Story 1 – What I wear.
In or around 2004 , 2007 one of our Companies – Mobile2win Games2win was growing fast and needed VC money.
Neeraj Arora of Google Ventures was interested in meeting me and I went for a meeting with Neeraj and with Thota Ranganath – Founder of Mobile2win (China).
I think it was the Mumbai summer time.
I was dressed in a shirt and formal trousers and had a jacket on. The meeting was at the Grand Hyatt Vakola. Ranga was wearing a formal shirt (I think with cufflinks) and trousers.
We walked towards that sofa area outside the coffee shop and spotted Neeraj sitting with someone in the coffee shop. The only sofa we got to sit on was the one next opposite the table so we sat there. Immediately I recognized that the person sitting with Neeraj Arora was Mahesh Murthy (of Mahesh Murthy fame; Pinstorm, etc). I said ‘Hi’ to him.
Once we were settled, Ranga whispered to me – “Alok, do you know that person sitting next to Neeraj?”
I said, “Yup – well. He is MM”. And I explained MM’s background to Ranga.
Ranga said, “Alok, look at what he is wearing”.
I looked and noticed that Mahesh was wearing a round neck T-Shirt that was either Navy or Black in color. It was faded and its collar was slightly wonky. It has the words “NASA” written in it in white on the right side… the “N” of Nasa was completely faded and was barely visible.
Neeraj seemed captivated by his conversation.
I was sweating in my Jacket and shirt and my mind was on my clothes and not on my pitch.
Till I saw Mahesh Murthy dressed the way he was.
That’s when I realized that it’s not what you wear to work – it’s what you DO that matters.
Thank you Mahesh Murthy!
(Ps – I told this story to MM last month when we met at MICA for a conference – he was shocked).
Story 2 – The Doors
I was visiting the Google Campus in 2009 with my Games2win founder Mahesh Khambadkone.
We had lunch in that superb Google café complex and were returning to the office buildings.
On the way back, I saw something that I can never forget.
The main door of the google office had lots of movement and 2 people tried to enter one door. Then one man who has lots of salt and pepper hair stopped and retracted and held the door open for the other man. The other man fumbled but the salt and pepper guy urged him to enter.
In a few seconds I realized that the salt and pepper guy was Larry Page. He was holding the door for his employee and making it a point to let him go first.
There was no drama, there was no formality. It was just pure COURTESY.
Funnily, he was wearing a white tee, khakhi bermudas and white crocs. I remember those distinctly.
I always open doors when I see someone approaching from outside (if it’s a glass door) and if I am moving between doors, then I am very careful holding the door open and gently handing it over to the person behind me as I move forward. Be it co-founder, driver or janitor.
I think people (in India) think that holding doors for people behind them is insulting – it’s as if they are holding a door like a servant. They just leave the door as they exit and it’s so insulting and bad mannered.
Larry Page who created Google can teach us a thing or two in that department.
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First Published on: Dec 4, 2011