South, Friendship and Business

Chennai battling with Hyderabad to claim the IPL title marks the end of week that also had Nipah virus havoc at Kerala, politics at Karnataka, firing on agitating workers at Tamil Nadu and the turmoil in personal life and business. All of it had one thing in common – South India! Tumultuous.

You lose a friend over definition of friendship, you lose business not because you are incompetent but only because you are small. The lesson that human tendency is normally to back the underdog is restricted to personal choices and not in business is learnt. In business, one backs only the No. 1. For reasons that are not very difficult to understand!

This brings to discussion one key position in business. The underdog. Surely, each entrepreneur wants to become No. 1. As an underdog, what should one do? Try something new? Compromise on principles? Take shortcuts? Work hardest at the cost of work-life balance? Having been a part of underdog-to-No. 1 business story in nineties, I know what it takes and how does it feel after this transformation. We became No. 1 by sheer dent of our hardwork, pinciples, innovations and ofcourse one senior business leader who believed in us as a motley bunch of highly conscientious mavericks. But those were different times. Guess, more qualities are needed to succeed these days. Technology, cost-efficient solutions, systems & processes, for example.

Returning back to discussion on South India, guess these states are also rebelling, as an underdog normally does, to prove their worth. During my recent visits to these states, I got a feeling that a common person does feel a bit short-changed by North India. And a poor Mumbaikar is also a ‘north’ Indian. Hope this bit of trust deficit between north and south India is removed fast. No amount of laws and market standardisation steps will help if humans do not trust each other. Guess this apparent mistrust has its roots in legacy and has no relevance currently. It is no longer Aryan or Dravidian. It is Indian.

South of Vindhyas is as important as any other region in India’s growth. Business opportunities, level of enterprise, etc. are the same if not more in Southern states when compared to any other region. More IPOs are emerging out of 4 southern states than any. Stock market seems like a great melting pot for this with its highly objective and emotionless approach. May be it is time to be less emotional about it and let more physical objectives such as markets, enterprise, etc. decide the equation.