'Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish' is the story of 25 such IIM Ahmedabad graduates who chose the rough road of entrepreneurship.
Many of the 25 IIM-A alumni profiled in the book were present at the meet.
The book was released during the entrepreneur's meet and I am not sure if its available for sale yet. But highly recommended. The book is divided into 3 sections
- The Believers: IIM-A graduates who took the plunge straight out of IIM-A
- The Opportunists: Who saw an opportunity and capitalized on it
- The Alternate Vision: Social Entrepreneurs who cared about things beyond money
The book is written in a conversational format with the author thinking aloud before having a conversation with an entrepreneur followed by the conversation and a page of advice from the entrepreneur.
The sheer breadth of advice from entrepreneurs proves one big point, there is no consistent formula for success. There are examples and counter-examples of every strategy in the same book.
- There is no other way but to learn from one's own mistakes
- It pays to ride a wave in an upturn but then belief in one's ideas is as important to see through the trying times
- Bootstrap is good but sometimes there is no other way to scale up without a high leverage investments backed by a VC/PE fund
- Jumping straight into the rough is good but so is gaining some experience and building a nice nest egg before taking the plunge
- Its good to have equal partnerships with your co-founders but sometimes there needs to be a first amongst equals for smooth functioning
- You can plan really well and execute it with mathematical precision but sometimes the best of plans can be bested on first contact with the market
- Maintaining independence of your venture ('my baby') for long through the rough road is good but knowing when to let go even when the going is good is needed many times
- Government can be a very conservative regulator and prone to knee-jerk policy actions based on emerging events which can kill entrepreneurial ventures but sometimes they are the only ones who are willing to try out something new providing the much needed lifeline to ventures thinking ahead of their times.
- Small is beautiful but without scale the actual vision cannot be realised
- In all cases IIM-A alumni network helped a lot
Definitely a recommended read for students, as once one of my teachers at my alma mater put it succinctly 'acchi chhokri and achhi naukri is not the only goal in life for everyone'(apologies to women reading this but it applies equally well the other way around).