At 19, Jimmy Mistry dropped out of college and moved to Mumbai to chase his fortunes. Quite expectedly, his parents were aghast, wondering how their son would land a job without a degree. But Mistry was clear. His diploma in mechanical engineering wasn’t going to take him places. And besides, he thought he had grasped enough from the books, and so he set off on his entrepreneurial journey.
Mistry admits, however, that college taught him everything he knows. Now the chairman and managing director of Della Adventures and Resorts Pvt. Ltd., Mistry had started out running a pest control business, but it wasn’t until he entered the world of design that he appreciated the things he had studied in the classroom — everything from electrical and mechanical technology, to working with vernier callipers and lathe machines.
Since that early start, Mistry took on various entrepreneurial roles in design, imports, manufacture, contracting jobs and interiors, before finally stepping into the world of development. His first project in 2005 had started in Dadar, Mumbai. Since then, he’s gone on to develop Della Villas, Della Adventure Park, and Della Resorts in the hill town of Lonavala, Maharashtra.
Even as he was looking for capital, Singapore-based global financial services group, Nomura, stepped in with an investment of ₹208 crores in non-convertible debentures last month. Mistry says that the deal will not only allow him to grow as a first generation entrepreneur, but that it will also give them the necessary certification to deal with other global financial institutions.
Mistry considers the next 7-8 years as the golden period of hospitality in India. In this time, he plans to take his offerings to different cities, with the usual focus on innovative designs and enriching experiences. Whether it’s a human capsule for public transportation to get around a property, or turbo jet boating on a four- feet deep water channel, for him, it’s all a real possibility.
In an interview to Mint, he speaks about research, the joy of riding bikes and why just sometimes, it’s important to hit the brakes in order to go faster.
Who do you consider your mentor?
I have not really had one particular mentor. At different points in my life, different people have acted as mentors.
One major insight you worked on with your mentor’s guidance?
Jyotirmoy Bose, mentor and life coach had said something that has stayed with me for years: Why are there brakes in the car? So that you can stop and slow down. But...brakes (can help) you can go faster. This has taught me a lot in life. I try to slow down, only so I can go faster later.
What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?
It comes naturally to me. My day is designed predominantly to support peo-ple and help those around me grow. That gives me a tremendous amount of intellectual satisfaction. It’s something that I honour on a daily basis, whether it’s for a peon in my office, or the designer, or the planning team.
What’s your morning schedule like?
I am not a morning person. I’m more of a late night person, meaning that my day doesn’t start before 11am and I don’t finish work before 3am. The first hour goes on the telephone, and once the day begins, it’s half an hour of prayers. And the rest of the day is all work.
What are some of the productivity principles you follow that have made your professional and personal life much easier?
I think it’s 90% research, 10% work. Anything new that starts in my life has been brewing in my head for at least five years already. I ensure that I don’t take a jump one night and say that I am going to start something new tomorrow.
One positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?
Just exercising more regularly.
Any book or podcast you would recommend about mentorship and growth?
When it comes to growth, you need to work on your skill set regarding the art of execution as a management discipline. And I would strongly recommend, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.
How do you unwind? Do you pursue any serious hobbies?
In my teens, I used to race on the Indian motocross circuit between Baroda, Nagpur and Pune. Bike riding is my way to unwind. My pets also allow me to unwind — not just at home, they come along with me to the office, too.
Do you have any IPO plans for Della Adventure and Resorts?
We do, but the first step is to raise private equity. Once we do that, we have a line-up of five more projects. If we actually do it, there is no other option for us but to go for an IPO in 3-4 years.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.