I recently had the privilege to interview a young budding entrepreneur on behalf of City News, an exciting local news portal where I volunteer whenever I am given the opportunity to. The young entrepreneur was none other than Mr. Suhas Gopinath who has earned the unique distinction of being the world’s youngest CEO; he started his software company at age 14 and has since then become one of the most remarkable success stories of teenage entrepreneurship. He was invited here to Singapore as a guest at the recently concluded ‘Global Social innovators Forum ’09’.
Suhas Gopinath is now 23 and runs a world-class business with over 600+ employees. His company Globals Inc had a modest beginning when he founded it from an Internet café in that he frequented in his neighborhood in the IT city of Bangalore, India. As Indian laws did not permit him to start a company, he was forced to register the company at San Jose, California in 2000. At age of 16 when most other teenagers are busy with things like studies, movies, music, friends and games, Suhas was already recognized as the world’s youngest CEO by the world media including BBC, Washington Times and the Limca Book of Records. Today, Globals Inc operations are global with representation in at least 11 countries and offering services to more than 200 clients world-wide. With the average employee age being 25 years this young software company seems positioned to pull off the next big corporate success story.
You can read the interview on the City News portal here.
I was very keen to meet Suhas because it would a unique opportunity to understand the thought process of a young entrepreneur who has the potential to be the next Bill Gates. It was indeed an inspirational 30 minutes.
Below are some of the thoughts that I walked out of the interview with.
The DNA of a successful entrepreneur

They just Know: Most entrepreneurs deep within their being just know that they born to set up their own Business. It’s a calling that’s planted within and it’s just a matter of time and opportunity when they act on it. In Suhas’s case he acted on it at the age of 14 when we saw a huge business opportunity in the Internet in his frequent visits to the Internet Café.

They are convicted to get there: They have the single minded pursuit to achieve their goals. No matter how hard they need to work and or sacrifices they need to be make they know & they know that the fruits of their labor is worth it. When most teenagers at the age of 14 when most other teenagers are pre-occupied with things like movies, music, friends and games, Suhas was more interested in investing his time learning about setting up an enterprise for the future. His parents had concerns and put pressure on him to revisit his decision but he pursued and eventually they relented after seeing his initial commitment and success.
They see visions of the future: This is one gift that all entrepreneurs are bestowed with. They can visualize the future and think about businesses that are ahead of their time. Suhas knew that the Internet was his vehicle to launch his business and that most future organizations will have biz models that are based on technologies related to the Internet. From having nothing to dreaming up of a business that would one day employ many can only be possible if you can visualize and dream of it.

They stay grounded and humble: This where many falter and fall, so many times we hear of stories of success going to a persons head and sooner or later the plunge happens. Entrepreneur who are in it for the long haul know that being humble and grounded is a virtue to have. Interestingly even after Suhas’s company made its first US $500,000 he continued taking pocket money from his father. He didn’t make any significant changes in his lifestyle but stayed grounded in his vision to build a sustainable business.
They most certainly have role models: Having mentors and role models is the key to successful entrepreneurship. It keeps them focused and they are a constant source of inspiration to keep going. For Suhas it was the story of Bill Gates founding Microsoft that inspired him. Having met Bill Gates in Bangalore was definitely a great milestone for him and he was bowled over by Bill’s simplicity and approachable attitude.
They know how to monetize an idea: All of us once in awhile get business ideas but most of us fizzle out when it comes to translating that idea into an opportunity. Good entrepreneurs know how to take their ideas to the next logical stage that is making it into a viable business model. When i was talking to Suhas i was asking myself how many times have i shot down good ideas that have crossed my head. 🙁
Being socially aware is a plus: Many entrepreneurs are beginning to see the benefit to pursue businesses that not only have a profit motive but can also address some underlining social issue. For Suhas one of his other motivations to start was to create a platform for the young dropouts and unemployed youth to develop their talents and give them employment opportunities in the technology sector. For him there is nothing more satisfying than having the ability to provide employment opportunities to young deserving people.
To end I would like to pick a sentence from his concluding remarks – “Be adventurous in life and be willing to take risks, take every opportunity to meet new people and learn to operate in new circumstances by getting out of your comfort zone”.
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2 Responses to The ‘DNA’ of a Young Entrepreneur

  1. Anonymous says:

    great post Jamshed…loved it!- via twitter @Ashwinkgopal

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bloody hell I would have loved to meet him too.

    He is like the olympic gold medalist of the IT world

    banglacow at gmail

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