Book / Innovation · January 13, 2022

A CEO that was ahead of everyone else

This was sent to me by my colleague yesterday –

“Asian Paints is the only company in the history of the planet which has grown #revenues at 20% p.a. consistently for 60 years, from 1952 till 2020.”

This was too good to be true. So I spent more time digging into the company.

Then I found the story of the company covered in the book ‘Unusual Billionaires‘.

The Company went public in 1982 and gave more than 1800x returns to date.

The #2 Berger Paints and #3 AkzoNobel players in the industry are way behind the #1 Asian paints.

Why do some companies become so successful?

What is so special about some CEOs as compared to their peers, even though all are leading the companies working in the same industry.

Answer – Exposure to what is happening around the world.

In 1970, Champaklal Choksey, the founder, spent $10.5m buying India’s 1st Supercomputer; decades before the national space institute like ISRO, or top tech university like IIT had it.

Mr. Choksey built the world’s finest ERP implementation at Asian Paints when other companies could not understand the use of computers in business.

He used ERP to collect consumer data and build a cycle from raw materials to cash in 8 days. Fastest in the industry. Unlike other companies, Asian Paints knew exactly how much paint would be demanded each month. They also knew how they could deliver the paint directly to the user in the shortest amount of time.

The CEO’s vision to be continually aware of new technologies and to be open to implementing them allowed the company to get way ahead of others.

I was fascinated by this since a brick-and-mortar paint company is not supposed to understand technology. This is a great example of how you can gain an unfair advantage over others by expanding your exposure.

You will learn mental models and many other stories that will help you innovate better and help make your teams more confident in problem-solving. 

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