Exclusive Interview Featuring: Mr. Hrush Bhatt - Founder, Cleartrip.com

We catch up with the Mr.Hrush Bhatt- Founder & Director, Cleartrip. An avid reader, loyal Mac user and someone who would rather spend his time with friends than watch television, Mr.Hrush Bhatt lets us know a little more about him as Cleartrip turns three!

1) What's your favorite off duty activity?

Spending time with my girlfriend and other friends. I'm a movie buff too, but not so much for television–too many channels with nothing on.

2) What's the most admirable quality you like in a person?

Honesty is a quality I've always admired and respected in people; it's also something I always strive to be myself. If you can count on someone being honest, you can count on that person to be a lot of other good things also–forthright, open-minded, principled and trustworthy.

3) What's the most challenging part about being the Co founder of Cleartrip?

I think one of the most challenging aspects of my job is looking backwards in order to figure out how things will fit together in the future. The travel industry is a pretty dynamic place and the value chain has been in a constant state of flux for years. In an unstable environment like that, it's critical to constantly evaluate the past and try to predict what the future looks like. Predicting the future sounds hard, but inventing it is even harder. You need to have real conviction about what you're doing, you need to convince a lot of people to come along for the ride and then you need to execute like hell.

4) What was the most difficult situation you ever experienced in your career?

I think one of the hardest things I've had to do was to leave Paper Plane, the company I started with a partner in 1999. I left Paper Plane in 2005 to start Cleartrip. Making the decision to leave after building that business for 6 years was gut wrenching as we had been through a lot together, built a successful business and had a great time doing it. Starting a business is probably a lot like having a baby–it's not easy and there's a lot of love, care and passion that goes into it. And it's very, very hard to leave all that and walk away.

5) What motivates and drives you everyday?

Delivering the best possible products and services we can is my main source of motivation. No company just wants to throw their hat in the ring to be told, 'Yeah, it's good.' It's just not enough to be good, good is average; it's about creating and delivering things that are great. When something is great, it evokes a visceral response in people–a feeling that they can never go back to something that's just plain 'good' because they've just experienced something that's in a league of its own. Trying to create and sustain those experiences provides my drive.

6) If you could, what is the one thing that you would like to change about yourself?

I think it's probably learning to spend some more time really listening to people. I'm much better at listening to people now than I was three years ago, but very often things go in one ear and out the other; and I should learn to absorb more of what I'm listening to.

7) What is your Mantra for happiness in life?

Live in the moment and learn to love it. If you can't learn to love it, you'll always be dissatisfied.

8) If you had to identify one thing that is critical to Cleartrip, what would it be and why?

I would say that one thing is simplicity, but that's a bit of an oxymoron, because delivering simplicity 24 hours a day is complicated. There's a lot that happens behind the scenes before something can be simple. For instance, reliability and quality–it's no good if it's simple, but doesn't work or is simple, but sucks. So, while Cleartrip can promise its customers simplicity, that promise creates a world of complexity for us. Our servers have to be running smoothly, our processes have to be like clockwork and our service has to be beyond measure. None of that is simple to execute. Our mission of 'Making travel simple' means 'Simple for customers, complicated for us.' We need to make sure we're always looking at the whole picture from the customer's perspective, not just the bits we deal with. A very basic example of that is if customers type the name of a destination wrong on our site, that's our problem. And we need to own the whole problem and solve every aspect of it.


9) What is the last book you read? What did you like about it?

The last book I read was Edward Tufte's 'The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.' In a nutshell, the book is about designing information. I'm a huge fan of visualizing information, of the amazing clarity that is created when design and data come together in precise and effective way. This book is chock full of examples, history and all the lessons we've learned since the first human being tried to draw a map, a weather forecast a railway timetable. Tufte has been called the Leonardo da Vinci of data and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of his books.

10) Who is that one person in Cleartrip that you would like to change places/role with?

Actually, I'm pretty happy where I am as you might have guessed from my mantra for happiness above. I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the amazing opportunity to build Cleartrip as a company and work alongside some of the amazing people we have.

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