Mumbai-based Parthajeet Sarma loved writing from his school days. He was an active writer contributing to school magazines and newspapers, but somewhere along the way his writing skills were left on the back-burner once he took up a professional course and later started working. Trained as an architect from Sir J J College of Architecture in Mumbai, Parthajeet later went on to complete an MBA. He worked with a few MNCs before starting out on his own.
Parthajeet’s architectural venture is called iDream, where he designs corporate facilities and has worked on designing workplaces for various Fortune 500 corporates. In his other avatar, where he revived his passion for writing Parthajeet has penned down his thoughts in his maiden outing ‘Smart Phones, Dumb People?’ The book brings to fore the dichotomy of the world we live in – where many of our lives are ruled by smartphones and internet, there are also millions who go without easy access to basics like water and electricity. YourStory caught up with the part time author and full time architect to discuss the book, his buildings and things in between. Excerpts.
Thoughts on entrepreneurship
Parthajeet turned entrepreneur because the draw of ‘freedom of choice’ was the biggest thing for him. “To me, the freedom of choice is success…the freedom of choice in what I want to do, the choice of how I want to give back to society,” he says passionately. He says technology has touched lives of people in developed nations, and to a large extent in countries like India and innovation remains the key if one wishes to survive in such competitive markets. On the other hand, parts of countries like India have also remained backward because innovative technology has not reached these parts – this is a big opportunity for entrepreneurs, says Parthajeet -- to use ground breaking innovation, based on technology and uplift such parts of India.
About the book
Parthajeet finished the first draft of the manuscript in a year and took another year for the publisher to fine-tune it and have it ready for the market. Telling us about the book, Parthajeet says: “My book raises some questions, and hence the question mark at the end. The title hints that perhaps we human beings need to be smart in adopting modern technology…such that we can sort out some of our priority areas like hunger, corruption.”
Though he loves writing, and wishes to write one book a year, to satisfy his passion he regularly maintains a blog and writes for newspapers and magazines. When asked what were the similarities he finds between writing a book and constructing a building, Parthajeet says there are a lot of synergies in the process. “You write a book page by page; over a long period of time. Buildings are built that way, brick by brick over a long time. Both are highly customized process and changes from project to project,” he explains. However in the real estate industry, Parthajeet has been trying to change things a bit and has been working with standardized processes of erecting buildings. iDream builds house using the pre-fabricated process, where homes are made in blocks and shifted from one place to another.Comparison between writing a book and building an enterprise
For Parthajeet, strong values are paramount in building a successful enterprise. He assumes a philosophical tone, when he says that he feels privileged at having achieved whatever he has without having to fall for any unethical scheme of things. “If one has strong values, coupled with passion, a snowballing effect takes place and you are surrounded by an increasing number of like minded people who will always support you,” he says. Book writing has been a new experience for him and it has been an endeavour that he has done from his heart. “I did this more for myself…not for ‘the market’. For a book to ‘sell’ well, I do appreciate that it is important to be aware of what potential readers want and what the current trends are. Within such boundaries, it is important to be yourself and write from your heart…that way you will be able to get your point across better,” philosophizes Parthajeet.
Taking the analogy between an author and an entrepreneur further, Parthajeet says earlier authors were the creative guys and were expected to focus on good content. But in today’s changing world authors are also expected to be market savvy and spend time on promotions. “Success seem to be defined by number of copies sold or awards received; both requiring promotions. Promotions today need to adapt to the new world order of the online world besides the off-line word to spread the word,” he says. Equally important is the offline buzz and the author and his team have to continue working on generating buzz for the book after the initial 3-4 months of euphoria. He understands things can be tough for first time authors, but also understands the need to be tenacious. But above all the razzmatazz, comes the need for a superior product in the first place, which he says is based on some basic judgment of what the market will accept.
While Parthajeet understands the need to adapt as per changing society, he goes back to his point on technology. “We are reading books, as well as consuming on iPad. At the same time, innovators are coming up with newer and newer devices every other day. These are the thinkers. It is important for us not to become consumption junkies, and spend time in innovative thought processes and intellectually stimulating company,” he says.
You can get yourself a copy of Parthajeet’s book here.