There are heroes in every sphere of life. We look up to them, we learn from them, we drive inspiration from them, we aspire to be like them. Small Is Big brings you inspiring thoughts of some of the world’s most respected business heroes – thoughts that may help you in some small way as you go about your daily hustle. These are men who didn’t walk the trodden path and chose to innovate, disrupt and design for the future. Here’s some mid-week inspiration for you all! We present these heroes to you in alphabetical order (of their last names!)

Pic Courtesy: RIL

Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries – On struggle
“All of us, in a sense, struggle continuously all the time because we never get what we want. The important thing which I’ve really learned is how do you not give up because you never succeed in the first attempt.”

Jeff Bezos
Pic Courtesy: Twitter

Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon – On customer service
“The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.”

Pic Courtesy: AB

Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group – On leadership 
“Very often we think of leadership being at the top of an organization. I think what’s unique about Aditya Birla Group is that we have a very strong cadre of leaders across the organization who are highly empowered and therefore play a very major role in the growth and evolution of the organization.”

Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft – On work culture 

Bill Gates
Pic Courtesy: Twitter

“One thing I’ve always loved about the culture at Microsoft is that there is nobody who is tougher on us, in terms of what we need to learn and do better, than the people in the company itself. You can walk down these halls and they’ll tell you, “we need to usability better, push this or that frontier.”

Adi Godrej
Pic Courtesy: Outlook Business

Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group – On acquisitions 
“There must be an opportunity that matches with our strategy. Just because we have a gap, we don’t want to go and acquire anything and everything. What we acquire should fit in with our strategy, human resources and market expectations.”

Late Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Apple Inc – On people Steve Jobs
“We hire people who want to make the best things in the world. Technology is nothing. What is important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

Jack Ma, Co-Founder, Alibaba Group – On customer is kingJack Ma
“If you want to invest in us, we believe in customer number one, employee number two, shareholder number three. If they don’t want to buy that, that’s fine. If they regret, they can sell us.”

NR Narayana Murthy, Co-Founder, Infosys – On failure 

Pic Courtesy: Infosys

“It’s very important to learn quick lessons from your failures, very important to recognize symptoms of failure pretty early and it is very, very important to not be attached too much to the idea – you have to know when to give up an idea.”

Elon Musk
Pic Courtesy: Forbes

Elon Musk, Founder, SpaceX & Co-Founder, Tesla – On winning against the odds 
“The odds of me coming into the rocket business, not knowing anything about rockets, not having ever built anything, I mean, I would have to be insane if I thought the odds were in my favour!”

Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro – On goals 

Azim Premji
Pic Courtesy: HT

“If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small!”

Ratan Tata
Pic Courtesy: Tata Group

Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group – On values in business
“Apart from values and ethics which I have tried to live by, the legacy I would like to leave behind is a very simple one – that I have always stood up for what I consider the right thing and I have tried to be as fair and equitable as I could be.”

*PS: Lessons from Women in Business coming soon!