“Dream with your eyes open” an entrepreneurial journey- Ronnie Screwvala
This book by Ronnie Screwvala goes well beyond strategies for wealth accumulation and talks of genuine value creation from almost nothing. A personal account of a man embracing and accepting failure as an integral part of success, this is a remarkable story of a rank outsider entering the closed club of Bollywood, fighting tremendous odds and coming out a winner. Ronnie encounters failure and disappointments on what he calls the “journey of entrepreneurship” and relates how he overcomes them all.
His own experiences emanate from the media and entertainment industry but the content is relevant for upcoming entrepreneurs anywhere in the world. Ronnie realised very early that the race for the top starts at the finishing line and he advises quick scaling up and expansion of any new venture.
As a non-conformist he thoroughly downplays the idea of luck and advises focus and single minded determination to achieve success. Stay the course – it is the holy grail of business and all the ingredients that go to make great entrepreneurs look a lot like the recipe of luck. He also has quite a different take on exiting a business and the common management concept of having a plan B. He never timed his exits from the various ventures he divested and is convinced that a plan B is unlikely to guarantee great success, it can at best ensure survival. Upset with their arrogance, Ronnie had the guts to cut a 100 million $ negotiation with Sony and tell them “No need for another call at midnight, we will not be going forward”
He strongly believes in investing in talent and keeping a closely knit high performance team in play for high growth new ventures. Drawing lessons from theatre Ronnie observes that no actor worth his salt will go on stage without knowing his lines. He therefore proposes relentless analysis in an environment where your business can become outdated any moment.
Challenges in India include the inability to face fear and uncertainty, a conservative mind set, a low appetite for risk, no gift of the gab and a general lack of confidence. Ronnie overcame them all and after successfully divesting his various businesses is now entering his second innings.
Handling failure, scaling up business and choosing the right team may not be new management phenomena but coming from an emotionally charged individual account they bear conviction and impact the reader at a very personal level.