Our learning from Dharamveer Singh, cofounder of Zostel

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By Sahiba Sethi and Kumar Tanmay

Our journey cannot be what it is today because of awesome people we have met till date, especially in last couple of months. We have made sure that we keep on meeting good people and keep ourselves in company of awesome people. We learn from them and implement without wasting time. And trust me we have not seen the results yet, however we have enjoyed the process.

Many of them have been generous enough to spare their precious time for us for interviews and without keeping us waiting. They have reaffirmed that success comes with humility. Few have disappointed us too, might be they didn’t take us seriously. We don’t mind, we are and shall always remain grateful to all whom we have met. And hence we thought of writing about some of the amazing ones we have met in last few days.

We…

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Mr Vijender Singh – Are you a boxer by heart?

In response to http://goo.gl/BDa9Bq

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Sarita Devi Ban is Not Severe, Feels Vijender Singh

Mr Vijender Singh Its not about the severity but for the cause she stood for – fair play and above all its about raising voice against the wrong. Thats why the country stands by her. Its tough to believe that what is visible to the naked eye, it is invisible to FIBA because, I believe, it is about their ego that their referee is above the spirit of the game! Shame on people who stand by the ban.

Coding Honesty and Integrity into customer experience!

Entrepreneurship is all about giving priorities to stuff that matters the most. And like every other entrepreneurial journey, even mine is full of sinusoidal rides! Lately, I have felt as a scapegoat for poor customer service from every second service/ product driven company I interact with. I am very short-tempered and can’t withstand lies! However, I have learnt anger never solves any challenge, its just an another expression of fear. So I try my best holding my temper and get my grievances solved on social media instead. Trust me companies are very much concerned about their public image, so they come out openly to resolve every issue! Thanks Twitter & FB that I don’t judge you a total time pass.

Not drifting away from the core of the blog – extremities of customer service – My shared office space partner Regus (an MNC, probably largest one in its fraternity) has been delaying my change in service package because I am downgrading the plan with respect to the 12-month contract with them. And for every request change in service they demand a whopping 2-3 months of time to process. And this is the second instance when they have done it to me. I pardoned the first one believing that there could be protocols but this one was costing me a bomb. These guys even take a day’s time to tell their customers of the cost of any service that is available on their website! (Hold on.. yes even I checked on the website before hand, however I couldn’t keep the exact price in mind, so I asked him to update me assuming that a sales guy would know the price of the product he is selling!) So, I had to remind them that we live in a digital-age and no business decision hangs for such a long duration! It is then he promised to process my request in a day instead of waiting till March 2015 for the new request to process. Reminds me of how greedy people get to meet sales target! However, I believe that he realised his mistake sooner else it might have dragged to another level.

Coming to the next one. This is superb because it did not require human intervention at all. They have coded it all. Its an experience! I was required to upgrade my services with our web hosting partner Weebly. Every upgrade comes with a cost. However, this is one is different. What they did surprised me: Weebly informed me that since my previous upgrade is expensive than the current one, they made my current upgrade free but it doesn’t end here, they also credited my account with the difference in cost! Now, doesn’t that reflect about a company that respects honesty and integrity and it is deep embedded into their conscience? To be precise, honesty and integrated has been coded. Truly they are living in the rare air!

Weebly could easily overcharge my for my ignorance because upgrade always comes with a price tag. However world-class companies-in-making always put forth customers and its values first over revenue! Here is the screenshot that reveals all!

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 1.29.48 pm

Here is the screenshot and it says: “Your original upgrade is more expensive than this plan so your account is credited with the difference. This credit will be applied to your next purchase or renewal.

“Achche Din”

The nation went gaga over Narendra Modi’s victory as becoming the next PM of India earlier this year. And so was I! I felt that this is the best India could experience in the last decade. However, among all the rhetorics of Mr PM I could see a ray of hope in India of my dreams but there is a bigger gloom impending that is not highlighted as much with the progress promised for reasons “unknown”. The recent closing of Nokia’s plant in Sriperumbudur, the Yahoo! moment in Bangalore and the most recent one – NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) slapping a whopping fine of Rs.300cr on Novartis for overpricing a painkiller. Lets look at each one a bit closer.

Nokia’s plant wasn’t bought by Microsoft because the plant is in dispute with the state government for a fine worth Rs.21,000cr. Agree that the acquisition happened during the previous government. Forget about the 6000 odd people losing their livelihood, we are Indians and we will find our way to feed our family. What did the new government do to save the manufacturing unit? Where’s the veracity of “Make in India” campaign?

If sources are to be believed, NPPA has slapped a fine of INR300cr on Novartis for overpricing a generic painkiller. After working for almost 5 years in Healthcare space, I find Indian regulatory system highly flawed. It is in place to create hurdles and its a no brainer what happens next. Its a classic example of “ease” of doing business in India. Our system is becoming good at targeting world-class companies for their own good than welfare of the public. Mr PM and the whole system, I call upon you to fix your system first before targeting companies of global repute.

Now I don’t mean that the defaulters should be let free but we need to amend the archaic laws that create bottlenecks to grow businesses in India. Yes, Mr PM these are your lines at the famous Madison Square in NY. If it were true, we should really see this happening sooner than later. Now that you have complete majority, isn’t it under your control?

And yes I have a word about PM Jan Dhan Yojna too! I salute your initiative for every citizen to have a bank account. And because of the 5.5cr new savings account that were created, more than INR4,200cr was pumped in to our economy in no time. But what about the billions (if not trillions) of dollars stashed in Swiss accounts? You promised to get back this money in 150 days within forming the government. Since you keep us aware of every action you take, I am yet to witness any move in this direction! Help me if I am unaware.

I really happy with the optimism and hope that Mr PM has brought about India Inc globally. And I believe every change begins with HOPE. So I give it to you for this Mr PM. You are the best bet India can have for next 5 years based on what you have done in Gujarat.

After reading all this, my AAPtard friends will jump to criticise the government as if current regime has torn their home and they have been in tears since May 2014. Since Mr AK quit, I have stopped paying attention to anything his party does or his followers do! PERIOD

In Gratitude

il_fullxfull.93265159In the recent past, we have taken up few challenges/ dares that have become a global phenomenon and here comes another one. I challenged myself to pay gratitude to 5 or more people who have made a difference in my life. However, the twist was that NONE should be my BLOOD RELATIVE.

Here goes my list:

1) Mr K J Chakrapani – my school teacher who always brought me to ground, no matter how high I would fly. He challenged my limits and I learnt to internalise challenges before I could overcome them. He is a uniting figure who always brought friends together by becoming a friend himself. The man who is respected even for his beatings.

2) Mr Bimal Raj – I have no words for this man. He revolutionised the way I think, the way I dream, the way I see my family – in addition, he taught me to DREAM BIG, start small and act now. He reignited the fire within me. He taught me the most essential sutras of success – humility, the power of dreams, perseverance and grit – that I would never be able to learn in any business school. He did the inevitable – in two minutes he convinced me why should I read and its been more than 2 years that a day has not gone without reading few pages. I have not been to HBS, till the day I experience it he is my current HBS.

3) Shilpam Sood – I had to mention her. She is the angel of my life. I learn unconditional love from her, no matter how hard the circumstances are. She is the guiding force behind me, always reminds me about the basics of everything that I keep on forgetting. I can’t match the greatness that she bestows on me. She is an epitome of woman of the house.

4) Varun Shoor – My school friend and my room mate whom I have silently followed since the day he embarked on an unusual journey after dropping out of school. He not only inspires me but also induces me with his success. He is a man of poise and soft-spokeness. Too hard to emulate him. Glad that he is my classmate and we still meet like friends.

5) Sahiba Sethi – For her unflinching belief and sharing every bit of her knowledge with me. She is a masterpiece of perseverance and fearlessness. She changed me from a night person to a day person. I would never write such a piece during the day hours had it not been her. Though I can still manage to slog at night, if required. I don’t know why and what binds us, but there is an unconditional and unfathomable bond between us. She is the youngest person I learn from daily. We are on different paths of life but we are on the same journey!

6) Nikhil Choudhary, Shweta Choudhary and Kritiman Keshri – Those were the years I learnt to have have utmost fun and still remain as ambitious as possible. I learnt to laugh at myself because of you guys. Shweta taught me to live life without any worries and follow my heart. No matter, how old we grow I can put a hand on my heart and bet that we guys will always remain young at heart. Cheers to our evergreen youth!

7) Ruchika Singh Chauhan – the person who listens to all my bakwaas with patience. She has taught me to take out time for anything despite the limitations of time that we have in 24 hours of a day. If it matters to me, I will always have a time. Another thing I value most from her is that she taught me that I can take value out of the useless if I want to.

8) Mr Prabhat Kumar – my home tutor who never compared me with anyone. Instead, he sharpened my skills without worrying about what the curriculum demanded. He believed in holistic growth than building skills at the need of hour.

9) Somnath Ganguly – my childhood buddy whom I had a lot of fun with. Though we were out of touch for a while, but we were back as if we were always together. He epitomises – That feeling when you reunite with a lost but really close to your heart buddy. The separation got us more closer than ever. Sometimes I think, had we not separated, would be wiser today?

10) Shuchi Gupta – You were my first girl friend and you shall always remain special. You promoted me to another level of maturity during the early days of my life. You have been a good learning experience and I believe my relationships are stronger than ever before because of you. Learnt to keep friends closer than ever.

11) Ashish Vikas – there are innumerable of firsts that we did together in college and shaping me as an individual. I know wherever and in whatever situation I am in, he shall be one of the few standing besides me.

12) To the people who left my life – I learnt not to be like you and if you come back, I will humbly accept you the way you are.

This is not the end of the list, there are many people and there shall be many whom I will meet during this journey. I am sincerely grateful to you guys. And trust me even if you are not in this list, I shall always be on your side, come on test me.

If you like it, I would be glad if you guys too can duplicate this. I have no copyrights 😉

Building an Economy of Trust in India

BumbleBee Rides (www.bumblebeerides.com) got it’s first bit of media exposure (link at the end) last week and we received a lot of fan following because I have given customers what they wanted. However, just after the news was published, the journalist texted me a question:

“Just wanted to know what u need for deposit from the customers for taking the cars.”

And here is my response to her:

We don’t take anything for deposit or don’t even block cards.. I don’t feel blocking or taking any caution money of few thousands can suffice for any car. We ask our customers to share their office ID n their landline number during the registration process on our website. This is to build trust with our customers.

We are building an economy based on trust because we Indians are known to handle public property with little respect! However, I don’t completely believe in it. There is one Indian in every 6 people globally.. And there are Indians in every other country.. How come we behave differently there.. It’s because the surroundings/ environment affects our mindset! We are same there too.. We just feel elite there and hence behave in the same manner.. So here we are giving our fellow Countrymen the same respect by trusting them completely with our cars! And the only currency for trust is trust! Trust is mutual. I respect them and they respect our services.”

http://www.iamin.in/en/gurgaon/news/innovative-start-offers-car-rental-services-affordable-rates-41474