Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Bold and Boisterous at IITD

We present a rendez-vous with Himanshu Choudhary, the man behind Zuppit. A great load to take in, absorb and implement!

  • Name of Startup

Zuppit Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

  • What is the startup about? What does it deal with?

We are developing different types of technologies around content to deliver enhanced and quality experience to consumers on mobile platforms. With gigabytes of content being generated every second, it is imperative that some mechanism must be devised to bring coherence to that data.

  • What according to you is the USP of your startup? Why do you think people should avail the services provided by your startup?

It is the technology we have built. Our technology is language flexible and can generate quality content from scores of sources. Also, we strive to provide our customers with top notch user experience.

  • What was the inspiration behind launching this startup?

“Technology is best when it generates and adds value to the society.”

Consumption of content with technology will definitely enhance reading experience of people by providing them with exactly what is required – nothing less, nothing more. We intend to launch products in verticals like – News, Health, Education, Law, Finance & daily use, thus, empowering people to do more.

  • What do you want to say to budding entrepreneurs who are still shying away from following this unconventional path?

If you want to learn and explore don’t be shy, just try. Because, at the end of the day, it’s not only about earning money and building a company, it’s also about the adventurous experience and the learnings you take away from failures and successes alike.

  • How do you plan to /did you pitch your idea and convince the VCs when you are still attending college?

There are two important things VCs look at before giving you money – Team, Market.

It is very important to get both the things right. If you have this right, hard work and dedication will be more than enough to pull you through.

Coming to pitching – with the IIT Delhi brand name, it is easy to score meetings, how you perform is up to you.

  • What are the challenges that you’re facing?

The biggest challenge I have faced is to start. Taking that big leap of faith is the most difficult thing that you do while starting up. But, once you start, once you do take that leap of faith, everything falls in place. Even if you are stuck somewhere, there’s always someone (a friend, a senior, an alumni, etc.) who would love to help you out.

  • What motivates you to give up the ‘safe’ path of taking up a job and instead start off from scratch?

I just want share great lines of Tony gaskins with you guys “if you don’t build your dreams someone will hire you to build theirs”.

  • Where do you see your venture ten years from now?

I would like to see my company successfully generating value for the society and still yearning to do more and more.

  • What role has the college and city played in assisting and providing you an environment for setting up your venture?

IIT Delhi is the place which makes me whatever I am today. The support from friends, professors and alumni has helped me make this leap of faith and succeed in life. Apart from this, I was connected to eDC, IIT Delhi and attended various events organized by them which helped me align my thinking process and meet like-minded people and investors.

  • What other activities in college do you think would encourage more people to start with a venture of their own?

Strive to do best in whatever you are doing. Attitude is what matters most. If you have that never dyeing spirit, you will definitely succeed.

  • How do you network with other people outside the campus?

Events organized by eDC inside the campus and other entrepreneurial networks outside the campus helped me build a good network. Apart from this, a big support comes from IIT Delhi Alumnus. It’s always a delight to help out fellow IITians, my seniors supported me, I would love to support anyone who comes to me.

  • What is that one thing in your idea/venture that you think is different and is going to stick with people?

The products we have built, create immense value to the consumers by enabling them to do more.

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How To Deliver a ‘Killer’ Pitch – A workshop conducted by T-Labs

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-Supratim Das

“Advertisers do not sell you a product, they sell you a life, which they promise that you will have, when of course you buy that product”

The 28th of February, 2014 saw T-Labs visit IIT Delhi, to conduct a workshop on ‘How To Deliver a Killer Pitch’ as part of E-Summit ’14, organized by eDC IIT Delhi. The presenter, Mr. Abhimanyu Godara, who had also agreed to be a part of the judging panel for the Grand Finale of Vishishth ’14 (Technical Sector), held later on in the day. So, many glances were exchanged among the participants when, after his presentation he inquired about which of the participants thought that their prepared pitch needed to be changed based on the rules that he had talked about – the same people who were going to present their ‘imperfect’ pitch to him during the Vishishth Grand Finale.

Mr. Godara hit the nail on the head when he started with opining that a pitch in itself is not enough to get a product across to the audience. One needs to believe in what one is doing. A pitch is just a final polishing that one could give to that idea, but it should never be an integral part of the plan of promoting that idea. It is not a substitute to the business, small-talking people about the product independently will produce miniscule results since the audience isn’t all that stupid. A YouTube demonstration of an astutely delivered pitch of a startup called ‘DoorDash’ evoked a wide range of comments of appreciation and wonder from the participants – “He jumped right to the content”, ”He didn’t have to look at the slide while presenting!”, ”He used a lot of numbers in his presentation”, “It’s almost as if he was talking to the audience, one-to-one”, “He was able to connect with the consumer”. After this, one suddenly realizes that the workshop was not going to contain some hidden golden secret, previously locked away in the Pandora’s Box of B-Plan presentation buried deep beneath the ground, it would simply highlight the obvious, the not-so-ostensible obvious, the obvious that avoided people’s view like a diaphanous curtain separating the worlds of surety and obscurity.

To enumerate some of the ‘golden’ obvious points discussed, I would like to start with the most important – The beauty of the presentation is in the telling of a story, a story centred around the idea of the product, which is able to emotionally connect with the one who is listening to it. ‘Last night, I went to the supermarket, and realized……. Did you face the same problem too?’ Make a study of the range of people who are suffering from a problem similar to what you faced. The problem should be of reasonable magnitude and prevalent. One need not include very accurately mention data at this point, but presentation of this scale is very important – ‘Ah yes! I found out that x number of people in my locality face the same problem!’.

‘An Elevator Pitch, literally, means a pitch that you can deliver to someone (important) you meet in an elevator, and being able make a lasting impression about your product by the time the elevator arrives at the designated floor’

Short, intelligent and crisp – the buzzwords that need to be kept in mind which preparing a pitch. It is the first thirty seconds that will make or break the listener’s attention towards your product. Keep It Simple.

Now, back to our ‘story’. A person cannot relate very well to raw facts and figures presented. One needs to have some kind of anchor to ‘fix’ the data to the brain, and you are to provide that anchor. Tell people how prevalent the problem is, tell them how you are going to solve it, because solving that problem is the prime motivation of your very existence, in the current scenario. Tell them about the competition that might be existing in the target area, and of ways of how you are going to ‘bluntly put’ consummately obliterate that competition, once you get your product in the market. It is important to do proper research in this area, and come up with exact facts and figures as regards the competition and consumer demand pattern. Back it up with logic – connect with the audience. Again, come up with a story which has all the details embedded.

The listener may get ‘jumpy’ at a certain moment, getting apprehensive about the fact that you may be small-talking him into extorting money out of him for your product. That is where Consumer Demand studies come in. Show the audience consumer testimonials, customer response and the number of customers who are interested in your product. Ample amount of field work is required in this area, and believe me, it’ll pay off, heavily. It serves to remove the last shades of doubt in anyone’s mind about how your product is going to impact the market.

Having convinced everyone, now it is time to present the financial requirements of your plan – How much money you will need to implement your idea, what do you do with the money, how clear you have your milestones mapped, and how sound your product roadmap is. And lastly but most importantly, Back Your Team! They are the people who are going to work out an alternative in case of a disaster, they are the ones who are going to keep the very existence of the idea alive. Keep the motivation high within your team, so that each one exudes confidence when it comes to handling of the job. They are going to make it all happen, at the end of the day – the heart and soul of the idea and product. Hierarchy is important too, not everyone is good at all aspects of running a company, so each one needs to have a skill set which complements that of the other.

Indeed a lot of practice is required in the delivery of a pitch, to make a razor-sharp job of it at the end of the day. Let people know how to get in touch with you, present your Angelist Profile too (it adds a professional touch to your presentation) and deliver that final ‘Punch Line’ to slam the audience with that one final blow of reason which shall compel them to act in a way you want them to. Wait, was all this a process of hypnotizing the audience? Is hypnosis exactly done in a way an Elevator Pitch is delivered? I shall leave this question hanging, to poke the reader’s curiosity even more.

Ideas Light Up in the EDC CIMA Business Case Study Competition

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Perhaps its biggest event in the last two days, the Case Study Competition held by the Entrepreneurship Development Cell, IIT Delhi held on the 28th of February, 2014, saw gruelling strategies, excessive planning and a cut-throat competition to find out the best. A wet, rainy day brought forth the brightest business minds, who came together and formulated grand ideas of success. This competition was held in sponsorship with CIMA. For the ignorant ones, CIMA is perhaps the biggest name when it comes to case study competitions and consulting problems, its very own competition GBC (Global Business Challenge) considered to be the Holy Grail!

For this event, the participants were given the case of Mackintosh Grant and were asked to optimise on financial solutions, supply-chain management and to find solutions to overspending. They had to formulate this strategy for the period of 2013 – 2020.

The competition kicked off with the team Phoenix, both being students of DTU. They identified the main problem to be lack of flexibility, a rigid top-down structure and an orthodox board reluctant to change it. They proposed the incorporation of ERP (Enterprise resource planning) software solutions of forecast supply chain structuring. Other aspects also included supplier rationalisation and tier shaped flexible structuring.

Team Omega from IIT-Delhi demonstrated how integrated supply chains reduce inventory cost and delivery time. They were in the favor of introducing web based systems to have better interaction with customers. To control the  budget overflow, they included options like employ surveys, relocation of staff and incentives given to high performing staffs!

Wayne Consults had given the marketing strategy to introduce E-commerce by setting up a website and setting up their own factory outlets. Customization of products and better data collection that helps in decreasing design costs were given importance. There was a special focus of this team towards Asia because of the growing markets here.

The team Shoe Conundrum from SRCC wanted specific strategies for different areas and not a universal line of action. There was a lot of focus on giving buyers the “ultimate” shoe experience, greatly emphasising on each and every design part, expert advice, basic frame choice and assistance.

Throughout the day teams gave excellent ideas like the 4P style of management, diversification of home markets and the phase approach. The competition was so tough that one of the judges had to admit that he would have come up with a different result each time he went through all the presentations. While the judges appreciating the attention to details and efficient planning, they also told participnts about the nitty critties and helped them with new techniques like cascading!

This competition was finally won by Eklavya 2.0 comprising Ramanjot Kaur Kohli and Shantanu Singh. Second prize went to the Team Frantics who had introduced the innovative concept of “smart pricing”. The team comprised of Vaibhav Yadav and Sukrit Chadha. Last but not the least, the third prize went to the team of Shresth Garg and Dominique Xavier – The Shurtugals!

Aditya Priyadarshi

‘YOU CAN INVENT!’ – A Talk by Praveen Vettiyattil (President, Sharda Solutions)

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The Entrepreneurship Development Cell (eDC) – IIT Delhi organized the flagship lecture event “You Can Invent!” as part of E-Summit ’14 on Friday, February 28th. The Speaker for the event was the famous TedX speaker Praveen Vettiyattil, the President of Sharda Solutions, Coimbatore, and an M.S degree holder from USC. He has presented thrice on TedX, the last one being in TedX Sharjah, 2012. He acts as the advisor and consultant for the wind and solar plants in UAE and India, and on how to reduce energy costs. He also is the inventor of the pedal powered – special purpose machines, which include pedal powered centrifugal pump and water lifting machine. The aforementioned products, quite drastically offer a value for money deal with a cost cut-down of more than 90%. This presents the outlook of the speaker and his approach towards the things. “One should render the present so as to get a clearer and better future, with the inculcation of ideas and solutions of the problems around”, and as this is mentioned, he began with the lecture.

“The world can change only through two things – War and Invention”

He started the lecture with the introduction of problem with the system – the way India works, and the question that why Indians living in the U.S. accounts to more than 20% of the international papers filed in the U.S.A. and on the other hand the dilapidated state of innovators in India? Analysis of the recent data also indicates the same, for instance in the finale of Intel Science Challenge 2014 for U.S. residents, there were 8 NRI finalists in the pool of 40. The question that he aptly pointed out is quite very well justified with the present outlook of the nation in terms of the number of inventions, patents filed, and the average research grant per patent. India, the country which has the 20% of the world’s population amounts to only 1020 patents (as per the 2012 reports) – which is less than even 1% of the total patents filed worldwide. Though, however, there isn’t any particular solution for this question, but the inculcation of the creative approach in the children, and change in the perspective of observing the children’s academic performance would at-least make sure that the cravings for the innovation wouldn’t die out. In his words, “We always say, ‘As creative as a child, and not, as creative as a group of Thermonuclear research scientists.’ “

The speaker then proceeded towards the other part of his lecture, wherein he presented the contrast between the time period required by the new born and the development of the humanoid robots for the purposes such as walking, bicycling, eye focusing, pattern recognition, and swimming amongst others. As per the records, it took around 800 years to conceptualize and adapt the walking mechanism for the robots, and this presents the stark contrast since it, only, takes around an year for the new born to do the same. He then put forth the argument that the world’s best innovators are the children, who on the daily basis visualize and try to conceptualize the basics behind walking and other important necessities of the humans. The comparison then put forward by the speaker indicate the individuals to think like a child, and be curious. “We are living, breathing specimens of unimaginable marvel. Don’t think too much, act!”

The speaker in the next part talked about the ideas, and their origin. He put forth a 3-step approach towards stating to think of inventing, which talks about leading a normal life, and be receptive to and observant of problems, then looking up on whether anyone has tried to solve the problem. If not, just going ahead and solving it! One need not have a creative mind to think about the different issues that one faces, or might be facing, in the present and how they would resolve them to ensure a better and prospective future. For doing that, one has to have a vision and a curious approach towards the essentialities of the life and the things around. Talking about the problems associated with the Indian system, he presented the contrast in the way the top singers, actors, or even sports’ persons, and the engineers are perceived and attended, in such a vast cultural agglomerate as India. In India, it has always been the priority to have the politicians, actors, and people of no importance – to the earth and the ecology, remain in the limelight and no one even bats an eye on the innovators and the invention that might someday solve the major issues associated with the vast population. Leave apart media even the government is biased against the innovators, with the lowest research grant available, worldwide, for the faculties and innovators, in terms of subsidy and monetary grants.

As the speaker moved towards the conclusion, he tried to emphasize the power of innovation and himself being a mechanical engineer, urged everyone to be proud of their field of study and being an engineer. For everything other than engineering could be established any day, but if engineering and crave for the innovation is lost, nothing could be established, very well, to the present state. And with the message coming “Crave and Crave more for curiosity, and never let die the urge to question, for these are the essentials for a thinker and an inventor”, the lecture was concluded.

Anshuman Sahay

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Vishishth : All-Asia Business Plan competition 2014 (Social Sector Finale)

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The Entrepreneurship Development Cell (eDC) – IIT Delhi, in association with Dhruv Forever, organized an exhaustive and exceptional Business Plan Event, “Vishishth – An All Asia Business Plan Competition 2014” with 2 sectors, namely “Social” and “Technical”. The event spanned over a month, receiving over 100 entries in each sector and IIT Delhi hosted the finals for the Social sector on Thursday, February 27th. The finals for the social sector witnessed 10 short-listed teams judged by an expert panel comprising Mr. Ashu Agarwal, Akansha Bapna Ma’am, Mr. Atul Law, Mr. Sanjay Gupta, and our proud sponsors Mr. Manoj Jain and Mr. Abhinav Jain, of Dhruv Forever.

 The event had certain strict time limitations where the presentation window was kept open for 10 minutes and another 5 minutes for the Question & Answer Session. The event commenced with the presentations of the shortlisted finalists and the first team to present was the team “RavGins”, from IIT Delhi. The idea of the team is to get down the number of road accidents’ victims with a real time application which would work upon the accelerometer of the phone and provide a real time data to the nearby hospitals in the state of any mishaps.

The second team “Knight Riders” presented an innovative idea: PurePots, to provide clean drinking water. Indeed a novel idea, they talked about the need of potable water, and presented another much elaborated technical model. The third presentation was about an education project, presented by “U2D” team. They emphasized on having a pool of faculties who could be a guest lecturer, or freelance teacher, but can’t dedicate their time solely towards it. Though, a new concept and nice idea, but the team seemed not to have a concrete base so as to tackle the financial hurdles.

The next presentation was given by the team “Hansraj College”; they talked about the Clay Coolers, a low cost refrigeration technique fragmentally popular in the rural areas of India. The presentation was focused, primarily, on the poor and villagers as providing low cost refrigeration unit and along with a direct employment opportunity for the potters.

The fifth presentation in the series was given by the team “Integrated Utility App”, again from IIT Delhi; they talked about the reforms in the agricultural sector. The team went ahead by giving the facts about the present issues associated with the irrigation facilities, a well drafted and fact-full report. The team had the idea to automate the process of irrigation which could be initiated by just a missed call, i.e. not a necessity to have a smart phone. This team had attracted the interest of the judges the most, which was quite apparent with the reviews and remarks put forth.

The next presentation was given by the team “Green Ninjas” from Delhi Technological University. They had their plan chalked around their Minor and Major projects, as the part of their Bachelor thesis, as “Bio Gas Digester”. Though this has been designed and is operational from quite a long time, but the thing that makes this team distinctive from the rest is the efficiency of the digester and their innovative and appealing customer outreach program.  The next up in the series was team “Sanrakshak” from IIT Delhi; they touched the very base of the new and developing Indian cities, i.e. the unemployment. They articulated the formation of a circular chain wherein by providing technical and soft skills to the unemployed and uneducated, they could man the technical man-force to cater to the services of people in the middle and upper class. The plan has the 2 way approach, where one is to have own service centre, and other to act as a recruitment firm to provide manpower.

It was team “Beginners”, founded by the SRCC graduates, who presented next and they essentially laid out their plan on providing the artificial limbs. It was a well drafted presentation with a professional cliché. With all sorts of financial analysis and professional aspects, the presentation seemed more like a VCs pitching session rather than a B-Plan event. The next up, it was “Skilldodo”; they presented a presentation with an IIMA graduate (with more than 25 years experience) on board. They emphasized onto providing skill development sessions to the rural youth in the specific areas such as Renewable Energy Sources, for it would be in one way providing employment and on other hand creating an impact about renewable and other sources of energy to the very root of the population i.e. villagers.

The last presentation in the series was by given by team “Zeal”; they have an awesome and phenomenal idea which essentially emphasizes onto capturing the carbon that might have been trapped in the smog air (CO2) coming out of the machines. Despite of having an amazing and brilliant environmental and social idea, they could not convince the judges of their idea and skills. Nonetheless it was a great experience for the team, and they had a brilliant time exploring the different presentation skills, as reported by one of the team member later.

There was indeed intense competition amongst the teams and it had the judges worrying a bit, for arriving at a decision regarding the declaration of results. The Results of the event will be released on 28th of February, 2014, after the conclusion of the finales for both sectors. The event then concluded with the anticipation for the finale of the technical sector which will be held on Friday – February 28th with a brief thanksgiving speech, and a token of appreciation for the judges and the organizers.

Event coverage – Anshuman Sahay and Siddharth

Edits – Supratim Das

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‘Next’ Conference on Design Thinking – Event Review

The morning of the 1st of February, 2014 saw the advent of imminent personalities in the field of design planning and innovation in Seminar Hall, IIT Delhi. The event began with a cheerful & pleasant host Vageesha, who worked as Project Manager in Clicklabs which was the host for the conference.

‘Clicklabs – a mobile application development company founded in 2010 with a mission to provide technological solutions that work just right. The agenda of the conference was stated – Design thinking: knowing about design thinking, applications and business avenues in the same.’

The event had its first speaker as Mark Watson, Director at Design Providence and a Co-convener Indo-Australian Design Research Alliance (IADRA). Design Providence – a multi-disciplinary practice in the field of Interior Architecture and Product Design, founded in 1990. He has been working at Service Design and Design Thinking since 2010 and has become a partner with Amsterdam based Design Thinkers Group and Academy in 2013.He covered areas on Design Driven Innovation And Design Thinking.

Mark, with over 30 years of experience in Design emphasized the importance and value that such experiences play for innovation and innovative thinking. Talking about his brainchild, IADRA, a project across the entire design area and the DT (Design Thinkers) Academy is a simulation of Design world through problem based learning which counteracts against the difference between Traditional Academics and design thinking. He stated that the idea of “design innovation” isn’t actually an oxymoron as everyone believes, against the common notion that design is done for the sole purpose of improving on the already existing ideas – design can actually lead to new projects. 

Moving on the next speaker was, Rumy Narayan, Sustainability Expert at Digiqom. Digiqom, an initiative that is focused on co-creation of the convergence of mobile Internet access with intuitive social media tools and enabling enterprises enhance their digital presence via Social content management, on mobile and on-line game based social conversions and brand community platforms.

In words of Rumy, design and development have revolutionized our life by bringing about:

-industrial revolution

-growth of markets

-globalization

-‘media’ tization of culture

Also to say, the roadblock for designing is the generation of large waste from smaller inputs which is a challenge considering that there is limited space on the earth. She maintained that the sustainability challenges viz. Ecosystem destruction, increasing inequalities and the decline in natural resources, could be ejected out with the individual involvement since everything and society, as well, coexists. In her words design opportunities follow the ideology of cradle to cradle parody that something which is good for us may not be the same for nature, like in biological nutrient cycle the grains that we eat, are essentially the plants’ waste.

The next speaker, on the rolls was Gautam Malik, Head of Design and Creative services at Jabong.com, a passionate design leader with a drive for building great teams and world class products. He has over 14 years of experience helping organizations successfully launch new ideas. In his role as Head of Design at Jabong.com, he is currently working towards making Jabong India’s top fashion destination. His agenda for the day was “Designing for New India” and his presentation looked more like a medical textbook than a gripping power point sideshow, to which he himself remarked that his aim wasn’t to gratify the viewers. He proceeded his talk in 3 sections, namely contextual analysis, complications and factors that could influence the design thinking and growth.

He pointed the pursuit of Indian economy which is predicted to be world’s largest by 2050 and began to chalk out the complications which included the political scenario, environmental costs and investment guarantee. He, in his own words, describes himself as having the mind of an architect, the heart of a filmmaker and the hands of a designer.

The fourth speaker of the day was Rajat Tuli, co-founder and CEO, or as he rightly calls himself, Fire fighter at highly successful online shopping portal, Happily Unmarried. He won the Young creative entrepreneur award for the year 2008, awarded to pioneers in the creative industry. The very first and a critical point he mentioned was that the sequential order for coming out with a good product or business idea, which is  Need → Idea→ Business  and not the vice versa.

His talk involved the idea that everything must be tuned in sync to create the greater harmony for the business environment, be it marketing, sales, or even back-end profile. He especially remarked the idea of showcasing, for which as a matter of fact is the key to have larger shares in the consumer sector, consumer connect, and believing in yourself.

Up next was the very enriching presentation by Mr. Girish Lakshaminarayana, Founder at FastCandidate.com, CTO at Dealsandyou, and CTO & Co-Founder at Klea Global. Having worked with half a dozen top companies in past, he currently runs a startup called AttendMind which helps companies manage attendance and leave better. He spoke about how to apply age-old design principles and the new design mindset to create great products.

Thereafter, the event had the privilege to hear Gautam Mahajan, president customer value foundation and a global thought leader in Total Customer Value Management, followed by Ishan Khosla, the principle & founder of Ishan Khosla Design, and Anuj Bhargava, Co-Founder & Chief product officer at Appiterate.

The talks briefly, then, outlined the basic design principals, which are:

  • Affordances
  • Form and context– consider all the constraints on the product
  • Create remarkability – make it 1% different than 5% better
  • Do one thing at a time bit do it with your full potential
  • 6- up technique– make 6 different designs of a single product, make 6 new improvised versions and finally come up with one

Design, in the opinion of the speakers should be tested of its capabilities with the questions of the sort such as, feasibility, misfits, customers’ perspective, etc. Design also to hit the customers’ choice must be simple and intuitive so plan out so as to, remove, hide, organize and displace some or other things to prepare the neat and consumer specific product.

The session then concluded with the ideas of good design, which in particular should involve and be,

  • Innovative
  • Useful
  • Aesthetic
  • Understandable
  • Unobstruvtive
  • Honest
  • Long-lasting
  • Thorough down to the last detail
  • Environment friendly
  • As little design as possible (to say,  most beautiful of all)

With a short thanking note to speakers, sponsors and organizers, the event, then, concluded delightfully with the enriched and mind-boggling thoughts and life stances of our dignified speakers.

It’s Just A Business, or is it?

(In close reference to “The Incarus Deception” by Seth Godin)

-Aditya Priyadarshi

As an entrepreneur, whenever you think of the word “business”, whats the first thing that comes to your mind? Money? Fame? Or is it hours of toil and sacrifice? Well, when asked the same question, Mr Jobs had said “The first thing that comes to my mind is my identity!” Is there anything more personal than your work? Your money, your blood, sweat and tears? Your time away from those you love? We are not robots, we are humans — at least most of us. We need to bring (more) humanity back into our work and business, don’t we?

In his new book The Icarus Deception (Portfolio, 2013), Seth Godin is spot on with his analysis. He refers to courageous people who take things personally and do work that matters, as artists. He says: “Art is frightening. Art isn’t pretty. Art isn’t painting. Art isn’t something you hang on the wall. Art is what we do when we’re truly alive. An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it (all of it, the work, the process, the feedback from those we seek to connect with) personally.”

As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably felt the sting of rejection a couple of (thousand) times. I don’t care how thick you say your skin is; rejection can take it’s toll on you and cause you to get stuck or give up. So maybe avoiding it or “not taking it personally” all these years is your defense mechanism? I get it. But we might need to reframe our perspective.

Godin’s thoughts on this are helpful. First, on avoiding rejection he says: “Change is powerful, but change always comes with the possibility of failure as its partner. ‘This might not work’ isn’t merely something to be tolerated; it’s something you must seek out.”

If your new business plan disrupts an industry or pisses a lot of people off, there’s a good chance you’re on to something good. You should worry more when nobody’s talking, when you ar following a stereotype! Godin points out that critics and those in power use shame to keep innovators at bay: “Fear of shame is a powerful tool to modify behavior, and those in power have been using it for years. They want to be able to change us by delivering shame and we’ve been taught to listen it I, believe it, and swallow it.”

It’s fine to acknowledge that there are those who will seek to shame you. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept what’s given. We don’t work for the applause, and we’d be foolish to read the anonymous comments on Amazon or the tweets coming from the back of the room. That attempt to quiet you down and make you conform doesn’t belong to you unless you want it to.

The tricky part of what Godin is saying is the understanding of how to be more vulnerable and exposed without feeling shame when critics hurl daggers at you. It is the secret to both dealing with rejection and unlocking your ability to do amazing things. He says: “But if we allow shame to be part of our vulnerability, we allow it to destroy our work. It’s impossible to do art with stakes that high. You can’t say, ‘If it works, fine, but if it fails, I’m shamed.’ The only way to be successfully vulnerable is to separate the results of your art from your instinct to feel shamed.” And that’s possible, because while someone can attempt to shame you, shame must also be accepted to be effected. We can’t make you feel shame without your participation right? Blame yourself, surely! But that has to be devoid of any specs of shame.

So after all this, is it so personal?

You bet it is. And guess what, that’s a good thing!

What drives people to take up entrepreneurship as a way of life?

‘Entrepreneurship’ – does this word arouse a sense of curiosity or individuality, or some random thought which secludes you from the rest? What exactly is that notion that one gets, and might lead them towards setting up a multi million-dollar firm? This thought has been a point of debate for the curiosity seekers, and all through the entrepreneurial circuit.

The article goes about elaborating the key aspects of the world of entrepreneurship. But before we proceed anywhere lets open a bit up the word “Entrepreneur”. Entrepreneur is someone who, more or less, is,

  • An observant and thinker – Who can spot business opportunities to fill up the gapped space.
  • Strong-hearted and a risk taker – Market is unpredictable, you’ll have to, at times, take risky chances.
  • Resilient – Must learn from the mistakes and move on, this is the key to success.
  • An opportunist – Grasp whatever you’re offered.
  • Enjoys it as a way of life!

Coming towards what drives the sense of taking up the entrepreneurship as a way of life, hoping the definition for an entrepreneur is digested, there are certain formulas, or say mantras for this! Which says there is nothing that is required to have a similar stint. The thumb rule also debars the restriction for age and limits only to have an idea to drive the society and market. Jeno Paulucci, the master chef, presents an unprecedented example of this and serial entrepreneurship, with more than 70 companies to his credit, including the major frozen-food brands, and at 89, he’s getting on foot to launch another new venture! And did I mention Lizzie Marie Likness? Oh well, she is 11 and is already running a health and living business that deals with healthy cooking recipes, and is being endorsed on WebMD with a Fit Channel series, “Healthy Cooking with Lizzie”. The two examples hence clears crucially that age is not a limit, just have an idea to cook up and that’s what one got to have to pursue entrepreneurship.

 

Present era has been witnessing the series of innovative business ideas to take roots and rule the world, and has made a similar atmosphere for innovative thinking even at the school level. Children growing up bewildered from the nature’s charm and societal pressure, develops the habit to innovate and think sneak away routes towards the positives of nature and this very sense drives them towards entrepreneurial stint. Having the habit to innovate and think, and living the world opportunistic, let open the stream to inculcate the ideas. And if one has the idea, the thirty percent of work is done. A good example could be the case of siblings Shravan Kumaran and Sanjay Kumaran, who are as of now the youngest innovator and entrepreneurs. Shravan, 14, the president and Sanjay, 12, the CEO of Go Dimensions, an app development unit founded over 2 years back in their bedroom, shows that there is no bar for innovators, and innovations starts from the root i.e. oneself and don’t require high-fi simulation laboratories and is not limited only to the elite exclusive degree holders.

Being an entrepreneur, one also gets to have the personal space which is quite often not there with non-entrepreneurs. This is also the major aspect that fuels the thought of entrepreneurship, considering one gets to have them design their schedule, on their own as they wish. There is no compulsion to work, but the desire, and this attitude gives a sense of relief and satisfaction even if they somehow end up spending the whole day working upon the idea.

Breaking the general convention that only engineering and commerce students innovate and take up entrepreneurship as a way of life, I would like to name Anita Dongre, who has far from even miles relation with the above fields of study, launched her brand, a milestone for her, and went up thereafter launching a couple of more such fashion lines. This presents the unlimited scope and diversity entrepreneurship offers.

Working even in the world’s richest firm may not relieve you off the societal desires and peer pressure, there always seems to have expectations in one or other form. But taking up the entrepreneurial life one gets relieved of the headaches for the promotions and other materialistic charm of working for someone, but is free minded and is led by the thought of doing and achieving something great. And this very thought fuels them until the success is experienced and relived.

Coming towards the conclusion, I’d like to have compiled the essentials that drive one towards entrepreneurship.

  • Open Atmosphere, giving opportunistic view.
  • Personal Space, time for the precious moments of life.
  • Independence, Boss of your own.
  • No headaches for promotions, write your destiny.
  • No conventions, there is no prescribed route.
  • Adventure, explore your hidden self and of the world.
  • Satisfaction, for there is no compulsion to work but the Desire!

So, Have an Idea? Don’t look work upon it!

Covering the essentials of what drives and fuels the thought process to take up entrepreneurship and pursue it as a way of life, the article and the writer wishes to have you delightfully filled with all the sensible abilities to work upon a scratch, scratch that needs to be refined which once completed, let you relive the best of your joyous moments of life, Entrepreneurial life – the journey.

 

 – Anshuman Sahay (eDC Editorial Executive)

The new GE: Google, everywhere!

 

AT GOOGLE they call it the toothbrush test. Shortly after returning to being the firm’s chief executive in 2011, Larry Page said he wanted it to develop more services that everyone would use at least twice a day, like a toothbrush. Its search engine and its Android operating system for mobile devices pass that test. Now, with a string of recent acquisitions, Google seems to be planning to become as big in hardware as it is in software, developing “toothbrush” products in a variety of areas from robots to cars to domestic-heating controls.

Its latest purchase is Nest Labs, a maker of sophisticated thermostats and smoke detectors: on January 13th Google said it would pay $3.2 billion in cash for the firm. Google’s biggest move into hardware so far is its $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility, a handset-maker, in 2011. In recent months it has been mopping up robotics firms (see table), most notably Boston Dynamics, which makes two- and four-legged machines with names like BigDog and Cheetah that can walk and run. Google’s in-house engineers have also been busy working on driverless cars and wearable gadgets such as Google Glass.

Nest takes Google into the home-appliance business, which is how another, much older American conglomerate got started. General Electric (GE) produced its first electric fans in the 1890s and then went on to develop a full line of domestic heating and cooking devices in 1907, before expanding into the industrial and financial behemoth that is still going strong today.

The common factor shared by GE’s early products was electricity, something businesses were then just learning to exploit. With Google’s collection of hardware businesses, the common factor is data: gathering and crunching them, to make physical devices more intelligent.

Even so, the question is whether Google can knit the diverse businesses it is developing and acquiring into an even more profitable engineering colossus—or whether it is in danger of squandering billions. Concern that the firm could make overpriced acquisitions has grown along with the size of its cash pile, now around $57 billion. Eyebrows were raised this week when the price for Nest was revealed. Morgan Stanley, a bank, reckons it represents ten times Nest’s estimated annual revenue. (Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a non-executive director of The Economist Group.)

Why fork out so much for a startup that makes such banal things as thermostats? Paul Saffo of Discern Analytics, a research firm, argues that Google is already adept at profiting from the data people generate in the form of search queries, e-mails and other things they enter into computers. It has been sucking in data from smartphones and tablet computers thanks to the success of Android, and apps such as Google Maps. To keep growing, and thus to justify its shares’ lofty price-earnings ratio of 33, it must find ever more devices to feed its hunger for data.

Packed with sensors and software that can, say, detect that the house is empty and turn down the heating, Nest’s connected thermostats generate plenty of data, which the firm captures. Tony Fadell, Nest’s boss, has often talked about how Nest is well-positioned to profit from “the internet of things”—a world in which all kinds of devices use a combination of software, sensors and wireless connectivity to talk to their owners and one another.

Other big technology firms are also joining the battle to dominate the connected home. This month Samsung announced a new smart-home computing platform that will let people control washing machines, televisions and other devices it makes from a single app. Microsoft, Apple and Amazon were also tipped to take a lead there, but Google was until now seen as something of a laggard. “I don’t think Google realised how fast the internet of things would develop,” says Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies, a consultancy.

Buying Nest will allow it to leapfrog much of the opposition. It also brings Google some stellar talent. Mr Fadell, who led the team that created the iPod while at Apple, has a knack for breathing new life into stale products. His skills and those of fellow Apple alumni at Nest could be helpful in other Google hardware businesses, such as Motorola Mobility.

Google has said little about its plans for its new robotics businesses. But it is likely to do what it did with driverless cars: take a technology financed by military contracts and adapt it for the consumer market. In future, personal Googlebots could buzz around the house, talking constantly to a Nest home-automation platform.

The challenge for Mr Page will be to ensure that these new businesses make the most of Google’s impressive infrastructure without being stifled by the bureaucracy of an organisation that now has 46,000 employees. Google has had to overcome sclerosis before. Soon after returning as boss, Mr Page axed various projects and streamlined the management.

Nest is being allowed to keep its separate identity and offices, with Mr Fadell reporting directly to Mr Page. Google has also protected its in-house hardware projects, such as Google Glass and self-driving cars, from succumbing to corporate inertia by nurturing them in its secretive Google X development lab. It has also given its most important projects high-profile bosses with the clout to champion them internally. The new head of Google’s robotics business is Andy Rubin, who led the successful development of Android.

Such tactics are good ways to avoid the pitfalls of conglomeration. But to ensure success, Google will need to avoid another misstep. Its chequered record on data-privacy issues means that Nest and other divisions will be subject to intense scrutiny by privacy activists and regulators. Provided it can retain the confidence of its users on this, Google should be able to find plenty of new opportunities in both software and hardware that pass the toothbrush test and keep a bright smile on its shareholders’ faces.

Source: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21594259-string-deals-internet-giant-has-positioned-itself-become-big-inventor-and

AWS Cloud Kata – For startups and developers

An event held by Amazon Web Services on 11th January in the Seminar Hall, IIT Delhi, it witnessed a panel of venture capitalists who were present to deliver their perspective on investment in the Cloud Environment and interact with an enthusiastic college audience.

The panel comprised Mr. Anshu Sharma (Invests in technology-based enterprises, has previously invested in SnapChat, ITZ Cash etc.), Mr. Rohit Jain (Invests in Consumer Internet Companies like MakeMyTrip), Mr. Sailesh (An early stage investor, having already invested in RedBus and MakeMyTrip) and Mr. Alok Goyal.

On the issue of the industry of business opportunities the Aadhar Cards would give rise to, Mr Jain opined that his firm would not deal with the government. Mr Goyal mentioned that the Aadhar should give rise to a large market in the supply chain (e.g. Healthcare Industry). He also mentioned that the issue of business on the Aadhar platform has to be developed further.

Most of the panel agreed that with the mobile penetration increasing, cloud storage was becoming cheaper, and the future technology would involve a lot of Mobile and Internet. Mr. Goyal aptly used the word “SMAC” to describe the future technology (“SMAC” – Social Mobile Analytics Cloud Storage). Mr. Jain mentioned that the combination of cheaper internet services, cloud based storage and analytics will give rise to new virtuous business cycles. Mr Shailesh however was more generic in his response mentioning that the future would have any technology which would solve a currently existing problem.

 

All the VC’s agreed that Cloud has affected the scalability of businesses. They also mentioned that Cloud has changed the way in which people conduct their business. For example, Mr Shailesh, citing the examples of Dropbox and Evernote, mentioned that such applications were initially designed to be consumer applications; as they became popular, they were marketed as Enterprise Applications. Mr Alok mentioned that Cloud has changed the Development and Release Cycle.

 

On the very important issue of VC’s having a soft corner for Entrepreneurs coming from Accelerators, Mr Goyal termed the accelerators as “branded proxies”. He mentioned that the accelerators increased the opportunities to establish “connections”. Mr Jain mentioned that the accelerator ecosystem in India had a long way to go before it became mature. All the VCs were of the opinion that accelerators are not a necessity.

 

Mr Goyal also advised nouveau Entrepreneurs not to lose their focus. Commenting on the mistakes made by nouveau Entrepreneurs, Mr Anshu mentioned that they often lacked vision. All VC’s also said that 1st time entrepreneurs should not be afraid of moving out of their “Comfort Zones”.  

All of them mentioned that one of the most important things that they saw in a company before investing was an already established “Strong and Passionate” team. They also mentioned that the team members should ideally have “Complimentary” Skills.

Responding to a question, Mr. Alok Goyal mentioned that India could produce a Google / Facebook and along with the Entrepreneurs, the VC Ecosystem in the country is evolving, for the better.

 

With inputs from Mohit Soni and Aditya Priyadarshi