A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee
‘A lot can happen over coffee’. This was more than just a tagline, for most of us. I am sure founder Siddhartha had a lot more on his mind. Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) has been a power-house to a trillion people. While some had their first date there, some had taken crucial business decisions; there were even people who had their virtual office in CCD.
Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, CCD has indirectly given birth to a lot of entrepreneurial ideas, and I can very well vouch for the fact that at least 35 to 40 percent of entrepreneurs functioning today had their genesis in one of the outlets of CCD.
When I first started writing about startups and tried delving deeper into the life of an entrepreneur, I discovered that this breed of people don’t really care about fancy office spaces, neither do they care about making profits, as soon as they started their business
Something disruptive. Something unique. Some kind of problem-solving.
With this intention in mind, hundreds of thousands of people started exploring their entrepreneurial voyage, and so many of them are profitable today.
What happened to the man behind all such successes?
Why did he give up on life so easily?
A Little About Siddhartha
A popular saying by Steve Jobs says, “Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”
Wish Siddhartha could cling to it too.
30th and 31st July really proved to be disarraying for everyone, as there were flashy headlines with regards to the demise of the coffee mogul. The news came as a major shock to the nation, as nobody on earth could have ever imagined that the man who built the largest coffee chain in the country, went through such turmoils in his personal life.
These continuous turmoils finally resulted in him taking his life.
Siddhartha was the first entrepreneur in Karnataka to set up a cafe called Cafe Coffee Day in 1996. Last year in 1998, CCD had more than 1700 outlets in the country. On average, CCDs attracts around 40,000-50,000 customers per week.
Apart from this, Siddhartha also held board seats in GTV, Mindtree, Liqwid Krystal, Way2Wealth and Ittiam. In the year 2000, he founded Global Technology Ventures Ltd, a company that identifies, invests and mentors Indian companies engaged in technologies. GTV set up Global Village Tech Park on a 59-acre (240,000 m2) plot as an incubator park in Bangalore, providing office space, communication links, recreational facilities and a commercial centre. In 1999, GTV was valued by BankAm at $100 million.
The enterprising entrepreneur also indulged in planting banana trees on an area of 3,000 acres, and also wanted to export bananas.
He planted banana trees on 3,000 acres (1,214 ha) and had plans to export bananas. The company’s Greenheart, Purpleheart, Wallaba, and Bullet Wood logs are shipped from the Guyanese capital of Georgetown to Mangalore Port and then to the Coffee Day Group’s furniture plant in Chikmagalur. Right now, the Guyanese government allows the cutting of only four full-grown trees from every hectare (approximately 2.5 acres). After a tree is cut, it is mandatory to replant another one to maintain the ecological balance of the Amazon rainforest.
Do All These Don’t Mean Anything?
The facts and data mentioned above denote what an incredible person Siddhartha was. The point is what exactly is the benchmark of success? How much should a person work till the time he is successful?
Doesn’t doing something disruptive and unique make a difference to the world? CCD was one of India’s largest coffee chains, and its business was expanding day by day. What is the failure in this? Or is that every entrepreneurial venture results in failure?
What’s the Main Challenge?
The main challenge out here is that the Indian market have been on the verge of rewarding vanity metrics. But reeality hits hard infact. This is usually when founders struggle to bridge the gap between projected value propositions and the actual results.
There are various factors regulating these, and its usually different owing to various micro and macro socio-economic factors. These are usually due to lack of resources or regulatory changes that can alter business models.
Apart from this, founders and investors must bear in mind such characteristics, that may additionally add stress to people, especially in the minds of the entrepreneurs.
Is Entrepreneurship a Failure Then?
These circumstances are really heavy for the heart to bear. Honestly speaking, these days, a lot of people want to take up entrepreneurship, just for the sake of being one. Just to solve an existing problem. To be different. Not to follow the corporate ladder, and do something distinguishing
Remember, every entrepreneur wants to do something disruptive, to be recognised among the crowd, and simply not just follow the herd. Just before writing this article, I was having a brief chat with my cousin who works in Silicon Valley. She was literally flaunting about the no-nonsense culture that is prevalent out there. She said that peeople based and operating out of the Valley, do actually celebrate failures. Yes failures are celebrated there with a big heart, without anybody questioning it.
Now, my point here is, it’s absolutely okay to fail. A multiple times.
But, what’s important is to learn from the failures and rise back!