The CEO of OYO rooms, Ritesh Agarwal was selected for the final round of “20 under 20” Thiel Fellowship, a two year program which gives $100,000 to young people who aim to make new things to bring a change to the world instead of sitting in the classroom and studying . Ritesh Agarwal says, “One big learning from Thiel fellowship was think really big and create an impact without thinking if anybody has done it before.”
Ritesh decided to turn on the model of OYO Rooms where he put most of the Thiel Grant into business. And that is how this college dropout started off with his venture despite meeting the failure in the first one i.e. Oravel Stays Pvt Ltd. Like every successful entrepreneur, he had taken risk and managed to succeed and his success is quite patent.
The experience that Ritesh Agarwal gained from Thiel Fellowship and making of OYO Rooms taught him manifold lessons:
1. Have a good Working Environment
The best entrepreneurial qualities which Ritesh Agarwal learnt from Thiel Fellowship is to create a good working environment for your employees. Successful entrepreneurs focus on keeping the good organization’s culture. To have a great culture at the workplace is something that Ritesh Agarwal learnt at his Thiel Fellowship and also during his journey of OYO rooms. Ritesh says, “As companies scale up, the only way employees can collectively work towards achieving a common goal is to have a great culture. Teams that share a strong camaraderie and are bound together by the same vision will enable a start-up to grow and sustain. I could understand this all the more as I was mentored by someone like Peter Thiel, who has, in turn ,helped shape the organisational culture at many highly successful ventures.”
2. Hire the Best People
Without any dubitation, it has been manifest that a successful organisation is not the hard work of one person, rather it is the hard work of the entire team. So it is really important for the entrepreneurs to hire a good and productive team that contributes to the success of the company. Ritesh Agarwal learnt this lesson and got it in application in his journey of success.
Ritesh Agarwal says, “A really important lesson i learnt was that it is important to have the smartest people around you. Those who can be great leaders too. Bringing people on board who consider themselves to be the CEO of whatever work they do is the foundation of building a brilliant company.”
3. Go Slow, but Produce Good, Effective and Useful
Successful people don’t rush after completing the things just for the heck of it as they meticulously understand the horrid repercussions their company can come across if they don’t bring the productive things in the competitive market. The CEO of OYO Rooms abides by the same stricture where he believes in bringing out the perfect product in the market. The lesson of “perfection ” with the work got instilled in him during Ritesh’s Thiel fellowship. He says, “Just building things fast and at the same time setting up processes which would help in building those things again must faster in the future are two completely different things. At OYO, we have invested a lot our time in designing, building and perfecting our processes and systems. We like to call it “creating science out of art.”
4. Work with Investors you Admire
Successful people have always invested their time in working with investors they revere. Every entrepreneur requires the investors to run his company but working environment and people play an important role in running a business,so it is advisable as well as commendable to get along with investors whom you admire. This is one of the important lessons that the CEO of OYO Rooms Ritesh Agarwal learnt at “Thiel Fellowship”. He says, “All start-ups require capital to seed, run or scale. While it is critically important to find and secure the necessary capital to run your organisation, it is absolutely vital to bring on board those investors who you admire, trust and would like to work with. This creates a great foundation for any start-up and has been a major factor for OYO’s success thus far.”
5. Make a Product that Brings Change
If noticed with scrutiny ,all successful people are prone to develop products that are just not great but even become so adorable to people that the products affect their lives .The CEO of OYO rooms learnt this conspicuous lesson from Thiel Fellowship and journey of “OYO success”.
Ritesh says, “It is extremely important to build something that a 100 people absolutely love using rather than make something that a 1000 people would just, kind of, like.”
6. Take Challenges
During Ritesh Agarwal’s Thiel fellowship and initial years of OYO rooms, he learnt the principle of challenging the status quo and his success which is remarkable through OYO rooms shows how challenging Ritesh has been. Despite meeting failure at his first venture he didn’t give up and persevere and proved how facing challenges dauntlessly leads to success. He says, “Companies naturally build or accumulate some kind of inertia over time .They get satisfied with the profits they are making and incremental innovations they are doing. Every once in a while ,it is important for business managers to challenge the status quo and dare to something new .It also helps to keep the enthusiasm flowing through the company.”
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