Kishore Biyani’s entrepreneurial journey has been a rollercoaster ride since he first started selling fashion fabric to garment manufacturers in November 1983. Over the last four decades, Biyani has been through several cycles of business and technology disruptions, including the economic slowdown of 2008 when he had to scale down the business, negotiate with the lenders and rejig the operations.
For Biyani, cash-rich and aggressive conglomerates such as Reliance and Tatas on the one hand, and new age disrupters, including Flipkart and Amazon, on the other, have posed a never-ending battle.
“My father used to tell me that in my kundali, in my horoscope, something is written that everybody around you, with you, will make wealth — and you will never make wealth. So I still believe in that quite a lot. I think I am ‘Andhon mein kana raja’, I am not great,” he tells me in this episode of Outliers podcast.
Biyani’s latest ammunition to fight these battles is a combination of his customer base and technology-powered data insights for making decisions.
“I asked a legendary investor one question: ‘How do I remove emotions and gut and instinct from my decision making?’ He said, ‘Data.’ And from that day onwards, I started working on data,” he says.
“Data doesn’t lie, data has no hierarchy, data has no caste, creed; it’s the most secular thing you can always think of, and I think the person who used to take every decision by gut or instinct is now saying that data is the only way to take decisions.”
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Recommended reading: Retailer Kishore Biyani: ‘We Believe in Destroying What We Have Created’