When I worked at Rediff.com from early 1998 to mid 2002, Ajit Balakrishnan (AB as we affectionately called him) was my boss’s boss’s boss. I was very junior at that time and remember looking at AB with awe and fear. Although I never knew him well personally, he has always been an inspiring figure in our industry.
I picked up this book expecting to get into the mind of a genius and learn about the way he thinks but I was a bit disappointed. A large part of the book reads like it’s been ghost written by some historian and AB’s personal anecdotes and experiences are few and far between. Although the historical information about economics and evolution of the web was somewhat interesting, its not why I would want to read this book. This book should have been more about AB and on that count it dissappoints.
But whereever he has shared from his personal experience such as the 9/11 terrorist attack or the class action suite, the book comes alive. What was amazing was how much he seems to worry and care about his business and how much time he spends in introspection. That human dimension to him was what we were looking for in this book. He also quickly glosses over some critical periods and challenges in rediff’s growth which would have been quite useful for today’s younger generation.
Overall, if you haven’t met AB or worked at Rediff.com this book would be quite interesting but having seen the man in action my expectations were much higher.
I would still highly recommend this book to all students of the new age of technology and see the world from the perspective of a genius that is Ajit Balakrishnan.
With the deepest respect,