1. The job: Creating Firefox—the product range, the unique distribution network, the brand and what it stands for —was the most exciting and challenging time for me and the company. With all convent-ional wisdom screaming that such expensive bikes could not be sold in India, it was extremely satisfying to see how our dealers kept faith with us and put their money on the line. They were rewarded by the incredible Indian consumer who proved that if you offer them a great product at a competitive price they will reward you with their purchase. We felt a bit like Steve Jobs where the consumer sometimes does not know what they want till you put it in front of them. Even now what interests me the most is product development — what I can create next to challenge the Indian bikers and how will they respond.
2. The weekdays: My day begins at 8.30 am with an hour-long drive to Greater Noida. I spend this time catching up on news and also planning for the day ahead. We are not a meeting driven organisation so I like to walk around chatting with the staff after completing my mails. Management gurus may frown on my creating such disturbance but this gives me a feel of what is happening. Later in the day I call in the senior managers to discuss specific issues which is followed by mails to ensure that all are on the same page.
All the spare time is spent on what I love most — developing new bikes, with new artworks, new frames, new specs, etc., all in anticipation of where the demand will be in the next six months. Of course, no business can prosper without setting targets and strategies and their periodic reviews. This is coupled with regular bike and accessories reviews.
3. The weekend: Weekends are my down time. I may visit one of our outlets in Delhi / NCR but beyond having a quick look at the inbox I do not like to get involved in the business. On Saturday morning I may join a bike ride organised by the staff but Sunday morning is devoted to my other great passion — golf. Early morning 18 holes of golf followed by some beers /kebabs and an afternoon siesta is what makes the weekend complete. With my children having flown the coop my wife and I may take in a movie.
4. The toys: I went through IIT with a Faber Castell Slide Rule. Not many readers will even comprehend what a slide rule is. So you will appreciate that my vintage is not too gadget oriented. My son swiped my iPad because I did not use it enough. I am considering buying another but in the meantime my iPhone and Mac Book Air are my constant companions. I deeply regret to say that I take the laptop even on holidays – another slave to the relentless march of technology.
5. The logos: My recent acquisition of a Land Rover has been extremely enjoyable. Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and the wonderfully priced Uniqlo are my clothing favourites.
—As told to Banasree Purkayastha