Mogambo — Key takeaways for everyone starting up
Once you have a kid, Saturday nights are typically spent watching the most kid-friendly movie possible, so last evening we chose Mr India — a Bollywood offering by Shekhar Kapur before the world “discovered his talents”. With a milieu of marauding children with accompanying pranks, a superhero, a romantic track, peppy songs, highlighting some of India’s problems (most of these are still relevant two decades on) and most importantly a bad-ass villain (Mogambo) the likes of which have not been seen in Bollywood and for me even in Hollywood.
As the movie drew to its predictable climax I couldn’t help but admire his never give-up attitude which got me thinking about the lessons people starting up or planning to startup can take away from Mogambo.
Have lofty goals
Sample some of the lofty goals of rockstar startups -
Apple — “Think different”
Google — “Indexing the world wide web”
Facebook — “Connect the world”
SpaceX — “Colonise Mars”
Mogambo’s goal “Rule all of India”.
You got to appreciate as far as goals go this one was pretty lofty. An ambitious goal is the leader’s most important tool to rally people around them. It is said often that people follow leaders who show them a vision of the world that resonates with their ideas. These are the people that champion the enterprise’s cause and play a direct or indirect role in its success.
Mogambo ensured that he articulated his goals clearly with all and sundry. His aspirations and worldview were there for all to see with a large map of India as both a constant reminder both for self and for his team.
Make elaborate plans
Idea is just a start execution in the key to achieving success. Execution requires elaborate planning. Mogambo clearly spent an extensive time planning his conquest; of further note was that he took a long term view and had started multiple initiatives along the way leading up to the big all conquering attack.
Mogambo along with his team identified the critical success factors and dedicated all their energies to meeting their objectives. Ex — he identified Arun Verma’s rented bungalow as critical to his plans he threw everything he had at it.
Assemble a passionate team
You cannot change the world alone; you thus need to build a strong and passionate team that shares your vision and is willing to go the extra mile to achieve success. Mogambo surrounded himself with resourceful and motivated henchmen such as Daaga and Teja along with the other team members. His leadership commanded unquestionable loyalty to an extent that his men were willing to lay down their lives for him.
As showcased Mogambo was very generous with rewards and remuneration as no expense was spared on Mogambo’s lair, and in the lifestyles maintained by his key personnel. Mogambo’s generosity extended even to his positive reinforcement in the form of his iconic acknowledgement — “Mogambo khush… hua”.
Another hallmark was given the scale of his goal Mogambo didn’t micromanage his team. He laid out the objective and provided guidance but left his team to plan the details themselves. This empowered his team and allowed them to do the evil they were recruited for in the first place.
Invest in innovation
Mogambo had an in-house R&D team that designed amazing technologies that are typically out of the realm for most. His team produced automated and remote controlled doors (and floors), robots, weapons, surface to air missiles and many other products. Further proof was the ability to analyze big data (I exaggerate slightly — but you get the picture) to identify the protagonist as the key cog in the entire mystery around the identity of Mr. India.
Don’t give up!
Time and again Mr India foiled Mogambo’s sinister plans. Did he give up? A test of an entrepreneur is grit and the ability to bounce back and take a problem head-on. He remained positive and encouraging throughout and until his dying moment never gave up. In fact even when his objective seemed all but lost he still fired the last salvo hoping to immortalise himself nevertheless.
And the final lesson and reality — Startups fail
Mogambo failed to meet his objective. Even with the best laid plans, motivated teams and unlimited capital an overwhelming number of startups fail. It is such a sombre point that I cannot make myself to analyze or write further.