Top lessons for entrepreneurs from BookMyShow's Ashish Hemrajani at TechSparks 2020

By Debolina Biswas
November 10, 2020, Updated on : Tue Jun 15 2021 13:01:22 GMT+0000
Top lessons for entrepreneurs from BookMyShow's Ashish Hemrajani at TechSparks 2020
At TechSparks 2020, BookMyShow's Founder and CEO Ashish Hemrajani, reveals what it takes to build a successful business and remaining driven in the process.
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BookMyShow Founder and CEO Ashish Hemrajani is a man of action. No fluff or pretence —  he is what he is. 

In a world where being a workaholic is glorified, Ashish continues to believe that in order to succeed at entrepreneurship, one has to live a “very balanced life”. At the 11th edition of YourStory’s flagship event, TechSparks 2020, Ashish said, 

“I start my day at 9 am with Zoom meetings. I take no break for six hours, and at 3 pm, it is a hard stop. Post that, I am on my bullet; I run, swim, watch Netflix, and read books. You do that by keeping on schedule.”

In a candid and eloquent conversation with YourStory’s Shradha Sharma, the seasoned entrepreneur revealed what it takes to build a successful business while living life, truly king size. 


Ashish Hemrajani, Co-founder and CEO of BookMyShow, in conversation with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory during TechSparks 2020

On the future of the entertainment industry

  • “High winds don’t make great sailors, light wind sailing makes great sailors...they equalise everything. The question is, are we high wind sailors or light wind sailors during the pandemic? What we do in the next 12 to 24 months will define us.” 
  • “We currently live in a germaphobia economy. After lockdown, we will be in a claustrophobia economy.”
  • “In the next few months, you should see markets take up. Given the tailwinds, new forms of entertainment are here to stay.”
“There will be a digital transformation of cinema -- TV will become on-demand, and cable will suffer the most. Experiential marketing will continue to be there.”

OTT vs cinema

  • “OTT is democratising talent.” 
  • “True test over there (OTT platforms) is not subscription, but creating good content. And deciding upon it (content) is the challenge.”
  • “OTT is still meant for the United Kingdom of India, a large part still wants free content. Going to movies is still something people want to do. Cinemas give you escape from the homes and the environment. It is the most scalable AC environment you can give.”
  • Ashish feels that the kind of content emerging out of OTT platforms are best suited for people who have an ‘American style of living’, or “India that has high-speed internet and is gadget driven.”
  • While OTT has picked momentum, Ashish believes that cinema will continue to attract Bharatwasis.
“There is a need for entertainment for all of them, and cinema provides an escape from reality, from their homes and environment...In India, cinema is sold as an air-conditioned experience.” 
Ashish Hemrajani at TechSparks 2016

Ashish Hemrajani at TechSparks 2016

What is BookMyShow doing?

  • “We haven’t survived for 20 years by being unfair to people. In this pandemic, we have associated with founders where we can add value.”
  • “We live by our customers...listening to them is what the culture is at BookMyShow.” 
“We are working on four to five things. We are redefining ourselves. Hopefully, it's around digitisation, content, we are building areas of excellence.”
  • “For the next two to three years, we will be talking about these five areas of priority which we set for ourselves. The usual business will go on. But that will be our priority”
  • “Creating value for society is one of the main purposes.”

Building culture in an organisation

  • “Be a good person and follow open communication. Take care of your people.”
  • “It's not a one size fit all considering the diversity. All this (open communication, serving society, taking care of employees) defines the culture of the company.”

How to remain driven?

  • “The key is to self-prepare to what you are looking for in life. Follow your passion.” 
“Your Monday mornings have to be as exciting as Friday. The day that equation changes, then my work is a problem.”
  • “I have seen entrepreneurs who have a good one to two years, but one thing goes wrong and depression sets in...It's a journey, it’s a marathon. But are you taking care and creating value for yourself? If you want to live a long haul, in work or in business, you will have to live a very balanced life.”
  • While Ashish works hard and has created a successful business over the years, he believes that one should make the most of their weekends, or off-days. 
  • “Weekends are all yours to spend. You learn and pick from experiences. If I can’t do these things then it's not worth it. The sooner you have this realisation, it is better.”

TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

Techsparks 2020

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta