Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My tryst with Anurag Batra, Chairman of Businessworld and Exchange4Media

In movies, when someone becomes a huge star like Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth or Kamal Haasan, they tend to play multiple roles to give their fans more - double role, triple role. Imagine an entrepreneur who plays many roles - editor, writer, angel investor, event organizer, besides ofcourse being a businessman of one of the largest media property in India - thats Anurag Batra for you.
It was about 6 months back in Gurgaon during a StartupSaturday event that I had met him. *Technically, it was not our first meeting - we had connected few years back during an online course on business plan which he was taking for budding entrepreneurs and I had done a short pre-session on funding sources for startups.*

He spoke passionately about Indian marketing and advertising landscape, and it seemed he had seen things evolve for years. The depth and breadth of his experiences were tremendous - running a publishing business, online portals, ecommerce websites and still being able to make time to connect with young and aspiring entrepreneurs is a knack that only he can have.

Few months later in January 2014, he hosted a StartupYatra session in the office of Businessworld. And here he spoke about personal experiences that you never get to listen in public forums. He was candid unlike many successful entrepreneurs - there are lot many failures in business and what is more important is to enjoy life and have fun at work. Entrepreneurs are very selfish in that sense - though they do lot of public services, create jobs, unveil new opportunities, bring about change - but all the while they are working for their own.
He led the group of 25 young startups around his office and was keen to take suggestions from each - one of them suggested the Businessworld office is a little less colorful and he immediately hired her for some interior design work. While we were talking business and startup challenges, he gave us another surprising offer - lets have a beer party next week! And the group really hit it off at Charlie's Bar in Saket!

As many people who know him would admit, there is a certain warmth to him and he makes you feel comfortable whatever be the situation. He is right in the middle of the marketing and advertising world - with exchange4media and Businessworld pulling in all kind of marketing professionals, advertisers, media experts, planners, freelancers, designers and entrepreneurs and giving them the best of knowledge, networking or events.

Last month, I was fortunate to be there at the launch of Businessworld's Marketing Whitebook and the energy in the conference hall was awesome - more because of the people in the room than because of the Delhi heat! And people from all ages had turned up - from young startups to old CEOs. I am sure not even one of them felt out of place being in company of Anurag and team.

What I have learned from Anurag Batra?

1. Speed - he shared his story of acquiring Businessworld - it was decided in 3 days flat. Imagine a deal worth crores happening in that time - some of the famous angel networks and venture capital investors in India take atleast 6 months to do a deal worth few lakhs!

2. Commitment - when you commit something, put full heart into it. No ifs and buts, just do it as your own thing. Lot of times you would meet people playing with their mobiles while you are presenting to them or sharing your ideas - its a signal that person is half-interested and better to walk out rather than be ignored! Anurag has been one of those people who listen intently and act fast.

3. Follow up - many times I feel how can a person who has 100 things to do still does a follow up for the little things, and I admire Anurag for this. I am not able to focus on all stuff at times, and I think I have a lot to improve on this aspect.

I have met 1000s of people in my life, and many have influenced me in lot of ways. I will be sharing my experiences with these people in my blog.

If you wish to connect to Anurag Batra or Exchange4media/Businessworld team, feel free to ask and I will be glad to make an email introduction.

Till next time, be awesome!