14th book of 2019: The Big Billion Startup by Mihir Dalal
By the mid of this year, I thought I'll stop reading and invest my time in other things. But old habits die hard and it seems I'm stuck with this one. I just hope I'm able to create more time for those "other things". That'd be incredible!
Flipkart is arguably the biggest startup success to have come out of India as yet. It'd be difficult to judge the impact this single company has had on the entire Indian Startup Ecosystem. It's almost unbelievable. For most part, most of the smartest guys in any room didn't believe in the Flipkart story, many still don't. When they say "reality is stranger than fiction sometimes", you can safely assume that they're talking about Flipkart (or perhaps OYO). Anyway, here's an interesting anecdote:
Flipkart's biggest investor and perhaps the most important player of its story - Lee Fixel - was interested in the Indian Internet space. He hired BCG to make a report on the most interesting players so he could plan investments. That report didn't even mention Flipkart! One fine day, he was randomly searching for products on Google India (imagining how an Indian would) and found Flipkart at the top in almost every search query. Sachin Bansal had totally nailed SEO even in the categories where Flipkart didn't have products. Amazed, Fixel called Flipkart's customer care but couldn't reach through as the folks at home thought it was a joke. He wrote mails which didn't go anywhere either, because the founders didn't seem convinced of "Lee Fixel" (he was too reclusive for web searches). It was when Lee finally asked Deep Kalra to connect him to the founders that the stars aligned and changed Indian startup space forever. Isn't that incredible?
The book is in the spirit of true journalism and I'm so glad such pieces are finally getting distributed in India. To be honest, there's little to learn from books written in the west. India thoda nahi, kaafi alag chalta hai.
Kudos to Mihir Dalal! This is good stuff.