02 March, 2021

Dhirubhai Ambani (1932-2002) Reliance

“The whole DNA of his business was not only to ­innovate for survival but also to innovate to change the rules of the business game­,” says Pritam Singh, former director, IIM Lucknow.

Photograph by Getty Images
Dhirubhai Ambani (1932-2002) Reliance
  • His net worth was estimated to be $6 billion (above Rs 29,000 crore) when he died in 2002


Quote one. “If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs”. The first part is standard-­issue ‘New Age’ homily. The second is Dhirubhai. A plainspoken wit by which to cut to the chase, to reach out for enlightened self-interest via common sense. His mates back in Chorwad village, in the Junagadh outback, might have laughed as the barefoot boy paused amid the games of hu tu tu and marbles, and pointed at passing aircraft to say he’d fly in them one day. Years later, rival traders might have mocked the new ups­tart as he carted bales in his own car, bypassing the wholesalers and middlemen who sucked off all the cream, and won over retailers with his disarming charm and logic. Quote two. “Profit will be ours, loss mine.’’ That’s to lenders. Terms impossible to refuse. As with the retailers, or the shareholders later, nothing as...

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