Overview

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.

About The Author


Bikram Dasgupta

An alumnus of IIT - Kharagpur and Harvard Business School, Bikram Dasgupta in the words of Narayana Murthy, Ex-Chairman and Co-Founder, Infosys, "is (the) one person that exuded confidence, joy and hope while carrying the huge of burden of the Indian hardware industry during its formative years..." Bikram, from his early years, was marked out for his risk taking ability and his predilection for jumping into the vastness and mystery of the unknown. It took someone of the nature of Bikram to leave behind the power center of the country, Delhi, and move base to Calcutta, now Kolkata, with a vision to help put his state on the IT Map of India. It was bold move, a risk that few good men would ponder on, let alone embark upon the journey with rare energy and gusto. Bikram, early on in life, choose to leave the sedate shores of Indian Oxygen and jump into the nascent, rough and tumble world of the startup IT hardware industry in the early eighties. He along with his contemporaries dreamed of putting a computing device on every working man's table, what has today become ubiquitous in the form of Desktops and Laptops.

It was during the formative years of HCL; a period of great fervent, that he met his mentors who were to shape his life from thereon. It was here that Bikram earned his spurs, quickly moving up the ladder to virtually heading HCL's Eastern India operations. As life at HCL looked to be on the upswing Bikram again choose to brave into the unknown by co-founding PCL, a firm that was to, within a decade, grow to be the then largest PC company in India, along with his avowed mentor the Late Dadan Bhai.

Bikram has worn a number of hats during his over three decade long entrepreneurial journey. He has been the Chairman of IT Asia from '91 thru '94. In the subsequent years he donned the hat of President TiE (Kolkata), and has been on a number of industry bodies including MAIT, NASSCOM, CII among others. Bikram is also a former World Bank International Expert Advisor - IT/ITeS to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Government of Bangladesh. Bikram lives in Kolkata along with his wife Ranjana and twin sons Romit and Rahul who have shouldered the burden of managing his solo, multi-faceted entrepreneurial venture Globsyn. Bikram's prized creation, Globsyn Business School (GBS) is among the top five B-Schools in eastern India and has the rare distinction of its flagship PGDM being a NBA accredited management program. GBS is also and a member of Association of Indian Universities, giving its PGDM program the equivalence of an MBA program.

Remembrances

  • "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."

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    - N.R. Narayana Murthy
    Padma 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."

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    - Rajendra S. Pawar
    Padma 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'."

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    - Pradeep Kar
    Chairman 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."

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    - Pravin Gandhi
    former Chairman and Co-Founder Hindtron, former Director, Digital Equipment Corp, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist and an icon of the Indian IT industry

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