N. R. Narayana Murthy – The dream generator

N. R. Narayana Murthy is a famous man for a long time now. Not for the size of his business. But more for the breadth and scope of dreams he created for the entire country.

N. R. Narayana Murthy is a famous man for a long time now. Not for the size of his business. Not for the company he founded with six other friends in 1981 with revenues of US$6 billion per year. Not for millionaire drivers’ shining cars outside Infosys. But more for the breadth and scope of dreams he created for the entire country. And for generating a live example that all entrepreneurs can emulate.

As the rest of corporate India struggles to globalize, Infosys strengthens its base elsewhere. Most of the company’s business comes from abroad. Infosys has many firsts to its credit - chief among them being: The first Indian company to be listed in the United States; fantastically high levels of equity trades, on the domestic bourses as well as Nasdaq; and a company that is generally viewed to be in the right place at the right time, with the right management.

The humble Murthy, who is 53 and an electrical engineer from Mysore University, studied computer science at IIT Kanpur. A schoolteacher father who taught in the Kolar district in Karnataka instilled values early, and Murthy’s ideology, company values and generous donations to charity reflect that.

This down-to-earth man had to mortgage his wife Sudha’s jewelry for Rs. 10,000 (US$214) to put some funds in the company. And he followed that up with a good measure of grit, determination and forward thinking. People who know him well call him “a capitalist in the mind and a socialist at heart.”

Before starting Infosys, Murthy was working with a company called Patni Computers. Among the many “firsts” to his credit, just like his company, was designing and implementing India’s first BASIC interpreter and the first time-sharing operating system. He’s equally at ease juggling numbers and tinkering with technology, in spite of being an academician at heart. If not for an entrepreneur, he would, most probably, have been a professor, possibly due to the days he spent at IIM Ahmedabad.

People who know him well call him “a capitalist in the mind and a socialist at heart.”

The unassuming Murthy was also a part of the team that designed a 400-terminal, real-time operating system for handling air cargo for Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris. After all the fame and fortune, he still remains unchanged. Still believes in “simple living, high thinking” and still instills values and dreams in the minds of many a budding entrepreneur.

That’s Murthy for you. The dreamer and the doer. – Anshul Chauhan, ZDNet India