#TheFireSideChat – Mihir Dalal talks to Amit Sharma

You’re probably familiar with Mihir Dalal, Chief of Bureau, Mint, Bengaluru. This blog is about his talkie ‘The Fireside Chat’, no, not the evening radio addresses by Franklin D. Roosevelt, this event promotes his book that’s soon going to be a Bollywood blockbuster. 

Big Billion Startup – The Untold Flipkart Story” was authored by Mihir in 2019. Putting the spotlight on a startup that became synonymous with online shopping in India, criticized by a few and loved by many, “In every way, the Flipkart story deserved a book” believes Mihir. 

The ballad of the Bansals

Thinking big and starting small from an apartment in Bengaluru to building India’s biggest e-commerce company and getting acquired by a global retail giant, the Bansals saw it all! 

Mihir read his favourite excerpt from his book with an expressive voice and great knowledge of pitch “Did you know that the Bansals, almost sold off the company in 2008. Not just that, both Sachin and Binny Bansal were offered salaries of just Rs 15,000 a month”. Most of us didn’t know this story and it got us all hooked.

Going against the odds and the advice of many colleagues, the Bansal techies set out on the pursuit to build Flipkart in a market that had no trust in online commerce and prefers shopping offline. Aiming to scale-up with limited capital and a few crucial employees ratting out to competitors. Summing it up, success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on and staying focused on your big idea. 

Pre-Flipkart Era

Amit talks about his experience of ordering a book back in 2007 from a website that cared too little about customers, it took several phone calls and escalations to an agent who wore many hats (even the security guard’s), the book finally arrived in the 6th week. Revisiting the low-trust towards online commerce in India, e-tailers never had a customer-centric approach until Flipkart leapt in 2011 by introducing the returns and exchange policy. This was a great move and attracted a lot of online shoppers. Trust coupled with great deals, this remains the winning mantra for Indian e-commerce startups. 

A key takeaway from The Fireside Chat featuring Amit and Mihir

If the event translated into an FMCG product it would be:

Capital burn is one of the major aspects that was discussed at The Fireside Chat and the insights by Amit were thought-provoking for the audience. Mihir summed it up with three tips that are sure to help you scale your budding startup: 

  1. Building the right team
  2. Having a customer-centric approach
  3. Deep, hard thinking

 

The fireside is the best of schools

Amit recommended a documentary “The Corporation” which examines the modern-day corporation by creating a contrast between individuals and a corporation. Based on the 14th Amendment law in the US constitution where corporations are seen as individuals, the documentary explores the pathological pursuit of profit and power with constant swipes at the contemporary managerial roles showing traces of clinically diagnosed psychopathy. The entire documentary is available on Youtube, watch it here: https://youtu.be/KMNZXV7jOG0

 

We wish Mihir the best for his upcoming projects, follow us on Instagram to preview the exclusive byte from Mihir for ShopX: – https://www.instagram.com/10ishopx/

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