‘Look Up’ Rahul Yadav – You Can Be an Inspiration Rather Than Being an Arrogant Entrepreneur!
“With great power comes great responsibility”
– Voltaire (17th century French Thinker)
More than the product, and the services offered, Housing.com, off late has been in news for some other extreme reasons: Public conduct of Rahul Yadav, one of the co-founders of Housing.com.
The drama which never seems to end, Rahul Yadav, the hotshot co-founder of Housing.com, which is one of the largest venture capital funded real estate startups in India resigned in a most dramatic fashion this week. However, good sense prevailed over him, and he withdrew his resignation today.
In a manner which is consistent with his existing ‘communication strategy’, he wrote a scathing, hard hitting resignation letter to all investors and board members announcing his exit from a company which he co-founded along with 11 other ex-IITians.
In the resignation letter, he has mentioned that “I don’t think you guys are intellectually capable enough to have any sensible discussion anymore. This is something which I not just believe but can prove on your faces also!” These words have been directed for those few people who trusted Yadav, and his team and provided them with a corpus of Rs 500 crore+ as venture capital!
What exactly happened which led Rahul to quit a company which he founded? Why couldn’t investors understand his point of view, and his ‘intellectual vision’? Should a young entrepreneur behave in this way, especially after securing venture capital for a young startup? And lastly, why did he withdrew his resignation and apologized?
We may never know the answers, but yes, we can derive 3 powerful moral lessons (which Rahul must have skipped in school) from this debacle:
The Power of Money Can Never Replace The Power of Humility
Last year in December, Housing.com’s ex CEO Rahul Yadav shocked everyone with his arrogant, foul mouthed email sent to Shailendra Singh MD of Sequoia Capital India on the issue of poaching. Not only the email was tagged to all the employees of Housing.com, but was shared on Quora, a public platform.
Although Shailendra Singh was humble in his reply, Rahul ended his 2nd email with this sentence: “Go die motherf*****”
Rahul and Housing.com has raised capital of $121 million from different venture capital funds, including $90 million from SoftBank, but this sort of reply is certainly not justified from any point of logic.
Above every dollar spent on every venture backed startup, there exists humanity and humility, which cannot be replaced. No wonder Housing.com is deemed successful to some extent, and investors are happy to invest more dollars into the ‘idea’ (the venture is still unprofitable as of now), the arrogance in Rahul’s conduct was clearly visible.
As a saving grace, Rahul did apologize in his last letter, when he withdrew his resignation letter:
“After some frank and healthy discussions with the Board I have agreed to withdraw my resignation and I apologize for my unacceptable comments about the board members. I look forward to staying on at Housing as CEO and building an even greater company, while working in full harmony with the board”
Karma always hits back.
2) Your Communication Skills Reflects Your State of Mind
Lets again read some of the choicest terms and sentences used by Rahul during that ugly spat with Shailendra, and in his resignation letter:
“If you don’t stop messing around with me, directly or even indirectly, I will vacate the best of your firm”
“Also, this marks the beginning of the end of Sequoia Capital in India”
“And unlike being fake like you, I’ll be true here – I do not wish good for you or your firm until you’re at the helm”
“I don’t think you guys are intellectually capable enough to have any sensible discussion anymore”
“I had calculated long back (by taking avg life expectancy minus avg sleeping hrs) that I only have ~3L (hours) in my life. ~3L hrs are certainly not much to waste with you guys!”
“I’m available for the next 7 days to help in the transition. Won’t give more time after that. So please be efficient in this duration”
(the last three were from his resignation letter, which he withdrew later in the day)
If we are able to ask a psychologist to review these sentences, and analyze the thinking pattern of the person who wrote this, we may be able to derive some pretty interesting case studies. Whatever be the reason, a CEO of a Rs 1500 crore company is not supposed to express his anger or pain in this manner.
These above statements reflect a particular state of mind of a young entrepreneur who is reckless and arrogant at the same time.
3) Arrogance Is More Lethal Than a Bullet
Reportedly, Housing.com spent more than Rs 250 crore on their branding exercise, wherein they designed a new logo (which was alleged to be a copy of an iPhone app), a new tagline and purchased almost every major hoarding space in every major city. Such an outdoor advertisement blitz, with full force across every spectrum certainly raised some eyebrows.
A startup, especially an Internet based startup opts for such outdoor campaigns once they have reached a saturation point within Internet users. And going by the revenue churn, it doesn’t seem that Housing.com has reached each and every Internet user in India.
When Alok Kejriwal, one of the industry veterans tried questioning Housing.com’s outdoor advertisement strategy, Rahul called him ‘dumb’ on Facebook.
Ancient sages have termed ‘Listening’ as more important and beneficial than speaking; and this becomes all the more vital in case the person concerned is an entrepreneur who is leading an organization worth Rs 1500 crore. Has Housing.com become so big that its founder can’t even agree to disagree with grace?
Arrogance has often been termed as more lethal than a bullet.
We hope and believe that Rahul will be able to control his anger, and practice humility as a CEO of a startup, which is growing at a breakneck speed. He should note that being an entrepreneur, he is not only accountable to his investors, employees and his family, he is also accountable to the youth of India who is ‘Looking Up’ to him for guidance and inspiration.
Please don’t let us down!
[Image Source: ET]