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Don’t listen to Alok


Awarded the

“Rodinstar” Post 

of the week!!



Pre Script: This post is an account of my conversation with Alok Kejriwal and my learnings. Alok also asked me to write something for therodinhoods and so here goes. Whatever you have to say about it, do comment!

This story starts fifteen minutes before my conversation with Alok bhai.

The first task at hand was making sure my housemaid does not start the mixer during my phone call. She did not really understand if I was talking to Alok Kejriwal or Steve Jobs. But I had to make sure she didn’t fuck the call up.


I sat down with the laptop, a notebook and a gel pen. I had a few points noted down about what I wanted to say. For some reason the moment reminded me about the first time I asked out a girl.

That was back in the 7th standard. I didn’t understand a shit about all this, but wanted to do it because Ross or Joey or someone from ‘friends’ did it. The reason I remembered this was because this jump into entrepreneurship is something similar. A jump based on faith. And I was little nervous.

Getting back to the call, it was slightly late so I thought maybe Alok was busy. But soon enough the phone rang and it was him.

The first thing I was confused about is how to address him. In most of the start-up events everyone calls everyone else ‘sir’. It even gets funny sometimes, Sir A talking to Sir B. But for some reason I feel people like Alok are more like friends than your boss. I think I did call him sir twice. But I’ve decided against it now. Not due to a lack of respect, but because a friendly relationship should not be formalized.

Alok bhai now on. Much better than Alok Sir. Sounds similar to Dhirubhai too 🙂

Getting down to business:

I told Alok bhai what we are trying to do. He liked the idea. The product was good. But while talking to him, I realized something.

My business plan was a hobby plan.

For a moment it felt like I was an inclined plane wrapped helically around an axis.

To quote Alok on the subject matter:

“When you make cheap and sell expensive, it’s a business. When you make expensive and sell cheap, it’s a hobby.”

But all was not over. Alok had an idea to make money out of our business/hobby. He even offered to be a client.

How should one feel if a person whom he is talking to ask for advice loves his idea and might be willing to pay for it? Happy?

I felt stupid.

Using your brain:

I am getting into the content business. And another important thing Alok bhai mentioned in our conversation is how brilliant the Economist and The Financial times are. They are the ones who really produce something good. And as a result they take home gold bricks while the others struggle to pay the EMI of their 100 cc commuter Hero Honda bikes.

That shit was exaggerated but you get my point.

So what I decided was Alok bhai was right.

And maybe he was WRONG!

The fact is he knows a lot about this field. But it is my job to do the thinking and diligence for my business. Not Alok bhai’s!

What I really gained from him was the following:

1)    I need to stalk enough and find out how The Economist and Financial times got to where they are. Not today’s story but how they got to where they are today.

2)    The perspective that I need to figure out the cash flow for the business. Maybe not in the coming few months, but a few years down the line this will come back to bite me in the ass. So have to work on it right now. Figure out a model which works.

3)    A brilliant way to make money for the experiments I want to do while building the Indian version of the Economist. Something actionable from right now.

So am I going to take Alok’s advice?

The answer is a yes and a no. Will I blindly do what he has told me? Fuck no. Will I make sure I explore the perspective he has given me on things?


If this were a Hindi movie, the end would be something like this.

“One day I will prove Alok bhai wrong. And as we toast some expensive Champaign in the back of my bespoke Rolls Royce Phantom, he tells me he is mighty happy about it!”

But this is life. Maybe I will end up doing exactly what he told me in the first place. And maybe that’s what I will be happy doing.

I don’t know about that.

But I do know one thing; I sure as hell will try for the first ending.

Moral of the story: Take advice. Do your own experiments to conform the perspective. Say both yes and no. Have a healthy disregard for the impossible. It was Alok’s generosity to tell me beforehand what won’t work. It’s my job to figure out what will. Similarly be ambitious in your vision and pragmatic in the execution.


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  1. I am SPEECHLESS! I LOVE YOU :-))))

  2. Hi Ankur,

    When people like Alok advice, it open up options for us or atleast give us the direction where a though process should move. More no. of sensible people you talk, more clarity you attain.

    Also you have pointed it rightly, here in Rodinhood, funnily everyone is a Sir. Even I end up calling few of them Sir, coz I find it awkward to call someone highly experienced with his name, and many other call me Sir though I am much younger to them. Now, even I hv given up calling Sir, coz now I know how it feels when everyone around u starts calling sir, using names is much better 🙂

  3. Yes, I guess more the viewpoints we have, the smarter we can think. As long as they are sensible viewpoints.

    Thank you for your comment SIR Aman 🙂

  4. Hahaha! I love you too alok bhai 🙂

  5. Ankur.. that’s such a fine attitude to have come across… Nicely weaved and very much inspiring. 

  6. debut posts on trhs are really getting to be so WOW!!!!!

  7. Thank you Anamika! Finally it is our attitude that makes us or breaks us, it it not!

  8. Ankur, 

    You are brilliant man!!!

    Taking advice and getting perspective is always important. You never know who might tell you what you need to hear to turn your hobby into a profit making business. 

    All the best! 

    I look forward to hearing in the future that you proved everyone wrong 🙂

  9. Ankur bhai…great writing… 🙂 (y)

  10. “When you make cheap and sell expensive, it’s a business. When you make expensive and sell cheap, it’s a hobby.”  I remember this from Thursday July the 4th, 2013 🙂 08:17 PM

    Yes, don’t LISTEN to Alok (or anyone else for that matter) HEAR them out!!!~

    We Love you too Alok 🙂 m/

    Capture the Competition off guard, Hobbyist’s usually Gift their works where appreciated and We are Lucky to have your Hobby as a Gift now 🙂 Give it a Chance or Benefit of Doubt, Ask the Questions and Give your Mind then it could either be a Yes or a No but in between there is always a chance for Discussion and exchange of POV’s which would give others the chance to learn even more, Logic applied is always the Best, Ultimately it is your Decision which you have to Execute for the Best results!!

    Sharing and Caring to do that is something which is always beneficial to a lot more than intended since there are a lot of Silent movers who prefer to stay Silent and Watch 😀

    Keep Sharing and we all Love you too Ankur Bhai!! _/_

    Welcome to the Crazy Bandwagon!!! Cheers!!

  11. Thank you for your wishes! Glad you liked what I wrote..

  12. Thanks Mitesh! 🙂

  13. Thank you darshan bhai! Im getting so much lover here! What a community!

  14. Great going Ankur! Loved this post 🙂

  15. Fuck yes! :))

  16. Glad you liked it!

  17. haha… I like the way that sounds, especially when its the answer to a challenge.

  18. Alok and his team have been extremely helpful in guiding me too. Very positive, very energetic. Kudos.

    Of course I need to take care of a few things before I plunge headlong in my content business but their infectious energy was more than welcome.

    The point that will remain with me from this post is about business and hobby. Great point.

    Wishing you the best, Ankur, for your new endeavour. And of course, to Rodinhoods. I am a casual visitor but I like the energy on its walls and pages. 

  19. hi ankur,

    pls check the top of your post 🙂

  20. Thank you so much for your good wishes!

    Their enthusiasm is infectious!

  21. Its an honour!

    And a reminder I need to get off my ass and contribute to trhs. Sneakily reading everything is not enough anymore 🙂

  22. You shall be surprised to see what picture I send back with the shirt on. In a good way.

  23. awesome said man.

  24. Simple thought.. interesting delivery… well done!

  25. Very Good Post Ankur Bhai…  🙂 

  26. Excellent piece….reminds everybody to do the groundwork …

  27. ankur…. i wanna hear an update from you, man!

    where are you and what’s happening??!!

  28. ankur – where art thou??

    really missing your posts on trhs!

    come back soon!!

  29. Awesome! 🙂 To take and not to take advice! 😛

  30. Fantastic and candid write up.

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