Jaisurya Das (@jaisurya_das) is a media professional, who is considered a marketing guru, especially strategies centred around the concepts of #Neuromarketing (strategies based on market research that study audience behaviour including cognitive and affective response to stimuli). His illustrious media career spanned very successful stints with Bennett Coleman & Company’s #TimesofIndia brand and #TheSakalGroup. In 2003, he founded #XanaduConsulting Group Pvt Ltd (one of the premier media consulting firms in India). In 2016, he co-founded his first media company: #Pune365.
An entrepreneur who is also a mentor to entrepreneurs, an exemplary leader who has established a track record of setting and achieving corporate goals, a media columnist, and an effortlessly inspiring mentor for hundreds of media professionals, Jaisurya Das provides his insights on entrepreneurship in this candid interview.
Why did you start your own business?
To be honest, my provocation was a director of the company I worked for asking me to get his pants altered! Not once, but each time he came to visit the branch. Apparently back in Mumbai it’s tough to get parking near the tailor. What was worse is that he didn’t stop at being taken to a tailor but also ensured I checked measurements and supervised it too!
So, yes this kind of paved the way for some serious thinking considering on the one hand I was presumably a good resource for the company and this was the last thing I imagined as a by product!
That apart, yes the entrepreneurial bug got me too, and I felt it was now or never. I was pretty certain I could manage for at least a year and I remember thinking to myself, that if it still doesn’t take off (after a year), my craft would have found me another job.
What separates an entrepreneur from a business person?
I think it’s about the entrepreneur bringing his USP’s on to the table. He comes with a certain vehemence and passion to succeed with what he terms his great idea. For a business person, it’s pretty much the financial success of his venture and related responsibility that is top of mind. Entrepreneurs bring in their innovative craft and everything revolves around that. Business men bring in acumen!
What differentiates an entrepreneur from an innovative employee?
An innovative employee is pretty much an entrepreneur but without the risk. He thinks different, behaves different, is passionate, wants to succeed and yet holds fear in him. You need to break away from fear and conquer it if you want to graduate to being an entrepreneur – fear holds no place in success anywhere.
What do you feel about the current trend of entrepreneurs cropping up everywhere?
I think some of them are brilliant though the majority seem to be getting carried away by the market and their competitors. Innovation seems to be getting replaced with duplication more than anything else.
I don’t see great differentiators cropping up in most segments. I see very little research on audience behaviour, behavioural economics etc being conducted. This surprises me considering the new breed of audience we are tackling today. I honestly shudder to think of what will happen in a couple of years with accumulated losses in a lot of these ventures.
I would imagine it would be sensible on their part to sit down and rationalise all that they have done so far and follow this through with some fresh cerebral acumen to arrive at a model that makes business sense. A lot of the new businesses don’t!
(The interview was conducted over phone and email)
4 thoughts on ““Fear has no place in success anywhere””
“An innovative employee is pretty much an entrepreneur but without the risk. He thinks different, behaves different, is passionate, wants to succeed and yet holds fear in him.” I would not want to agree completely with this. An innovative employee is pretty much an entrepreneur and wants the company to achieve greater milestones, but he is not without risks. In fact, s/he takes risks to take his/her innovative ideas forward in environments ruled by mediocrity. And yes, s/he has fears but overcomes them in the best interest of the company. This is the greatest risk that s/he takes, even if there is no support for him/her from the business leadership (or the entrepreneur). This is strange but often true in scenarios where the entrepreneur behaves more like a business person, but the innovative employee behaves like an entrepreneur.
Appreciate your viewpoint Pradipta. And also acknowledge the relative truth in what you say, having thought about and understood where you are coming from. Having said that, I hold JD’s opinion in high regard since he built very successful teams in very competitive organisations as an innovative employee; then, he helped build successful teams and organisations as a hands-on consultant; and now, for the past decade, he’s building two organisations that he has founded/co-founded. So, he’s been on both sides of the fence and on the fence, and with a very enviable track record in each phase. Most of his team members still consult him as a mentor, a few have founded businesses and social ventures, many are in management. What he means by risk is to risk everything for the sake of something that could (not necessarily will) create benefit for the broader community.
Thanks sir for your reply on my comment.
It is well beyond my capacity to reflect upon the capabilities, successes, and failures (if any) of someone like Mr. Jaisurya Das. It is indeed a privilege to learn from such visionaries. People like me comment on such high-level discourses in the hope that even great leaders would want to know perspectives from all levels and forgive if they do not make sense. My comment is just an input: it is neither “pro” nor “anti’.”
In the context of a comparison between an “innovative employee” and an “entrepreneur,” I see alignment, not “two sides” or “fences.” My comment, however, comes from my interaction with teams in varied scenarios over decades where I experienced “two sides” and “fences.”
All experiences, no matter how wide they are, are limited in their own ways. I am sharing mine to report that an innovative employee does take risks overcoming fears, but faces hurdles and backlashes, especially in work cultures where the leadership does not support entrepreneurial attitudes of the employees. Even a talented person such as Mr. Das had to wait on a tailor’s shop!
No innovation can be without any risks. Conflict arises when the employee takes the risks but the entrepreneur avoids them out of fear. Personally, however, I have experienced many cases where the leadership encouraged and supported me to take risks. In many such cases, we both won; and in such cases, the leader placed me in the front. In cases where we failed, the leader took the ownership of the failure. In turn, I have done the same in my own small ways.
May be, I am using the words “risk” and “fear” out of the context here, but I believe the point I am making is still valid in the context of the wide purport of the discussion.
The article is a great read and people like me should be immensely thankful that such discussions are publicly available.
Noted and agreed Pradipta. What the world needs right now is healthy dialogue and I thank you for initiating and participating in the same. Look forward to more discussions 😃