How to Make People Happy and Make Money - One Family’s Story

Harveen Narulla - Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 1,642 Views

The linked page below gives a summary of some pivotal moments in the amazing business success of India's Maroo family. 

Those who watch Bollywood content on Youtube would be familiar with the family's Shemaroo brand, which is owner/licensee/licensor of a significant amount of content. The name is an amalgamation of their own surname, 'Maroo', with the first part of the surname of their founding business partner ('She', from 'Shethia'), since departed from the business. 

It's instructive from the point of view of how to ingeniously do business against the backdrop of ponderous and corrupt bureaucracy in India at a time when the country was still relatively closed off from foreign commerce, during the days of the 'Swadesi' (buy 'local') movement. The family grew really good at tapping into what people wanted, understanding their customers deeply, and serving up to them things that captivated their interest and entertained them. 

Growing up in Dubai in the 1980s I remember spending many fascinating hours reading books borrowed from such libraries, that were set up by erstwhile entrepreneurs in the absence of a government program to bring libraries to the people. The Maroo family tapped into that in India, which led them to other forms of recreation - movies - in a new medium - on video cassettes, and onward from there. In negotiating rights for content they ended up partnering with Sony for its TV channel in India, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Interestingly, one of the family's business leaders, the third brother (20 years junior to the oldest brother who founded the mobile library business), has as a main task the discovery and exploitation of new platforms. 

I'll be watching their upcoming IPO with interest.

Harveen Narulla

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