Let’s Talk History. Let’s Talk Business

Let’s start with a small quiz.

What’s common among the three companies below:

  • Bombay Dyeing
  • Parry and Company
  • Shalimar Paints

At first look, nothing really. But well, they are among some of the oldest companies still operating in India today.

  • Bombay Dyeing, set up in 1879, is still clothing itself and us in the new trends of the day.
  • Parry and Company have been taking sweet strides in business since 1839.
  • And Shalimar Paints Paints have been painting many a hue since 1902.

On the other hand, a look at NIFTY 50 shows many companies that have moved out of the index over the years. And for every startup that finds success, there are many that just do not. Why are some companies ‘Built to Last’ and some, well, just disappear without a trace?

Welcome to season 2 of the Storytellers, only on Mentza

In Season 1, across 30+ episodes, we discussed the good, the bad, the ugly and more storytelling, especially in business about the core principles.

In Season 2 (every Thursday at 7:30 pm IST), we are going to get into the history of business, especially, Indian businesses.

This, at a time, when we see companies today becoming ‘Unicorns’ in just 6 months and private company valuations jostling with decades-long public company performances.

This is then the story of iconic Indian companies that have managed to thrive for years, decades and yes, a few, even centuries; all set to the beat of the dynamic and unpredictable stock market shifts.

Each time, over the following episodes, we will together, build and share the story of one such company and how they built their story Now when it comes to company stories, we often typically, speak about moat and the story of the company as it appealed to customers, investors and employees.

The other key point we want to bring in is that of inflection points – how did these companies read and respond to these. Because when companies stay for years and decades, they have to manage multiple such inflection points.

What are inflection points you ask? Well, these are irreversible shifts and changes. But, sometimes, they can also be misread.

For example, our country’s Internet penetration going beyond 50% was one such shift. The first wave of that shift brought us companies like Flipkart. The second wave is still delivering logistics and Fintech companies that are building the infrastructure of the Internet Economy. And the next decade is poised for many more, both stories and inflection points.

Why are we doing this now? Because, even as entrepreneurship and IPOs and Crypto and Unicorns, start entering college placement and dinner table conversations, there’s a lot to learn from the business stalwarts who can teach us a thing or two about what it takes to tame the markets and the business cycles.

Here are a few names we are starting off with. We will keep adding to the list. And as we keep building these stories, let’s build the collective knowledge of all of us who are interested in business, in history and in the real stories of change and impact.

  • Asian Paints
  • TVS Sundaram
  • Wipro
  • Tata Group
  • Bajaj Finance
  • Mindtree
  • Marico
  • Future Group
  • Cadbury in India
  • Kingfisher
  • Spicejet

From consumer companies to airlines and from conglomerates to technology giants, the stories are multi-hued. And truly worthy of staying true to the forever story opener – Once upon a time, in the world of business. The story continues, next episode, and next blog.

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