“Think Long Term, Act Short Term”: Vikas Malpani, CEO, Leher
- Sharmila Chand
- Mar 02, 2021
Vikas Malpani, a seasoned technology entrepreneur, is currently the CEO of Leher, a social network app related to live-video discussions. Earlier, Mr Malpani had co-founded CommonFloor.com, an online real estate and community portal.
Leher is an innovative app which helps users create their communities and have audio-video discussions. The app brings the world closer by getting people to have free-flowing conversation around topics of their interest. It helps users find like-minded people to network over deep, meaningful conversations.
Earlier, at CommonFloor.com – which was acquired by Quikr.com in 2016 for $200 million – Mr Malpani had played a vital role in providing private networks for apartment owners and management tools to their association committees for running their housing societies in a better way.
Mr Malpani had led the CommonFloor Group’s business,
which was the largest-of-its-kind community portal for neighbourhoods and apartments.
He was also one of the executives who had facilitated in CommonFloor.com raising
nearly $60 million from Accel India, Tiger Global and Google Capital. He was
instrumental in bringing some of the technology-first solutions – like virtual reality
tours, augmented reality applications and Apartment Gate Security app – for
real estate developers.
Mr Malpani has been a part of two unicorns – Quikr.com as a merged entity with CommonFloor.com and at Unacademy.com as the earliest angel investor. He is an adviser to multiple start-ups, some of which are Y-Combinator Alumni, the most-prestigious start-up accelerator in the world.
A recipient of many awards and accolades over the last decade, Mr Malpani has been awarded the prestigious MIT TR35 Young Innovator & BusinessWorld Hottest Young Entrepreneur Award. For his expertise in start-ups, entrepreneurship, real estate and technology, he has been invited to speak at large industry forums, like FICCI, CyFy and TiE, and at colleges, like Babson, IITs, IIMs and NITs, among others.
When Mr Malpani is not busy building Leher, he likes to meet technology-first start-ups and spend time mentoring his advisory companies. He also keeps himself busy with kickboxing, golfing or ideating technology-first solutions to large problems that face society. In an engaging conversation with Sharmila Chand, the Leher CEO talks about his passion for management and the way he manages his business.
Five management mantras according to you
My management mantras for success of start-ups are as follows:
a. Keep it simple.
b. Focus on culture.
c. Take big bets.
d. Do the boring things – be disciplined.
e. Communicate often, repeat important messages, and listen carefully.
Do you play any game which helps you in your career?
I think games are a phenomenal way to learn real-life skills. I dabble in various games and don’t shy away from trying new ones. I have played Chess, Table Tennis, Squash, Golf, Cricket, Kickboxing and Tennis. I have learnt a lot from the games I play, and those lessons are as follows:
• Golf: Focus and alignment of the entire body are important to get the shot right. These activities also apply to an organisation achieving its goals.
• Kickboxing: Don’t be afraid of taking the hits. Competition fears the enemy that has no fear.
• Squash: Anticipating and proactive planning make execution effortless.
• Cricket: Timing comes with practice.
Would you share with us the turning point in your life related to your career?
I chose to do a start-up instead of going for an MBA,
and that made all the difference to my career.
What is the secret of your success?
Consistently moving out of my comfort zone and pursuing worthy opportunities to create a large impact have been the reason for my success. I have been lucky to have worked with some of the smartest people who have pushed me hard and helped me overcome huge barriers to succeed.
What is your philosophy of work?
Find something worth obsessing about.
Any particular person you admire who has inspired you
Elon Musk: He inspires me to think that nothing is
impossible, and humans have tremendous potential of building things which can
change the future of humanity. Mr Musk has embodied the principles of dream big
and work hard to make a difference.
What is the best advice that you have got?
Future is brighter than you think. It’s never too late to start something.
Your sounding board
Sumit Jain and Lalit Mangal – the co-founders of CommonFloor.com
What are your favourite books and why?
Karma Yog by Swami Vivekananda – It has helped me disassociate the outcome from the effort.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – This has enabled me to understand the basic nature of humans and their evolution into a society.
Abundance by Peter Diamandis – This book has got me to dream big with technology-first solutions. It has provided optimism in the future of mankind.
Getting Things Done by David Allen – This has provided me a practical framework for disciplined work.
What is your fitness regime, and how do you keep yourself fit?
I was very ignorant of health and fitness in the early years of my career, and it took a big toll on my overall well being. I then made conscious effort to understand how my body works and have incorporated the following things to my fitness regime:
• Proper and timely sleep (7 hours, early to bed)
• Diet of fresh food with right nutrition
• Exercise comprising Yoga and walk
• Meditation for 30 minutes a day
Lastly, what are the five mantras for success in business according to you?
Speedy execution: If you execute fast, you get more chances to succeed. Speed is the single-biggest moat in start-ups. It provides you an ability to make mistakes and course-correct while learning from it.
It’s all about people: Your business is all about people, whom you work with, who are your customers, and how you keep them excited.
Think long term, act short term: Make your decisions, aligning them with the long-term view, but act on things now.
Choose your battle: You cannot fight on all fronts, choose the battle you want to fight, and give it your all.
Enjoy what you are doing: If you don’t enjoy what you do, no matter how successful you become at it, you will be miserable.
What message you would like to give to youngsters on management?
I would like to tell the youngsters three things:
Do not reinvent the wheel: Ask questions to understand and not to oppose.
Have your beliefs thought through: You are what you believe in.
keep learning: Reinvent yourself.