Why did you take the route of entrepreneurship?
I enjoyed the excitement of building two outfits after my working career and exited them; and a long career with the best IT companies gave me a ring side seat where I witnessed the impact of IT and the entrepreneurs it created.
There was no book in the form of a story focusing on entrepreneurship, software, call centers, emergence of the country as a software powerhouse, export of quality work leading to recognition of Indian intellect and the aspirations of new generation of Indians. I found a vacuum and wrote “The Age of Aspiration”. In other words, it was a piece of history waiting to be written.
When and why did you gravitate towards writing?
I found reading a pleasure and my childhood gave me easy access to books and encouragement. My English teacher Grover Ji constantly told his students of one book within every person which inspired me. Anyone can “do it”. Opportunities like writing press releases, creating house magazines, writing technical and managerial papers in International- professional and trade journals, participating as a speaker in seminars, honed my language skills and fired my writing spirit. I realized I could touch, move and inspire people with words. Writing is a semi craft with some big ground rules and the rest the writer makes for him/her self. Lest we forget, the word “novel” means original, new, one of a kind and not seen before, therefore writing a novel means creating something new which gives me intellectual challenge, spiritual fulfilment and joy in telling stories.
Please share your experiences with publishing.
My experiences of publishing have not been that great! Once you are in the business of writing you will learn that low brow, almost pedestrian books greatly out perform high brow pieces you would be proud of writing. It is humiliating and demeaning to realize how much money you can make from a low-effort piece than quality work. I see the books listed on self publishing online platforms and some of the best selling ones from Indians are either hard or soft core erotica.
How has the IT industry evolved from the early 2000s to now?
Information technology (IT) industry in India has played a key role in putting India on the global map and made significant contributions to the country’s economy. The application of IT by the Indian industry and government is creating entrepreneurs who provide best kind of technology and business services, ushering a knowledge based economy. IT has made tremendous impact on the lives of millions of people and our intellectual services are globally competitive- whose spin of effects are applied by other industries.
India wants to transform into a developed society which is not possible without IT; and it will lead to creating huge job opportunities and entrepreneurship over the next 10 years. This requires the IT companies to continually re-invent themselves through new business and application models, global delivery partnerships and be in the forefront of technological transformation. Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune are reckoned as top innovative and knowledge capitals of the modern world and companies from these cities are household names.
I see Indian IT industry shaping our country’s business, governance, academecia, political landscape and commerce by providing low cost, flexible solutions.
Can practicing meditation help contemporary entrepreneurs?
Focus, single-minded pursuit and hard work are the basis of success in every human activity and more so with cereberal ones. Remaining focused is easier said than done. Man has always been restless and driven by novelty and continues to be so no matter how sophisticated his thinking and his achievements.
Meditation and similar practices train the mind to be one pointed, not to be agitated by the bewitching panorama of the ever-changing transient world and engender a strong focus where thought and work merge. Meditation helps its practitioners to reprogram the mind to remain focused, attentive and goal oriented. This trait is important for success in any endeavor including entrepreneurship.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out as a writer or an entrepreneur, what would it be?
I think it is important for a writer to think that he is an entrepreneur also. The writer has to be actively involved with or without the publisher in selling. The real test of a book is the number of paying customers and in today’s world they decide how good your product is. Therefore, whether one is an entrepreneur or a writer one should constantly think how to reach potential customers and convert them into real customers. Lastly “my word is my honour” is a dictum that has never failed. A word given to the editor, publisher, designer, reader is sacrosanct, but it should be more so to one’s own self.
About the Interviewee:
Devinder Sharma has a PGDIE with many years in the IT Industry. He has traveled extensively in India and overseas and transitioned from official and technical writing to a novelist who tries to engage, excite and inform his readers. He is an entrepreneur, consultant, yoga and pranayama practitioner, meditator and a foodie who loves cooking. Married with two daughters they live in Bangalore.
Devinder Sharma has a PGDIE with many years in the IT Industry. He has traveled extensively in India and overseas and transitioned from official and technical writing to a novelist who tries to engage, excite and inform his readers.
He is an entrepreneur, consultant, yoga and pranayama practitioner, meditator and a foodie who loves cooking. Married with two daughters they live in Bangalore.