A contemporary of well-known names such as Nandan Nilekani (Infosys), Pradeep Kar (Microland), Pravin R Gandhi (Digital Equipment), Pradip Gupta (Dataquest), Rajendra S. Pawar (NIIT), and others, Bikram Dasgupta in "I DID IT MY WAY" traces his journey from his humble Bengali middle-class roots to helping create India's Number One PC company of its day.
Given the sobriquet of being 'an ideas man' by none other than Shiv Nadar himself, one the doyens of the Information Technology industry in India, "I DID IT MY WAY" is not a rags-to-riches story nor a fairy tale with happy beginnings and ends, but a fascinating insight into the life and times of someone who didn't shy away from thinking big and, for whom, progress only meant a milestone passed in a road lined with milestones.
A storyteller at heart Bikram takes his reader along as he explores his beliefs, his ideas, influencers, his failures, and his successes in his rollercoaster journey of over 30 years - a journey exemplified by the single minded, near obsessive determination to heave himself out of his middle class circumstances and the impatience to get going with life.
As the book meanders its way, we find Bikram with HCL, the company that gave shape and form to the IT Industry that exists today in India. His years at HCL were full of fervent and intense learning at the feet of such masters such as Shiv Nadar, Arjun Malhotra and Amit Dutta Gupta - a largely unsung hero of the Indian IT Industry.
From HCL Bikram, along with a few of his friends and contemporaries from IIT - Kharagpur, when on to co-found PCL. Bikram goes on to describe how he single handedly swung an eye-popping $50 Million hardware export contract from Dell. This single order was to change the face of the Indian IT Industry forever, catapulting PCL to the Number one PC Company slot in India.
The story moves on to trace the fervour of Bikram's solo entrepreneurial when he founded Globsyn. With Globsyn, Bikram became one of the early pioneers to make Bengal the home of its operations and has over the years helped Bengal figure in the IT Map of the nation.
Bikram also talks about his deep love for the youth and his untiring energy in helping them find their rightful place in the world. Bikram uses AICTE approved PGDM programme as a potent vehicle and platform to reach out to vast numbers of high aspirational youth.
Bikram lives in Kolkata, India with his wife Ranjana. His twin sons, Rahul and Romit work for Globsyn. Bikram is an avid traveller. A true globetrotter he is interested in dramatics, music, table tennis and cricket. He also reads a lot "to reiterate his beliefs", he says.
From the Author's Desk
I have been somewhat of an enigma to most people that I have crossed paths with in my three decades of professional and entrepreneurial journey, including my immediate family and friends.
I have meant different things to different people at various stages of my long and eventful journey and this brings me to the most vexing of questions that have come my way, particularly from those who form my inner circle: 'What is the residual value of what you have done? And 'Where do you go from here'.
Coming from a sedate Bengali middle-class family; one endowed with large measures of creative energy, my life has been an assimilation of learning that I have consciously and unconsciously picked up along my journey. If my first guru's in entrepreneurship were the innocuous Cheddi and Sadhu from my IIT-KGP days, I found great scholarship in Amit Datta Gupta and sharpened my street smarts from following the Late Dadan Bhai.
In all I tend to see myself as a risk taker rather than any one boxed definition of an entrepreneur. Is there a learning to be had from there? Sure is, if one were to carefully weigh in the brinkmanship; something that comes along the risk-taking package.
I have also been a firm believer in the power behind well thought out maxims. To me they held life's great lessons and have given me power to keep focused and not stray from my path at times of deep distress.
Of all the maxims that are close to my heart, Thomas A. Edison's famous quote 'Most of my ideas belong to people who didn't bother to develop them', is perhaps something that I identify myself closest with. I have, in life, strived to string together diverse and asynchronous dots into a story. A narrative that has gone on to become an entrepreneurial edifice, some successful and some that died an early death.
Who then is to measure risk and how do we define success?
It were these and a myriad other thoughts that prodded me to put pen to paper. Perhaps (and I dearly hope) my readers will find within these pages that they hold, the singular and unifying 'tick' that makes me tick. Perhaps they will discover the residual value of what I leave behind, and that it is not always foolhardy to take risks that some would scoot away from. They will also perhaps glean that learning can be had from diverse sources and find merit in Thomas A Edison's quote in their own life journeys.
As I enter into my sunset years I look forward to investing my time and energies to help budding entrepreneurs find their feet and soar with their dreams. My newest brand 'BDG Global' I hope will help me fulfil this aspiration.
This is probably the first time I read a memoir of an India Entrepreneur. This is the story of a Bengali middle-class boy who never settled for the ordinary. He fell, stood up and again dared to dream beyond the comfort zone. While reading I was having nail-biting moment thinking what if. Innovating all the ways pushing his boundaries constantly, he created a story. I could relate to the deep ethics, values and philosophies that a Bengali father crossing the border, post partition offered to him. This kept him rooted while he flew high. If you can do give it a read.
The blurb says “Story of a middle-class Bengali boy whose impatience became the reason for his success”. Wouldn’t know about the impatience part but in a manner of speaking the book reinforced my belief in the huge role the middle class plays in shaping and providing direction to a nation’s success. Its so because the middle class sets more store by education than by anything else. Would Bikram Dasgupt have been what he is now without IIT or similar institutional background? He thought big because his peer group and education empowered and triggered him to dream and think big. A fascinating read.
- ROHIT SRIVASTAVA
“I did it....” is a well written book and provides an in-depth understanding of formative years of Indian IT industry. Risk taking ability, gut feeling about what future holds and charting new paths - all of these are repeatedly demonstrated in the book. I particularly appreciate the situation where Bikram undertakes team meetings in interesting settings - Bombay sea beach, hotel room etc. - as there was no office space as yet! A person must have tremendous conviction about future, which others are unable to visualise, to set aside a cosy job at HCL and pursue a new venture called PCL. Description of how the deal with Dell was clinched is very fascinating. The book contains many interesting photos - after all, how often one comes across images of IT legends enjoying picnic-like setting.
- N NEOGI
Amazing and immensely fulfilling. Despite me hailing from a different fraternity to IT, BDG’s saga defies all confines. An intense and powerful tryst with life, done in beautiful English. No unnecessary frills or jargons, that keep you bored. A highly recommended read, whoever and whatever be the expertise, especially to those who defy all odds and move on, trusting to faith, for a cause higher than thyself, indeed, like a personified Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. This book certainly struck a chord, has really moved me, re-emphasizing the power of a higher purpose in life and tremendous self-belief amidst crises, kindling in me an intense urge to meet such a humane, enterprising being, in person. Cathartic, inspiring and lifting..!!!
- SUMITAVA SAMANTA
Bikram has very thoughtfully demonstrated that there is no prescribed way to success. His own story should inspire aspiring individuals to take a dive over board to the pool of opportunities and not be afraid of taking chances. His success initially was in hard core IT but he seamlessly moved on to education space and now looking at the new areas of AI, Big Data and Machine learning. I would recommend this book to any individual with a passion to succeed in any of his chosen field of interest and craft one's way to success. The book is very well written and and his personal life experiences and how he overcame adversities made the book very readable.
- K VIJAYRAGHAVAN
I rarely read autobiographies. But "I did it my way" by Bikram Dasgupta attracted me as it is about a thought leadership & revolutionary in the field of system & technologies. Being an IT professional with management degree I like to read such stories. Bikram had got the chance to study at one of the best possible educational institutions in India. Being a grad of IIT Kharagpur he met with equal minds & developed himself. He joined Indian Oxygen as his first job, he learned many things there. He lived Vizag for a short span & met a young manager who has inspired Bikram a lot. Bikram's sales traits built on the job. Soon he joined HCL technologies, where he worked directly with the founder. His journey continues when he shifted to PCL and reached a new high for himself & company. Finally, he started his own venture. With his sons, he is now leading his company. He has also established an NGO & adopted an old age home. Throughout his career, his interest towards drama was always alive, he has actively participated in events. I didn't feel like reading a biography, it was more like reading protagonist Bikram's life journey. I really liked the book. Talking about ratings.
- VISHNU CHEVLI
The title of the book caught my attention and this book is a very interesting read. The language is very simple and the author used good choice of words in the book. I personally loved the part where he used his business tactics to expand the business and also become the number one PC manufacturer in the market. Shiv Nadar’s valuable lessons to Bikram impressed and inspired me a lot. He faced a major setback in terms of his entrepreneurship however came up big despite fiasco. The only thing what I disliked in this book was that it was little dragging and rest all things were absolutely fine. This book is recommended to people who want to become a entrepreneur and make it big in their journey. Not to forget an apt book for the book lovers who love memoirs.
An interesting read. As an avid technologist it is perhaps for the first time that I have come across a well written account of the early days of the hardware dominated IT industry in India.
- SHARON GOMES
I am a random reader. Accidentally I came across this video on Facebook promoting a book by Bikram Dasgupta. Found the promo interesting and got hold of the book. It’s quite a page-turner for a memoir.
- PRASANTA SARKAR
"If there is one person who exuded confidence, joy and hope while carrying the huge burden of the Indian hardware industry during its formative years, it has to be my friend - Bikram Dasgupta."
- N.R. Narayana MurthyPadma Vibhushan awardee, Founder and former Chairman, Infosys.
"Entrepreneurs thrive on the potent combination of unquenchable curiosity, a deep and abundant source of energy... and the raw power of intellect. Bikram is a storehouse of all these qualities."
- Rajendra S. PawarPadma Bhushan awardee, former Chairman NASSCOM, Co-Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, NIIT Group
"Bikram Dasgupta has a voracious appetite for creating ideas, building relationships, nurturing talent, growing businesses and bringing tons of happiness to those around him. A thinker, a first-generation entrepreneur and a master risk taker... he is the very essence of 'cool'."
- Pradeep KarChairman and Director, Microland Limited
"Bikram has always been a big thinker and a great executioner of big ideas. He was a great believer in creating brands and he continues doing that."
- Pravin Gandhiformer Chairman and Co-Founder Hindtron, former Director, Digital Equipment Corp, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist and an icon of the Indian IT industry