Vivid: Publishing tycoon-in-making’s life cut short

Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group shares some off-the-cuff thoughts through his weekly column Vivid

e4m by Annurag Batra
Updated: May 14, 2012 8:27 PM
Vivid: Publishing tycoon-in-making’s life cut short

This is not a usual column on media or advertising or brands but something I feel strongly about. I believe my being at exchange4media has a purpose and I would like to share my experiences over a period of time...

Like any other composer of opera, I choose a subject not for polemical reasons, but because it contains vivid characters in highly charged dramatic situations – Carliyle Flyod

Yesterday morning when I read Times of India, I noticed the story of a Delhi businessman who passed away after being hit by his own plane. I further delved into the story; it said that the deceased was Yogesh Garg of Infraline Energy. The name Yogesh Garg rang a bell and I recalled that I had met him six weeks ago. The news saddened me even though I had met him only once for about 90 minutes. Only three days ago, his office had called me and sent across the first issue of his energy sector magazine.

I started thinking about my encounter with Yogesh and relived my conversation with him.

My friend and ex colleague Atul Sharma had called seven weeks ago and introduced Yogesh to me as he was launching a business magazine for the energy sector. Atul told me that it would be good if we met and I could guide Yogesh.

We set up a meeting at metropolitan CP. Yogesh showed up 10 minutes late and was apologetic for it. He was dressed in sports attire as he was just coming from an intra company cricket match, he shared.

Atul could not join us and hence I had to create a context and ask him direct questions as to what I could do for him and I wanted to know what he did just now.

As my conversation progressed I realised I was meeting a very ambitious, solid and driven person. Yogesh shared the numerous business interests he had. He said his primary business was consulting in the energy and infrastructure sector and that his firm Infraline Energy was almost 14-years old. Yogesh was super confident, sure of himself and somebody who would create something once it came to his mind.

Yogesh was meeting me was because he was launching a business magazine for the infrastructure sector. I tried to discourage him and asked him his motivation for doing so. He said something very interesting...He said that most business journalists call him for data and insights when they do a story on the infrastructure sector. His view was that the ability to generate such data was lacking in most current players.

I asked him his opinion of Alok Brara of Indian infrastructure, Mr Saikia’s websites and also of UBM’s energy business magazine. Yogesh politely shrugged and confidently told me that he would do a better job than them. I was little sceptical. I asked him whether it would it not be a conflict of interest running a magazine in the same sector of that of his business.

In last three years he was probably the sixth person who came to me for advice on launching a business magazine. I gave him my two cents of advice. First, invest in good editorial people and good business people. Secondly, keep this business separate from the consulting business.

Yogesh asked my advice on how to do it better and I told him that in my view he had the required qualities. Also, I always define this field as business media as not as a media business and he was doing exactly that.

I just told him that he should build a world-class editorial product and focus more on the online space than print magazine. I also warned him that media and publishing is far less profitable than a consulting and data business. Yogesh very coherently shared that even if he did not make money from his business media division he would be OK and he just wished to do this. After many years I had met such a confident young man and it was a breath of fresh air.

Yogesh listened to my advice and said we should meet soon, maybe collaborate. I felt good after the meeting. His confidence and raw aggression left an impression on me.

I had forgotten about him till three days back when a lady called me and said that Yogesh wanted to send me his magazine. Yesterday I saw Infraline Plus magazine on my desk. I looked through it and of all the young publishers who had come to me in past including Harshvardhan Bhatkuly of Goa Business, Sumit Goyal of Food and Nightlife and Aakriti Raizada of Legal Era, for the first issue I have to say Yogesh had done the best job. I was impressed with the first look of the magazine and I knew that he meant business.

I told myself that I would read the magazine in depth on Sunday and here I am writing this column instead. I called Atul Sharma to tell him that Yogesh had passed away. I wanted to go for his cremation but when I contacted someone from the magazine I was told that it had already taken place.

Yogesh is survived by his wife, two young sons and his parents. This column is my tribute to Yogesh and his enterprising spirit and love for doing new things. God has taken him away from us but he has left behind a strong impression on his family, friends, co-workers and the industry.

This vivid memory is a salute to his spirit.

Yogesh will live in our hearts and memories...

The naive follow their hearts. The wise lead with their hearts...This is how I would like to remember Yogesh Garg.

Vivid is a weekly column that promises to live up to Carliyle Flyod’s words.

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