Capt Gopinath - Dare to Dream

Arathi's picture

Capt Gopinath on entrepreneurship, leadership and politics. I have always held the view that a nation moves on entrepreneurial spirit of its people.It takes the country forward. India has always been entrepreneurial, the marwadis,...... going back centuries. It is a kind of tradition. But there has never been a political entrepreneur to bring about change in the political landscape. Who is an entrepreneur? According to Peter Drucker Anyone who sets up a business, say even a beedi shop is an entrepreneur but a Great Entrepreneur is one who can impact society and make a difference in the way things are done. All of us cannot be entrepreneurs as some of us have to be engineers, mechanics, doctors etc for the whole system to run smoothly.


VISION : It is something that the entrepreneur sees so clearly that it becomes an idea and at some point he becomes one with the idea, the idea possesses you; for eg, if you want to be a violinist - you will not ask questions or doubt it, you will just start playing.


When you start on your own, You need to take on monopolies. If you keep questioning yourself while you are out there competing with huge cartels on things like 'how do I match them or how do I get the money"; it is the beginning of failure.


Napoleon has said that it is not guns that win the war but the soldiers who fire the gun and then it becomes a revolution.

Society and the environment in the country should be conducive for an entrepreneur to start and run his business...

In any venture it is the ability to dream and the boldness that guarantees success. Dare to dream and begin it should be the mantra. It is not enough to 'stare up at the steps, you have to step up the stairs'. It is something you believe in so deeply that you do not see the obstacles. you only see the light and not the tunnels.


Entrepreneurs need to carry the people with them, you cannot do anything alone so get the right people and get people who are better than you to take you forward. Have a good vision, meaning one that is not attainable, but realise a bit of it everyday. This will inspire you everyday and keep you motivated and charged. Like for AirDeccan it was "Making every Indian Fly." This will get people to believe in you and invest in you. It all depends on how you can transfer your passion, commitment, integrity along to the people behind you. The world belongs to the energy maker.


It is interesting how I started my business. I had to take my Enfield motorbike for a service to Hassan which was about 50 kms from my farm. But once I got to Hassan I realised that the dealer had closed shop due to various reasons and there was no longer a dealership or a service station to get my bike serviced. This was a revelation to me. So that very day instead of going back to Hassan I set off for Chennai and went to the Enfield main Office. I asked the person there outright that I wanted to take the dealership of Enfield for Hassan. He explained that they already had a dealer there. But I told him the facts. He countered that I did not know anything about the Enfield dealership, to which I said, I have had the Enfield bike for the last 5 years, so I know exactly what customers want and also I know exactly what the customers were not getting from the previous dealer. He immediately gave me the Enfield dealership for Hassan.

It is not enough to 'stare up at the steps, you have to step up the stairs'

The idea finally has to be reasonably good and reasonably scalable fast. I did not ask how much the dealership cost or even how much a helicopter cost, simply because I BELIEVE it can and will happen. You as the entrepreneur with the idea are seeing it very very clearly, others may not be seeing it as clearly if at all. So don't listen to anyone. If I had listened to some consultant, there would not have been an AirDeccan at all. But even for a genius there are no shortcuts. As Einstein once said, I am not a genius, I only stay with the problem longer.

Have a good vision, meaning one that is not  attainable, but realise a bit of it everyday.

POLITICS : I am entering politics today as there are things happening today that if we do not change immediately will spell utter chaos and doom in the future. If things like communal violence, hatred and corruption continue to exist there is no future for India.


Society and the environment in the country should be conducive for an entrepreneur to start and run his business, if this is not happening it indicates that the society is sick. The root of the problem could be the communal politics and antics like giving rice at Rs 2 per kg to the poor. In my view it is better to give the rice at Rs. 6 per kg but give him a job that will make him afford it. I believe in No caste politics and no money politics. If we fix these ethical issues we will be free to focus on better things and it will free up other resources to do things better.


Every vote counts, because you could be the victim next. It is time to make a difference. And it is now. We should get busy guiding the destiny of this nation. Our single most concern should be to create jobs and not on how to distribute rice at Rs.2 per Kg.


As an independent candidate, I can represent the aspirations of the people. I am free and I do not have a high command to answer to. This gives me the freedom to act, on the basis of what is good for my constituency.


There is a huge divide in our country between the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the employed and the unemployed and so on. if you have a large unemployed population there is more scope for bad influences to rise up. It is only if others do well that you will be able to do well and prosper. So if you do not change now there is no future. Most often you take action only if you are affected. You might ask me how I will manage my business interests and Politics. My answer is that if you are committed and capable even 2-3 hours should be sufficient for doing a good job. In this way I will also not be a burden on society.


Compiled by Arathi P. Balaji for Businessgyan


Issue BG98 May09