Nuggets from Avnish Bajaj
Taking stock of life after Bazee sale
When Avnish started Baazee, his financial goal was to make USD 2 Million. When he sold Baazee to Ebay for USD 55 Million, he had made close to 10x of his estimate. He talks about how he took stock of life and moved forward from that point.
Shifting your goal post over time
Prakash talks about how he has thought about his goal post at different points in time and how he finds his True North. He shares a nuanced view on how one should think about value in the pursuit of the sweet spot in which one could consider operating.
Setting a goalpost at UIDAI
In a start-up, how do you think about setting a goal post? It is a tricky question when there are several unknown unknowns. Nandan talks about how he thought about "What good would look like" in 5 years for the Aadhaar project.
Reflecting on the past and the future
Pramath reflects on his journey till date and talks about what has enabled him to get this far. He discusses the role of staying grounded and authenticity in building trust and developing alliances. He also shares his thoughts around where he wants to drive impact and make a difference in the years to come.
Evolving perspectives on success and impact
KV Sridhar (Pops) talks about how his metrics of success have slowly shifted from business outcomes (brand performance, ad recall) towards the impact he makes on humanity. He talks about the responsibility the advertising industry has in addressing and influencing the biases (conscious and unconscious) that exist in the society today. He specifically refers to the unconscious biases towards girls and women and what he did to sensitize the ecosystem.
Evolving views on the notion of success
Mouli talks about how the early years were often focused on achievement, which later gave way to an orientation towards Mastery and the last phase being driven by purpose. He talks about how he found his purpose along his journey and how it has impacted the choices he makes in everything he does whether it is a market visit or writing a book.
Overemphasizing fit in a career choice
Mouli talks about how he has made some of his early career moves based on the notion of fit. He also acknowledges that there is often an information asymmetry here and uses surrogate sources (profiles of others who have gone there and succeeded) of data as a means of determining if he would belong. He also emphasizes the criticality of focusing on learning rather than earning to drive professional growth over the long-term.
Winning the Second half of career
Mouli talks about how people need to consider evolving the metrics with which they measure their success as they move towards the second half of their career. He strongly advocates the notion of helping others succeed as a means of driving your own success.
Perspectives on Success
Roopa talks about how she thinks about success and frames it as a journey than a destination. She talks about how the notion of purpose has energized her during her days at CRISIL and in the work she does at Omidyar Network (Supporting innovations that can create opportunities for millions of people who are otherwise either excluded or underserved or disempowered)
Thinking about levers of Impact
Neera talks about how Dasra has evolved into an organization that works in three broad areas (Research, Building Organizations and Giving Strategically). She also talks about the way Dasra has made choices as it has grown as an organization and how it plans to measure impact and success as it grows into the future.
Evolving the goal-post at Dasra
Neera talks about how she and Deval have thought about where they have wanted to take Dasra. She also discusses how when they had a funding challenge a few years back, they had to revisit almost all of their key assumptions and have an honest discussion about where they wanted to take Dasra and move forward with increased conviction.
Career planning 2.0 for graduates
In this rapidly changing world, Ravi has three main nuggets of wisdom for graduates who are thinking about their careers and professional life ahead. How has the view of a ‘career’ changed over time and what is the best way to think about it today? What qualities should one spend time cultivating and nurturing? Hear on.
Gig economy and careers
Ravi has had two long stints in Cummins and then Microsoft, after which he switched to a portfolio of opportunities. He talks about evaluating this deep root vs. wide branches approach to structuring your career. He also has important tips for organizations looking to attract good performers. Tune in!
Career Planning 2.0
Thinking about a career has moved away from a linear notion – educate, work, retire. Also the idea of working in one company for the rest of your life has become obsolete. So how should one think about their career in this digital age? How can people stay relevant? Abhijit believes that skills will become obsolete quicker and gives tips about how to navigate their careers.
Marrying passion with pragmatism
Follow your passion is bad advice says Cal Newport in his book 'So good they cannot ignore you'. How does one think about options and decisions when passion and pragmatism point in different directions. Atul talks about how one could look at adjacencies and be pragmatic about a career decision by looking at supply-demand trends in an industry that one is trying to enter.
Educating ourselves (and link with leadership of the future)
We are growing into a future where there are several unkown unknowns. Pramath talks about what sort of leaders would flourish in the new paradigm and how one should think about education in the context of this broad trend.
Navigating the sea of career options
"What should I do with my life" is often a question that we grapple with at different inflection points in our life. Vinita talks about the various dimensions along which she evaluates opportunities that have come her way at different points in her journey.
Transitioning roles in a large MNC
Navigating your career in a large, complex MNC can often be challenging and confusing. Vinita talks about how she navigated her career across different roles in Cadbury's and the Coca Cola company.
Careers - Paradox of choice
In a world exploding with choice, Barry Schwartz argues that consumers are often worse off due to the complexity in decision making and Fear of Missing Out. Rama talks about how one should navigate the world under such circumstances.
Building optionality during early career
Dheeraj talks about the distinction between process and substance in the context of making career choices. He also talks about how he built optionality at various points in his early career.
Perspectives around career choice
Dheeraj discusses his perspectives on how students and professionals should think about choices and learning. He underscores the criticality of having unfettered curiosity across disciplines similar to Da Vinci who showed equal curiosity to matters of art and science across disciplines.
Navigating your career
Anu talks about her moment of epiphany during an interview with a McKinsey partner that really pushed her to reflect on what she enjoyed and what she didn’t. She talks about how she has tried to get to the bottom of what gives her energy.
Early career choices - Medical Rep/Painting/Advertising
KV Sridhar (Pops) talks about how he thought about an early fork in the road where he had to choose between disparate options in front of him. One was to become a Medical Representative which was highly lucrative in those days, Second was to become a Drawing teacher and the third was to pursue art in the world of advertising. He discusses how he walked the tightrope where the mind and heart were pulling him in different directions.
Rejecting 3 jobs and painting in Goa
KV Sridhar (Pops) talks about how came to Mumbai to pursue commercial opportunities and cast his net beyond Hyderabad – where he grew up. He also talks about the fact that very quickly he got himself three offers (on the creative and commercial side) but decided to go to Goa to learn and reboot. He talks about how he led the life of a vagabond for a few months and how he landed the next role at Ulka.
Transitioning from Banking to PE
Amit talks about how he thought about the transition from the world of Investment Banking to Private Equity. He talks about taking stock of life after reaching the heights of the Investment Banking profession and also seeking more time to devote to some of the other elements in his life such as Social Impact.
Raising the game when it matters
Mouli talks about the concept of Learning Cycles and how it is critical for people to focus on completing large learning cycles to build significant distinctive capability. He also makes the distinction between major and minor learning cycles and talks about how effective leaders often kick their game up a notch when it comes to a major learning cycle. The concept of learning cycle is also relevant when we think about processing opportunities that come along in our journey.
Picking mentors thoughtfully
Mouli underscores the criticality of having sound mentors in todays world where there are more forks in the road and several choices to be made for all of us. Mouli also talks about his framework for how we all should think about selecting the mentors that guide us. He talks about how Mentors should have seen some parts of the “movie” that you haven’t and should be completely vested in your success with no conflict of interest.
Decoupling quitting & joining decisions
Mouli talks about how people often mix up the two decisions and how they can end up over-appreciating what is right in the new context and what is wrong in the current situation. He brings it back to the point that careers are driven by capability and not by role/title. He urges us to think hard about the learning opportunity in the current environment and carefully evaluate the pros and cons of the current and the new opportunity before taking a decision.
Choosing career direction post CRISIL
Roopa talks about how she took stock of options after her successful run in CRISIL. She talks about the process she went through to first eliminate what options may not make sense for her before she ended up choosing to join Omidyar Network. She talks about having informal discussions with ~45 people over a 9 month period to get directional clarity on what might make sense for her.
Changing orbit - HBS, Wall-Street and Dasra
Neera talks about her transitions to Morgan Stanley, Harvard Business School, UBS and then to Co-founding Dasra with her spouse – Deval Sanghavi. She talks about the mindset with which she started thinking about her HBS degree. She talks about moving from seeing it as an asset you could market to something she could leverage and extend to drive impact in the Social Impact world.
Making Directional Choices
Jayashri talks about how she made choices along the way, more specifically, the choice between going deep into Carnatic music versus collaborating with different art forms. She also speaks about how she has learnt from collaborating with other artists and how that has improved her core art form – Carnatic Music
Strategy and Careers
Tarun talks about developments in the field of Strategy and maps that to how individuals should think about their careers. He acknowledges the influence of Prof. Ben Jones (of Northwestern University) in shaping his thinking here. He talks about the fact that the world of knowledge is growing exponentially and we will know less and less (as a percentage) of what is to be known. He discusses how people should think about specialization and collaboration in this context and shares his perspective on the mind-set with which we should march into the future that can feel overwhelming.
Key career choices
Dr. Guha speaks about some of the key choices he made at various forks in the road that presented themselves in front of him. He specifically talks about the crucial role of his father and his wife in giving him the flexibility to pursue his calling without getting him to “play safe” or to seek commercially lucrative options at the expense of pursuing things that energized him.
Flex the current context or reboot
Stew speaks about how we should try and stretch the boundaries of our current context before we start thinking about drastic solutions including changing jobs. He speaks about the notion of the Theory of small wins that underpins that Total Leadership approach and also refers to the work of Herminia Ibarra – Author of the book Working Identity.
Recalibrating The Notion Of Success
Vijay talks about how he took stock of life at key inflection points during his career in tennis and beyond. He also talks about the distinction between being pedigreed and learning from one’s own experiences through the journey of life. He also talks about how he dealt with the “Astronaut syndrome” (a phrase that Tony Robbins often uses). You have accomplished whatever you wanted to. Now what?