Bakshi had just written Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom, a work Amartya Sen called “striking,” owing to its brilliant argument that the free market needs an infusion of the traditional bazaar to regain credibility. Paul’s book, No Money Marketing, was firmly embedded in the free market, but it also had a contrarian outlook that sought to rescue the marketing function from the clutches of complex and extravagant thinking. The meeting with Bakshi was rich and expansive, and I had immense trouble condensing it in four pages. The conversation with Paul was crisp and to-the-point, and even as I spoke to her, I knew exactly how I was going to write it out. Perhaps it was their contrasting styles—or simply the fact that they were my earliest interviewees—which explains the big impression these two women left on me.
However, in these early interviews, I did not ask a single question that had anything to do with the interviewees’ gender. It appeared obvious to me that their reputation in their respective areas had nothing to do with their being women. I also thought it was offensive to suggest that success had anything to do with gender.