Vivek Bhargava on Table Tennis, Chess, Happiness and Success

Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group heads the digital performance agencies of the reputed Dentsu Aegis Network.  Vivek has been on this digital journey since 1997 when he commenced his venture Communicate2 to help Indian companies communicate better having observed the medium’s gradual but gripping impact in the US on his family trips and as a young student. From a time when digital meant at the most having an add-on CD to a corporate brochure to now when it is omnipresent, the journey has been a promising one for Vivek, who is regarded as among the top digital minds in India today.

In this full conversation Vivek delves on his formative years, the critical and indelible influence his father has had on him, his relocation to Mumbai in the 9th grade which he regards as a key milestone, his entrepreneurial journey, his philosophies on happiness, life, sports, leadership, his passions – primarily table tennis and chess, his penchant for learning something new every quarter, topped with some rather interesting facts about Vivek including an app which he uses to meditate and swears by. And all of this is served with hearty doses of laughter. Now with a future standup comedian in tow, we wouldn’t have had it any other way, right?

Part 1/6 - On Formative Years in Mussoorie & Playing State-Level Table Tennis

In this segment, Vivek takes us through his formative years – his privileged upbringing in Mussoorie where he picked up table tennis rather quickly and began playing state-level tournaments, how playing table tennis gifted him friends from all walks of life, how he came to believe that being likable is a better virtue than being intelligent, especially when you are an entrepreneur, his relocation to Mumbai which proved to be a major milestone and his father’s significant influence on him.

Part 2/6 - The Digital Bug & A Happiness Philosophy

In this segment Vivek Bhargava, speaks of his brush with the digital idea, his plunge into entrepreneurship and his digital journey. He also delves upon some interesting philosophies on increasing his happiness baseline every day and how he is obsessive about it, how setting goals is detrimental and why he would rather set a discipline – the central one being the happiness discipline. 

Part 3/6 - On Playing Competitive Table Tennis & His Team 'Challengers' in the UTT League

In this segment, Vivek speaks about table tennis and his commitment to the sport. What marked his return to the sport after 15 years, the lessons he has derived from playing Table tennis. He also mentions his most memorable win as a 13 year old defeating the reigning Dehradun district champion, how critical it is to begin playing a sport in childhood and how his performance has improved substantially over the years in the 30-plus year category. Vivek also shares details about his team Challengers in the Ultimate Table Tennis League while discussing the future of the sport in the country.

Part 4/6 - For The Love of Chess & Sports

In this segment Vivek speaks of his love for chess which also he began playing when very young with his father. Vivek loves watching recorded matches of renowned grandmasters and shares with us his love for chess and some interesting tidbits like his first win, the details of the longest match he played etc. Towards the end, he shares his views on the challenges of playing chess in India and how playing a sport can immensely help you professionally and will increasingly prove to be a definite competitive edge going forward.

Part 5/6 - Pursuing a Sport/Passion - Vivek's foolproof formula for Success

In this segment Vivek shares his views on work-life balance – his firm belief that a person ought to do better at his/her work if s/he picks up a passion outside of it, his views on success and how he would like to keep alive his obsession of being happy. 

Part 6/6 - Fun Facts with Vivek Bhargava - Meditation, Paragliding, Standup Comedy

In this fun facts segment, Vivek shares an interesting take on meditation, entrepreneurship, standup comedy, how he chanced upon paragliding, the best gift he received which was a startup capital his father gave him at 14 years which got him hooked onto entrepreneurship and the chess piece he identifies himself with among others.


This is the Highlights segment comprising the key takeaways from my conversation with Vivek Bhargava. Don’t forget to listen to the full conversation on audioboom and on our website –

BONUS - Digital Bytes with Vivek Bhargava

How can we have with us a digital icon and not quiz him in depth for some insights into understanding this animal? In this segment Vivek shares some details of his entrepreneurial journey, how it is no longer just about building digital fitness within the team but about creating an integrated-strategy led mindset to thrive and prosper. He firmly believes in the coming years every CEO will have to think digital or else perish!

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