Friday, May 09, 2014

Interview: Anis Bari: Author of Dreams of The Mango People and The Sulemani Keeda of Entrepreneurship

Real Name: Anis Bari
Pen Name: Anis Bari

Short Introduction

Anis Bari (Co-Founder of Tantra Consultancy Services, VidyaHub & StyleShop India), native of Bihar, is a graduate of MBA from Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines and B.Tech from PESIT, Bangalore. Before a stint at Entrepreneurship, he worked in IT in India with Hewlett Packard. In 2010, He was recognized as the most promising Entrepreneur of the Year, by the global organization TiE (The Indus Entrepreneur). Anis has won numerous business plan competitions globally including European Union Business Challenge and has a deep interest in entrepreneurship and social innovation. He has also authored, Brush Up Ur Quant, a book for management entrants & The Sulemani Keeda of Entrepreneurship. Anis is an internationally rated chess player and also mentors students through Yuvolve Youth Forum & other youth platforms.
Childhood Pictures

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I grew up in a colony named ‘Punaichak’ in Patna, Bihar. We lived in officers flat and all the people in colony loved me, as I was the youngest among other children. I had a piggy bank and my grandfather used to give me INR 1 daily. I kept on collecting money in a hope that once the piggy bank gets filled with coins, I will buy a Maruti 800 car as my dad just had a LML Vespa Scooter that time. I grew up playing all the traditional Indian games like ‘Vish-Amrit, Kit-Kit, Denga-Pani, Dark Room, Fauji-Fauji etc. which all seemed to have lost its name with time. We had a small terrace, which was shared by all the people of that particular building and the place where I learned to play cricket, badminton and kite flying. ‘Qyamat Se Qyamat Tak’, a Hindi movie got released that time and one of the song ‘ Papa Kahte Hain Bada Naam Karega… Beta Hamara Aisa Kaam Karega…’ (Dad says, my son will do something great and make me proud) became the favorite number for everyone. I along with few friends of the same age group used to sing the same song loudly on terrace as we all felt we are going to do something big in coming days. Those were the best days of my life when there were no interruptions from the external world, and we literally were allowed to dream. Those glorious days will never come back. I wish, could go back to the same time and play all the games with my childhood friends Bitti Didi, Bittu Bhaiya, Anu Bhaiya, Deepa Di, Soni Di and Pankaj.
                                                                                                    
About your education

I did my schooling from St. Michael’s High School, Patna. It helped to build a strong foundation and played a pivotal role in character building. After my 12th, I moved to Bangalore to pursue Engineering in Computer Science from PESIT. The desire of doing something of my own and the spirit of entrepreneurship motivated me to pursue MBA from one of the premier institute in the world, Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines.   
 
Business Cricket Music
What career did you plan during your education days?

I always wanted to be a cricketer or a chess player but due to my parent’s pressure supported by our so-called intellectual society, I was forced to get into Engineering. J I successfully completed engineering degree but I was not happy with the kind of work that I was doing at Hewlett Packard. After trying out my hands in Entrepreneurship I decided to pursue MBA and got an offer from AIM, Manila. AIM reinforced my belief in the power of the human spirit. It provided me a rock solid support in terms of business learning and business ethics. Dreaming is easy, but going after a dream is the hard part. AIM taught me to sail through the hard part. Professor Gaston D Ortigas of AIM, Manila supported and motivated me to write on entrepreneurship. He gave me the confidence to write and share my thought to the world.

What languages you can speak and write?

Hindi and English.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

My mother is my biggest source of inspiration. She in herself is a university to me from where I have learned various values of life, motivated me to be a good human being and moreover loved me all the time, even at the times when I was not so lovable. J
 
In different shades
What hurts you most in this world?

I am scared of losing my loved ones. I value the relationship shared with family  & friends the most. I always prefer to be in the surrounding full of positive energy.  

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Everyone is initially fearless as a child. As a child I always had the confidence to do anything, achieve anything because I had faith and belief in myself. Sometimes I thought I could be a Superman and sometimes He-Man. It was so because there was no external voice to interrupt. I was literally fearless. Things changed over time because as I grew, I started listening to the external world. The voice that always pushed me towards ‘fear’. Some said ‘if you wont study well, your career will be ruined’, some said ‘if you will play cricket or chess all the time, you wont get admission in good college and again your career will be ruined’ and some said ‘ if you leave your job and enter into entrepreneurship or writing without experience, your career/job will be at stake’. I have struggled to shield my inner voice against external voices. It took me lot of time and courage to leave my high salary job and follow my passion. Initially it was like I have committed some kind of social crime, but it took time for me to take that step and convince my family. I have failed at times, but never stopped trying.  J
  
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Given an option, I would choose to live a day of my life as Dr. Verghese Kurian (The Milkman from India). Dr Verghese Kurien played a pivotal role in the White Revolution and Operation Flood in India. He shared his vision across wide population and carried on the baton for the movement in Gujarat. He created a system for the farmers which were built on the pillars of trust. A new world he did create – a world where farmers were supreme. Every day at the crack of dawn more than 10 million farmers of Gujarat (India) begin their milk route, a journey which has given them life of economic independence. With more than 10 million farmers across the country, 200 dairy plants, procuring over 20 million litres of milk per day gaining economic independence. The path to prosperity wasn’t plain sailing for Dr Kurien. He had to face a number of challenges on the way. He demonstrated complete confidence in himself and his people and walked down the path of morality. He was the best social entrepreneur, best marketing manager and a true leader I have ever come across in my lifetime.
 
Learning Group Photo
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I started writing (short articles) when I was in Engineering, but never published any of those. After college, I got myself into typical culture of software industry where I always struggled to keep deadlines. All this because my heart was at something else, I wanted to do something else. One fine day I wrote lovely electronic resignation letter and finally packed my bag and moved out of the office. I always believed in value creation but unfortunately I was not creating much value for the software company neither the company was creating some value for me (low salary). J

I started preparing for MBA examinations and got an offer from AIM, Manila. I thought I should share my learning and experience to other students who all prepare for MBA entrance exams so wrote a book ‘Brush Up Ur Quant’ which got published by Nidhi Publication in India. The purpose was to let the aspirants know the unconventional ways of approaching the problems and maximize the score.

While studying at AIM, We used to write WAC (Written Analysis of Cases) and I scored well in those WAC assignments. Our Program Director, Professor Gaston D Ortigas motivated me a lot to write something related to entrepreneurship on AIM Chronicle Blog. He said one should write something on entrepreneurship but for common people. The idea behind writing ‘Dreams of The Mango People’ was to showcase the uncommon stories of common man and the spirit of Entrepreneurship. I shared my own experience and learning in a very simple language so that anyone can relate it to and get the confidence of writing his/her own case in the world.

The purpose of my writing is to touch the lives of common people, which they could relate to themselves. In a light, sometimes humorous way it’s an attempt to inspire the common man to believe in the power of dreams.
 
Dreams of The Mango People Book
What are your forthcoming writings?

I have completed my next book “The Sulemani Keeda of Entrepreneurship” last month. It’s actually an entrepreneurial toolkit that everyone should have before starting any venture. It contains all the frameworks needed but in a simple understandable language.

Recently I have also started working on a fiction novel ‘Dream as Lovely as Mrs. Lovely Khanna’. It’s a romantic love story of an entrepreneur where relationship is being questioned, loyalties tested in a process of shielding inner voice from external world. I am trying to put things together in Bollywood masala types. J
  
What are your future plans?

What started few years back, as an experiment to find “the talent within” to do something that adds value to the society. Entrepreneurship has become one of my most cherished parts of life. There have been days when I have struggled to find time to put the things together, struggling to get projects but I have never thought of calling it quits. I am working on 2 startups and will be devoting my time to take those a leap forward towards attaining our goals. I will also continue my journey of writing to share my thoughts, stories, and weird ideas with rest of the world.
  
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

  • Mindset of Target Audience (Readers)
  • Simple Language
  • Humorous Touch
  • Real Examples
 
nawaz testimonial- DOMP
Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

It actually depends on the topic that you are working on and the target reader’s mindset. In my view if one is writing non-fiction stuffs then more than imagination, it’s important to keep the content simple so that reader can easily relate to, real life examples, a perfect blend of humor and serious stuffs. But yes, if one is writing fiction novel then it’s important to have high level of imagination, as the reader should get the feel of the story visually in mind.

Your dream destination on Earth?

I would like to travel to Yukon, North Canada as from fall to spring, when darkness comes to Yukon skies, the Northern Lights come out.  I would love to spend hours watching with rapt attention as the magical show unfolds overhead. The sight of dancing lights in the night sky could nourish my soul and thought.
 
Social Entrepreneurship- with villege children
Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born in a city called Patna (capital of Bihar) in India. I have been to, Philippines and Thailand. Philippines is wonderful country with lovely people. The tagline ‘It’s more fun in Philippines’ is very apt. It has got some amazing beaches, islands, volcano’s etc. Manila is true international destination and gives the feeling of truly international. Filipinos are very kind and helpful. Thailand is also a tourist destination and very well organized. I liked the Thai food as well as the street food of Bangkok.

Your favorite book and why?

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal. It showcases the story of entrepreneurs who dared to break the conventional mindset and followed their passion. It’s actually very inspiring and kind of case study written in simple language.
 
Vice President of The World Bank
Your favorite celebrity and why?

Aamir Khan. He is perfectionist in true sense but more than that I see the intent of value creation for the society in him. I liked his TV show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ very much where he raised various issues related to the society. I know that our country wont change in one day by watching his TV show but still he is doing his part. I know India wont start creating brilliant entrepreneurs just by reading my book but I also feel I should do my part. Aamir is also my all time favorite actor.

Your favorite food?

Chinese.              

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon- Moon
Laughter or Smile: Smile
Morning or Evening: Evening
Coffee or Tea: Tea
Mountain or Sea: Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive: Long Drive
Silence or Conversation: Conversation
Water or Fire: Water
Air or Earth: Earth
Mars or Jupiter: Mars
Tulip or Rose: Rose
Red or Blue: Blue
Left or Right: Right
Glance or Stare: Glance
With Friends

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain

The last line of your autobiography would be…

The last line of my autobiography would be the repetition of the words of a famous American Comedian-Bill Cosby:


“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
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