Friday, December 26, 2008

On Entrepreneurship - #1

I've been talking to b-school students in Chennai in the past couple of months on Entrepreneurship, thanks to TATA NEN Hottest Startups nomination of our company, Excedos. The creativity and energy of the students during these sessions shows a lot of promise for entrepreneurship in India, in the near future. In a series of posts, now on, i will share my experiences ( limited!! ) on Entrepreneurship.

Read up - Before i started up, i had spent hours reading about startup experience of others. Blogs are a great resource - they help us to learn about the entrepreneur's personal life ( helps to build the skillsets we need to have ) , in addition to their startup experience. Here are some great resources to learn from, before starting up - 

Alpine, a budding entrepreneur, posed a question on Entrepreneurship to me - When is the right time to startup ?
Its a tough one to answer , mainly because, every possible answer can be justified :). There are so many experiences of people starting up and go on to succeed because they 'just' wanted to ( and they didnt have a great idea ) and also experiences of people who had a great idea /saw an opportunity ( Jeff Bezos - Amazon , for example ) to implement, before starting up. My 'philosophical' answer here is - we need to have the passion for whatever we are doing. Its just a question of how much we want this / do whatever ( within the framework ) it takes to achieve our goals / vision

The philosophical part is the easiest one - everyone thinks this way. Companies actually succeed because they filled a 'real' need / solved a 'real' problem for which someone is willing to pay. Most startups fail to transition to a successful 'revenue' model. At a conference i had been to, before i started up, someone mentioned an interesting line - ' Is the startup's product / service , a 'fevel pill ' or a 'Vitamin pill ' - Not many customers buy vitamin pills. Fever pills have the most possibilities of success.

Here is a great post by Fabrice on 'business selection criteria' - - Brings a rational way to arrive at a startup idea.

Family Support : I had a phenomenal family support. My parents were completely supportive of my venture ideas ( Helps, when your dad is a biz man, himself! ). If family is a bit reserved about your move, don't worry too much - as they see us succeeding , they will come around.

If you want to 'create' something , if you get bored doing 'normal / routine ' job , if you want to make an 'impact', if you think learning from mistake is 'fun' , if you want to 'change' things in the world for the better, if you always look at a 'better way' of doing things, if you love taking initiatives and 'implementing' them, if you are 'DO'er and many more , startup is where you need to head!


alpine path said...

Good one! Thanks for your take on this one. I've been thinking about the bridge between the real need and solution too. Hope I hit on some real need and its unique solution that I find interesting enough to do and persevere. I know its a tall order, but what else is life if not to check how tall the order is :) I've not checked much of the resource links that you gave(except iinnovate) but will do so soon! Looking forward to other posts in this series. And care to elaborate on the experiences with b-school students? :)

Karthikeyan....KK said...

@ Alpine - Awesome. Nice to see grad school students thinking about solving problems than thinking about hunting for jobs!! B-school students.. - I was stumped by undergrads than b-school students. At one of the local colleges, the 1st year B.COM girls displayed so much energy and initiative, competing with masters students / other UG's , 1st, 2nd and 3rd years - i judged them winners. There were a lot of 'creativity' from the UG's. B-School students seemed to be 'safe' - they were looking for jobs. Entrepreneurship seemed to be the last thing they wanted to do!! But that might change, 2-3 years into their jobs.

alpine path said...

Might be a case of getting old and losing the carefree childhood. People worry if they can 'do' it and seem to go by the safest option. How many first year students would jump into business right after graduation? According to me, a person tries to be safe first and gets a job. And, once they get a job and know that they 'have stuff' and can 'do' it, they explore the business arena. But this is strictly my opinion. Going by what some of my friends(who are into business now) did, this seems to be the case. There might be exceptions. Btw, what's your story? Did you start your business right after your graduation? How hard was the battle?