The Entrepreneurship Summit, IIT Kanpur organised by the E-Cell witnesses distinguished founders, businessmen, VCs and journalists each year. This year new records were set when Rahul Yadav, founder and ex-CEO of the hottest Indian start-up, Housing.com, addressed the enthusiastic junta at this annual event.
Devin and I got the opportunity to squeeze out a short interview from Rahul’s jam-packed schedule. A bit nervous after pulling an all-nighter on the weekend preparing, Devin and I, were scanning through our questions in the lobby of the Visitors’ Hostel, while Alok was recceing for perfect locations of a video interview.
Soon we got a call that Rahul is ready and with some apprehensions, we headed to his room. Rahul was packing his backpack, getting ready for lunch when we barged in with a PD (the camera shaped bazooka) and two interrogators.
Soon, the dream of PD to record Rahul Yadav was shattered as it got to know that a video shoot is not a very good idea. Our notebooks smirked in glory. Rahul seemed pretty enthusiastic and said, “Chalo, shuru karo” (Come on, let’s start with the questions).
We started off at a lighter note and asked him about the trivia associated with him.
Are you seriously thinking to contest Big Boss?
‘Time pass kar raha hu yar. It’s fun’ (The speculations are just time-pass. It’s fun)
Who is your favorite superhero, you seem to be Stark-struck!?
‘Yeah, Tony Stark is, Ironman!’
It’s August 31, time for Pitchers finale, eagerly waiting?
‘I don’t watch TVF’
People compare you to Steve Jobs, your take?
‘They compare me to Rakhi Sawant as well (starts laughing)’
Single or taken?
(Blushes) ‘In process’
Who inspires Rahul Yadav? Who are your role models?
‘There was a time when I thought role-model has to be unique, not anymore. So, I think all the superheroes like Tony Stark and their superpowers inspire me.’
As the mood became jovial, it was the turn to introduce the elephant in the house, Housing.com. Haresh Chawla in his article, ‘The Rahul Yadav Story You’ve Never Heard Before’, had talked about Rahul and Housing at length.
Haresh Chawla, in his article, writes, “He dreamt with his eyes open and made you visualise a new future” Where do you see your initial dream, Housing, poised in the coming years?
‘For now, I have erased real-estate from my mind. My mind is a clean slate now.’
In the same article, he mentions you saying, “”We are growing too fast. I don’t have anyone who can manage the growth.” How did you tackle it? In retrospection, anything which you would have done differently in terms of managing.
‘I would have hired more heavy-weight guys. Guys with a 2-Cr compensation but having the ability to handle the workforce of 5000. Students can create product but when it comes to management of thousands of people, you need heavyweights’
Pointing out to Devin (who is a bit lean) he quipped rhetorically, ‘Dedo isko 5000 bande, sambhal lega yeh?’ (Make him in-charge of 5000 people, will he be able to handle them?)
“I can’t relate to these people and I can’t understand why they can’t see what I see. They can’t see what we can build.” That he did not know whether he wanted to stay on and do it anymore. It was the first time I saw his energy low – he was pensive and seemed downbeat, writes Haresh. It must have been difficult to leave your brain-child?
‘Not really, it was like leaving degree, I dropped out in my 4th year. If something does not work out, it is best to cut it off’
He looked pensive for some time and then added:
‘Past mein kabhi nahi jaane ka yaar, sunk cost mein, woh ho gya hai. You should never waste your next 5 minutes for the past 5 years. Past ke 3 saal ya fir future ke 5 minutes mein se kabhi choose krna pade toh I will choose future ke 5 minute’
(One should never go into the past, in the sunk cost, that has already happened. You should never waste your next 5 minutes for the past 5 years. If I have to choose between past 3 years or next 5 minutes, I will always choose the latter)
To be continued….