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BW Businessworld

A Funny Guide To Make It Big

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It is surely a funny name for a book that takes you through an interesting journey of a startup. Chicken Lips, Wheeler-Dealer And The Beady-Eyed MBA chronicles personal struggles and joys of Frank Farwell while he set up WinterSilks. Yet, it is surprisingly generic, and becomes a pathfinder for those who run startups or those wanting to run one.

The book becomes endearing when Farwell talks of how his family lived on diminutive budgets while he struggled to get his feet on ground and gave direction to his company's vision. It introduces the reader to one colourful character after another. Take the way he talks of a merger and acquisition consultant he met at a mail-order conference at Chicago. He discreetly refers to him as Overfed Cowboy! The other interesting character is a highly qualified local buyer — Gray Flannel Godzilla. A reference check on Godzilla got Farwell a response that made even someone like him sit up. He was advised to be careful in dealing with Godzilla as he reportedly ate small children for breakfast! The book is littered with such characters and you will find Mr and Mrs Hard Ass, Sharp-Eyed Rookie, Numbers Nerd, Old Pro, Pantyhose King, Wall Street Con Man and many more.

Farwell worked as a cub newspaper reporter and then enrolled in a MBA programme before deciding to leave the corporate world and strike out on his own. His journalist skills are clearly visible in the book as his anecdotes are laced with spice and humour and take you through his journey of setting up a robust supply-chain in China. His efforts worked well, and he took WinterSilks to great heights before selling it for a fortune.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 27-06-2011)