This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Deepak Ohri. Deepak grew up in a modest, a one-room flat in a lower middle-class area of New Delhi. Most would not have thought that he would grow up to be one of the most successful innovators in the luxury hotel industry founding Lebua Hotels and Resorts, creating Luxury Atelier Maison Happiness and the president of the World Foundation of Happiness.
Along his journey, he has been recognized as the Top 100 Most Powerful People in global hospitality, been sought after for his thought leadership by everyone from Bloomberg to CNBC and Forbes as well as regularly being a featured speaker at Harvard Business School, MIT, and Columbia to name a few.
But through it all, he never forgot his humble roots and recently penned the best-selling book, A Bridge Not too Far, Where Creativity Meets Innovation, which shares his best principles and lessons for success and wisdom he has learned on his journey.
Deepak did not know where he would end up. He grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood and got a glimpse of what the upper class had. He asked his parents what he needed to do to get where those people where. He started dreaming with “his eyes open” and never forgot his roots. He took his challenges as a way to learn and grow.
Luxury to him was a Coca Cola and since the first time he had it, it put him on the path to find the luxuries and enjoy life and be happy.
How did you get into the hospitality space?
- By default. He was not going to go the doctor or engineer route, so entrepreneurship was the way for him. What is happiness?
- It is very individual.
- The most important thing is to know yourself.
- We seem to know everyone in today’s world but ourselves.
- We need to not mistake joy for happiness.
At the 11 min mark, Deepak shares a few important things.
- He does not have FOPO, fear of people’s opinions.
- Instead, he has ROPO, respect of people’s opinions.
- Sharing knowledge is important to life and success.
- Rules are rules, but they are meant to be broken and challenged.
- But you should only break rules if you are following your principles.
What is the true meaning of luxury?
- It is an experience.
- Deepak shares the story of the first time people around him could afford toothpaste as an example.
- Luxury is expressive and an experience.
- So, each person needs to ask themselves what luxury is for them. What experiences truly enrich you.
- Happiness is used correctly, can actually increase the top and bottom line of any business.
- Deepak shares examples from Labua on how they do customer service and use happiness.
At the 17 min mark, Deepak talks about luxury marketing and what it is.
- Employees must be engaged and be able to tell the story.
- How you tell your story is more important than the story itself.
- To tell a great story you must be honest. You must understand who your listener and how you narrate the story to them to get their attention.
- Design and craft your story to resonate with your audience.
At the 21 min mark, Deepak tells the story of how he got one of his restaurants to be a main part of the movie, The Hangover 2.
You wrote “A Bridge Not Too Far.” Why did you name it that?
- There is a famous movie called a “Bridge too Far.”
- But, the bridge is not too far. You dream is not too far and you can cross your bridge.
- For Deepak, crossing the road from the lower middle-class side to the upper class side was crossing a bridge.
- It is also a metaphor for his life.
You state that all of your successes are built on failure, explain that.
- Deepak did not go to good schools and did not have an expertise/profession.
- He learned through uncovering his shortcomings and overcoming them. He did not blame them on anyone.
- He knew he did not know everything and admitted it.
- He then looked at his failures and realized that the difference between a failure and a success is a step or steps you have missed.
- If there is step you missed, you can figure it out and go from there.
What are the key principles that you live by in life and business?
- Look at things from others point of view, especially the customer.
- Use logic. Think logically.
- Treat everyone fairly, no matter who they are.
- Trust your employees and take great care of them.
- Make your employees part of the bigger vision…and your customers.
How do you ensure a business can succeed?
- First, look at the behavior pattern of the area where the business will be based.
- Second, study deeply the customers
- Third, figure out what you can give the customer that is different and creates an incredible experience.
What has surprised you most on your entrepreneur journey?
- Deepak gives several examples of people reaching their potential and surprising.
- What can happen when you give someone a chance and/or get a chance yourself.
Time is more powerful than God? Explain that.
- A time well spent is a time well earned.
- Time keeps going. Even God cannot bring back time once it is lost.
- We have to learn to respect time and know the essence of it.
Best Quote: A time well spent is a time well earned.
Deepak's Misfit 3:
- Know your roots and where you came from.
- Just dream. God has gifted you with a mind that cane dream and create. Use it.
- Never have FOPO, fear of people’s opinions. Have respect of their opinions instead
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