I am assuming all of you have heard and followed the Forbes story
on Flipkart. Flipkart has executed amazingly well and has absolutely
excelled in customer service. Perhaps
the first company of its size to embrace customer service as an
obsession and deliver on it. If nothing else happens from here, even
then, Flipkart has reserved its place in the pantheon
of good (perhaps not yet great) companies out of India.
The culture within Flipkart seems to be one of the big issues
raised in the article, and refuted by Sachin Bansal here, and
responded to by the editor of Forbes India. And the main
allegation is there is an IIT Delhi culture and others find it hard
to break in to this. Well, all I can say is they have done very well
so far with this culture and if the management is smart they
will figure out how to adapt their culture (if required) to maximize
the shareholders value. It may also turn out that they can continue to
be successful for some more time to come with the current culture
(what ever that is). Lastly, there is always a chance, cultural
issues are hampering their growth and they may not fix it. They
deserve a much longer rope though!
The point of this article is simple: Amusement parks are there
for a reason — high levels of acceleration (velocity changes both in
speed and direction) thrill. Final two minutes of a NBA game thrill.
T20 thrills. It seems to me we should get thrilled at these places and
leave companies to execute rather than predicting their meteoric rise
and shameful fall - execution is repetitive, boring, and requires a
lot of grinding over long periods of time. The press can not report on
execution (as one spiritual guru said there is no one waiting to
report on this meditation camp – some one wearing a very different
dress or going out with another girl friend/boy friend is far more
interesting). Building a company is like a form of meditation. People
within flipkart should not carried away by any glowing tributes in the
ignore such negative reports (except calmly pick up any real issues
they agree with and fix those).
Here is hoping we see flipkart come out stronger out of this and
see many more success stories. We badly need good companies (to me
flipkart is one at least as one of its loyal customers) in India and
we need many such companies – to create relevant and valuable
services/products for the people of India, to become role models for
the huge population of youngsters in the country and goad them to
build a strong, vibrant country.