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The Journey

Entreprenuership - A journey

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3 blogs
  • 13 Jul 2017
     As I was re-watching The Social Network the other day, it dawned upon me that Facebook was founded nearly 13 years ago. Yes, I know. It seems like just yesterday, doesn’t it? As I am working in the field of startups, my mind automatically started thinking in that direction. I tried to come up with another startup that was as big as Facebook, or even had as much potential.   So I decided to do some research, and I came to the surprising, and frankly terrifying conclusion that there had been no major tech startup since Facebook, and as mentioned before, that was more than a decade ago. This put a question in my mind that led me to writing this blog. Is this the end of tech startups? All the way from the 70s, with Microsoft and Apple, to the early 2000s with Facebook, tech was the field to be in. It had high paying jobs and unmatched profit margins. This is clear as Bill Gates was named the richest man in the world for the 16th time in 2016.    You might think that I am crazy as you read this article because you have heard of companies such as Uber, Airbnb etc who came much after Facebook. While Uber had the potential to become a company that was in the same league as Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc., their recent troubles has put them in tight spot. With the CEO resigning in disgrace, the company’s future certainly seems to be in jeopardy. On the other hand, while Airbnb is a multi-billion-dollar company worth $31 billion, its value is just 7% of that of Facebook.   After carefully analyzing the situation, I came to the conclusion that this dilemma was due to saturation and dominance in the market. In today’s day and age companies are wary of competition and are aggressive in their approach. Giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple etc. are looking out for their competitors in order to acquire them before they can reach their maximum potential. This is also increasing the value of the parent companies, making the rich, richer. I am sure we have all heard the news of Snapchat refusing to be acquired by Facebook, hence directly competing with it. By the time new companies with potential enter the market, the industry is already saturated with competition. To illustrate their dominance, we can go over the companies owned by Facebook and Google. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion and then two years later bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. On the other hand, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006 and also bought Android in 2005. If these companies had still been independent, they could have challenged the empires created by Facebook and Google.   There are other strategies employed by these giants to bring down their competitors. Facebook introduced Snapchat-like features in all three of its social networking sites. This created pressure on Snapchat, reducing its stock price. Google tried to acquire Yelp in 2012, but was turned down. Google responded to this by launching their own product, and furthermore used their dominance in the search market to promote their own product while pushing down Yelp reviews at the same time. This made it harder for Yelp to attract new customers and severely hampered Yelp’s attempt at expanding overseas. Combine this with the fact that companies require huge amounts of money in order to compete in the market. Back in the day, when Google was launched, you could enter the market with a modest amount of investment. However, this is not possible today as you have to directly compete with companies such as Facebook that appear to have unlimited resources.   With all these problems being faced by startups, the future of the tech industry appears to be uncertain. In addition to that innovation is happening in different fields in today’s world. We can see this with what Elon Musk is doing with Tesla and SpaceX. I personally hope to see some new players in the tech market, and hopefully we will be privy to a game-changer soon enough.            
    552 Posted by Ruhaan Dev Tyagi
  •  As I was re-watching The Social Network the other day, it dawned upon me that Facebook was founded nearly 13 years ago. Yes, I know. It seems like just yesterday, doesn’t it? As I am working in the field of startups, my mind automatically started thinking in that direction. I tried to come up with another startup that was as big as Facebook, or even had as much potential.   So I decided to do some research, and I came to the surprising, and frankly terrifying conclusion that there had been no major tech startup since Facebook, and as mentioned before, that was more than a decade ago. This put a question in my mind that led me to writing this blog. Is this the end of tech startups? All the way from the 70s, with Microsoft and Apple, to the early 2000s with Facebook, tech was the field to be in. It had high paying jobs and unmatched profit margins. This is clear as Bill Gates was named the richest man in the world for the 16th time in 2016.    You might think that I am crazy as you read this article because you have heard of companies such as Uber, Airbnb etc who came much after Facebook. While Uber had the potential to become a company that was in the same league as Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc., their recent troubles has put them in tight spot. With the CEO resigning in disgrace, the company’s future certainly seems to be in jeopardy. On the other hand, while Airbnb is a multi-billion-dollar company worth $31 billion, its value is just 7% of that of Facebook.   After carefully analyzing the situation, I came to the conclusion that this dilemma was due to saturation and dominance in the market. In today’s day and age companies are wary of competition and are aggressive in their approach. Giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple etc. are looking out for their competitors in order to acquire them before they can reach their maximum potential. This is also increasing the value of the parent companies, making the rich, richer. I am sure we have all heard the news of Snapchat refusing to be acquired by Facebook, hence directly competing with it. By the time new companies with potential enter the market, the industry is already saturated with competition. To illustrate their dominance, we can go over the companies owned by Facebook and Google. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion and then two years later bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. On the other hand, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006 and also bought Android in 2005. If these companies had still been independent, they could have challenged the empires created by Facebook and Google.   There are other strategies employed by these giants to bring down their competitors. Facebook introduced Snapchat-like features in all three of its social networking sites. This created pressure on Snapchat, reducing its stock price. Google tried to acquire Yelp in 2012, but was turned down. Google responded to this by launching their own product, and furthermore used their dominance in the search market to promote their own product while pushing down Yelp reviews at the same time. This made it harder for Yelp to attract new customers and severely hampered Yelp’s attempt at expanding overseas. Combine this with the fact that companies require huge amounts of money in order to compete in the market. Back in the day, when Google was launched, you could enter the market with a modest amount of investment. However, this is not possible today as you have to directly compete with companies such as Facebook that appear to have unlimited resources.   With all these problems being faced by startups, the future of the tech industry appears to be uncertain. In addition to that innovation is happening in different fields in today’s world. We can see this with what Elon Musk is doing with Tesla and SpaceX. I personally hope to see some new players in the tech market, and hopefully we will be privy to a game-changer soon enough.            
    Jul 13, 2017 552
  • 26 Jun 2017
    An entrepreneur goes through a lot of uncertainty and is bound to make mistakes on its way to success. It is always easy to preach in hindsight, but to understand the circumstances in which a decision was made. Every mistake is a step towards wisdom and a smart forward looking approach to learning from mistakes is not "oops." but "ah, interesting."  This boosts the morale while acknowledging the mistake as learning on the personal and professional growth curve.  That being said, repeating a mistake is considered as complacence and successful entrepreneurs are never complacent. Smart entrepreneurs learn from others. When on a mission with unknowns, you might not have all the answers, but learning from others increases your chances of success. Here are 5 most common mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.   1. Working without a Budget In business, the bottom line matters. An entrepreneur invests significant amount of time and money into building the business. Investments are valued by returns and returns are calculated on basis of a plan where you budget for everything as per plan.  Having a budget forces us to make thoughtful choices. A budget is not merely about expenditure; but about opportunity cost of capital. Budgets establish fiscal discipline, while ensuring that the capital is made available to the most attractive investment opportunities. Operating without a budget is like taking a journey without a destination. An entrepreneur without budget is like a ship without a propeller - it is bound to stray.  Never ever undertake a venture without a budget.   2. Losing Vision. Entrepreneurs always have a vision where they see an opportunity and create a product to capitalize it. It is usually during the struggle or growth that some lose the sight and compromise. That's like charting a course to Singapore, but losing sight and drifting away to No man’s land while navigating rough waters. It's not that you take head on with high waves, but you adjust course to sail through rough seas with destination in your mind. Never ever lose sight of your vision.   3. Overconfidence Confidence is a must but overconfidence is killing. Whether you are seasoned professional or an amateur, you need to do your homework and prepare for unforeseen challenges. You may be attending a negotiation or signing a partnership deal, unless you have the strategized, you are likely to make mistakes. You may have been luckier but don’t take chances as there’s no substitute for hard work. Do your due diligence and boost your chances to success. You may be the smartest but business in many ways is synonymous with battlefield with competition and unfavorable circumstances playing your enemy. Prepare for the known and take attach the challenges with confidence. Stay away from overconfidence.   4. Habit of Do it all Yourself A good leader knows the art of delegation. You may be willing to undertake it all by yourself, but in doing so, you are setting up yourself for failure. You will not only burn out but create situations that may be detrimental to your success. Remember that you can be at one place and can undertake just one task at any point of time.  Businesses are dynamic with multiple fronts. Call for help, hire trustworthy people or outsource, but avoid doing it all by yourself.   5. Driven by Money and not Passion Passion is the single most important asset of an entrepreneur and if you aren’t passionate, then you will never be successful. Money is a byproduct of passion. Your passion defines your mission, mission to do something bigger. Elon Musk’s mission is to conquer Mars and that has driven the success of SpaceX.  Henry Ford’s mission was to build an affordable car and that created a profitable Automotive Company.   
    425 Posted by Expert Advisor
  • An entrepreneur goes through a lot of uncertainty and is bound to make mistakes on its way to success. It is always easy to preach in hindsight, but to understand the circumstances in which a decision was made. Every mistake is a step towards wisdom and a smart forward looking approach to learning from mistakes is not "oops." but "ah, interesting."  This boosts the morale while acknowledging the mistake as learning on the personal and professional growth curve.  That being said, repeating a mistake is considered as complacence and successful entrepreneurs are never complacent. Smart entrepreneurs learn from others. When on a mission with unknowns, you might not have all the answers, but learning from others increases your chances of success. Here are 5 most common mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.   1. Working without a Budget In business, the bottom line matters. An entrepreneur invests significant amount of time and money into building the business. Investments are valued by returns and returns are calculated on basis of a plan where you budget for everything as per plan.  Having a budget forces us to make thoughtful choices. A budget is not merely about expenditure; but about opportunity cost of capital. Budgets establish fiscal discipline, while ensuring that the capital is made available to the most attractive investment opportunities. Operating without a budget is like taking a journey without a destination. An entrepreneur without budget is like a ship without a propeller - it is bound to stray.  Never ever undertake a venture without a budget.   2. Losing Vision. Entrepreneurs always have a vision where they see an opportunity and create a product to capitalize it. It is usually during the struggle or growth that some lose the sight and compromise. That's like charting a course to Singapore, but losing sight and drifting away to No man’s land while navigating rough waters. It's not that you take head on with high waves, but you adjust course to sail through rough seas with destination in your mind. Never ever lose sight of your vision.   3. Overconfidence Confidence is a must but overconfidence is killing. Whether you are seasoned professional or an amateur, you need to do your homework and prepare for unforeseen challenges. You may be attending a negotiation or signing a partnership deal, unless you have the strategized, you are likely to make mistakes. You may have been luckier but don’t take chances as there’s no substitute for hard work. Do your due diligence and boost your chances to success. You may be the smartest but business in many ways is synonymous with battlefield with competition and unfavorable circumstances playing your enemy. Prepare for the known and take attach the challenges with confidence. Stay away from overconfidence.   4. Habit of Do it all Yourself A good leader knows the art of delegation. You may be willing to undertake it all by yourself, but in doing so, you are setting up yourself for failure. You will not only burn out but create situations that may be detrimental to your success. Remember that you can be at one place and can undertake just one task at any point of time.  Businesses are dynamic with multiple fronts. Call for help, hire trustworthy people or outsource, but avoid doing it all by yourself.   5. Driven by Money and not Passion Passion is the single most important asset of an entrepreneur and if you aren’t passionate, then you will never be successful. Money is a byproduct of passion. Your passion defines your mission, mission to do something bigger. Elon Musk’s mission is to conquer Mars and that has driven the success of SpaceX.  Henry Ford’s mission was to build an affordable car and that created a profitable Automotive Company.   
    Jun 26, 2017 425
  • 29 Apr 2017
    Can start ups make Bharat and India go hand in hand?   India is the largest democracy and the 7th largest country in the world. It has a population of 1.311 billion, with the highest percentage of young population in the world, rich in terms of human resources aren’t we? But are we making appropriate utilization of the resources? More than 70% of our population resides in villages who are waiting eagerly to be included in the project “let’s make India a developed nation”, but the question is “are we ready to take them along?” Inclusion of the backward and rural areas has been a long debated topic in the Indian history, from seclusion of the north east area to unequitable distribution of resources, we are struggling badly to make “BHARAT” and “INDIA” go hand in hand. So how we can take the benefit of the start-up buzz and try to involve as many people from the rural population, sounds difficult right? Yes a bit difficult but not impossible to achieve. The right steps in this direction have already been taken. “JEEVANKSH” is a social venture in north eastern India, where they are into products and services related to contract farming, agricultural consultancy, organic farm input and organic food. Another example is the Exabit systems who employ latest technology for the development of the agriculture. They have projects like “TACTIX” and “ROBOTIX” to integrate automation and IT with the agro services. Peepal tree is another such example where young boys and girls are trained with basic work skills and they are provided employment opportunities in the industry. Villages as an economy What we will have to focus is the development of these villages as micro economic units who are self-sufficient in every aspect, with their own educational centre, health centre, basic services and agricultural infrastructure. The essentials to achieve this are: -          Internet and communications infrastructure: This will help to connect and keep them update with information about the happenings around the world. -          Electricity- Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitely has claimed that every village in India will be electrified by 2018. Renewable sources of energy like solar energy and wind energy can be used for such purposes. Surely the initial investment will be huge for such a project, but this will result in self-sufficiency for the villages and less burden on the existing power plants.   -          Participation by NGOs, authorities and corporates: Role of these stakeholders is really important as they can act as a channel between resources and these villages. CSR has been made compulsory by the companies’ act 2013, under which these corporate giants can work with the villages as they are equipped with the necessary resources like technology, expert guidance, manpower, services etc. Many corporates like Mahindra, ITC contribute to initiatives but the need of the hour is much more and numerous other participants are required to come up. -          Human Resources: Yes like every company a village also does needs its share of efficient people around like agro experts, teachers, doctors, computer professionals etc. -           Panchayat/Village heads: Like an efficient leader is required to head an economy, a well-educated, informed and growth oriented leader is required for a village to succeed. -          Research and development centres: Research centres should be incorporated so that new techniques for agriculture, livestock farming etc. can be provided to link farmers to the latest technology at reasonable prices. -          Employment: We need to ensure that adequate employment opportunities are available in the villages, this will ensure maximum productivity, less burden on the cities and reduced crimes. Taking initiatives like “Swatch Bharat”,”Make in India” and “Start-up India” in the villages can result in lots of employment opportunities for the people there.   Blockages in the way:  There are many bottlenecks in the system such as: -          Lack of trained personnel: There is an imbalance between the demand and supply of people in these areas, moreover professionals are more interested in working in urban areas rather than rural areas. -          Politics and red tapism: Government of India has allocated Rs.187223 crore for rural, agricultural and allied sectors in the year 2017-18, but the actual amount which trickles down to the cause is very less. Actually the corporates want to contribute for the villages as they too get benefitted in return, but due to the geo-political situations in the country and cultural sensitivity it’s difficult to proceed. -          Illiteracy: For the development of an area it is really important that the people of the area are well aware and educated in order to understand the pros and cons of every decision. Moreover education frees people from the clutches of superstitions and religious intolerance.   Role of the start-ups: -          Infusion of new ideas and blood in the system: The tremendous intelligence and effort of the village youth can be put to great usage with them managing their own ventures. -          Attracting capital and ensuring smooth flow: Successful start-ups in the villages have the potential to attract capital from investors, it is possible that foreign investors also invest in such ventures. -          Villages as strategic units for industries: Villages if developed properly will act as in house resources for services and products for the existing industries, cottage enterprises can act as manufacturing units for the companies. -          New ideas: Villages have their own special needs and opportunities that are different from the cities, therefore there are new arenas to explore for budding entrepreneurs.    Will this really make a difference!!! -          There are various issues that can be solved by inclusion of rural India in the start-up revolution: Access to infrastructural facilities and capital Mentorship and Digital education in the rural areas Services like logistics, IT, storage etc. Establishing a network to connect remote areas like the north east etc. Rural areas can act as low cost and qualitative resources for corporates in the country, this will lead to reduced imports Employment generation for the rural youth                             The journey has begun… Some of the villages have already begun to take the right steps in the right direction. For example: -          Dharni village, Bihar: It is the first village in India to entirely run on solar power -          Hiware Bazaar, Maharashtra: Raised groundwater levels with efficient water conservation techniques -          Chizami village, Nagaland: Where women have developed a sustainable model of development -          Punsari village, Gujrat: It has all the facilities of a modern cities from ACs to CCTVs to hi tech machines and a well-educated village head -          Mawlynnong, Meghalaya: cleanest village in India              Long way ahead  There are about 640000 villages in the country, just imagine what difference it will make     to have 640000 micro economies which are independent and contribute to the economy of the country. The picture we see now where the villages are not connected and have lack of basic facilities like health and education can be changed, and this can be done by none other than “us!!!- the citizens of the country”, all we have to do is hold the hand of “BHARAT” and bring him aboard along with “INDIA” on this ship of development which will sail smoothly through the tides of time and take our country to new avenues of success.  
    366 Posted by tanushree singh
  • Can start ups make Bharat and India go hand in hand?   India is the largest democracy and the 7th largest country in the world. It has a population of 1.311 billion, with the highest percentage of young population in the world, rich in terms of human resources aren’t we? But are we making appropriate utilization of the resources? More than 70% of our population resides in villages who are waiting eagerly to be included in the project “let’s make India a developed nation”, but the question is “are we ready to take them along?” Inclusion of the backward and rural areas has been a long debated topic in the Indian history, from seclusion of the north east area to unequitable distribution of resources, we are struggling badly to make “BHARAT” and “INDIA” go hand in hand. So how we can take the benefit of the start-up buzz and try to involve as many people from the rural population, sounds difficult right? Yes a bit difficult but not impossible to achieve. The right steps in this direction have already been taken. “JEEVANKSH” is a social venture in north eastern India, where they are into products and services related to contract farming, agricultural consultancy, organic farm input and organic food. Another example is the Exabit systems who employ latest technology for the development of the agriculture. They have projects like “TACTIX” and “ROBOTIX” to integrate automation and IT with the agro services. Peepal tree is another such example where young boys and girls are trained with basic work skills and they are provided employment opportunities in the industry. Villages as an economy What we will have to focus is the development of these villages as micro economic units who are self-sufficient in every aspect, with their own educational centre, health centre, basic services and agricultural infrastructure. The essentials to achieve this are: -          Internet and communications infrastructure: This will help to connect and keep them update with information about the happenings around the world. -          Electricity- Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitely has claimed that every village in India will be electrified by 2018. Renewable sources of energy like solar energy and wind energy can be used for such purposes. Surely the initial investment will be huge for such a project, but this will result in self-sufficiency for the villages and less burden on the existing power plants.   -          Participation by NGOs, authorities and corporates: Role of these stakeholders is really important as they can act as a channel between resources and these villages. CSR has been made compulsory by the companies’ act 2013, under which these corporate giants can work with the villages as they are equipped with the necessary resources like technology, expert guidance, manpower, services etc. Many corporates like Mahindra, ITC contribute to initiatives but the need of the hour is much more and numerous other participants are required to come up. -          Human Resources: Yes like every company a village also does needs its share of efficient people around like agro experts, teachers, doctors, computer professionals etc. -           Panchayat/Village heads: Like an efficient leader is required to head an economy, a well-educated, informed and growth oriented leader is required for a village to succeed. -          Research and development centres: Research centres should be incorporated so that new techniques for agriculture, livestock farming etc. can be provided to link farmers to the latest technology at reasonable prices. -          Employment: We need to ensure that adequate employment opportunities are available in the villages, this will ensure maximum productivity, less burden on the cities and reduced crimes. Taking initiatives like “Swatch Bharat”,”Make in India” and “Start-up India” in the villages can result in lots of employment opportunities for the people there.   Blockages in the way:  There are many bottlenecks in the system such as: -          Lack of trained personnel: There is an imbalance between the demand and supply of people in these areas, moreover professionals are more interested in working in urban areas rather than rural areas. -          Politics and red tapism: Government of India has allocated Rs.187223 crore for rural, agricultural and allied sectors in the year 2017-18, but the actual amount which trickles down to the cause is very less. Actually the corporates want to contribute for the villages as they too get benefitted in return, but due to the geo-political situations in the country and cultural sensitivity it’s difficult to proceed. -          Illiteracy: For the development of an area it is really important that the people of the area are well aware and educated in order to understand the pros and cons of every decision. Moreover education frees people from the clutches of superstitions and religious intolerance.   Role of the start-ups: -          Infusion of new ideas and blood in the system: The tremendous intelligence and effort of the village youth can be put to great usage with them managing their own ventures. -          Attracting capital and ensuring smooth flow: Successful start-ups in the villages have the potential to attract capital from investors, it is possible that foreign investors also invest in such ventures. -          Villages as strategic units for industries: Villages if developed properly will act as in house resources for services and products for the existing industries, cottage enterprises can act as manufacturing units for the companies. -          New ideas: Villages have their own special needs and opportunities that are different from the cities, therefore there are new arenas to explore for budding entrepreneurs.    Will this really make a difference!!! -          There are various issues that can be solved by inclusion of rural India in the start-up revolution: Access to infrastructural facilities and capital Mentorship and Digital education in the rural areas Services like logistics, IT, storage etc. Establishing a network to connect remote areas like the north east etc. Rural areas can act as low cost and qualitative resources for corporates in the country, this will lead to reduced imports Employment generation for the rural youth                             The journey has begun… Some of the villages have already begun to take the right steps in the right direction. For example: -          Dharni village, Bihar: It is the first village in India to entirely run on solar power -          Hiware Bazaar, Maharashtra: Raised groundwater levels with efficient water conservation techniques -          Chizami village, Nagaland: Where women have developed a sustainable model of development -          Punsari village, Gujrat: It has all the facilities of a modern cities from ACs to CCTVs to hi tech machines and a well-educated village head -          Mawlynnong, Meghalaya: cleanest village in India              Long way ahead  There are about 640000 villages in the country, just imagine what difference it will make     to have 640000 micro economies which are independent and contribute to the economy of the country. The picture we see now where the villages are not connected and have lack of basic facilities like health and education can be changed, and this can be done by none other than “us!!!- the citizens of the country”, all we have to do is hold the hand of “BHARAT” and bring him aboard along with “INDIA” on this ship of development which will sail smoothly through the tides of time and take our country to new avenues of success.  
    Apr 29, 2017 366