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Don't Leave India

Why you need to stay and build a fortune right here!
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Most Indian youth want to study and live abroad but 8 years ago I made a pivotal decision that changed everything for me when I decided to move to India from the US.

Having lived and worked in the US for the previous 10 years, I was certain that I would not fit into the work-life culture here. I came to India to visit my family before going to Australia and upon my arrival I was stunned by the growth the country was experiencing. For anyone who knows what used to be where the InOrbit Mall in Malad is right now, you know what I'm talking about. It was a garbage dump and people used to be scared to take that route after 9 or 10 at night.

I wanted to be a part of this ecosystem which was nurturing and growing some great companies. So I dove in -head first- to see for myself what I could do and how I could 'make it big'. I started out as a Senior Business Analyst for an IT firm and soon learned that it wasn't for me. In my three months there I happened to attend a Business Communications training and the trainer seemed to take a keen interest in my ability to communicate effectively. He offered me an opportunity and I jumped on it not long after I left the job.

3 years later I was running my own company focused on leadership skills development. We mostly did high potential development programs for various companies like Mahindra, Reliance and GIA but my goal was to go higher. I wanted to work with upper management because well, that's where you can actually make a difference and it's pays much better. Soon enough I was charging 7-10 thousand dollars for my one or two day sessions. This was just awesome! I mean I got to travel to countried like Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai (not to mention the other beautiful cities in India) and I conducted all kinds of leadership development programs for VPs, Directors and the likes. I was half their age but they considered me a peer when we'd have those meaningful conversations during my sessions. I think my skill was in the ability to listen, really listen during my sessions and channel the leaders' energies to a conclusive objective. I came in with: they already know the answer, I just have to help them find it.

As I did more of these kinds of sessions, I wanted to bring more value to my clients so I used some game-like elements during my session. The engagement levels just went through the roof and I was able to double my charges! When I'd quote $15k for an intervention I'd hear my clients say: "your solutions so awesome that we know we need it but the worse thing about it that we have nothing else to compare this to." I'm sure this threw a wrench in their purchasing cycle of shortlisting 3-4 vendors before proceeding. Soon enough we used the service money we earned from our sessions and invested it into software development. We built a game that aligned with key leadership competencies in a few months and started using it with our clients. Needless to say, everyone that ever experienced the game only raved about it.

After doing a bit of this, I realized there there must be a way for me to productize this thing. It took me a good 2 years to figure out what I wanted to do with the game we had built. 2 years is a certainly a long time and I suppose that time would have been lesser had I had some support in the form of mentorship or something. Finally, we figured out what we wanted to do and now we're headed towards our objective -full steam ahead. We now have two games that have been played by some of the Fortune 500 companies like Motorola Solutions and Dell. Its not much but the company is worth 15 crores and we have, by no means, arrived -we're only just getting started!


So what's my point? Don't leave. India is a gold-mine if you have the right pickaxe. If you don't then find one, build one, do whatever it takes but stay here. If you want to go away to learn; learn and then come back. There's great opportunity waiting to be leveraged here. What seems like a problem (population) is actually a solution to many a problems. I can be a testament to the fact that you can make it if you're willing to put in the work! Build something different, something that people need. Don't go join a large corporation, they don't need you anyway. They'll do okay without you, I promise!

So you say, I don't have an idea (yet). Well then join someone who's idea you can feel passionate about. I mean I'd hire for attitude in a heartbeat! Because I can teach skills but not attitude. So get your attitude right, join a start up or launch one and go make history! What's the worse that could happen? You'll go bankrupt? Nah, the worse that could really happen is that your energies and passions are under-utilized and the life of you gets snuffed out by your manager who doesn't give a damn about you because he/she's been in the system for so long because it's too late for him... but it's not too late for you!

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