We interviewed Vasudev Murthy, he is the Managing Partner of Focal Concepts. he has done BE from Roorkee. Later he completed his MS in Comp Science from Florida State University. He also holds MBA degree from Southern Methodist University. It is always a pleasure to interview an entrepreneur on WriterStory. So let us know about him and his latest book.
What inspired you to start writing?
Most people have stories to tell but don’t take the time to write or lack the right encouragement. My mother surrounded me with books and encouraged me to read a lot. That was enough I suppose. I am fortunate that I enjoy doing a lot of things, so I really had a lot of write about. There was a teacher at school who was enthusiastic about writing and encouraged me. That must have helped.
What did you liked to read when you were a boy?
Like anyone else, comics, mystery stories, books about the world war, animals, mythology.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Stamina. Its easy to create a story in your head – or even along the way – and its easy to begin. But its easy to falter. So you need a coach, you need fire within and you need a tough deadline. If you;re not careful, you can get distracted. Writing a book is really hard work. Characters, structure, retaining the essence at all times – all these require constant attention.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
Quite a lot. Things are much easier now as far as conducting research is concerned. But even then, it requires focus to connect various pools of information and weave something credible.
What motivated you to write the book “How Organizations Really Work”?
I have been a part time faculty at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. I have worked at various companies. I realized that there is a tremendous gap between what happens in companies on a day to day basis and what is taught in a sterile way in the classroom. An MBA emerges with an idealized view of various functions within an organization. But how do they connect? What about politics? Jockeying for power? Corruption? Harassment? Favouritism? These are things that happen but can’t be taught per se. I realized that a book that mixes theory with practice would help people across the board at various levels. There is an excess of books on leadership and they paints leaders as demi gods. But there are few books that tell you what to expect and how you must navigate. Its mostly through absorption over time. In my opinion, the productivity of a company is half of what it could be because people don;t have a complete view of the organization. At the end of every chapter, there’s a crazy story often close to real life. Why? Because life is stranger than fiction.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “How Organizations Really Work”?
The idea for the book was born out of the realization that the average employee is simply drifting along in a sea, doing specific things. Very few people can see the complete picture from end to end. The guy in finance spends his entire life doing finance and knows precious little about the rest. Why is the HR department generally unpopular? What do the sales guys actually do and what are the triggers to their behaviour? What does the CEO do? How does a company create a vision for itself?
The book has theory, practice and a humourous story within each chapter. It also has plenty of mind maps which attempt to explain how everything comes together.In my opinion it is easy reading and demystifies organizations well.
How did you came up with the idea of writing management(with slight humour) genre book?
Life is stranger than fiction. I have met odd people and encountered bizarre situations. Nothing works as per a text book. I think people are tired of prescriptive books or those eulogizing leadership on and on. I realized that conveying a message with a touch of humour would be able to connect with a reader more easily; they could see themselves at work dealing with odd events, megalomaniac CEOs, bullying managers, inter departmental politics, and so on.
Who are your favourite authors?
Yukio Mishima, Somerset Maugham, R K Narayan, Arthur Conan Doyle, P G Wodehouse and Edgar Allan Poe.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
If I am in the middle of a project, probably a good 6 to 8 hours. Sometimes things flow. Sometimes you need time to think and come back with energy. Ultimately, you have to want to finish a long and complex project.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
There’s a story inside you waiting to come out. Please help it emerge. Work on your writing stamina. Avoid getting swayed by praise. Get an editor. Worship him or her. An editor is your true friend.
You can buy his book now: