It ain’t about the money…..
I am always asked how I do so many things and my answer always is, “ I don’t do so many things.. I only do one thing at a time” It’s about focus!
Another question I am asked is, “Are you not afraid?” and I reply, afraid of what? Losing everything? Been there, done that .Not once but twice in my life, once when I was 11 and my dad lost everything after an accident and once when I was 19 when I believed and trusted a friend and lent money and he lost it all. Both times I was exposed to not having anything, looking at life with a question on my mind – to live or not, and both times I picked myself up and got on with it.
Honestly it was not so bad. Having nothing is not bad at all. It is the fear of losing that makes it so fearsome. Having gone through the experience twice, now I fear nothing. It is all a part of a bigger game and I am here to do my best and enjoy every minute. What I experience is a great gift and for that I am eternally thankful.
One may ask “How can you drive businesses and yet be so philosophical. Don’t the two contradict each other?” “Not at all”, I say, “One is merely played in the moment and the other played for a lifetime” I enjoy both and it only helps me do what I do better. To do business with a clean heart, an open mind, with fair and generous hands and with the belief that by sharing we will all only benefit and do better. My philosophical bent of mind ensures that I constantly live up to those goals.
I started working when I was 14 by opening a sports shop in Chennai on the beach. Not knowing what else to do, and playing cricket at a national level, I felt the only thing I was competent enough to do or speak about was sports, mostly cricket. Fortunately for me god was kind, friends kinder and I did well.
By the time I was 17, circumstances, being in the right place at the right time and one more kind person later, I started an advertising agency. When I was 20 life seemed to be settling down. Playing the amateur golf circuit helped take me around the country exposing me to people at a different levels. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately (from a spiritual point of view), things went wrong, my dad died, I had a brain tumour, my friend ran away with money and I found myself on the street.
I decided to take a break (after pondering over suicide as an option) and wandered the world as a gypsy. I came back to India for a few years, then went back to the US and got into technology. That led to 20 years of building businesses, experiences good and bad, successes and losses, trusting and losing trust and learning to accept it all in my stride. God was kind and I was able to build a platform of safety for my family and for myself as I grew older.
It finally came down to “Why not give back where I was given so graciously?” I started DAS STAR VENTURES, a vehicle structured as a holding company, set up to generate new models of investing, enabling first entrant entrepreneurs to raise money and build expertise, leading them towards accelerated value creation. Today we are four companies strong. We work as a family and together we intend to show that if we work for the right reasons the money will follow.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
The companies I have promoted in the last two years driven by young first time entrepreneurs are
I am writing two books currently –
“The mirror within” (a book that encourages introspection) and a second book “If you want to shit, shit well” (a book for young entrepreneurs)
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
My biggest challenge has been keeping my faith in humanity and continuing to take a higher path and look at the bigger picture in spite of the experiences that constantly have led me to take a more cynical view of life in general. I’m happy to say that brief experiences of a higher truth have helped me keep the faith.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
To have been happy no matter what ….. where I was in life, good times and bad, love won or lost , I have always found myself and the joy within me and that to me has been my victory over myself, my monkey mind and that is my greatest achievement.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I am always doing only what I want to do…..never in a moment wishing for another. What a waste of this moment that would be!
But when I am done with this phase of my life I will be writing music, playing my guitar, spending time with my love, travelling, riding my Harley, sailing, golfing…. Living life to the hilt.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I believe inspiration come from various sources – people, events and feelings…. There can never be one that can define us, makes us, take us to the end of our journey. I have been blessed to have many…..friends, teachers, colleagues, team mates, employees, employers, lovers, my parents especially my mother, siblings and my beautiful nieces…
What does the future hold for you?
The future is a surprise and I hope it remains one. I like to wake up looking forward to new experiences.