‘Either build a high-speed boat or abandon ship’ – 50 quotes from Indian startup journeys

From survival to speed, witness the memorable journey of Indian entrepreneurship in these quotes, excerpts, and stories!

‘Either build a high-speed boat or abandon ship’ – 50 quotes from Indian startup journeys

Tuesday June 30, 2020,

7 min Read

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a weekly feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of this past week (see the previous post here). Share these 50 gems and insights from the week of June 22-29 with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights. See also our special compilation of quotes related to India’s coronavirus responses here.


Choose your co-founder well. Starting a company is like getting into a marriage, so make sure you enjoy working with them. - Mudasar Mohamed, Ezyhaul

Running a startup is like running in high heels. Running a social startup is like running in high heels backwards. - Jakob Detering, Social Impact Award Europe

A healthy mix of paranoia, optimism and delusion helps ride the ups, downs and sharp curves that the journey throws at you. - Vivekananda Hallekere, Bounce

Challenges are always part of life. - Chandra Vardhana, Prayaana Labs

Only when we go through these struggles and achieve success, we become stronger than before. - Annu Rani, Asian Games medallist

The many challenges of our current environment also give rise to many opportunities to demonstrate resilience, compassion, and creativity. And that’s what inclusive leadership does. - Sudeep Ralhan, Walmart Labs


There is no reason why women can’t be successful entrepreneurs in India. - Rubal Chib, QZense

Architecture is still considered to be a male-dominated profession, and women are labelled as mere ‘decorators,’ and the more technical aspect of work is handed over to men. - Dilraj L Bhatia, DBEL Studio

Women entrepreneurs are known to have an advantage relative to men in strategic innovation, and entrepreneurial mindset. - Dafna Kariv

More diverse teams perform better financially, particularly when women occupy top management roles. - Usha Kommuru, Anthill Ventures

To develop a leadership pipeline, organisations should identify high-potential women across all levels in their firms and actively mentor them. - Soumya Rajan, Waterfield Advisors

Allyship ensures the much-needed culture shift in order to facilitate a more inclusive and open work environment for employees who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. - Shilpa Sinha Harsh, Hinduja Global Solutions

It is hard to ignore the role of Fair and Lovely advertisements in shaping colourism in India. - Nida Hasan, Change.org India


As technology evolves, so does the benchmark for innovation. - Sudhir Sethi, Chiratae Ventures

Technology, to us, is the lever that can help achieve scale, depth and inclusiveness in debt markets cutting across sectors. - Gaurav Kumar, Vivriti Capital

Leveraging visualisation technologies such as AR/VR along with AI can have a significant impact on knowledge absorption and retention. - Zeba Khan, Xenvis Solutions

Data has been used in F-1 for a long period of time. It has improved team and driver performance. - Rob Smedley, Formula 1

Blockchain has tremendous potential and has shown big success for large enterprises globally. - Dinesh Sharma, Volody

We must leverage modern technology to enable electric mobility to scale up in India, and make it more affordable. - Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

With AI making great strides in generating knowledge from raw video, image, voice, and social media text, knowledge creation and management has to be redefined. - Gopichand Katragadda, Myelin Foundry

The banking software technologies are stuck in the 80s because of the legacy mainframe systems which are hardly able to cope with today’s digital system. - Murali Nair, Zeta


The likelihood of a user going to a store to browse or discover new apps has declined significantly, compared to the early days of the stores. - Christian Eckhardt, Customlytics

Services’ contracts are more complex as compared to goods and commodities. - Kanti Prabha, SirionLabs

Patents are complex, and people don’t understand it. - Neeraj Jhanji, Elo

Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. - Sundar Pichai, Google

The dependence of Indian IT companies on work visas has been coming down. - Madhu Babu Centrum Broking

Taiwan didn’t become a manufacturing hub of the world just like that — government policies and labour laws played a key role. - Rashi Sanon Narang, Heads Up For Tails

Emerging markets across the world are far more complex, with different languages, cultures, hyperlocal nuances, and densely populated cities, than the developed markets. - Ajay Bulusu, Nextbillion.ai


Uttarakhand has every essential aspect to emerge as a hub for technology-domain based companies. - Manas Upadhyay, Dtown Robotics

The goal is to dismantle and destroy bonded labour not just in Karnataka, but across India. - Kiran Kamal Prasad, Jeevika Free

The biggest mistake, over the generations, has been the abandonment of traditions to take on large cycles of debt to live in cities. - Sridhar Vembu, Zoho

Language, if solved well, can be an opportunity rather than a barrier to reach millions of consumers who have been underserved. - Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart

India has emerged as one of the top gaming hubs of the world within a matter of years. - Dinesh Singh, Leo Capital


Various organisations are working for the development of the craft sector, but are doing it individually, thus resulting in duplication of efforts. - Kailash Tulsi Gajara, Megastores

Ice creams can be manufactured in bulk. It is a standardised product, and - most importantly - the owner has complete control over it. - Siddhant Kamath, Naturals Ice Cream

It is certainly the right time to start a private label and sell online. - Suraj Vazirani, The Beauty Co.

Just like information retention is redundant now, so will a lot of lower-level problem-solving and analytical skills be in the future. - Chaitanya Chinchlikar, Whistling Woods International

Gamification principles transcend all age groups and generations. - Rajib Chowdhury, TGC

You might be able to afford a five-star lunch, but it’s always better to share a home-cooked meal with colleagues at work. - Harshvardhan Lunia, Lendingkart


Be positive and think about innovative things that you can do when you come back to work. - DJ Akbar Sami

Eating local is environmentally friendly as it reduces the need for transport globally. You end up supporting the environment in whatever way you can. - Deepa Kannan, PFNR

Losing weight and getting healthier is a marathon that must be done right. - Kavita Devgan, ‘Fix it with Food’

We have disturbed the carbon cycle and now it is time to use technology... to reset that balance and adopt the carbon cycle right. - Mukesh Ambani

Water-sufficiency is known to be the most crucial precursor to improved agricultural yields. - Varun Kashyap, Let’s Endorse


Relevance comes when you keep a track of what is trending. - Snehil Dixit Mehra, BC (Bheri Cute) Aunty

Storytelling can bring people together and can be a voice when you often can’t find the words. - Ridhima Lulla, Eros Group

An artist is capable of making a bigger picture than by speaking or writing. - Sonal Varshneya

Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness. - Ruta Sepetys

Strong survival instinct has led to either innovations or dirty practices. - Samir Sathe, Wadhwani Foundation

Endowment funds help ensure financial health of any institute, thereby encouraging growth and self-sufficiency. - Kumar Mangalam Birla, IIM-A Board


If you have a purpose, a vision before you then you can be married to your purpose and vision. - Surbhi Agarwal, The Art Exotica

Every aspiring and disruptive entrepreneur must take up the responsibility of marketing. - Antano Solar John, EIT

We should try with our own money first instead of asking funds from outside. How will someone else believe in your idea if you don’t? - Neerja Lakhani, Inner Sense

Either build a high-speed boat or abandon ship. Hoping for the winds to change can be a frustrating wait. - Shripati Acharya, Prime Venture Partners

YourStory Media has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Edited by Suman Singh