G Ramachandran or GR as he is fondly called, pens his debut book “Sugar and Spice and Everything that’s not so nice.” Ramachandran, a mentor capitalist with a passion and zeal for entrepreneurship, has evolved beyond spreadsheets and scripted corporate success stories. With his astuteness and ability to start, scale and sell or divest unlisted entities, he has nurtured 15 start-ups, including 9 multi baggers till date. He draws on his immense and varied work experience to create multi-hued dimensions of entrepreneurial wisdom in this book. While delineating his success stories, he also dwells on the downside of start-ups by narrating incidents from his failed ventures. His rich anecdotal insight is realistic and appealing.
The book has been edited by successful entrepreneur, author and international PR expert –Dr. Shabnam Asthana.
In a candid interview with GR, we unraveled a few crucial aspects of the book….
TBE: What motivated you to choose this subject and write on Entrepreneurship?
G Ramachandran: This according to me is a very relatable and universal subject for the business and corporate world. Today the world is teeming with start-ups, but when I started my professional journey 20 years ago, start-ups were still in the nascent stage and developing. Yet the path I traversed holds a unique relevance even today. I felt the need to share my knowledge on start-ups.
Entrepreneurs can learn from my successes and failures. I am optimistic that my experience and wisdom will serve as that beacon of light that will guide and prevent them from falling into the abyss of failure. It will also prevent them from making the same mistakes that I made. While it is easy to relive moments of glory and success it is equally pertinent to recount and be vocal about ones’ failures and defeats, since both co-exist and are not mutually exclusive.
I have made a dedicated attempt through my book to essay my practical experience in the Indian context and theoretical success factors through anecdotal evidence. This I sincerely hope provides great learning for all budding entrepreneurs.
TBE: What according to you was the most exciting phase of your career? Have you brought that out in your book?
G Ramachandran: The most exciting and challenging phase in my career has been stepping down as a CEO and starting from scratch,experiencing the highs and lows,the twists and turns and the turbulence attached to it. It was literally a roller coaster ride.
Yes, I have brought it out in the narrative. I have described in detail, my inner turmoil when I had to take the calculated and very difficult decision of giving up the frills and fame that I had acquired after working my way up the corporate ladder, and ironically how excited and enthusiastic I was to do that, which seemed unbelievable to most. I was driven by my inner conviction which was fanned by my undying spirit of entrepreneurship and love for start-ups. And I am sure that many readers will identify with this emotion.
TBE: Why should a reader pick up your book, in your opinion?
G Ramachandran: My book is anecdotal and draws on my practical experience. It is a first-hand account and lays all the intricacies of a start-up thread bare. It reflects on what makes a start-up entrepreneur tick and how they can turn the wheel at various points in their lives for a course correction and either achieve success or at least mitigate their losses.
Successes and losses are an integral part of the start-up culture. My book describes a unique and oxymoronic aspect of entrepreneurship – “detached attachment” or how an entrepreneur must be equipped to sever himself from his project if needed, without being emotionally attached to it.
TBE: What are your current professional engagements?
G Ramachandran: Currently, I am involved in three start-up ventures, one is in sports tech more specifically oriented towards cricket, another one in conversation AI involving cutting edge technology and the Internet of Things to help drive various processes in an automated manner in an organization
The third one is a Digital advertising agency looking exclusively at digital brand positioning and enhancing one’s position in the marketplace.
I have speaking engagements as an invited speaker at various International and National forums. I am also actively associated with IITs and IIMs to promote incubation seed funding and coaching. And I derive immense satisfaction by undertaking something that is close to my heart – mentoring of aspiring entrepreneurs, pro bono.
TBE: Are you contemplating writing another book soon? If so, have you thought of the subject and what it would be?
G Ramachandran: Well yes, but it would be after a break. The subject would focus on how one makes a country an economic super power through creation of start-ups as UNICORNS in the coming decades.
TBE: What is your message to budding authors?
G Ramachandran: As an author my experience tells me that one should keep the book simple and breezy devoid of jargon and focus on holding the attention of a lay person and make reading an enjoyable experience.
Keep the chapters asynchronous in order to ensure that a reader can pick up any chapter and read it without losing the thread, thereby not necessitating the reading in one go to retain continuity
This is important for books on business and economics in particular, given the fast paced and busy lives we lead in the modern world.