The first time I heard about Gourav Jaswal was some time in 2003-2004 when I was early in my career and working with technology media group, Jasubhai Digital Media.
“You must meet him,” Maulik Jasubhai, the group’s CEO had told me while hiring me. And then there were legends about how Jaswal would turn obscure ideas and aimless pursuits into meaningful and impactful journeys.
Finally, I met him few weeks ago when he walked into FactorDaily office one afternoon.
Over past few years, he’s been running Prototyze, a new age business incubator.
Jaswal is not on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, you name it. But he still manages to stay ahead of the information clutter, thanks to “the human and interpersonal networks” he so passionately curates.
Jaswal is fascinating and inspiring for many reasons as you can also find out by reading this narrative from Sumanth Raghavendra.
For me, I believe more of us should learn from the way Jaswal has built and evolved with his own “human networks”, far from the clutter and pretentious worlds of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Manav Garg is clearly an outlier in the Indian startup ecosystem. Coming from Moga, a town in Punjab, Garg conquered his inability to speak English and fear of failure to set a launchpad for himself. Also, he never went to an IIT.
After finishing his graduation from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Garg joined G Premjee Trading on its commodities desk starting with coffee in 1998. From around $50 million worth of trading, he became part of the team that scaled it to over half a billion dollars in three years.
Later, in 2001, Garg started building Eka. He’s among a bunch of rare few entrepreneurs who come from core business backgrounds to build a software company.
“A lot of time my wife and family ask me why I’m going to work all the time, working so hard. It’s not really about work, but it’s the mission for me,” he says.
“For me, it’s a mission. You’ll always have enough to survive. I want to change the entire agricultural space in India.”
Garg has also learned to use meetings over a cup of coffee as a negotiation and persuasion tool. From getting his first $1 million customer for Eka in 2001 to hiring his head of sales, Garg’s coffee meetings have delivered. “This Singapore customer called us after reading our responses to his RFP, said he will never ever work with us. I persuaded him to have a coffee with me the next day. I flew overnight to be there,” he recalls. Ditto with Rick Nelson who Manav hired as the head of sales in New York in March 2009.