Author Interview

Debabrata Satpathy

the author of The Management Jukebox

Debabrata Satpathy is a writer by passion, a Chartered Accountant by education and a leader by profession. He thrives to write about complex issues through interesting stories. He is a natural storyteller. The Management Jukebox is his debut book published by Leadstart publishing. Through his professional career, he has handled various assignments in the area of Finance and Management.

Debabrata Satpathy is a thought leader and considers himself very fortunate to manage high performing teams. He is madly enthusiastic about the fields of Automation, Enterprise Resource Planning and Artificial Intelligence, and consistently works towards practical use of those concepts in his professional arena. He is also passionate about mythology and history. Human Resource, being his area of interest, he also possesses a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management. He is forty-two years young and lives in Gurgaon, India, with his wonderful wife Recoreena and son Arnav.


TBE: Can you tell us a little about your book Management Jukebox? What prompted you to write this, and who can it benefit? How did you get the idea of this book?The Management JukeBox by Debabrata Satpathy

Debabrata Satpathy: Jukebox was a brilliant machine in vogue during the twentieth century. By putting a coin, one could instantly listen to one’s choice of music. The satisfaction of getting the music of one’s choice as well as the thrill of putting the coin in the Jukebox, used to make the entire experience really special. The name ‘The Management Jukebox’ was conceptualized, keeping in mind the original experience of a Jukebox. This book is not only about getting management learning, but it is also about the thrill of getting the wisdom through an interesting story.

Many years back, when I got the opportunity to manage an ERP project, I searched through the internet and book stores to find a book on ERP project management. The books that I found were rather dry and uninteresting to read through. Few years later, I came across a quote that said, ‘If you do not find a book on a specific subject, better write it’. That inspired me to write this book. Then the challenge was how to make it interesting for a reader? The best way to make it interesting was to write it through an interesting story. Then the concept of the Management Jukebox evolved. ‘The Management Jukebox’ is also for those interested in business management, change management and project planning.

This book is aimed to benefit a large reader base. For the top management of an organisation, it will provide food for thought regarding how to stand by the projects. For the professionals pursuing a career in SAP and also those involved in SAP projects, the book aims to provide the right approach to go about the very important phase of planning and preparedness. And for students, it will be a good read for getting introduced to concepts like ERP and SAP and also to get exposure on corporate environment in general and SAP projects in particular. The consulting community will find it interesting to understand what goes on in an organisation desirous of implementing SAP and how they could be advised better. Last but not the least; it is a very good read for anybody wishing to read a good management fiction.


TBE: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

Debabrata Satpathy: Some of the key themes of the book are project management, change management, business management and resource planning in a business. When going for an organizational change or for that matter any challenge in life, one need not do a lot of stressful activities. One needs to just jot down the basics for the solutions and keep ticking them as and when they are achieved. In this book, a set of three basic questions have been asked and answered for success in any change management planning. If one puts these three basic questions on the pin up board and answers them, the way it has been explained in the book, I can guarantee that no project can fail. With little variations, these concepts will help the readers in almost any challenge in their profession and life in general.


TBE: What was your writing process for this book? What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

Debabrata Satpathy: It was a long haul. But for the fun of the storytelling, I wound not have been able to finish the book. The challenge was to deal with an otherwise dry subject with fun and good humor. It took me almost two years to complete the manuscript. I tried my best to do justice to the characters, especially Bibs, Adi and Sheiley. There needed to be perfect balance between the management concepts and the depiction of the characters in the story. Taking time out from the professional chores was a challenge, day in and day out. I am a bit of a perfectionist. Hence, I ended up editing the manuscript time and again, before my editor hammered the last nail. Overall, it has been quite a satisfying experience, pulling out a fiction from the concepts and genre of non-fiction.


TBE: During your journey from the idea of this book to the publication, what was the most difficult thing you faced? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Debabrata Satpathy: There were two most difficult aspects. The first one was to bring the characters alive. Had it been a normal fiction, my job would have been much easier. But dealing with management concepts and at the same time doing justice to the characters was an arduous task. That was why, I used to take a lot of breaks from writing, just to ponder over it for many days at a time. The second one was to forcibly stop myself from editing the manuscript time and again and letting it go to the editor. I remember, in the first edit by the editor, it was very difficult for me to accept the editor’s suggestions. Probably this possessiveness with the manuscript happens with all the writers.


TBE: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

Debabrata Satpathy: I hope the readers take away the 360 degree view of change management. Concepts on ERP and SAP are dealt with in detail and at the same time, there is great detailing on the practical corporate situations, organizational challenges, practical solutions to tricky situations, corporate planning etc. That makes the book a one of a kind holistic book on change management.

Apart from the concepts, the approach to great learning and mentoring have been brought out in the book. In fact, all the concepts have been disseminated through a mentor to her prodigy.


TBE: What would be the number one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is currently struggling with their company?

Debabrata Satpathy: My only piece of advice is not to look for extraordinary solutions to problems. All the time, we forget about the basics in the face of challenges. One needs to go back to the basics and the solution would be found miraculously. That has been depicted in The Management Jukebox.

I remember reading an interview with the legendary actor Mr Amitabh Bachchan. When his business venture failed and he was on the brink of being bankrupt, he woke up one morning and thought to himself that all he was good at was acting. So he went to his filmmaker friend Mr Yash Chopra to ask him for a role in a film. From that point onward, his acting career again turned around.

In The Management Jukebox, I have tried to introduce the readers to the concept of going back to the basics and deal with the problems and challenges in business as well as life, more effectively.


TBE: We live in what often feels like a crazy and stressed-out world. What do you think the world most needs today?

Debabrata Satpathy: I always feel stressed out whenever I think about my past or the future. Living in the present is the key. To live in the present, one needs to keep oneself occupied in something or the other, so that there is little scope for thinking about the past and the future. Involving oneself in karma-neutral activities, such as outdoor games, indoor games (even games on computer or cell phone), yoga, meditation etc in one’s pastime, not only keeps one occupied, but also keeps the mind neutral.


TBE: When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

Debabrata Satpathy: Spirituality, mythology and mysticism have always attracted me. About fifteen years back, I started sending articles on such concepts to few magazines. On one occasion, I was otherwise busy and did not write anything for a couple of months. Then I got a call from the editorial team to inquire, why I had stopped sending articles. That day I realized that I was writing something that had some worth for the readers and publishers. Probably that was the first time, I had the idea in my subconscious mind that I should take writing seriously.


TBE: Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?

Debabrata Satpathy:  I read a lot, not limited to a specific genre. I read books on mythology, spirituality, mysticism, management, legal fiction, philosophical fiction, adventure fiction and many more. Some of my favorite authors are Dr Chandra Bhanu Satpathy, Mitch Albom, John Grisham, Amish, Gregory David Roberts and few more.


TBE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Debabrata Satpathy: I like to watch movies a lot. Now a days, in the era of Netflix et all, there is no dearth of quality movies and tele-series. I think the natural storyteller in me gets his food for thought from those movies. My ten year old son has taught me how to play few games on my smartphone. Though he thinks I am still a novice at that, I try all the time to be up to his expectations!! I like to drive and grab the first opportunity to drive out of town to explore new destinations. I read a lot as well.


TBE: Do you believe in writer’s block? Have you ever experienced it? How long does it usually last? Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?

Debabrata Satpathy: Yes I believe in it. Currently I am going through that. After the hard work I had done to publish The Management Jukebox, I had decided in my mind to help one aspiring writer every year in whatever way I could. Currently, just to be close to writing, I am editing the manuscript of a new writer, pro bono. In my case, the writers’ block has lasted for about six months. I feel that in another couple of weeks, I would be able to get back to my ongoing project.


TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Debabrata Satpathy: Currently I am working on a mythological fiction. Our mythology was largely written in the protagonist versus antagonist style. I wonder, whether it is possible to bring out the best possible from all the characters and still write the same story in a different way of depiction! For example, in the great Ramayana, the protagonist was lord Rama and he took upon himself so much responsibility to re-establish the sovereignty of India as a powerful force to reckon with. That was the act of the incarnation of the age. Now for depicting the good, we may not necessarily need an evil. I think that could be a challenging, yet interesting way of dealing with mythology through the work of a fiction.


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