I had just graduated from college and was as fresh as dew. I was working with Praveen Tyagi (he was my first boss and I learned a tonne from him, but that’s for another post) on some exciting India – first initiatives in education.

It was with this context that I got a chance to meet Manoj Modi – the right hand of Mukesh Ambani. He is a reclusive man with hardly any public presence. But he is the one who leads most, if not all, of the large projects for reliance including the latest 4G layout.

Makers Chambers, the headquarters of Reliance, is an intimidating building. On top of it, I had a project plan to present to Mukesh Ambani and Manoj Modi. The plans I had made before this meeting were college seminars and dance show execution plans. I was nervous. As I walked into Makers Chambers, I was constantly mumbling the practiced spiel.

The office was super cozy with heavy carpets and rich upholstery. Few minutes of wait and Manoj Modi and Mukesh Ambani walks in. Sadly, Mukesh Ambani won’t be attending the entire meeting and will leave after greetings. I was disappointed but a bit relieved.

Manoj ji will pass off as a regular Gujarati businessman with no air about himself. He heard us patiently, he was extremely courteous and friendly.

After listening to us and our plans, he summed up by saying something that changed my perspective completely.

He said

scale is when you can provide education to the student in the remotest village at an affordable price. That is where you should start to solve. Whatever you do, think of the remotest place and remotest human, that your solution, your product can reach. If it can’t, it’s a no-go for us.

I was mind blown. This definition of the scale was beyond my imagination and totally rebooted how I looked at building anything as an entrepreneur and as a Product Manager. Be it building products or business, this approach of starting from the end state of vision and then conceiving the roadmap to achieve it is refreshing and more realistic. It gives a clear aim to target and hence makes it easier to chart a path. Amazon has a similar approach for critical product releases but I will cover that in another post.

How big can you think?

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My name is Talvinder Singh, I build internet products. I am a philomath, a seeker of knowledge. I am an award winning 30 year old internet professional from India who designs, develops, consults, speaks and writes about building high quality, accessible internet products.


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