IN THE SPHERE OF WISDOM
Rajesh Taluar meets businessman and author Vijay Eswaran and gets to know the man beyond his extremely successful ventures
Vijay Eswaran possesses the ultimate weapon against “the assault on our senses and the insanity that prevails around us” today. That weapon is simply ‘silence’. The uninitiated may deem that no quiet could exist amidst the din and racket of an ever-blaring world, but this businessman behind a fast-growing, multi-million Ringgit e-commerce, interactive marketing and distribution venture begs to differ.
Eswaran, who is also a celebrated author, should know. A successful businessman at the helm of a global conglomerate, he has been practicing the method for nearly two decades, and attributes much of his personal and professional success to it.
In his highly popular book In the Sphere of Silence, he states: “Our mind, being the single most powerful invention ever, has a lot stored inside it, which needs to be harnessed. And this can only be done by understanding the value of silence; to touch it, dwell in it, and draw upon it.”
Penang-born Eswaran learned the value of mouna (silence) at a young age from his grandfather, for whom it was a way of life, as the book further states. “A lot of people of that generation practiced mouna in various forms. I learned elements of it without really understanding its depth then.”
The practice permeates through every aspect of Eswaran’s life. From the way he conducts his varied ventures, to his thought processes, to the way he perceives the world, Eswaran gives the impression of a highly philosophical individual, yet conscious and responsive to his surroundings.
Described in a recent interview as a man who is developing a reputation as a spiritual guru to the CEO set, the enigmatic group managing director and founder of the multinational QI Ltd and interactive marketing company QuestNet, is quick to dismiss the label as generous exaggeration. “If there’s such a description, it’s certainly not the intent. It’s tough enough to be one’s own guru,” he smiles.
“The objective of the book is for one to become one’s own guru. I don’t actually relate very well to the term guru. If at all, I’m still persevering to master to be my own guru.” Indeed, Eswaran prefers the term mentor. “In a sense, I’m a mentor to a lot of my employees and a number of people out there. That means we’re progressing and discovering a changing world together.”
Eswaran’s QI and QuestNet are certainly discovering the world. The latter is a leading interactive marketing company serving over three million entrepreneurs in over 200 countries across the globe. Through its marketing services, the company distributes technology products, limited edition coins and medallions, jewellery and timepieces, vacation club memberships, and lifestyle products.
As a diversified Asia-based multinational corporation, QI has over 30 offices worldwide. The group has expanded into a variety of business sectors, including financial services and corporate investment, travel, leisure, property, resort and hotel management, media and entertainment, and telecoms and technology. In recent times, QI commissioned an investment of nearly US$30 million in a resort development project in Kuala Rompin, Pahang. The project is expected to provide a major boost to eco-tourism in the state. Vacations at the resort will be marketed by QuestNet.
Given the opportunity, Eswaran would be the first to shout out that there is no secret to success. “The difference between success and failure is simple: the one who makes it to the top is the one who lasted, pushed and survived just that little bit longer. Giving up is easier to do than holding your ground. The only difference is I’m not going to give up when others do. There’s nothing secretive about it – it’s about being able to complete the process,” he stresses.
Having achieved considerable success in his ventures, Eswaran says the group is focused on delivering satisfaction to its customers. “Although we are in essence an e-commerce company, our focus has been on delivering satisfaction. The products and service are part of delivering satisfaction. We’re here to ask our customers, ‘What do you want next, where do you want it, at what price do you want it and how can we get it to you?’ What we did differently when we began was to marry the convenience of e-commerce to that of business.”
Eswaran explains that his group is also in the process of keeping its customers in the loop where it concerns the latest trends. “We keep inviting them to conferences and conventions on product training, primarily as a means of engaging with them. The answer to what the latest trends are differs from nation to nation and culture and culture.”
In the same breath, the greatest challenge facing Eswaran’s businesses lie in logistics, simply because of their global service nature. The educational aspect poses challenges too. “We spend a great deal of time and effort moving our people to conduct the process and create the buzz, if you like. And that’s our greatest challenge – generating the buzz,” he explains.
However, whatever the insurmountable hurdle, Eswaran remains focused on further developing e-commerce as his ventures’ modality. “It’s what we use to interact and deal with our customers, and it’s absolutely here to stay. We view the globe as a single market and that market’s changing faster than we realise. That’s why ventures such as Amazon.com and eBay are huge and successful.”
Despite his jet-setting schedule, Eswaran reveals he is working on two other similar books to In the Sphere of Silence. “The one that I’m close to completing will address the way the one per cent of the world’s movers and shakers lives. This one per cent lives to a totally different drum beat. The greatest names lived or live in a world where there isn’t enough time for them to achieve all that they want. In a sense, sleep to them only gets in the way. It’s more a ‘why not’ kind of book rather than a ‘how to’. The second is more philosophical and more of a sequel to In the Sphere of Silence. Tentatively titled Silent Warriors, it delves deeper into the issues I raised in my first book.”
If the success of In the Sphere of Silence – or his for that matter – is anything to go by, it would not be far-fetched to presume that the world is awaiting Eswaran’s next works with bated breath – or perhaps more appropriately, with bated silence.
“I don’t actually relate very well to the term guru. If at all, I’m still persevering to master to be my own guru”
“The difference between success and failure is simple: the one who makes it to the top is the one who lasted, pushed and survived just that little bit longer. Giving up is easier to do than holding your ground. The only difference is I’m not going to give up when others do”
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