Fervor With Dynamism: Dushyant Mishra
Alumni form a core factor for any leading institute. Having a widespread alumni network not only etches a mark of the institute, but also helps in improvising the various aspects of the institute. Mr. Dushyant Mishra, an alumnus of REC, Rourkela is a man with a vibrant personality who just does not want anyone to call him 'Sir'. He graduated in 1996 from Metallurgical Engineering and currently is the co-founder of Xtory. He visited the institute on 18th January to have an interaction with the students. So, on a chilly night at Hexagon Restaurant, he shared with Team MM about his various stages of struggles and what kept him moving on towards success.
MM: What is a highlight of your school experience? Is there something that will stand out, which you will always remember?
DM: My father had a transferable job in Rajasthan State Government and hence I got to study in multiple schools. I studied in Convent schools as well as Government schools. Every school, there are two things that I remember distinctly. One, I got some wonderful friends with whom I am connected till date. Second, I even remember some teachers, who helped me in gaining my interests. These are some of the experiences which I would cherish.
MM: Describe your life at REC.
DM: REC days were awesome. Those 4 years were the best years of my life. I did everything but studies (laughs). I made a lot of friends over here, met some wonderful people who helped me in becoming what I have become today. I learnt speaking English over here.
I used to participate in various extra-curricular activities. We didn’t have clubs back then and there existed an open concept, where one could do anything and no one could stop you. I discovered that I could conduct quizzes and hence conducted a lot of quizzes. I used to watch a lot of movies, as we had movie screenings in now-BBA. I dreamed a lot over here. This place inspired me a lot. Its sheer vastness made me realise my potential and do something big in my life.
MM: Have you ever tried something and failed, but were glad that you did it? What did you learn from your experience?
I have no regrets in life. Every time I took any decision that was the best thing of that day. The results did not matter, because result is something that happens in future. That point whatever I decided, that was the best that I could do. I do not look back in life in that sense.
MM: Share something about your early startups.
DM: I wanted to start something in training, but then I realised that it is much fluttered. Then I had a passion in travel and I started curetting vacations for people. But I could not productize it and a startup which cannot be productized is no startup. Then Sportspasta happened. My friend, Manish and I came together and worked hard on it for two and a half years. We got a fantastic social response and everyone who was a stakeholder appreciated it, except the investors. Since a business has to run on money, that’s when we had to take a call and close this down. It was like killing your own child. But I learnt a lot from that experience.
MM: Tell us about startup culture during your college days. When did you finally get to be associated seriously with them?
DM: We had an entrepreneurship cell at the second floor of Main Building. But none of us knew even how to pronounce the term. So that was what the startup culture was during my college days. Nobody bothered to visit the cell. The word startup did not exist then.
During those days the economic conditions were different with first results being shown, Y2K problem emerging and that’s when the Indian IT sector boomed. But I just continued my work.
MM: What was the main motive behind identifying your identity in the field of Life Insurances such as Bharti Axa and ICICI Prudential? How was your overall experience in the financial sector?
DM: I was working at a technical post at a PSU. Life has funny plans for people and I went through that. I quit my job and was to join Ramco Systems, but due to some personal problems could not do so. Then I joined another technical company and walked out of it after 90 days. When I reached home that day, I discovered that a consultant was trying to reach me for the post in Sales at ICICI Prudential. I was hired and then it was a dream run over there. I had finest years over here after REC. Then I worked in some other insurance companies and found cultural mismatch over there.
From this, I want to say that every company has its own distinct culture and you have to find that company which matches with your DNA, because only then you will enjoy your work.
MM: You have a keen interest in travelling as you have travelled over 800 villages. How would you link this with your personal and professional life?
DM: I believe that we do not have any split personality. I do not have any such things as personal life and professional life. Whenever I travel either for work or solo or with my daughter, I always learn because travel puts you in circumstances which are unpredictable. You are always your guard and hence you learn more. During my days in ICICI, I travelled a lot and I was lucky that my work wanted me to travel and I had a passion in that also. So I would say that my work helped me in travel and travel helped me in work.
MM: You have been a co-founder at Sportspasta. Please give us an insight about the organisation and your aspirations behind it.
DM: Sportspasta happened when my elder daughter wanted to learn chess and she started learning from a coach who used to come to the building. One day I overlooked the class and found some mismatch in it. I decided that I do not want this for her and hence I started searching a better coach for her. The next 8 months were spent on finding a coach and while searching for the domain of sports on the internet, I realised that there is a white space in it. So I talked with Manish and we spent many months on exactly what customers need. The model was that we would help people showcase their talent such that they would get the opportunities. So Sportspasta would have worked on a platform where talent meets opportunity. This was the basic idea.
MM: Tell us about your current career experience as co-founder at Xtory. How did this idea surge and take a serious stand in your life?
DM: I travel a lot, particularly road trips and I travel with my daughters. I tell them stories about places like its culture, vegetation, people etc. But at times I fail to answer some of their questions and Google would also fail to answer them. We used GPS to travel and then I realised that why GPS cannot tell us stories about the places that we were visiting. This was the genesis of the entire concept.
I got the technical feasibility done. Xtory tells you audio stories on the map. It lets you experience the place and it breaks the language barrier as the audio can be heard in any language. Hence one can get comfortable in hearing the stories in his own mother tongue.
MM: As an alumnus of the institute, what changes would you like to see in the institute’s administration and among the NITR youth?
DM: I basically want two things to be changed over here and that is related to the students. The two things are related to the way the students live over here. First, the culture of calling someone Sir and Madam should go away from the campus. It creates a barrier amongst various batches and hence hinders one in having a proper interaction. So this practice should be removed so that one can have a proper interaction and it also feels good when one is called by his name only.
Second, the students need to believe that they are problem solvers. There were far many problems during our days, but we never saw them as problems because we believed ourselves to be problem solvers. Once you start thinking like this, then you should reach out to an alumnus. There is a lack of stories in the campus. Premier institutes like MIT, Harvard did not become famous only for academics but also for its stories. Similarly, we carry a 51 year legacy of stories and once the students start sharing stories, the entire world would know about it and this place would become more wonderful.
MM: What are your future plans?
DM: I have a bucket list of plans. With every opportunity, I try to pick them up and fulfil. There are so many things which would become hard to jot down. It is these things which keep one moving and never let him feel low in life.
MM: What message and words of inspiration would you like to give to our fervent readers?
Believe in yourself. You are some of the brightest minds the country has got. I find the lack of believe among the students now. I would want you to believe in yourself, because if you do not then no one else would believe in you too.