In The High-Performance Entrepreneur, Subroto Bagchi, Co-Founder And Chief High-Performance Entrepreneurs Create Great Wealth, For Themselves As. Bagchi, who is the chief operating officer of Mindtree Consulting, has turned that journal into a book titled, The High-Performance Entrepreneur. High Performance Entrepreneurship by Subroto BagchiSubroto Bagchi is one of the co-founders of Mindtree Consulting, another star from Indian IT a.
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When Subroto Bagchi and nine other colleagues launched Mindtree Consulting inhe believed he had two responsibilities. The second was to document his entrepreneurial experience, not with hindsight — as many businesspeople do — but as it unfolded. Bagchi, who is the chief operating officer of Mindtree Consulting, has turned that journal into a book titled, The High-Performance Entrepreneur: Mindtree Consulting is headquartered in Bangalore, and when it went public on the Bombay Stock Exchange in February, its stock offering was oversubscribed more than times.
In the first of a two-part podcast interview conducted in Philadelphia, Bagchi spoke with India Knowledge Wharton about the principles that define high-performance entrepreneurship. What sets the high-performance entrepreneur apart from other entrepreneurs? Actually, the book that you talked about, which summarizes my thoughts about entrepreneurship, was largely set in India. And if you look at countries like India which are highly populated — if you look at India, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Asian countries where entrepreneurship is going to be very key as we look at the next couple of decades — there is no dearth of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in these parts of the world.
You have the multitude of small- and medium-sized organizations which come and go. High-performance entrepreneurship, on the other hand, sets itself apart by a multiple of things. One is the size of the ambition. The second is the sustainability. So, high-performance companies, high-performance entrepreneurships, are ones that will build unusual value for a long time, for a large number of stakeholders.
And fundamentally, they differ from any other entrepreneurship in terms of size of the ambition and how much of a long view of time they are taking. You referred to the fact that a lot of your book was set and based on experiences in India.
Do you think that entrepreneurs need certain kinds of attributes or qualities to succeed in India that are different than what they might need in order to build a thriving business in another part of the world?
Well, the differentiations are going away because one is seeing is that the world is truly a flat place or increasingly becoming flattened, and attributes are becoming more and more global. Having said that, though, if you look at a country like India, I think that there are a couple of things which are very unique. One is the fact that when you contrast India with the United States, for example, the concept of starting your business — the concept of becoming an entrepreneur — has become socially [speaking] only marginally acceptable now.
When we were growing up, if you failed in your studies, then you started a business.
High-performance Entrepreneur( – Bagchi, Subroto – Google Books
If you did not get a job, only then it was the last recourse. And if you started a business, then you would be low in the pecking order for people to give their daughter to you. So business folks were the folks who married into their late thirties because nobody would give their daughters [to them]. Now, there is a societal celebration of entrepreneurship in countries like the United States; whereas in countries like India, it is not so. More than that, there is a stigma against failing.
In India, it is not okay to fail. In addition to that, the other key difference that I find is that, unfortunately, when you start a business in India, unless you are in a highly ratified business like information technology or biotechnology, where the system does not bother you, in any other business you have to work the system.
Every country in the world has corruption at some level or another. The great thing about the United States is that an ordinary individual, in the normal course of day-to-day living, does not have to deal with corruption, does not have to deal with working the system, which is a core competency that you have to have [in India], unless you are in a business like information technology or something like that.
I think if those two things were not there, entrepreneurship would take on a whole new meaning in countries like India. And I wanted to look for such people in the Indian context.
The interesting thing is that all these three people, the founders, are first-generation entrepreneurs. All of them came from middle class backgrounds, very ordinary backgrounds — they are very self-made people.
Unlike organizations that are born out of larger organizations, they are people who basically came from literally nowhere and set up large, successful [businesses], and some of them entrfpreneur good enough to be competing globally. I was looking for where these people [got their] ideas for business opportunities.
This is an Army captain who quit the Army. Then, he got into biofarming. Once he was into biofarming, he thought that he would basically do farming on a piece of land that his family had been given in compensation because their land was taken away by a dam project by the government.
And while doing that, this man used to come to the nearby city occasionally to visit his daughter. There, subrotl met another Army colleague who used to fly a helicopter in the Army and was a very successful helicopter pilot. He entreprebeur just come out of the Army and this friend tells Captain Gopinath that he has found a job.
Subsequent to that, however, he went back to his farming. And then he led a delegation of farmers to China. On the way to China, he read about a Vietnamese lady who had set up a helicopter company in Vietnam, because she wanted to do something for Performznce, having fled Vietnam during the war.
She had set up a helicopter company in Vietnam because she felt that was what an infrastructure-poor country like Vietnam required. He thought about his army buddy and said if Vietnam needs a helicopter company to overcome its infrastructure problems, what about India? From a helicopter company he [saw] another apparition, because entrepreneurs many times see the future in pictures and in visuals. This apparition happened when he was flying low from Bangalore to Goa in his helicopter.
Entrepreneut his helicopter was flying over huts, he found cable-television antennae on top of these huts.
But here is a country where a billion people could fly. So, entrepreneurs are unique animals, because what they can do is work opportunity backwards, as opposed to [working] a problem forward. If you cease to be problem-forward in your orientation, you will see opportunities everywhere. So, here is a man who is seeing a billion poor people.
Subrtoo, he is not seeing entrepreneyr billion poor people. He is seeing a billion people who can fly. Captain Gopinath was actually at Entreprenuer, and he told this story in his own words to the listeners of Knowledge Wharton podcasts.
But coming back to the idea of being an entrepreneur — one of the perofrmance challenges for an entrepreneur has to be coming up with a startup team. Any thoughts on how you select the best startup team once you have decided you want to be an entrepreneur? You know, when we look at a startup team, we have to look at it on two levels.
One is the core team, and then the larger startup sugroto. When one looks at the core team that is co-opting for other people who are founders, along with the entrepreneur himself or herself, I think three or four things are very critical. First and foremost, what is very critical, extremely critical, is a shared view of the future and a shared vision of the future.
Many times it is taken for granted when friends perforrmance into entrepreneurship. Just because you are close friends, you think you have a shared subrotto.
What is in it for us, individually and collectively? So that is very important. Sbroto two, and the next important and very critical thing, is complementarity. If there are two friends who are trying to do business together and both of them are extremely good at the same thing, they probably should not be doing business together. So, the startup team must have a high degree of complementarity. If somebody is good in marketing, the other person had better be complementary in terms of finance or in terms of, let us say, delivery or in terms of managing people.
When that complementarity does not exist, that is the first signal to step back and probably psrformance in that talent. Sometimes entrepreneurs hesitate to do that. In a high-performance eubroto, mental insecurity does not exist.
The control orientation is less. And do it early on, so that you guarantee an enormous amount of success right up front. So, look for complementarity. I think the third element that is very critical is mutual trust. I always say, if you look at the 10 co-founders of MindTree, we come from three different national origins.
We come from three different professional backgrounds. Some of the founders had never met each other physically before we started the company. But if you look at my own personal domestic issues — if tomorrow I am not there and Shbroto need things to be handled, you know, [for example] I need my daughters to be taken care of, I can just blindly trust these other nine co-founders.
That trust is very important, because trust, in my opinion, is not a warm and fuzzy thing. Trust is something that reduces cycle time. The other important reason why trust is critical is that the high-performance entrepreneurship is like running a marathon.
Mindtree Consulting’s Subroto Bagchi on the Principles of High-Performance Entrepreneurship
When that pain — the inevitability of that pain comes in — unless you really trust each other with your lives, that is where things will fall apart.
Interestingly, a study indicates that globally, most startups fail within the first year of their coming into existence, not for technical reasons, not for managerial reasons, but they fail because the founding team goes different ways. When the trust is there, then you will not second-guess intentions.
When you make mistakes, there will be no blame. When you have the trust, you know that the other person is doing his or her best under the circumstances. Collectively you bounce back, you learn.
So in summary, I think it is very critical to look for shared vision, look for complementarity, and look for abiding trust. What was your own experience like raising money from venture capitalists? You know, I have a slightly different view on this, and my view is that people think that raising funds is the most difficult thing and put a lot of energy behind it.
The resources are chasing ideas. If you look at the example of MindTree, we raised money from two continents, from venture capitalists in the United States and venture capitalists in India.
They could be American institutional investors, they could be British, they could be Japanese, and they could be anywhere. So investment today is available if the idea is right, cross-border.
Entrepreneurs put in enormous amount of enyrepreneur in trying to chase money instead of refining the concept, instead of focusing on the market research, instead of trying to test market the idea.
I would say that we lived that — it took us about a year to refine the concept of the company.