Thursday, January 19, 2006

Life And Times of ENTrepreneurs (LATENT) Part 1

It is no secret that entrepreneurs excite me and lots of other people. Why? What is it that makes their lifestyle so interesting? Why is it that books written by them ("Direct from Dell" - Michael Dell, "Losing my virginity" - Richard Branson) or dedicated to them are bestsellers?

I have always believed that there is an entrepreneur hidden in all of us; we just need to look that little bit further. The following speech by Richard Branson (at the 4th Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture) proves my point; the situation he found himself in could have been that of ANYONE of us, in fact, there were a number of people who were in the same situation. Only, he decided to look for a solution.

"In '79, when Joan, my fiancee and I were on a holiday in the British Virgin Islands, we were trying to catch a flight to Puerto Rico; but the local Puerto Rican scheduled flight was cancelled. The airport terminal was full of stranded passengers. I made a few calls to charter companies and agreed to charter a plane for $2000 to Puerto Rico. Cheekily leaving out Joan's and my name, I divided the price by the remaining number of passengers, borrowed a blackboard and wrote: VIRGIN AIRWAYS: $39 for a single flight to Puerto Rico. I walked around the airport terminal and soon filled every seat on the charter plane. As we landed at Puerto Rico, a passenger turned to me and said: "Virgin Airways isn't too bad - smarten up the services a little and you could be in business."

That, my friends, is how VIRGIN ATLANTIC began!! Can you believe it? A mad hatter's flight was cancelled, and look what he came up with.

He goes on to add: "When VA was launched in '84, not one person thought it would survive for more than a year. The bosses of these 13 big American airlines, that we competed with, said we'd fail. Now 21 years later, all 13 of them are out of business - proving the number 13 is unlucky for some."

Whew. What a guy!!


saurav-ko-gussa-kyon-aata-hai said...

they are all around us..
that fatty cursing the mess food.. see the dream of his own restrau in his eyes
and the movie bluff sitting behind me
always plannig for a big INOX in his backyard
and can anyone forget the cursing blabber always planning ways to bomb the whole wrld...

Shekhar said...

Saurav-ko-gussa-kyon-aata-hai: Couldn't agree with you more. Here are a few examples to prove YOUR point.

Dhirubhai Ambani (Reliance Industries) was JUST ANOTHER PETROL PUMP ATTENDANT who dreamt of having his own petrochemicals company.

Michael Dell (Dell Computers) was JUST A SCHOOLBOY DELIVERING NEWSPAPERS during his summer break when he got fascinated by IBM machines and dreamt of having his own computer company.

Sunil Bharti Mittal (Bharti Cellular Services) was JUST ANOTHER COLLEGIAN who decided to earn some money when he tried to set up a small manufacturing unit for cycle parts. That failed, so he turned towards push button phones.

Allwin Agnel ( was JUST ANOTHER UNSATISFIED VISITOR to's discussion forum. Today, he's been invited to speak on entrepreneurship at IIM Indore and is on his way to Wharton.

So, what are you passionate about? :)

Raam Pyari said...

whew! what a guy!