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  • Writer's pictureNishant Mittal

7th book of 2020: How I almost blew it, by Siddharth Rao

Like most aspiring entrepreneurs in India, I've grown up reading about legends from the west. Bill & Paul, Jeff Bezos, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, and so on. But to be honest, Indians are radically different. Our lives, fights and markets are worlds apart and we don't really function like that. So what do we do?

It becomes very important for us to have insights to "our" success stories. Our heroes. People who've hustled in the same places as us and cracked the code. Beauty of these stories is that the information suddenly becomes way more contextual, while the Idiosyncrasies can be felt and it all seems very real.

This is why masterpieces like Kashyap Deorah's The Golden Tap, Nishtha Tripathi's No Shortcuts, and Mihir Dalal's The Big Billion Story feel way closer to home than...let's say Richard Branson talking about revolutionizing Space Tech. The latter is extremely inspiring and enriching, but slightly less relevant because "Yaha to fight hi alag hai.."

Unfortunately, literature about Indian entrepreneurial space has been much like a desert with a few oases. And thankfully, that's changing. "How I almost blew it" is a collection of 17 terrific stories of Indian entrepreneurs and how they fought to reach where they did. Beauty of this book is that it talks about success, failures and "luck" with equal respect and doesn't become preachy at any point. Real entrepreneurs seldom share "gyaan", they share experiences. And that's what this book is - a collection of bloody terrific experiences. Here's one:

IndiaWorld was doing 3 Cr in revenues but got an acquisition offer of 500 Cr by Sify. It deserved 10-20 Cr, but Sify wanted to make a huge splash in the US capital markets by projecting an even bigger future (because it could). It actually happened. After the acquisition, Sify bagged a valuation of $11 Billion (quite a rise from the initial $350 Million) and IndiaWorld's founders got cash. Interestingly, the Dot Com bubble burst two months after and Sify's valuation was down to $70 Million. My god...

Bizarre is the word. Would absolutely recommend!

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