Bill Gates of Small Town
Not very often I meet people who challenge themselves. In my town, it's a norm for a son to join his family business. Why not? No rent, no boring office routine and a secure source of income, close to your family and friends. But when I heard about Nitin's business, I thought he could play around for a few years, he is young and his family is one of the richest in town. All the means to chase his dream and he is not under any pressure to bring back the paycheck. Even if he failed, he had a backup plan.
He was designing a website and he had big plans for it. 'Is he a Software Engineer?' I asked one of his close family friends Priya. 'Nah, he is a commerce graduate but his library is all stacked with programming and computer books. He studies really hard,' she replied.
Building a website is pretty easy but maintaing it is a not a cake walk. I know this from experience, I have a failed e-commerce venture credited to my resume. Whenever I used to meet Priya, I always asked her about Nitin's website. 'It's going fine. He is working very hard'…her lukewarm reply made me skeptical. 'Has he hired a professional?' I enquired. 'No, he is doing all the work by himself.' He must be either crazy or extremely driven to venture into an unknown territory, I thought.
In February 2008 when I faced some technical problem on the project I was working on, Priya insisted that I call Nitin for help. 'He knows a lot. He can solve your problem,' she asserted. Since I was in a desperate need for help, I called him. He asked me some questions and comprehended the problem over phone. 'You need to fix the stack error,' he explained.
Mighty impressed by his knowledge, I started visiting his website almost everyday. Slowly he became the talk of the town. Dhiman's elder son is doing something with computers - was all they understood. He became a geek who worked in a room with computer and books. Only a handful appreciated his vision. Some even questioned his wisdom, like I did initially. By the end of 2008, Nitin started marketing his website. Every friday morning I opened The Tribune to check his website's advertisement. I knew he was growing and he left no stone unturned to give shape to his dream. He was self taught and he combined the business acumen he inherited from his father to market the website.
In less than two years, someone with no professional degree built a website with a great Alexa rank. Now, more people started recognizing the whiz kid. They started speculating the ways in which website earns money. Amidst many apprehensions, he continued to grow. He hired a staff of two to assist him. 'Nitin is doing great. Even his younger brother has joined his business,' Priya once told me. She had sensed my interest and appreciation for his business and she never missed to share the little insights. We knew he was destined for a bigger success and we knick named him, 'Bill Gates of Ambala.'
By the end of 2010, Nitin's entire family joined him. They started working full time on the website leaving their well established family business. With its exponential growth, he needed more manpower and support. Even after tasting success he never stopped reading and learning. 'You need to know all the tiny details of your business.' he emphasized. 'Why don't you hire a professional with experience? He can surely lessen your work load.' I quizzed. 'How can you get things done from someone when you don't know how to do it yourself.' His answer to my question was so simple and clear that it taught me a valuable entrepreneurial lesson. The territory was no longer unknown to him. By then, he had tried and tested the waters.
In 2011 his family left the town. They closed their family business, rented out their properties and moved to Chandigarh where the business had better prospects to grow. Now, www.maxabout.com has become one of the most prominent portals in India.
I surf his website every now and then. And at times I smile, when searching for something on Google, his website shows up on top of search engine results. His hard work, determination and belief paved way to his unbelievable success. His success resonates the importance of learning every aspect of your business. Pitfalls are bound to happen but when you know all the intricacies of your own business, you know which crease to out iron out first.
The journey which started with a few computer books and a zeal is flourishing. In 2012 a team from Google India visited Nitin's office. It seems his big plans are pretty big. I texted him on his success, 'Heard a lot of awesome things about your site, Congrats.'
'Yup, going great!' our small town Bill Gates replied.