After interviewing Startups, now it is time to interview the people who contribute to the Startup Ecosystem in India. You love him, you hate him but you can never ignore him – Alok Rodinhood Kejriwal. CEO and Co-founder of Games2win.com and a staunch follower of Sri Sri Ravishankar, he has received his share of praise and criticism in the cyber space. We catch him in a lighter mode and managed to ask a wide variety of questions from business and entrepreneurship. Read on!
Q. Alok, you once said you want to be the Monk who bought the Ferrari. It comes without a doubt that you seem to have a perfect blend of spirituality and business acumen. How do you manage to do all this and still have time to nurture an awesome startup ecosystem?
We all evolve with time. For the first 20-25 years we are students, and then the next 25 years, we serve our families. Over time, we need to do something interesting with our life. Earning money and being spiritual are same sides of the coin. In india, we still frown upon wealth and see that collecting wealth is immoral. I want to challenge that stereotype by creating wealth. Our Robinhood robbed from the rich and distributed to the poor. I want to create wealth and also help people become richer.
For the time management, I would only like to say one thing : If people take an hour off their mobile phones every single day, they can become Valmiki.
Q. You want to become an Entrepreneur Capitalist (EC) unlike VCs. What is the status of Rodinhood Venture Partners?
It is correct that I want to become EC rather than VC. I made an expression of this desire some time back in press. For starting a venture like this, we need funds and formalizing of the processes. To be very frank, the Games business keeps me really busy. I am not actively working on this at the moment, but just waiting for the right time to arrive.
Q. It is heard that you plan to exit Games2Win by 2015. Is that right? What are you plans ahead?
Actually, the above statement is partly correct. I do not have any plans of exit from the company. We plan to make our investors very rich by 2015 or 2017.
Q. You raised $2M in a Series C recently. How are you planning to utilize the newly added funds?
That’s right. We focus on investing in three areas:
> Train people
> Hire people
> Buy a company that will expand our portfolio
Q. Talking of gaming, what do you think will be the scene in India in the coming years? How do you think entrepreneurs can help take India make a strong impression in this particular industry globally?
I would think people should start caring for themselves before worrying about the country. So, do not worry about making a strong impression about India globally. As a general tenet, what works in the world will work in India. People will love what can be made in India for India. Entrepreneurs should focus on creating the Industry before creating categories of games. In future, I would love to see localized games created for us. By localized, I mean entertainment for every common man and not the game accompanying a typical bollywood movie.
Q. I see a lot of young college kids getting excited by the e-commerce thing and starting ventures which ultimately don’t take off at all. What do you think about this particular industry and what advice would you give to India’s youngsters who are still in college?
These youngsters must be on drugs or really hallucinating. If you want to do things to be in the media, it is better to join a media company. As you mentioned that you do background work of 10-12 hours before conducting a Startup Interview, are these young people so dedicated? Whatever you want to do, always ask the question WHY. All the youngsters need to be encouraged and inspired by asking the question WHY on every aspect of the venture.
Q. In your most recent interview with Accenture, you said that you want everyone to be a businessman. You run the 2win group and I am sure you have employees working for you. Isn’t that contrary and how do you make both the things work?
I certainly do not want every single person on the earth to quit their jobs and open private limited companies. What I meant by businessman is the spirit of entrepreneurship. Spirit of ownership. When we do our job, are we doing it the best way we can?
Q. You recently mentioned the need for IIEs for entrepreneurship similar to IITs and IIMs. Do you have any plans of taking this ahead? Can we see rodinhooders join in?
Actually, Rodinhoods is the informal form of IIE. There are wide variety of posts and discussions that go into the website every single day. If we have IIE, it would be to encourage unlearning. Unlearn all the limitations taught by our educational system and the way we are brought up. In the future, I would love to have some crash-course kind of thing where we can teach entrepreneurs few things which they must do if they want to run a business. As with Rodinhood Venture Partners, IIE would be achieved when the time turns ripe for the idea.
Q. I did see lot of criticism in online forums for you, despite the noble intentions. Yet, you have responded to every single criticism directed to you, as much as you can. Tell us how do you deal with such kind of people?
The Indian System is too goody-goody. I thought, let me be barbarian and take it out in the open. Just kidding. Whenever there is an argument, it definitely hurts the people involved. But, as a result the entire audience gets to see the post-martem of the issue from all the sides. May be, a few people or society in large will benefit from the argument.
As for dealing with negative people, it is important to disassociate yourself as a person and argue against the point. I train myself to become strong and prove my view, rather than prove myself personally.
Q. How important do you think company culture is to any business? How would you rate yours, at Games2win?
Culture is very important in a Company. Otherwise, your company would be very similar to the cultureless BPO or Call centre organization. At Games2Win, our culture is simple – FUN. To make fun is harder than making Plutonium. As a matter of fact, 20% of the joinees leave (on their own) in the first 3 months because of the burnout (and so don’t fit into our culture).
Q. What are you most excited about at the moment?
Two things give me the energy to jump out of my bed every single day:
Business: Currently, a lot of opportunity exists in the Games market. As people move more towards smartphones and tablets, capturing that segment with entertaining games is exciting. Marwaris get excited looking at numbers THAN staring or looking at women! So, a quick dashboard with numbers is a strong motivator to get up.
Serve People: What can I do today to help people? When I see people reciprocating my messages or benefiting from the posts I write, it leaves me with deep sense of gratification.
Q. Finally, any message to our readers?
The name TheTechPanda is beautiful. A Panda can be cuddly but it does not need to know anything about itself. As Humans, we should find our purpose in life. Think on why you are who you are.