The face of Indian ecommerce — Sachin Bansal, the self-anointed executive chairman of Flipkart—says, “the journey of an entrepreneur is one which no one else can understand.” Fortunately, “Binny (Bansal) and I had each other,” says the 34-year-old founder of India’s biggest startup. He was speaking at the Surge Conference happening in Bangalore.
And when the going gets tough, he just zooms out. “The anchor, is the bigger picture,” he tells the entrepreneurs at the venue. “Sometimes, you have to pull out of smaller details.”
According to Sachin, entrepreneurship is an exploratory process. “As we started exploring the gold mine, it got bigger and bigger.” He was referring to the explosive growth of Flipkart into an ecommerce behemoth from a small online book seller nine years ago. When he talks about metamorphosis, may be you should be all ears!
There were three things that kept Sachin going through all these years. One was his resolve to hire only the right people. “Second, we kept up our eyes and ears to the ground,” says Sachin. But the “single largest thing” that helped was “the circumstance to decide the investors on our own.”
“It is all about getting the basics right,” says Sachin, about entrepreneurship. “If you are a founder, everything personal is business, and everything business is personal. You are never switched off,” adds Sachin.
He says he has always stayed opened to change. He is also of the opinion that comments from press and people in general swing from very positive to very negative. But he exhorted not to become unapproachable.
“When you start becoming unapproachable, people stop giving you feedback. Binny and I were very clear that we didn’t know anything.”
He said that he had to learn 99 percent of what he knows today, and that he gives a lot of autonomy to employees.
He says, “with freedom, you get a lot of responsibility,” reminding all of us of the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman.
Towards the end of the talk, Sachin tells entrepreneurs to “ignore” the media. And with ‘Flipkart Stories’ on board, he can definitely do his own positive PR.
Ironical, for a company’s founder who says, “I don’t like reading positive PR about Flipkart.”