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“Everybody else bring data to the table” This is one of

Narayan Murthy’s favorite one liners. What exactly does he
mean? Is he saying that clients and staff can’t be trusted? Murthy
has said many times that trust is critical in business because it
reduces the cost of transactions.

In Murthy's eyes Infy (as Infosys is referred to) as an
‘enlightened democracy’ i.e. a meritocracy ‘powered by intellect and
driven by values’ committed to Murthy’s brand of ‘compassionate
capitalism.’ He feels that what people really need are opportunities,
incentives and healthy competition. As he sees it, there is a
hierarchy at Infy, but it is a hierarchy of ideas, not people.Ideally,
decisions are based on data, not emotions. The best and most
innovative ideas are selected in every case. Murthy runs Infy on the
conviction that ‘Performance leads to recognition.Recognition brings
respect. Respect enhances power.Humility and grace in one's
moments of power enhances the dignity of the organization."
Initially, Infy gave away stocks worth Rs. 50,000 crores to staff
creating two thousand salaried millionaires in the US and twenty
thousand in India. It has done this because it wants to ‘attract,
enable, empower and retain’ ‘happy, enthusiastic, energetic,
satisfied, aspirational minds.’ According to Murthy, the rest is
elementary and follows as a matter of course. The compensation
package is structured differently now. To what extent does Murthy's
vision actually translate into the ground reality at Infy? It's open to
debate!

Murthy’s life and work are the stuff of legend. His life reads
like a classic rags to riches story. His father was a school teacher of
very limited means. Murthy was a brilliant student, excelling in
Physics and Mathematics. After finishing school, he wanted to join
IIT. He took the entrance exam and cleared it with top marks. When
his father got the news, he was terribly sad. He had to tell his son
that he could not afford to send him to IIT. Murthy graduated in
Electrical Engineering from Mysore instead. Murthy was not bitter
because:

Narayan Murthy was working for Patni Computers.” He replied “He’s a young person from Karnataka who was in Paris for three years. Kanpur. He was insistent. In fact buses have played a critical role in his life. Prasanna. the beautiful and brilliant Sudha Kulkarni got hired as the first woman engineer at Telco in Pune.” The next day he got on the bus and told her: “Narayan Murthy wants to meet you. she took a peek. he doesn’t drive and takes the company bus instead. ultimately it is you and you alone who can change your life by hard work. She was quite surprised and refused because she was the only girl in the group.' Always direct. Murthy. he set up 'Softronics. One day the front page said ‘Narayan Murthy: Istanbul. always grounded and practical. This marked the start of their courtship. Intrigued. During their courtship. He turned that dream into reality.' but the company folded in a year and half. Years ago. the third. Murthy has always been a frugal man who lives an austere life rooted in conservative middle class values. They’re still arguing about it. she asked him: “Who is this Narayan Murthy? He’s an international conductor. She noticed that he got on the bus with a different book every day. Every time I visit a place. Murthy was always broke. 'All students from the IITs study well and do big things in life.m. took up a job with 'Patni Computers' in Pune. She says she had to pick up some clothes from a tailor nearby so she got there at 7 p. I buy a book to remember it by. In 1976.Tech from IIT. ‘Narayan Murthy: Paris’.” Sudha Murty is from Karnataka too and they had a common friend. He insists that she got there early to meet him.' He did end up doing his M. ‘Narayan Murthy: Peshawar. Omkar Goswami of NDTV interviewed Sudha and Narayan Murthy in 2011. He’d say.’ the next day it was. Murthy invited a few friends and insisted that she join them. instead of 7:30. “I don’t have . There were other struggles ahead. She says it was the tailor. Sudha Murty (She spells her last name without the ‘h’) speaks very candidly and endearingly about the early years. She spoke of how they met on the bus both took to work. Murthy was already standing outside. For example. But it is not the institution.

It developed cutting edge technology with a very fast delivery cycle. Its 'Globall Delivery Model for IT services outsourcing from India' led to an international footprint for Infy. It worked hard. It refused to compromise on open. Murthy set up Infy with six other professional in a 10 ftx10ft room with no telephone or computer. He said: “we often run into chance events and unplanned encounters. She promised to take care of the financial and other needs of the household and also look after their son.money with me. His habit of borrowing from his wife continued. you pay my share. The man who couldn’t pay for his dinner was worth US $ 1. it battled with massive corruption and red tape. Murthy shared life lessons with the students of the Stern School of Business in New York in 2007.It introduced the PSPD model: (i. Murthy owed her a little over four thousand rupees. In 1981.predictability. It took over nine long years for Murthy to break even. This was the first time they’d seen money. It worked to deadlines and guaranteed quality control. Murthy was working on a blue print for Infosys. It’s incredible that in 2012-13.” He spoke of how the founders got an offer of US $1 million for Infy after struggling for nine years. This was their seed capital.profitability.sustanability.000/ (Us $ 250 at the then rate of exchange) from her.” For three years. He borrowed Rs. honest business practices. Initially. He never returned the money. In a business unfriendly India.000 employees. Infy found it very hard to get a foothold in the international market as no one trusted Indian business practices and products. she kept an account. When they married in 1978. We have to turn these events into opportunities by combining them with intentional choices. it is the learners who inherit the future.) . It was transparent.de-risking. She also gifted him a three year sabbatical to follow his dream.e. Infy had a market cap of approximately US $31 billion and 155. “In a time of change. I will return it to you later. .4 billion in 2012! By 1980. 10. It worked smart.

Murthy has never deviated from a path of corporate responsibility towards society in his long career: “I believe that we have all at some time eaten the fruit from trees that we did not plant. I believe this is our sacred responsibility. In the fullness of time.5 billion company. he told shareholders that it would take him three years to turn the company around. He didn’t have a penny in his pocket! Somehow. Its revenues have fallen well below TCS.On June 1. Murthy returned to Infy for five years to restore the company to its pre eminent position in the market. ‘…improvements require change and the quest for perfection requires us to change as often as necessary. he managed to persuade them. For four hours Murthy listened to his colleagues without a word. one that I hope you will shoulder in time. Employee satisfaction and morale are low. Today Infy is a US $ 7. It's focus on the lucrative consultancy business has backfired. which will largely benefit generations to come.Five of the founders met in Bangalore to consider the sale. when it is our turn to give. 2013. In a recessionary market. If they still insisted. It’s been overtaken by Cognizant. clients are not willing to pay for Infy's high priced products and services. Then he got up and spoke of why they should hold on. he’d buy out their shares.’ Is Murthy right in crossing the retirement age and bringing his son Rohan in as PA? Can one man turn the fortunes of a huge company? Open questions. It's no longer a company people are willing to kill to work for.” Infy has run into problems over the last few years. it behooves us in turn to plant gardens that we may never eat the fruit of. They say character is destiny… . At the AGM on June 15.