My First Job: Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART


Job experiences teach you many things beyond polishing your skill-sets. These learnings tend to be your guidelines for the coming times in personal and professional life.
The ‘My First Job’ captures this essence from the industry leaders. Here is an account from Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART:

‘My First Job’ was:
CMC limited

My experience:
In the 27 years of my career, I have held many roles but my favorite has always been my role at IndiaMART. As the founder of India’s largest online marketplace, I got this opportunity to empower and enable businesses in the country and to make doing business easy for them. Together with my team, we have made this 21 year old journey worth it. Hence, I always believe in the power of a good team and I like it when people stay around for a long time.

Things I learnt:
One of the things that I have learnt is to ‘never give up’ and I keep telling my team that it’s better to try and fail then to sit and regret. I believe that everyone has a 100 percent chance of succeeding in life. Everyone I think is born with at least 20 percent of luck. But you will have multiple failures in life. So if you try only once, the chance of success becomes zero. But if you try it five times, your luck at succeeding at it becomes 100 percent.

Skills I Acquired:
One of the most important things that I have learnt is to learn and unlearn. As a leader, I have realised that nobody can work in silos and great companies are only built by collaborative efforts. During this process you have to constantly unlearn and let go to learn and acquire new responsibilities.

My Manager’s Teaching:
While working at C-Dot my manager taught me how to write CPU and memory efficient software and its importance and benefits. This has not only helped me make the processes efficient but also save millions over the years

My Journey So Far:
When we first started IndiaMART we were a small team. In the past 21 years, we have grown to become a strong team of 3500+ members. During my journey I have seen everything – success and failure; victory and disappointment but what keeps me going is the possibility of enabling that next business to come online and help it grow with us. So far we have enabled more than 30 Million businesses with our services and there are huge opportunities that lie ahead of us. It is this pool of possibilities that has made this journey a real adventure.

Turning Point in my Career:
I had been using basic internet like Email since long but a major turning point in my career was when I saw a webpage opened on a colleague’s computer while I was working in US. That was the first time that I felt that internet is going to be a driving force. I felt as if the whole world is converging on that webpage. It was such a euphoric moment for me to witness that one can access any information with just a click. I call this moment as a turning point in my career because it was then that I realised that I wanted to work in the field of internet.

My most crucial step/assignment:
Until 2011- 2012, we had built IndiaMART as a stable and self-sufficient organisation. IndiaMART was largely a home grown company. IndiaMART was the first job for most of our team and although they did wonderful in laying the foundation of what IndiaMART is today, yet I would often feel the need to explore and experiment with how other organisations are working. I could foresee that IndiaMART’s growth would get stagnated if we do not diversify our team. I discussed this with one our Board Members, Mr. Dhruv Prakash. He gave me an assignment to read a book ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’ by Marshell Goldsmith. Now, I am not a reader so he eased it out for me by just asking me to keep the book on my desk. Everyday I would read the title of the book and soon we took up this project to expand and diversify our team, especially the leadership. Today our team is a healthy mix of core team members and professionals who have worked at various organisations. I believe both are important to build a team and it is this quality mix that has helped us accelerate our growth in the past few years.

My Advice:
My advice to everyone is that you must never give up and keep trying with perseverance and dedication. Whether you are an employee or you are an entrepreneur, learning will never stop and for every success you will have to face failure. But, this shouldn’t hinder your growth.

Where I see myself 5 years from here:
At IndiaMART we have a clear vision for 2020. I see the company growing to greater heights in the next few years. This is the best time to be at IndiaMART. We are constantly creating new horizons for ourselves. We have recently entered fintech space and have a lot of exciting projects ahead. For this we are constantly looking for good talent and are also working towards making IndiaMART a happy workplace.

Top three expectations from myself as well as my HR team would be to:
 To create a team of winners
 Deliver the best
 Do what you love and love what you do