Talk about quitting at the top! This guy shot to fame after he sold his bootstrapped company for $900 million in 2016. This week, he stepped down as the company’s CEO, and in style. Days before he quit, I talked to ‘thrillionaire’ Divyank Turakhia backstage during YourStory’s TechSparks, and asked the same question our founder Shradha Sharma asked him on stage.
“So how many private jets do you own?” he was asked.
Divyank's immediate response? “I fly them all!”
Well, he has a few jets though he doesn’t commit to a number. But long story short, he does fly everything that can be flown. Honestly, by now I am sure I need to brush up on my list - because this billionaire has a long list of things he has flown, including helicopters, jets, strikes and balloons.
“You don’t have to own them to fly them. You can rent them. That is how I started when I didn’t have the ability to own them,” he says. One of the most fun things he recently did was fly a helicopter in Iceland.
“So I took it from Reykjavik and took it all the way to Eastern Region, Iceland. I landed in the middle of lava fields, which was extremely beautiful.”
During the same trip, he flew his jet from Amsterdam where he was at the Forbes 30 under 30 summit, and since it was a long weekend, he decided to stop over at the Faroe Islands. He reminisces fondly, “That was epic. I went to Iceland for one more day so it was 24 hours in Faroe Islands, and then 24 hours in Iceland and back.”
The longest stretch that he has flown is from West Coast to London. “Of course, I have never done it without stop overs. Flying is fun as long as you do it for a certain amount of time. So, I have always broken up the journey but that would be the longest one that I have done so far.”
Referred to as “Thrillionaire” by Forbes because of his passion for aerobatic flying, it is one of the most “fun” things he has done. For those of you who are wondering what is aerobatic flying, check out Divyank’s video below:
That’s not all! He shares the craziest things he has done. “I have done wing-walking where you take a biplane and put a stick in the middle of the biplane. And you attach yourself to the harness, and it’s the best free rollercoaster ride that you can do,” he says. Seeing my eyes pop-out, he quickly assured me, “It is super safe; just looks crazy.”
That brings us to the question of safety and Divyank shares, “Even though all these things seem dangerous, risk management is what I do. So they may seem crazy, but I have figured out how to reduce the risk to a point where you have greater risk walking on the streets of Mumbai.”
He cautions people who have never flown to first attempt it with experts. “If you are doing it on your own then you better have the right training, for that is what I did for each of these things. I ensured I was safe enough before I did them and I wouldn’t do them if I wasn’t safe - until a point where I could do it with my eyes closed,” he adds.
So, is flying his way of seeking relief from his work stress? Divyank puts another surprising perspective. If you love something, it can’t because you stress!
“I have never not felt great. I think I have been very fortunate all my life, even when I had nothing and I grew up with nothing. I had incredible parents. I always have things to be thankful for,” he says.
“I have never had a situation where I haven’t felt better. I am always awesome. But that said, I think different people like different things. Humans cover the gamut of everything that is possible. I have always liked flying, on the fun side.”
While we talk about fun things, it is impossible to overlook that the man next to me is one of the young billionaires, who bootstrapped and built a global empire and is known across the world, as a self-made superstar.
So what does he love on the business side of his work? His response sums up his secret to success. “On the business side, I always liked solving problems. I like building things that have hard core tech in them. And I like large scale things, and anything that seems impossible at first - things that you will fail at every day and work at every day and finally one day when you succeed, you feel really, really good,” he says.
“However, it’s not that day but the journey of failing that makes you feel awesome. And I think that journey is fun.”