Highlights from my recent trip to Mumbai.
I spent last week in Mumbai at the Directi headquarters. It was great to sit down and work beside many of the people that I’ve only met over email and video conferences to date.
I spent much of the time in the office and it was a fairly short trip. But I did get part of the “Mumbai experience”.
The first experience you have upon arriving in Mumbai is what locals call “driving”. I call it one big game of chicken. Seriously, driving in Mumbai makes New York City driving look like child’s play. The road is shared by cars, buses, trucks, autorickshaws, bicycles, people, handcarts, and occasional livestock. All with no lanes. And seemingly no rules. Red lights are merely a suggestion.
Yet through all the chaos traffic somehow works. I didn’t see a single accident while I was there.
The second experience is just living in such a mass of people. 20 million people are packed into the city. I rode past one of the main train stations at peak hour and thought our car was going to be lifted off the road by people. The trains are a site to see, too. There are no doors and people just hang out the side as it moves. I was dared to try to catch a ride on one. I declined.
The third experience is navigating the tourist shops. I walked into shops fully expecting to have to negotiate. But I wasn’t prepared for the intense cross selling. Seriously, these shop owners put the Go Daddy checkout process to shame. “You really should buy a rug to go with that Sari.” “Your wife would like this decorative elephant.”
Finally, I experienced real Indian food. Not Americanized Indian food. It puts local fare back home to shame.
Mumbai is unlike any city I’ve ever visited. A lot of it was good, like this view from my hotel on Juhu beach:
Oh yeah, and I think I’ve figured out the basic rules of cricket.
Inside the Directiplex
The Directiplex is a 1,500 seat building in the Andheri East area of Mumbai. It’s an impressive testament to Directi’s growth. The building houses all of the company’s businesses including ResellerClub, LogicBoxes, Skenzo, BigJumbo, and Media.net. (I primarily work with the latter three.)
It also houses the company’s new domain registrar BigRock. While I was in Mumbai, Directi co-founder Bhavin Turakhia showed off BigRock’s TV commercials to hundreds of employees. If you’re not from India you might not understand them, but judging from the crowd’s reaction they’ll make plenty of people laugh (and hopefully register domains).
Later this year the company will open up another building across town that can seat up to 800 people. Directi co-founder Divyank Turakhia gave me a sneak peek of the building, which has beautiful views across preserve land. When complete the building will include a bowling alley.
It’s all part of the company’s quest to attract good talent. The company has been successful so far, but there are still plenty of positions to fill.