Monthly Archives: July 2009

The showcase event at Proto

Attending Proto event for the first time was more fun and learning than I had thought.

Here are some of the things I observed:

1. Indian startups are still not ready for a unified nurturing event like Proto. Many of the founders could not promote or just say, present what they had done and what they meant to achieve. That brought me to a thought of adding finishing to presentations at such platforms.

However, cost could be one of the factors too, as startups are financially more restrained.

It could be argued that a businessman need not be the best person to present or highlight one’s own business but then there was a case of a startup bringing client to speak on the stage while one of them had got their marketing manager. You need not invest money to promote yourself smartly.

2. Personalities still sell the business in India: People introduced themselves before their ideas. Many of them took pride in letting people know their backgrounds.

3. Competition needs to be identified on priority when starting a business. You need not have a brand new idea.
If you cannot find a competitor then you’re either selling something nobody wants to buy or you just have been too ignorant to see the competition.

4. Ganesh Natarajan spoke about Ecosystem. Acknowledging someone’s superiority does not mean taking a step back or anything like that. Academic institutions, Larger organizations, technology and intelligence partners are to be utilized; better you utilize, better gets business.

5. Many of the people I met at the event wanted an entrepreneur to be abundant on knowledge, passion and self belief fronts. Contrary to general beliefs, you need not have a full fledged business model or sophisticated estimates ready. These days, There are groups and successful startups to help you out with that.

6. Smart use of media for startup promotion: am still not very good with this yet. There are ordinary cases where Media publicizes you for free, an entrepreneur can actually utilize this big way.

Ganesha Speaks

Ganesh Natarajan on startups —

-> Keeping the circumference: don’t be lured into doing too much too fast too broad.

-> Not to get carried away with immediate perks/ attractions from around.

-> Help building blocks: Educational institutes, Government (even the Indian one), Industry Ecosystem (an example of large IT companies supporting the startups)

-> NASSCOM ‘s role in encouraging the startups: Pune identified as one of the hubs for tech startups, NASSCOM has helped around 1400 startups all over the country (whoops, I didn’t know that).

Ganesh took special care of promoting the significance of Commerce Ecosystem (not only IT).
Silicon valley could not be built without Stanford – True

More to follow …

IP in India

Intellectual properties in India:

1. Right to own and advertise self intellectual property. However, nothing comes free. If you’re good, be ready to be copied. Patents, copy rights are only some of the means to protect the IP as it is.

2. It is not always necessary to go to court every time there’s a dispute.

3. Talk of Indian trends: sticking to something unpragmatic.

Budget wishlist <2009>

1. Substantial increase in tax exemption limits. Not being selfish, I am The common man. We need some respite from recession and the downturn, buying capacity (from common goods to houses and properties) of aam aadmi must be supported.

2. Improved focus on reducing the fiscal deficit. Better public would say this should desirably not be done through heavier taxes; Aggressive disinvestment so seems a better option at this juncture. I have heard about 5-10% disinvestment plans in Natural gas and Oil industries. I just learnt that India pays almost a third of its revenues to interest on various loans and borrowing.

3. Immediate prop up to infrastructure, no matter what. If required let through a reasonable bail-out package to heavy metal, mining and dependent industries. This includes transport as well.

4. Education and Healthcare (likes in past so many budgets) still remain priority, sadly. Health hazards are coupled with environment imbalance. Insurance needs to be made mandatory to working classes. Self reliance (with some private help) in these sectors seems inevitable right now.

5. As in above cases, there has to be a vision shown which is backed up by intent, India so badly needs it. India needs to be careful in allotting any sort of packages to one particular industry. We also need to review our defense expenditure for once. Good that the Congress is not under pressure for pro-people budget right away, but the government needs to focus on 6 million job losses that have happened and many more that are about to.

Fingers crossed.

India, a superpower in making. No way !

Lack of water and power has affected the nation big time which has depicted some intense dependency on monsoons. Frequent load-shedding and simmering heat have aggravated north India’s woes this year. In Maharashtra, scarcity of monsoon rains in areas except Mumbai has had the cities reeling under pressure. Major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, and Hyderabad are without current for a few hours every day. Is it that India cannot provide drinking water unless it gets rains every year? Don’t we have the appropriate infrastructure for water supply or is it that we have been flooding people with too much of water all this while (irresponsible usage)? However, for power issues, it is definitely the lack of high capacity power generation stations and efficient transmission. Whatever the reason, these are definitely not the indicators that India is on its way of becoming a superpower. A superpower thinks ahead of the time, it plans in advance, it prepares itself for most of critical situations; India stands nowhere close. Basic amenities and infrastructure are a must for India to become a superpower.

India has decriminalized sex between two people of same gender, years after most other non-Muslim developing nations. Indians still think Hijras and Homosexuals are same. Look at the irony: in a secular and democratic nation called India, religious leaders from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian sects have got a significant say in case of legalizing same sex relationships. The great Indian culture has never talked about gay sex (except a few statues in Khajuraho or some Mogul time literature) and we, an independent India, kept (in fact in our minds still keep) following 150-year old British law without ever questioning it. Many thanks to those gay organizations and groups for making our minds broader! I wish India realizes it could well become AIDS’ victim in next decade and we need to handle sexual trends and acknowledge Sex as one of the basic needs of every living animal. India, stop being over proud of your culture, every nation is culturally as rich as you are, get off that burden for once and grow up. A superpower needs to be a strong and liberal society first.

Another frame that could damage India’s claims of being on road for superpower is the way Public companies are being managed. With aviation minister admitting to AI’s total failure, India republic has completed a full circle in its PSU’s awful running. My sympathy goes to AI’s employees. Air India has been a story of a Bad organization (offering freebies to every possible and miniscule politician) with worse management (replete with babus under political pressure) looking down the barrel. It is high time we increase private share in AI or even Indian Railways. AI’s monopoly over several airports needs to be ripped off. Failure of PSUs coupled with lack of revenue generation schemes and reluctance to bring in professional corporate management while getting rid of red tapes have combined to make India lag behind rest of the growing world. I wonder if India has really opened its doors!

As a nation, are we always covering up? Isn’t this time we start thinking and planning ahead of time? Structure, ideas and implementation are different things, when are we going to realize that ideas/plans are fine enough and now we need more care on implementing them?

Hope the structural changes in the pipeline are brought out to fore and India’s leadership (with no left in it, thankfully) shows more intent and active intent at that.