Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. What made this college dropout so successful, and why do I look up to him?
Hailing from a small town in Odisha, it is only conventional that he would have completed college education and went ahead to pursue a job. But he had other things in mind. Going against all social norms, he dropped out of college to carve his path as an entrepreneur. I find this truly commendable, the fact that dreams are limited only by your drive to achieve them.
The reason that led him to start OYO Rooms is kind of funny. During his childhood days, when he used to visit his relatives, he wasn’t given control of the TV remote. His relatives would want to watch soap operas while he preferred cartoons. He remarks that he started OYO Rooms to be in control of the TV! Nevertheless, I find this extremely inspiring. To take such a trivial problem as being in control of the TV, and using that as a foundation to solve the major non-standardisation of bed-and-breakfast rooms in India looks poles apart, yet it was achieved!
You must be willing to stretch out of your comfort zone, take risks, and be emotional (in a good way) about your venture and the stakeholders involved.
There are a lot of hotel franchising and leasing models across the world, but what made OYO so popular and convenient? This is one lesson that is a must-learn from Ritesh. When he pivoted the model from Oravel Stays and launched OYO, he used to be hands-on and get all the work done, including room service, housekeeping, sales, CEO duties, etc. He didn’t shy away from showing people to their rooms and carrying their luggage around. He even used to check-in to different OYO Rooms to get a pulse of what the hotel owners and customers want. And this played out to be a major lever in the success of OYO.
An inspiring young personality, his future only looks brighter. His story has helped me learn and grow, and can inspire you too! Check this out to read more on his life story.
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