Starbucks Live and Inspire: Dhakshinamoorthy ‘Dash’ Balakrishnan

This week’s Live & Inspire session has Dhakshinamoorthy ‘Dash’ Balakrishnan who will be speaking on ‘Promoting a Start-Up Culture’.

An entrepreneur and a passionate entrepreneurial evangelist, Dash is the founder and CEO of Warisan Global Sdn Bhd (WG).

Komunitikini: We know you are a highly respected figure now. How did you begin the journey?
Dash: My journey of entrepreneurship began when I was still a school boy. Perhaps 3 factors contributed to it.

Firstly I was not born into a rich family and money was always limited. We have never had holidays and I had to work and earn money to pay part of my way to school.

However, prior to realising this situation, I was already trying to sell my toys to other school boys for money.

So, when the time came when I was 13 or 14, I was not intimidated to start simple ventures to earn my pocket money. At one point I was also selling fighting fish.

So venture creation was both a hobby and a necessity.

Secondly, I was a seeker of truth and was always looking to find the underlying connections in life. I was always looking for “what’s beneath the surface”. So I was very interested in philosophy even as a school boy and used to read books beyond my comprehension.

That improved my English and also slowly changed the way I looked at the world and made me into a misfit in society.

I was not able to conform to school norms or even society norms and quickly lost interest in studies.

Thirdly I wanted to become successful and to make my mark in the world. I was highly competitive and had a huge ambition.

These 3 forces were complicating my life in a big way – it was creating chaos within and at the same time making me see the world more and more differently.

This is when I learned the art of converting frustrations into profits.

I dropped out of my program to become an accountant, went to work for an entrepreneur, did my MBA and started a venture all around the same time and yes, even got married.

This is where my journey began – about 18 years ago.

Today I have become somewhat known in the entrepreneur circles, am pursuing an exciting entrepreneurship program in Cambridge University and being recognised everywhere.

The lesson here is : I don’t fit into a cog wheel. I am a professional misfit !

This also gives me the passion to drive the start-up culture in Malaysia .

In your dictionary, what does “difficulty” and “failure” mean to you?
I don’t know what difficulty means to others but to me it means coming to a brick wall where I am unable to move. This makes me more creative and I find new ways to move forward.

Failure to me is not trying. Trying to comply and not taking risks.

Which figure in your respective field has inspired you the most?

My favourite entrepreneur was Ananda Krishnan – he was the only entrepreneur I knew who does what entrepreneurs are meant to do – create value, let a professional team run the business and let the innovator remain behind the scenes.

I have failed to emulate him – I meddle with things to the dismay of my team.

I have learned to let go.

The other entrepreneur I truly admire is Steve Jobs – he is my hero.

What kind of benefit/impact your respective field brings to community/people?
Impact – a mindset of game changers.

The world is not what it used to be. The rules have changed. Individuals now have the power to create not just companies but change industries.

If my work can inspire one child to become a Steve Jobs, I would consider myself a success.

What I would like to see is a venture creation culture – where kids and youth keep seeing new opportunities and trying to create value from these opportunities.

I would like to see the world connect and erase any form of political differences – making entrepreneurship unite the world.

How does the community/people response to your work?
The response has been very encouraging. I see people wanting to come to our programs  and also similar programs done by our friends – they see value in what we are doing : catalyzing a start-up culture.

If you are the minister in your respective field, what would you do?
I would not do (as a minister) ! I would just be a provocateur. I will ask questions, open opportunities and remain a facilitator. I will not comply with the expectations of what ministers are supposed to do ! I will be invisible as a force but be a catalyst – which I would like to think I am now.

What can we expect this coming Thursday?
A session we can think together, a session to explore together, to see how together we can “air-lift’ out entrepreneurial culture in Malaysia.

Ask questions and lets see how we can find the answers. The important thing is to ask the right questions..