There are some stories that seems like either fake ones or a perfect dream, the ones that stand out have a hard fact to back the story.
Gurbaksh Chahal, an Indian born American Entrepreneur’s autobiography ‘The Dream’ is one of them.
The book seems like a perfect dream of a 25 year old dude minting money (one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs); the hard fact is just that he sold two companies for ~$340mn (BlueLithium to Yahoo for $300mn), all at the age of 25.
Gurbaksh Chahal (called’G’) was a shy Indian kid whose parents moved to US for a better life and once he moved with his brothers and sisters, he had to face all the racial discrimination (for wearing a turban).
At the age of 19 or so, he got interested in stock market and while he and his dad made a good amount of money in the market, the dream was cut short with the economy meltdown. Meanwhile, Gurbaksh got interested in DoubleClick model (Internet in general) and his first unofficial venture was acquisition of deadly domain names, Dell.net, HP.net etc thinking these companies will pay a million dollars to get back those domain. That didn’t happen and instead he received cease-and-desist order.
Gurbuksh’s first venture was ClickAgents, a company that primarily an ad network connecting publishers and advertisers. The company was sold to ValueClick for $40mn, though Gurbaksh had a rough ride with the acquisition (couldn’t take the bureaucracy of the organization etc).
After his non-competing agreement ended, he started BlueLithium,a company in behavioural targeting space and was acquired by Yahoo for $300mn (cash deal!).
What’s interesting about the book is honesty and candidness of Gurbaksh. He makes a few sweeping statements that might baffle you (perception is reality, so a little showoff is helpful) and he doesn’t shy away from talking about how his Indian junta tried to pull him down.
Advice to Entrepreneurs
At the age of 25, very few individuals go through what Gurbaksh has been through [lawsuits, floating rumours about him burning his restaurant for insurance money, his partner suing him etc] and the charismatic entrepreneur does talk about his personal life (lack of girlfriends et al).
Gurbaksh also shares some of the hard learnings he has been through in his entrepreneurial journey (he is currently running gWallet)- for instance off the court settlements which he didn’t want to, but was advised by his lawyers to do so etc.
What I like about the book is its capitalistic attitude – almost all of us are capitalistic in nature, though some tend to put a garb of philanthropy/noble intentions.
Success comes from wanting to win, so you’ve got to want it bad—you really need that killer instinct. At the end of the day, no matter what they say, it’s not about how you play the game, but about winning. As American football coach Vince Lombardi reportedly said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
IF you want to read story that speaks of aggressiveness, passion and most importantly, a jargon free story of an entrepreneur, I recommend this book.
Few insights shared in the book
- Listen to your heart.
- Forget noble motivations.
- Adjust your attitude.
- Figure out what you’re good at.
- Trust your gut.
- Do your homework.
- Be frugal.
- Learn to listen.
- Own your mistakes.
- Never lose sight of the competition.
- Watch your back.
- Don’t procrastinate
- Don’t do anything by half-measures.
- Always negotiate from a position of strength.
- Pick your battles. The fighting never really ends. Don’t let the meaningless skirmishes sap your strength; you’re in this to win the war.
- Grow a thick skin—a very thick skin.
If you think these are generic advice (which anybody can give), you have to read the book to understand the perspective. Not too many people are in the same league as a 25 year old guy who is a self-made millionaire and is on a success spree!
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