STW talks to Varun Agarwal (VA), first-generation entrepreneur, film maker and author. Co-founder Alma Mater and two other companies – Reticular and Last Minute Films, he is also the author of a national bestselling book How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company. If you are not impressed already, read on for my brief chat with Varun on life and a few things in between.
As told to Shruti Bharath.
STW: Varun, your story and ongoing success, be it with Last Minutes Films, Alma Mater or your recent best-seller ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company’ are the stuff dreams are made of 🙂 Tell us what makes you do any of this?
VA: Happiness. I love to do things if they make me happy and get me excited. I’ve never run after money only the pursuit of happiness.
STW: Sometimes, it’s the simplest feelings or a flash of an idea that inspires a big change or in your case an enterprise. What do you think it takes to give into that feeling and just ‘go for it’?
VA: Well for that you need to have no inhibiitons. For me the turning point was when I failed in the 2nd year of my engineering. From then on I had nothing to lose and nothing to prove to anyone 🙂
Gathering some thoughts
There are several perceptions, good and bad, about being an entrepreneur and for that matter being a young one. When asked what his thoughts were and should this even matter, Varun believes that this is not really a major problem any more. And thankfully his book has laid all those perceptions to rest.
If he had to start over, say go back 6 years to when it all started, he said he would not have done anything differently. When we spoke of his key motivations with any of his initiatives, he says its the idea. Most people shy away from saying they do it for the money. But money can never be the motivation because it comes much later. Varun says “I’m a sucker for ideating and more importantly getting them executed!” His ideas are influenced by current economic and market trends as well as what his ‘gut’ tells him. He says “Research tells you what will work best and a bit of instinct helps you narrow down the idea further.” He thinks education is a bane for entrepreneurship. Infact he believes you have to do a lot of unlearning to become an entrepreneur.
When asked about what helped put down his journey in a book and why so many people have been able to relate to it so well (We’ve seen all the No.1 ratings since you’ve published) Varun says “I’ve always loved telling stories and thats why I got into filmmaking in the first place. And the way we started the company was nothing short of a film so I thought I’ll write a book. Till date I have absolutely no clue how the book got published. I think people relate to the book because they have a similar story as well. And thats a worrying because that means there are so many people out there struggling to realise their dreams.”
We asked if all this success changed his life in many ways. Varun tells us, not at all. He still goes grocery shopping for his mom. “For me success is walking down the road and seeing some random stranger wearing a Alma Mater hoodie” he says.
We asked – any advice for anyone out there, afraid to take the entrepreneurial leap?
Take the leap and then do all the f**king thinking.
Want to connect with Varun? Leave a comment here with STW.