Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The start up eco system of india , Entrepreneur's View

There has been a lot of brouha about Start up in india . The start up in the current times means starting a business with some tech involvement and trying to do things in a different manner and thereby disrupting the whole eco system . My observation is that india has been a land of entrepreneur , entrepreneur by compulsion . Most of the entrepreneur in india are because they had to do something to feed there family and do not have that many opportunities.That's why we see all the Paan Shops , street food vendors etc etc . With the glamorization of 'Start Up' culture we see a tonne of youngster jumping the bandwagon . You see an idea being discussed in every corridor of Engg/MBA school to alleys of software/consulting companies .

You see youngster leaving the regular job and taking a plunge to create the next 'Housing','Tinyowl','peppertap','roadrunner','paytm','Uber for X' etc etc . Most of the Techpreneur ,which I have come across, are very passionate and are ready to take the risk . There passion and energy is highly infectious . They are ready to take on the world and work against the odd ..Whether leaving the comfortable and cushy jobs or living in office cum home set up with bare necessities or in some cases even borrowing money from friends.Most of these entrepreneur are from typical middle class background and are ready to take on the world, have'nt seen this type of passion earlier . You go to any meet up and will find a tonne of them . When ever they spot a 'Hero' of the current disposition , read VC's and founder of top 20 funded start up , they are awe stuck and are re-energised. VC's are the 'Ganesha' of the new Eco System , This job was never that high coveted till the current wave. The amount of linkedin request they get is humongous . Nothing wrong in that but what ails in the current system is that a majority of current start ups are making their business plan based on
  • What is the current flavor of the month 
  • What is the equivalent in US 
That are the typical questions which an analyst asks from the entrepreneur when he or she approaches a VC and post that the typical template changes to MOM Growth ,GMV , Run rates etc etc . My experience tells me that this is harming more to this eco system than helping it. VC's are a very important pivot of harnessing this energy as they provide one of the biggest fuel,read MONEY, but what they also usually bring in is expertise in managing growth . VC's are the backbone of this movement and work more in the background. This is typically missing in the case of india . The reason I could find was that most of the VC's in india have not been entrepreneur's , I feel this is one of the biggest difference in valley and indian eco system . This very genetic difference of this community is one of the biggest differentiator .  I strongly feel that the eco system needs VC's with an entrepreneurship background . Its no co-incidence that some of the most successful VC's have been successful entrepreneur - Vinod Khosla ,Pramod Haque and the list goes on . VC's not only provide the risk capital but they hand held the founders in the nuances of running and scaling the business .We don't need experts classes in PPT and XLS ,what we need is somebody who has been through the journey himself . Entrepreneurship is like taking on the Everest , the mountaineer take with him a Sherpa and according to me a VC is like a Sherpa . A VC should command respect from the entrepreneur ,Will be easier if he has done that journey himself otherwise they usually have all bad words about most of them the moment they get the cheque  . Their insights about the sector gets exposed and thus loose their respect, that's the case in 80% of VC's . I am unable to fathom the fact that why haven't the pricipal's in US are not following the same template which they do in US for india as well . Infact its more important in india because a true blood entrepreneur will be able to grasp and handle the local eco-system much better rather than one who just sees the world in templates .
VC's are putting in risk capital and that too somebody else's money so they need to cover their asses but in turn to safeguard their investment they should work more as partners rather than just investors infact they can add much more value by hand holding the entrepreneur , on the contrary in a tonne pf cases they usually drop the entrepreneur high and dry . It become all the more important in the current scenario since this space of techno-economy is in a very nascent stage & not many people have solid background of business matrix This has led to mushrooming a lot of hustlers ,Guys with scheme to manage these matrix - Be it app downloads , fake order booking , AD mob frauds etc . Thus the VC getting fooled by these type of tricks is quite high , entrepreneur and VC's have to be smart enough to not fall for these honey traps and harm the whole system.
My take is that the entrepreneurship in india is at its peak , we need to harness that energy and need experienced people to help them achieve the same . If we falter than we might not be get the desired results which we can achieve by harnessing this energy . VC should start getting more involved in the investee company and get more entrepreneur on board of the investment team and provide thought leadership as well as mentorships to its investee companies .I have personally seen that the moment one gets institutional money , the major energy of the founder is channelised in managing the investors and his reporting templates .
Focus should be more on creating businesses rather than individuals .What we are seeing is that brand Bansal's , Sharma's,Aggarwal's etc have become bigger than the businesses.Media also has a very important role ,it should also stop evaluating a success by the amount of fund raised by the companies but needs to focus more on products and differentiated services which a company is providing . This will help in doing the requisite changes in the eco-system.
There is too much entropy in the system right now . A shake up is already taking place. Things are going to be pretty exciting in next couple of years and some serious business disruptions are going to happen .We have the talent/energy/market to think & create a Silicon Valley in india ,all we need is create the right Eco system to celebrate innovation and failure.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Its 20 Year since I joined IT-BHU(The best years of my life)

From BOYS to MEN
Our batch of '93 joined the institute late because the JEE results were declared late .Our joining date was 4th september and I landed in varanasi on 3rd night with a cousin of mine and stayed at his friends place .There I met another futcha ,Lovien Khullar(Electrical),who was also staying at there place and luckily we got in the same hostel (DG). In the morning I got up and walked to G-11 with the certificates . Believe me I was scared ,SHIT scared . There were a tons of cries Murge ,O' Murge ,Every senior was a Sakshaat awtaar of yamraaj . They came on some pretext to G-11 and used to scare us . Belive me ,99% of my batchmates were scared in that room and than those 15 days of ragging period started . 4th sept. night was spent in my Local guardian's house and I wanted to stay there for ever because of fear of ragging . But my cousin forced me to move to the hostel and I reluctantly moved in room no. 170 Dhanrajgiri Hostel(DG). I had a room mate in the form of Mr Vishal Mehrotra (CS ) of kanpur .somebody knocked on the door in the night and both of us jumped out of our cot and hid our self beneath the cot . We were very scared and somehow slept after much deliberation . Every moment was filled with fear of getting mauled by seniors . We used to move in heard .I had walked to lanka (about 3 km from my hostel)a couple of times from DG just to run away from this creature called 'SENIOR' . I also went to sarnath during this period and that was the only time I went to sarnath during my stay in varanasi . I hardly attended any classes during ragging period ,It was not that I did not got ready to attend them but after the breakfast when we used to get out of the hostel either we used to ran away or we got caught by the SENIORS .If got caught than you were taken to some hostel and used to do all those regular stuff and some irregular stuff . Regular stuff use to be like writing notes, I wrote more notes during ragging time than I wrote in my whole life , telling jokes ,IT anthem ,proposing dogs,cows ,trees ,basically any living creature .and irregular stuff meant playing fudda-fuddi , Bat-man,phantom , and lot of other fun stuff. I enjoyed the irregular stuff after fear factor subsided because after the irregular stuff one was usually treated by a healthy dose of samosas ,Cold coffee ,laung lataa etc etc . There were certain senior who became the master demon and the most prominent among them was 'BHALLA' .He was notorious for stripping the chicken and checking there stuff ;-). Slowly and steadily the freshers had started grouping and were found huddled in one room sharing there experiences . There was this one incident where some seniors from the 4th year was ragging one of my hostel/batch mate (Pritvi Raj banerjee) and something happened and those senior ran away from the hostel and all of us junior just got agitated as this was our chance to take the revenge from our DEMONS(read seniors) All of our hostel mates got charged up and collected in the hostel premise and thought of taking revenge from the seniors ,We even started to walk toward the Vish .Just imagine around 100 odd murge ,just out of their eggs,out to take the FOX's of Vish . When we walked out of the hostel some sensible seniors talked in sense in our head and we walked inside with everybody having a feeling of a winner . Everybody thought as if we have spared the seniors otherwise we would have beaten the shit out of them .For most of us this would have been our first big fight ,if it would have ever happened . I just imagine if we would have actually reached Vish than we would have been beaten to pulp and our ragging would have lasted atleast for one year .
After around 15 days of joining IT,the ragging period ended officially and in the meanwhile the relationship with the senior had started developing . After the freshers nite all shoes were kept in the cupboard and chappals were out , Pants and F/S shirts were tucked in the trunks and jeans and T-shirts were out . Everybody started buying cycle and were exchanging notes about various fundas in buying cycle .I bought a black avon cycle from a cycle store in Lanka . Everybody use to buy Casio Fx 82 calculator and so did I but the most famous one was the one with a plastic case for obvious reason of its double utility as exams assisting aid.
And than the baptization started , It started with going to "yelchiko" for beer and a smoke at DG corner . 1st year was spent making rounds @ Mandir for Cold coffee and Burgers in the evening and cribbing about the mess food . Spent a lot of time discussing Bofors/Ram Mandir and other issue because this was the year when VP Singh became the PM .This was the year when we saw Maine Pyar Kiya and almost every body was in love w/ bhagyashri or were aping Salman Khan . Music was also a big passion during 1st year and was also initiated in Rock Music . Somehow this passion ended in IT only .
Saturday used to be real active day as lunch used to be a feast and dinner was out usually complimented w/ a movie .It was real fun driving cycle to lanka and than hoping in an auto . The favorite restaurants usually were the one which were near a movie theater for eg. Sindhi, kerala cafe ,Punjabi Dhaba and Labela @ Lanka .Labela holds a special place because of the chinese owner and her Zoombie daughter who use to stand at the counter . There was this one particular restaurant named Host @ Hotel Jai ganges which was my favorite because of its food .
Going back home were also quite fun because initially we used to be quite excited to reserve our seats beforehand and getting the concession forms etc but later the Rs 30 reservation fees and another 10 bucks ,to go to station for reservation , started to pinch as one could always buy a quater of whiskey for that amount and than it did'nt matter whether you are sleeping on a berth or in a b/r ;-).
Boys started to become men !
We went for camping to lakhandari and Rajdhari falls and it was one hell off of a time .We trekked almost 3-4 KM to these beautiful falls .There was a tragic incident with another group of campers from our batch in which two of our batchmates drowned . This was really tragic and emotionally very nerve wrecking for me as they had gone on the same weekend as we had gone but to a different location.
first year was the most active year as I met people from different parts of the country and most of them from very diverse backgrounds . At the end of the first year I know each and every student of my batch by name and branch .
1989-90, the year I completed my 1st year was also very historic because VP Singh became PM during this time on the issue of corruption and sachin got initiated in the world cricket during this time only ,Also the ayodhya Ram mandir issue was also a major point of discussion . I had a lot to say on these topics and was always part of any discussion on them .
One integral part of 1st year was the gaali competition during Electricity shut down in night ,where I was the UNCROWNED KING .Once our started abusing the 3rd Meta Lobby and they initially responded but when they could not match us they came running after us and we just vanished .
Pondies were also a major source of entertainment beside the TV room . watching cricket on a 21" screen w/ 200 students was one helluva experience and oogling @ pondies in private was another .I don't know which gave more pleasure ;-)

I have'nt had better memories of any other year in my life other than This year

Monday, February 16, 2009

What is recession

What is recession?
This story is about a man who once upon a time was selling "Wada-Pav" by the roadside.
He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers.
He was hard of hearing, so he never listened to the radio.
His eyes were weak, so he never watched television.
But enthusiastically, he sold lots of "Wada-pavs".
He was smart enough to offer some attractive schemes to increase his sales.
His sales and profit went up.
He ordered more a more raw material and "Pav" and used to sale more "Wada Pav's".
He recruited few more supporting staff to serve more customers.
He started offering home deliveries.
Eventually he got himself a bigger and better stove.
As his business was growing, the son, who had recently graduated from college, joined his father.
Then something strange happened.
The son asked, "Dad, aren't you aware of the great recession that is coming our way?"
The father replied, "No, but tell me about it."
The son said, "The international situation is terrible.
The domestic situation is even worse. We should be prepared for the coming bad times."
The man thought that since his son had been to college, read the papers, listened to the radio and watched TV.
He ought to know and his advice should not be taken lightly.
So the next day onwards, the father cut down his raw material order and buns, took down the colourful signboard, removed all the special schemes he was offering to the customers and was no longer as enthusiastic. He reduced his staff strength by giving layoffs. Very soon, fewer and fewer people bothered to stop at his "Wada-Pav" stand. And his sales started coming down rapidly, same is the profit.
The father said to his son, "Son, you were right".
"We are in the middle of a recession and crisis. I am glad you warned me ahead of time."
Moral of The Story: It's all in your MIND! And we actually FUEL this recession much more than we think. What can we take away from this story?

1. How many times we confuse intelligence with good judgment?
2. Choose your advisors carefully but use your own judgment
3. A person or an organization will survive forever, if they have the 5 Cs

* Character
* Commitment
* Conviction
* Courtesy
* Courage

The tragedy today is that there are many walking encyclopedias that are living failures. The more practical and appropriate views on this economic recession is:
This is the time to reunite together for any small or a big organization,
This is the time to motivate and retain people which are the biggest asset,
This is the time to show more commitments to the customers,
This is the time show values of our company to the world,
And this is the time to stand by our Nation".
"People are as Happy as they decide to be"