entrepreneur stories narayana murthy

Narayana Murthy – Entrepreneur Stories – 013

Today we cover Narayana Murthy on the Entrepreneur Stories by Work Theater. His journey is motivational and will inspire you to think big in life.

Early Days

Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, born on August 20, 1946, in Mysore, India, had a humble upbringing. His father was a high school teacher, and the family led a simple lifestyle. Murthy attended the University of Mysore, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He later earned a master’s degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur.


Murthy faced several challenges in the early stages of his career. After his graduation, he began working at SESA, an Indian software firm. He also worked for the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad and the Systems Research Institute in Pune. Murthy’s entrepreneurial journey started with Softronics, a software company he founded in 1976. However, Softronics failed to find success and had to be shut down within a year and a half.

Rise to Prominence

Undeterred by his initial failure, Murthy joined Patni Computer Systems in Pune in 1978. It was here that he met his future business partners, who would go on to co-found Infosys with him in 1981. Infosys started with a meager capital of INR 10,000 (roughly $130) that Murthy borrowed from his wife, Sudha Murty. The company struggled to gain traction during its initial years, but Murthy’s vision and tenacity paid off. With the liberalization of the Indian economy in the early 1990s, Infosys secured its place as a global IT services provider. Under Murthy’s leadership, the company became the first Indian firm to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.


Narayana Murthy’s leadership and business acumen have left a lasting impact on the Indian IT industry. Infosys has grown to become one of the largest IT companies in the world, employing over 200,000 people and generating billions of dollars in revenue. Murthy’s commitment to corporate governance, transparency, and ethical business practices has been widely recognized and has inspired numerous entrepreneurs. He has received numerous awards, including the Padma Shri and the Padma Vibhushan, two of India’s highest civilian honors.

27 Key Learnings from Narayana Murthy’s Business Philosophy

  1. Begin with a strong vision and mission.
  2. Stay true to your values and principles.
  3. Embrace frugality and financial discipline.
  4. Focus on customer satisfaction.
  5. Invest in continuous learning and innovation.
  6. Foster a culture of meritocracy.
  7. Empower your employees and encourage their growth.
  8. Be persistent in the face of failure.
  9. Adapt to changes in the business environment.
  10. Cultivate humility and self-reflection.
  11. Communicate openly and transparently.
  12. Prioritize long-term success over short-term gains.
  13. Embrace globalization and diversity.
  14. Practice ethical business conduct.
  15. Establish a strong corporate governance framework.
  16. Stay ahead of the competition through innovation.
  17. Nurture a strong work ethic.
  18. Develop a global mindset.
  19. Pursue excellence in everything you do.
  20. Foster collaboration and teamwork.
  21. Be a responsible corporate citizen.
  22. Encourage risk-taking and experimentation.
  23. Maintain a balance between work and personal life.
  24. Recognize and reward talent.
  25. Inspire and motivate others through your actions.
  26. Seek out and learn from mentors.
  27. Remain curious and open to new ideas.

Here are 18 famous Narayana Murthy quotes that provide a glimpse into his wisdom, values, and perspectives on business and life:

  1. “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.”
  2. “Progress is often equal to the difference between mind and mindset.”
  3. “The real power of money is the power to give it away.”
  4. “A clear conscience is the softest pillow in the world.”
  5. “Our assets walk out of the door each evening. We have to make sure that they come back the next morning.”
  6. “Entrepreneurship is all about deferred gratification.”
  7. “In God we trust, everybody else brings data to the table.”
  8. “Leadership is about doing the right thing, even if it is going against a vast number of naysayers and mediocre people.”
  9. “The difference between haves and have-nots within a country is the root cause of social unrest.”
  10. “The first step to leadership is servanthood.”
  11. “Value has two forms: It could be the value-add to the customer or the value that you create for the shareholder.”
  12. “You become a star not because of your title; you become a star because you are adding value to the enterprise.”
  13. “In the fullness of time when history is written, I am confident that it will be kinder to me than the contemporary media or some sections of society.”
  14. “If we have to achieve excellence in big things, we develop the habit in little matters.”
  15. “Performance leads to recognition. Recognition brings respect. Respect enhances power. Humility and grace in one’s moments of power enhance the dignity of an organization.”
  16. “A ship is safest at the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
  17. “You cannot change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust the sails to reach your destination.”
  18. “Success is about making a difference in the lives of others. Happiness is about helping others find success.”

These quotes from Narayana Murthy highlight his emphasis on personal growth, embracing change, the importance of data-driven decision-making, ethical leadership, and social responsibility. These insights serve as valuable lessons for entrepreneurs, leaders, and individuals seeking to create positive change in their lives and the world around them.

In summary, Narayana Murthy’s journey from a humble background to becoming a global business magnate is a testament to his resilience, vision, and unwavering commitment to ethical business practices. He has left an indelible mark on the IT industry and has inspired generations of entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams with courage and determination.

We hope you found this case study insightful and that the key learnings from Narayana Murthy’s business philosophy will inspire and guide you in your own entrepreneurial journey. Stay tuned for our next entrepreneur story, as we continue to explore the lives and legacies of influential business leaders from around the world.

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