"In those days, 80 per cent of music sales in India were in cassettes, and only 20 per cent were in CDs. It is a reflection of the enormous changes over the past fifteen years that while India’s first e-commerce site launched with music cassettes, in less than twenty years, music has jumped through cassettes, CDs, iPods and now almost all music is free or streamed."
“We signed a simple agreement with Reliance Industries and got going with our dreams.”
"It is very important that co-founders have sufficient stake in the business to keep them motivated, cover for the high risks through significant future upside and to also ensure they have control in running the business."
"In several of these start-ups, the founders have sold part of their shares at high valuations and personally profited. This can unfortunately create a situation where a founder is no longer motivated to ensure that the company also profits as soon as possible and thereafter only the investors are concerned about where their investments are going. In extreme cases, the investors are forced to step in and directly take charge of the company affairs as has already happened in some Indian start-ups."
He quotes a popular tamil song "varavu yettana selavu pathana" to explain profitability vs. profits: where profitability is an idea and profit is a solid metric. He emphasizes throughout on this clarity as an essential for success.
Vaitheeswaran was the pioneer of e-commerce in India. Even more than 10-15 years ago, Fabmart implemented the things we know as normal today- including PIN-based payment gateway, e-wallets, electronic gift certificates, loyalty programmes, cross border gifting, cash on delivery systems, customized merchandise, and a unique business model that combined both offline and online stores.
Many such lessons are discussed in detail, and the book is a rare story of what can lead to failure. There is a treasure hoard of discussions and lessons that we can take away! This is a great read.