Meet Rishi Kapal, he is the writer of Kites in a Hurricane.
However, this book walks alongside the founders who are still scaling up their companies 10X year over year. Simply put, the startup founders represent the kites that keep flying despite various hurricanes attempt to challenge their resolve. The founders sheet anchor role, the difficulty of developing opportunities from ideas, trying to be marketing wizards, getting bludgeoned by technology and product roadmaps, developing their organization, trying to inculcate new age programs like design thinking, revenue generation, raising funds and scaling up globally: so many hurricanes and the founders bracing them all, says Rishi.
We got an opportunity to catch up with him and know his journey as a writer. Rishi has an inspiring journey, read his full story.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
A single child and a loner by typeset, I am someone who keeps going back to classrooms just to be relevant to the next generation. Graduated as an engineer in 1993, pursued a post graduation in management, then a degree in law. Had a corporate career for 21 years , during which also completed another PG from Pune University and LEAD one year Stanford Program. Having miserably failed in learning how to play the guitar, I have authored two books and the third is due for launch on 25th Dec 2018. My career swim was in HCL, Avaya, Ericsson, Castrol and Sony , and eventually in 2014 I left Sony Mobile as an interim MD and VP. For the last 5 years I have been a full time teacher for 2 years and then the Global Head of Edugild Seed Fund Program.
Our readers will like to know more about this book. What is it all about?
Kites in a Hurricane: is a compilation of real life episodes in the lives of startup founders who are yet not famous. We have many mediums, offline and online, to know about the ones who have succeeded, however, this book walks alongside the founders who are still scaling up their companies 10X year over year. Simply put, the startup founders represent the kites that keep flying despite various hurricanes attempt to challenge their resolve. The founders sheet anchor role, the difficulty of developing opportunities from ideas, trying to be marketing wizards, getting bludgeoned by technology and product roadmaps, developing their organization, trying to inculcate new age programs like design thinking, revenue generation, raising funds and scaling up globally: so many hurricanes and the founders bracing them all.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first book when I was a full time teacher and was not able to find relevant content in one place, about the Indian Telecom Value Chain. My second book, Kites in a Hurricane is an outcome of a realization that the people considering to be entrepreneurs or the early stage ones, should get to know first hand about company that in true sense are still moving up as startups and have not become established organizations. An author gains much more confidence to write when the right publisher backs up the initial efforts , which in case of Kites in a Hurricane is Sage Publishing. Every one must write, there are experts who can evaluate the worthiness and readability of the content.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I start a book with a promise to write a page a day. So in the ideal condition, it should be around 250 days to complete a decent size book. However there are contingencies and force majeure conditions. So give or take, with little leeway and some lack of discipline stretches a book to come around in around 12-14months.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Book writing needs to be considered as a part of work schedule and going beyond like an addiction. You would hear people saying that they smoke or play games when they need a break. Well, I use such gaps of “boredom” to write and fill that time adequately. I do book writing as an important element of the work schedule since its my work which becomes words of the chapters. Moreover, during travels and stop overs, book writing is the best way to make use of time at hand and let the ideas flow.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The information assimilation needs research , interviewing, observation and inform discussions with the ecosystem partners which influence the content. The idea for a book is merely the need of the potential reader that the writing can fulfill. In my book, there are two formats that can be put to direct use : What’s your technology strategy? How to make a marketing plan? In my last 4 years of interactions with the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the revelation was that tech co-founders struggle to nail the marketing plans and the founders with business acumen try to find ways to nail the tech strategy. So , I have attempted to solve their challenges to give something they can at-least begin with : there has to be something tangible for the readers in the information being put in front of their eyes.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first poem at the age of 9 and then kept writing a few for personal satisfaction. When I was 34 years old, I wrote a compilation of short stories titled PhD(Personal Humorous Disasters) but never published it. My first book got published in 2015 , the second one now in 2018 and the third one is also expected this year. My next book is a medico-crime thriller. It’s the first part of a trilogy and rest of it is all wait and watch. I believe that writing should move from fiction to a sense of realism : like a bridge
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I manage Edugild Seed Fund Program full time , do venture hunting to find startups for investing, consult with our portfolio companies for their marketing and sales strategies, try to forge global alliances, speak at events and eventually watch a lot of movies and listen to music.
What does your family think of your writing?
My kids have difficulty to answer a question like: What does your father do? Sometimes they say I am an academician, sometimes an author. Overall the family has to bear the brunt of mood swings that comes along-with the writing process. My daughter at the age of 15 has published he first book and successfully runs a blog. My son at age 10 is launching his blog, so actually I write to stay relevant to this generation.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Its about how supportive the ecosystem is once you start writing. Consider Sage Publishing for that matter, they walked the process with me once the initial few chapters were done. Their suggestions, editing support, patient advisory on the market fit made a lot of sense. The other learning is the importance of designing of the cover page, reader communication and the role digital sales channels play in todays times.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Haven’t written many yet to be able to pick a favorite. But I like to read Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
First of all, one must know why to write: to make it as a career or to write for bringing relevant content to the target audience but not as a full time profession. There must be no inhibitions to start writing. Its important to ensure that writing is not a side time affair, its embedded as a important part of routine at-least 15 to 20 times a day. Write 10 pages as an author then read them as audience and see if its making sense or not. It is like a chef who doesn’t serve anything he/she hasn’t tasted and perfected before it hits the tables. Taking constant dip sticks on the writing is important: that way one can pivot in between rather than writing a lot and then beginning to make amends.. Write something that stays relevant for long and not just a fad, and write wherever you can. Be aware of the competition and try to be a notch better than what’s available in the market place. Keep in touch with the next generation , they give amazing and thought provoking feedback. Lastly, an author is the best marketer of the book, so never rest on the laurels of just having written a book.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Most of the readers either let you know the thoughts by leaving reviews and some send direct messages. Sometimes they have suggestions to offer but mostly they feel good and convey that if the content makes sense. I have been fortunate to have readers that provide encouragement and suggestions as true well wishers. Some even appeal to new target segments to read the books. Like the VC of Avantika University, Dr. Suryavanshi, in his review has urged all the academia community to read Kites in a Hurricane. I feel humbled.
What do you think makes a good story?
A story either entertains, leaves the readers with a morale or provides a discipline to practice and put to use. If its not doing either of these, well then maybe its forgotten quite fast. A good story doesn’t give an impression of having taken shortcuts, it must reflect true research and ample time spent to understand the reader requirements and urges to be fulfilled. A good story should overwhelm, leave the reader with either a sense of satisfaction or asking for more.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I really wish I knew. As I child I was always seeking attention, sometimes going overboard. Maybe that was because I didn’t have any siblings so ̇sought external eyes on me. If I were to be a child now, I would probably ensure being an entrepreneur at my earliest . So in childhood , seems I wanted to be a garbage man and Robin Hood at the same time.
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