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When we look at celebrated start-up founders, there’s a certain profile which has become the norm. One feature being the Ivy League dropout. But why not celebrate Indian college dropouts too? Secondly, they’re always on some reality TV shows, doing podcasts or active on social media and pursuing aggressive growth without much focus on profits.
On the other hand, there is the ‘quietly successful founder’, who believes in content over form, which is sometimes a rarity these days. These were valid points raised recently by Saugata Gupta, Marico CEO during a conversation with Sahil Barua, Delhivery CEO and Co-Founder.
“From our point of view, we’re building a fairly complex and difficult business. The reality is our customers are business. Our customers don’t care about seeing me or seeing any of the other members of the management team. In fact, in our business, our belief is if our customers need to see us that means we’ve done something which is terribly wrong. Ideally, I don’t want our customers to ever have to call us. And I think philosophically the idea is also that the institution is more important than the individuals. The brand of the company is more important than the brand of management and that’s sort of why in the business that we’re in and these kinds of sectors, it’s the right choice,” Barua explained, while jokingly mentioning how he was quite casually dressed for the gathering, a meeting of ASCENT members where everyone was quite suited up.
Barua had started his career at Bain, the only job he had done before starting Delhivery in 2011. Giving an example to explain how they went about setting up Delhivery, he mentioned Wilbur and Orwell Wright, known for inventing the aeroplane. “People forget that they actually were bicycle mechanics. And by being bicycle mechanics, they actually learned the important principle of aerodynamic control. They could have gone to the highest mountain around them and thrown themselves off of it and we wouldn’t have had flight! But it is the training that they had as bicycle mechanics, their ability to understand how to build mechanical systems that ultimately separated them from so many other people who were at the same time building the same business. And I think when we started Delhivery, we started with a mathematical model of what we wanted to build and then for the last 12 years we’ve been essentially making that mathematical model come to life and executing it. So I think experience, at least in our view of the world, is hugely important,” Barua had said.
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