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Book review: ‘Just Aspire’ – Leading from the trenches

India’s software successes are well documented – and justifiably so – with the well-researched biographies of Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji; and articulate works from Nandan Nilekani. However, India’s growth in the IT hardware and mobile industries has gone unnoticed.

In that sense the book of Ajai Chowdhry ‘Just longing’ fills an important gap in India’s business history, tracing the roots of India’s knowledge economy through the PC revolution and subsequent mobile phone boom.

Two of India’s pioneering IT companies — Infosys and HCL — were founded by young engineers from non-business families, during the pre-liberalization era. They represent India’s first generation of entrepreneurs who created businesses of global scale, long before founders and startups took on the greatness they were given. enjoy today.

This is an era where starting and running a business is a lot more complicated than India is today. It was a time when getting funding was not easy and politicians and bureaucrats were not expected to facilitate, or quite frankly, not even understand what ‘easily doing business’ meant. .

As one of the co-founders of HCL, Ajai’s contribution to shaping India’s IT and hardware industry is unmatched. Only Desire provides an insight into Ajai’s personal life, interwoven with the story of the development of India’s IT and hardware industry as well as several important milestones.

(PIC: Amazon)

(PIC: Amazon)

The author’s passion and deep sense of commitment to making a difference, as well as the author’s discipline and ability to forge long-term relationships outside of business.

HCL’s story is a fascinating one and, in a way, a template many entrepreneurs have followed to this day. It’s like the original movie script, remade every decade or two. But at those times, leaving a stable job and starting HCL must have been quite a difficult decision, and Ajai had everything going on in his head when he made this decision.

Inspiring Ajai’s life story. He is extremely humble and grounded when it comes to telling his story, starting from his days in Jabalpur up to the point where he worked with six co-founders who left their stable jobs to follow. chase dreams. A team he calls technical dreamers.

The book takes in-depth insights into some of the blue sky thoughts and explores the opportunities entrepreneurs have experienced in their journey to building their businesses. No template exists. There is no priority to follow. It only takes instinct and a strong will to succeed.

The book provides interesting details about the two key partnerships that have boosted HCL’s fortunes; The first company with Hewlett Packard to manufacture mini PCs and distribute PCs in India. The second – in partnership with Nokia – as the national distributor for its mobile handsets.

He is not afraid to acknowledge Shiv Nadar as his friend and mentor. This quality is hard to find in today’s startup culture and entrepreneurship.

This story is a testament that founders all together can define roles and functions, and as Ajai advises new entrepreneurs later in the book, they have can choose and support a leader. This, like many of the other suggestions readers make, is backed up by proof of concept — Ajai’s journey.

Ajai’s narration of some important inflection points is worth a read. During my time at Motorola, I came across many of the strategies Ajai and HCL have implemented to help Nokia deliver and maintain its market leadership position. To hear that from him in this book is an insight. His lean thinking not only helps grow businesses, but it also helps build organizations.

True to form, Ajai begins stories of growing up in Jabalpur up to the founding of HCL and remains restless and tireless. Even after he retired from HCL, his involvement in contributing to society and focusing on education is commendable.

He is currently focusing on the EPIC Foundation, a non-profit that is working to make India a global player in the world’s electronics hub by introducing policies to enable the design and production of goods. electronic system output.

All in all, ‘ Only Desire‘ is an excellent read of practical wisdom from a business leader who has led from the trenches, and an inspirational book for young minds looking to dive into the world of entrepreneurship. .

Check out the book on Amazon.

(Lloyd Mathias is an Angel Investor and Independent Director. He has a broad vision of the development of India’s IT & Hardware sector as a senior executive at Motorola and HP. )

Ajai Chowdhry’s Aspiration.

Publisher: Harper Business.

Price: ₹509 (Hardcover).

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