SM: What have you learned through your two ventures, especially DimDim, which is an especially ambitious project?
DD: Learning throughout AIM was very steep. I realized on my second or third day that I did not know anything about business at all. I aggressively started learning. I learned about negotiation, business valuation, and communication. I remember the first email I wrote at AIM. When I had it reviewed, the entire email was deleted and completely re-written. I felt a bit ashamed that I could not even put an email together so I started studying business writing. I learned so much at AIM.
At DimDim the learning has been more focused on working with professional investors, which has been a big change. There has been some learning involved with running a larger organization on the scale of DimDim. What I enjoy most is that I see a lot of people who aspire to be entrepreneurs, and they join DimDim because of that. I think it is great that we are able to attract people with that mindset.
SM: Are these entrepreneurs in India or here in the US?
DD: Entrepreneurs in India. We have a couple of people here who also have aspirations to start their own business, but they are already pretty senior people. There is still some growth in them, but it is more subdued and does not happen in the leaps and bounds like it does with the younger folks. I see them grow, but the younger employees have huge jumps in their growth. Those jumps are very fulfilling to see and really add a dimension of satisfaction that I was not anticipating when I started all of this.
SM: How is your piano playing going?
DD: I stopped a long time ago. Once I moved to Boston and started working I tried to pick up the violin, because on the piano you cannot play eastern classical music.
SM: Is eastern classical what you used to play?
DD: When I started it was western classical, which is when I realized that my heart was set on eastern classical. That is when I tried to pick up the violin, but that is a very, very difficult instrument. You don’t try to learn it at 22 or 24.
I do sing a little bit still now. I do not sing well, but I enjoy it.
DD: Yes, at least I attempt to.
SM: It has been delightful to meet with a Bengali entrepreneur who is actually a serious entrepreneur. We are a rare species. I wish you all the best and congratulations on your success.