The publishing industry is evolving. Retention of the original readership is important. Vikas Gupta, who leads Wiley − the 210-year-old publishing group − in India, emphasizes greatly on content. ‘Content is king’, stresses the Wiley India MD, who is also the President of the Association of Publishers in India (API).This interview with Vikas Gupta gives us a glimpse of what it takes to lead a global publishing group.
Here’s an excerpt of the interview:
Q:What do you think is your greatest asset?
Vikas Gupta:I think it has to be my result-oriented approach to everything. If I see an opportunity worth the risk, I grab it immediately.
Q: Coming from a family of one of India’s well-known publishing house, did it make things easier for you when you joined the industry?
Vikas Gupta: Honestly, it’s quite coincidental that publishing is also my passion. Yes, due to my family business, I was aware of the nuances of the publishing industry to a great extent. But I also learned newer things on the go, and I made sure I prepare myself well for facing newer business challenges. I attained my Executive MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, which was in collaboration with The Wharton Business School and Kellogg School of Management. I strongly believe what you learn by actually being in the business, is much more effective than any previous knowledge or prior privilege you may have had. Leadership is always a challenging job and you have to learn and unlearn many times.
Q: Talking about your role for Wiley India, how do you lead?
Vikas Gupta: No two fingers are the same but without one, the hand cannot function properly. It’s important that we value every person and help them realize their talent. Moreover, I believe that as a leader, one has to be a teacher and a student at the same time.
Q: What inspires you?
Vikas Gupta: Steve Jobs has been my inspiration for his passion towards innovation. There is a quote of his that I live by: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”
Q: What’s an average day in the life of Vikas Gupta like?
Vikas Gupta: I start my day with a cup of tea and morning exercises. If I have time on my hands, I go for a jog. On other days, I hit the gym. My job as a publisher demands a lot of time. But I ensure that I spend quality time with my family too. My wife is a successful fashion designer and my children are all grown up. I try to spend as much time with them as I can.
Q: You mantra for de-stressing?
Vikas Gupta: After a stressful day in the office, all I need to see are the smiling faces of my family. Other than that, I love books!
Q: So what’s your favorite book?
Vikas Gupta: The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. Apart being a Wiley author, Lencioni’s book is my favourite because it inspires an entrepreneurial mind. The book presents new ideas for leaders through a fable.
Q: Apart from books, what interests you?
Vikas: Movies.My favourite is The Pursuit of Happyness. This movie is amazing. It reinstates that perseverance and hard work always have their rewards. My favourite actors are Aamir Khan, DeepikaPadukone and Jennifer Lawrence.
Q: One thing about you that you don’t want to change about yourself…
Vikas Gupta: I love wearing black. I think the colour has now become synonymous with my identity.
Q: What is there in your bucket list?
Vikas Gupta: I do not believe in bucket lists. Every time I get a new idea or thought, I ensure I get it done. If I am not able to achieve it, I move on.