamonteal Publishers

ISBN: 978-93-8317-542-0

Pages:

Price: Rs. 249/-

My Review:

The Start Up Diaries,  is an inspiring anthology of six start ups from India put together by debutant authors’ couple – Neeti Jain and Gagan Jain. Why am I saying it an anthology?

Yes, I term this collection of inspiring and motivating stories as anthology because the duo has used a narrative cum conversational style of writing that makes this a like of interesting novel (or rather say a novella).

Unlike other books from same genre the duo focused on highlighting the aspirations, experiences and potholes as well in first person. The presentation style is such that they are narrating a story with a main lead who is the metaphor of a founder or sometimes cofounder of the start up, pressing family who want him to have a secure career and get married, full-proof planning going hay-way at the very testing moment and like a hero our main lead emerges more experienced and mature bearing a shine of wisdom.

I was very much influenced (because I could connect myself) with the account about – Yo! China. I am married to an owner of one of the fine dine Chinese restaurant chain. I find my husband hustling with the chores every now and then. My prior experience from the same industry helped me to have a critical view on the way the author duo have presented their work. Trust me, its not an extra word less or more than what is required to maintain the efficacy. Now, this doesn’t mean that other stories (diary entries) are not enriching. Believe me, they are!

Every single story has a well researched background with strong and well-defined characters to clear and succinct story about the journey of establishing and flourishing start ups and a motivating conclusion that leaves you enlightened with new ideas and full of energy to proceed further in your personal aspirations.

The first story is about Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma – Founder One97, a powerhouse in Indian mobile services. You should read particular story to unleash how a magazine article motivates him to have his own start up, how he manages the resources and finds and how he works with complete dedication to provide various support services offering convenience to customers, thus saving their time and providing them with a ‘value’.

A motivating thought from the story comes as, ‘There is no right or wrong decision in life, there are only decisions that we make and then have to live with’.

The second story is about Mr. Abhinav Sinha and Mr. Abhishek Sinha – Cofounders Eko, a low cost mobile commerce concept. Abhishek was a non-performer struggling in Satyam. One accidental meeting with Dr. Abdul Kalam, the then President of India inspires him to follow his dream to start his own company. You should read this particular story to learn that how even an award-winning concept can be hard-hit by circumstances such as rejections. They should be well received as opportunities to make the ideas stronger.

An intriguing thought from the story says, ‘Even the worst case is not bad, if you chose entrepreneurship as an option’.

The third story is about Mr. Ajit Andhare – CEO Colosceum, a media entertainment company. He left his well-paid job at HLL to build an organization that differentiated the ‘corporate’ concept from ‘cooperate’. You should read this particular story to get an insight about how he being from a FMCG struggled hard in the entertainment industry with every single concept starting right from its inception to its execution i.e. on-air broadcasting. Even experienced people need to taste waters when it comes to entrepreneurship.

A teaser quote from him states – ‘I know it is not the end of the world. But I was too close to the glory that every entrepreneur dreams of.’

The fourth story is about three friends – Mr. Phanindra Sama, Mr. Charan Padmaraju and Mr. SudhakarPasupunuri, Cofounders, Redbus.in; whose friendship transformed into an entrepreneurial agreement but not leaving behind the very essence  of togetherness and faith in each other. The trio were BITS Pilani wing mates who made a quit from their job to find a solution to unorganised book ticketing service industry.

You must read this story to imbibe a message – ‘If somebody has put so much trust and money in their idea and ability that they must be focused and work hard to prove them right’.

The fifth story is about Mr. Jay Gupta – Founder, The Loot; the introducer of multi-brand retail store concept in India. You should definitely read this story to enjoy his retail ride starting from an garment exhibition venture to exclusive brand outlets to multi-brand outlets to discount store for making branded clothing accessible to all and at affordable price. He was an opportunistic person but sadly his story ends up with closing stores.

You could even feel his pain as you read the lines that Jay says aloud with no-one around to hear his plight – ‘Damn, where did I go wrong? Should I blame the government’s unfriendly policies or my own over-ambition?’.

The sixth and the concluding story is about fine dine Chinese cuisine restaurant chain Yo!China owner – Mr. Ashish Dev Kapoor. You should read this story for understanding that even best of the planning and strategies may crack down the excitement into visual disappointment. No, its not a story with negative message rather it has lots of light moments as well. One such incident is when his anxious parents (worried with their son’s aspirations to become a Bollywood actor) took him to an astrologer and said, “Do something so that he gives up his craze for acting’ and coincidently this astrologer happened to be a distant relative of Karan Johar. The meeting turned out to be laughter buster as he started praising Bollywood and produced a ‘Letter of Appreciation from Karan Johar’, who took his advice, in front of his parents.

My Recommendation:

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (in Caps). A must read. I would like to read it again.

Synopsis:

What does it take to be an entrepreneur? Are there any guiding rules to be one? Are entrepreneurs as charismatic and intellectual as their larger-than-life image seems to be?

The Start up Diaries‘ covers the exhaustive journey of six young entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, whose achievements by any yardstick make the most inspiring stories for today’s generation. The book gives the reader a realistic picture of how new-age start ups are being built in India. This book has covered every significant incident in each entrepreneur’s life – from conceiving the idea to executing it, from committing mistakes to achieving laurels, from being funded to incurring losses, from approaching the first customer to building the brand. It also throws light on the prevailing ecosystem that exists in this country to support and promote entrepreneurship.

While presenting every aspect of the start up in detail, this book does not seek to glorify entrepreneurs, but rather seeks to emphasize that entrepreneurs are not necessarily super heroes or gifted individuals; neither do they belong to affluent financial backgrounds not do they have extraordinary qualifications. The journeys that this book takes you through are those of people who are passionate, resilient and persistent and have created businesses with an eye on the future.

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