In August this year i was in US combining business with family engagements. During the last leg of my journey, in New york, after hours of comparing hotel prices, i found a Radisson near the Newark airport to be the cheapest. $41 per night. That’s what i booked for two nights.
After a long day, of a client visit, and strolling endlessly (and aimlessly) for the rest of the day on Times Square, i got a little late in catching the metro back to Newark. To get to the airport was a $40 ride, which i had made on day one of arriving in Newark, but was unwilling to use a taxi again. So, i waited for the last bus at 10:30pm at a deserted bus stop in down-town Newark. Most of my friends and relatives in US would call me crazy for having done that – they say that this region is extremely unsafe and crime prone. But i did – to conserve our hard earned money at Srijan. Sometimes, i find myself being penny-wise-pound-foolish – but that is another story – and must not take away from me anything on my spirit of conserving our money.
Finally, i heard some chattering across the road, and the rolling noise of a bag. Along came a black woman, talking loudly to an Asian looking man (note: in US – Asians are people from China/Japan/Korea/SE Asia – and not Indians as you would imagine). They had barely made it in time to catch the same bus. We got talking, and soon realised that the Asian guy was born-brought-up in America (with Chinese roots), and was the CEO of a top Social Media Marketing company in the US, with a turnover of $3-4 million, and with over 30 employees.
Why the hell was he looking so shabby? And travelling with me in a bus? To save money? WTF?
That’s exactly how it turned out to be, as i realised in digging a little further. He mentioned, exactly like i do often, “Oh i have to pay off everyone’s salaries and then if something’s left i pay myself. My salary is often lower than a lot of people at the company as well”. He’d been in business for over 4 years now.
At office, however, the expectations of people is often different. I am often criticised by my colleagues for the slow growth of Srijan. Success stories narrated in movies such as The Social Network, fuel such unjustified judgements. My friend, designer and co-entrepreneur, Itu, put perspective to the success of entrepreneurs. He was sharing a concern when he noted, “…you would know well Rahul, that in the winning of a deal, luck has such a big role to play; there are so many factors at play; you never know which way things will turn; it’s not always about being most competent to do a job“.
Having said that, i will not shy away from accepting that in my performance (self-evaluation) as a business leader is rather poor.