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!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ultimate Frisbee Nationals - 2008

Nov 29 and 30, 2008 was a fun-filled weekend - 2 days of total beach frisbee in Chennai. It was the CUF Nationals 2008, organised by the Chennai Ultimate Frisbee club ( ). Manu , Mama, Abhi , Subbu and others had put in a lot of effort to organise the tournament - Got permission to play on the beach under lights , overcame a bad weather bout when the whole city was under the water and many more. Ultimately, the tournament turned out to be a super hit, with teams coming all the way from Colombo ( Serendiscity ) , Delhi ( Stray Dogs with Sweaters ) , Mumbai ( Stormchasers - hats off, they came over just after the Mumbai shooting incidents ) and Bangalore ( 2 teams - Learning to fly ( LTF ) and Disc o Deewanae ( DOD ).
There were 2 teams from Chennai - CULtimate ( i played for this team ) and Live-wire. Everyone enjoyed immensely, made friends and all went back with great memories.

I enjoyed the games immensely, myself. We had an easy first round - we won 2 games Vs Delhi and Mumbai comfortably but lost 1 game to Bangalore ( Learning to Fly team ).

The semifinal between Cultimate and DOD was the closest game of the tournament - we led 7-3 and DOD climbed past us and were up 8-7. It was an intense 1 hour+ game, under the lights. We managed to win the game, though, by a whisker. Manu / Abhi / Mama / Subbu pulled a miracle of sorts - they managed to have the semi-finals under the lights at the beach. That brought in a lot of crowd and hometeam ( us!!! ) got a lot of support. Over 500 people were watching us play and it sure was an awesome experience!

LTF played against the Serendiscity in the other semifinals. It was a close one as well - Colombo fought hard. But the lack of subsititutes proved costly - they ran out of gas and LTF won the semis. The finals was played on Sunday morning - LTF won this game against Cultimate. We started off well, scoring a point more than the LTF guys at each stage. But they took off after 4 points and eventually won the game 9-6.

Overall, a fantastic weekend - Great people , awesome games, lots of fun !