Category: Random

It’s interesting to hear people say that they wish to start-up at some point in their lives. By people here, I mean those who are currently employed with companies. And when they say that they wish to start-up at some point, they mean it.

I say so because I said ‘I want to startup’ to my friends and family for about 5 years. It took me this long to start-up. Did I lack the passion? Did I like being in a job? Did I lack an idea? The answer to all these questions is NO.

What I did lack was the ‘doing mindset’. It’s great to dream, come up with an idea but when it comes to doing, most of us begin to face blockages. Some start feeling it’s not what they hoped for, some feel it’s boring and dull, some feel it’s a lonely journey, some get caught up in fear of the unknown. The silver lining here is that YOU are not alone facing those thoughts. We all have those creepy, lowly thoughts nagging at us, trying to distract us from our goal.

Read and take part in the discussion here.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Chance Favours the Connected Mind

Entrepreneurs2012 at London Excel Arena

Entrepreneurs2012 was a part of the Global Entrepreneurship week which culminated on November 16, 2012 at the Excel Arena.

This was a 4 day mega event featuring several big-shots from different fields – Politics, Media, Music, Business, Arts etc., came together to discuss about Entrepreneurship, about how to make it big in their fields following one’s dreams and passions.

I was able to attend only the 4th day of the event, thanks to a friend who apprised me of this.

Waking up at 5 in the morning and reaching Excel Arena at 7 AM was quite a task and was hoping that this event was worth all the effort.

I have attended plenty of Entrpreneurship events in the past. Hence this had to be something special for me to justify this blatant madness.

The highlight of the evening was supposed to be Bill Clinton!

As I was queuing up for registration (I was a free ticket holder and hence had to queue up early so that I do not miss out on a confirmed seat!) I could see the excitement among some of the other attendees. Few had come for all the 4 days.

I heard this lady who is a Fitness Advisor and wants to learn more about how she can make it big and grow her client base.

So after all the waiting and queuing we managed to to enter the arena while the show started at around 10-15 minutes past 9 AM.

There were 4 panel discussions back-t0-back on the topics of Culture and Diversity, Leadership, Innovation and Reinvention and finally on Motivation.

I did not know whether the participants were under prepared but it appeared that everyone was stating the obvious and no one disagreed with the other. None of them had a differeing view point on any topic which just made the discussions monotonous and dragging.

We were able to withstand till the 3rd panel discussion which fortunately, my friend and I enjoyed the most. The panelists had some interesting thoughts on invention and how to go about market research and developing your product.

We were too tired at the end of the 3rd panel and so had to break for a much needed coffee. Don’t know why the organisers did not account for the fact that breaks in between events helps to keep attendees mind fresh!

Amidst all this, we just found out Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN) is a fabulous speaker and an extremely competent investor!

Fortunately after several speakers, we got to see Bill Clinton who came in for a 45 minute presentation. Have to admit that he has lost the charisma while he was at the White House. With white hair and sagging wrinkled skin he was just the pale shadow of his old self. He is definitely not an Obama when he speaks but he does speak well nonetheless.

Bill spoke about his work at Haiti, about how he used some of the out-of-box thinking during his time as the President of the USA.  He spoke of some of the difficulties presidents face and how entrepreneurial thinking can help Presidents make decisions that would prove beneficial for the country in the long run.

A well timed good speech, I must say.

However, I have to say more than Bill Clinton, the person who stole the show was Kevin Green, a multi-millionaire and the richest Real Estate Baron in the UK!

Well, to be honest we did not hear of him until we saw how good a salesman he was!

I wanted this event to gather more knowledge on some of the fields. However, this event proved to be a platform for several entrepreneurs to come and sell their services.

Kevin Green was at the forefront of using this Entrepreneurs2012 event to Sell his services.

He spoke for almost 2 hours! Yes, you read it right, For almost 2 hours!!!

And in that, all he spoke about was his disturbed childhood, broken family, his divorced wife, his sex life and how amidst all that he became detrmined to be a millionaire.

He was willing to “share” his secrets with the audience so that everyone can become as successful as he is. For him, becoming a millionaire and then giving to charity is the benchmark for success and he idolises Richard Branson.

He even showed a video of how he gave GBP 7,500 to this mother whose child was dying of a disease and with that money she could give her child one day of happiness which she can cherish all her life! What a Great PR!!!!

Great work Kevin!

Now to add to this, Kevin showed us what a fun loving and energetic team he has.

Please take a look at the video. He performed this on stage with his team!


And finally, he showed what courses he conducts for wannabe entrepreneurs in London.

His course pack including a 4 day workshop is priced at GBP 12,500! Too High eh?Wait! Kevin has more tricks up his sleeve.

He announced that he will give one lucky winner something special. So he asked the audience who wants to be the Winner. Several hands go up and he randomly selects this suited booted black man to be the winner!

As this guy got on stage, Kevin asked him to read through all the materials on the course pack from the screen so that everyone sees what is there. And finally he is asked to read the price which is GBP 12,500. Then he announces that since he is the lucky winner, he gets the course pack for FREE!!!

But, to attend the 4 day workshop with a partner, he has to pay GBP 2,400.

Quite nominal isn’t it? This guy was then given 10 seconds to either ACCEPT or DECLINE the offer on stage. And when the countdown started, the guy accepted it within 2 seconds! Just what Kevin expected!

He has conveniently sold his service at GBP 2,400. Now is that all??

Hang on, there is more.

After announcing this lucky winner, he asked the crowd again whether anyone else was interested to become a winner like him!

And believe me, 32 hands went up!

And he invited all 32 on stage, and he offered the same GBP 2,400 package to them in pairs. So he ended up selling further 16 packages.

So in total Kevin with his 2 hours of Selling, manages to generate 17 X 2,400 = GBP 40,800 worth of revenue!!!! Voilà!!!

He also promised throughout that 50% of this will go to Bill Clinton Foundation.

So in effect, he generates GBP 20,400. Factoring Conference Hall booking costs in London for 4 days at GBP 2,500 and stationery and printing costs at further GBP 5,00, he still manages to make a profit of GBP 17,900!!!

For a 2 hour presentation, making GBP 17,900 to bad eh?

Now, I have every reason to believe that he must have paid the event organisers to give him a slot to “advertise”! Given the usual costs for such events, I am inclined to believe, he must have paid the organisers a paltry sum of GBP 3,000.

So factoring that in the cost, he still ends up making GBP 15,000!!!

Now that is true entrepreneurship! Whether I liked Kevin’s speech or not, whether I was put off by his extra “Selling” efforts, whether his presentation was thin on content, it doesn’t matter!

I have been to several presentations and events in the past, where entrepreneurs, thought leaders and startups convened to discuss ideas, but none had this salesmanship involved!

Have to admit that through this I learnt 3 things:

1. Use every opportunity you get to make yourself visible and sell your business! No platform is bad to promote!

2. London is hungry for entrepreneurship! Every other Tom Dick and Harry wants to be an entrepreneur!

3.  Every Hard Rocker or Metal head does not necessarily have to die of drugs!

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Warren Buffett: Why stocks beat gold and bonds

Courtesy: Fortune Magazine

This article does not talk about entrepreneurship. But I shared this because it highlights very good aspects of businesses as laid out by the Oracle of Omaha. Investing in Stocks is better in the long run as compared to Gold and Bonds. I think the same principle applies to everyone who aspires for a better living. This same principle applies to VCs, Angels, Private Equity Houses as well as Individuals (and Entrepreneurs).

The article:

In an adaptation from his upcoming shareholder letter, the Oracle of Omaha explains why equities almost always beat the alternatives over time.

By Warren Buffett

FORTUNE — Investing is often described as the process of laying out money now in the expectation of receiving more money in the future. At Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) we take a more demanding approach, defining investing as the transfer to others of purchasing power now with the reasoned expectation of receiving more purchasing power — after taxes have been paid on nominal gains — in the future. More succinctly, investing is forgoing consumption now in order to have the ability to consume more at a later date.

From our definition there flows an important corollary: The riskiness of an investment is not measured by beta (a Wall Street term encompassing volatility and often used in measuring risk) but rather by the probability — the reasoned probability — of that investment causing its owner a loss of purchasing power over his contemplated holding period. Assets can fluctuate greatly in price and not be risky as long as they are reasonably certain to deliver increased purchasing power over their holding period. And as we will see, a nonfluctuating asset can be laden with risk.

Investment possibilities are both many and varied. There are three major categories, however, and it’s important to understand the characteristics of each. So let’s survey the field.

Read the full article here.

Courtesy: Quora
1.Andy Johns, a bit of consumer tech product experi…
Never force yourself to be involved in every decision, even when you know the wrong decision might end up being made sometimes. It’s actually to the long-term benefit of the people you work with that they are allowed the freedom to make mistakes or poor decisions. There’s a Buddhist saying that I can’t remember exactly but is appropriate here. It’s something to the effect of “If you want to tame an animal, give it open fields.” You don’t enclose the animal in hopes of taming it. The opposite is true.

So broadly speaking I think the same is true from a leadership perspective and PMs need to be leaders. If you want to be a great PM, learn how to give those around you open fields. Each time they make a mistake or are given the space to figure out solutions on their own, they get better. Your team consequently gets better. The goal is to end up with individual contributors that have the sort of discretion and decision-making ability that you would hope a great PM has. You’re team is in really good shape if you get to that point.

Never force yourself upon all parts of decision-making. Never make the mistake of disallowing others to learn by making the decisions on their own.

2.Peter Sellis, MIT MBA, Fmr. Product Lead @ Ustream

I’ve made an insane number of mistakes myself, seen a lot of them, and learned from them. But there are three things I hate to see happen more than once:

Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic
Today’s product managers live in a world where data-based decision making isn’t just smart, but it’s hip. Everyone in the company has access to Google Analytics. It’s very easy for anyone in the company to be negative about any decision a product manager makes — either by finding fault in it early on or questioning the data upon which it’s based — and A/B testing and optimization are king.

However, there are some times when doing the safe thing is wrong. It’s easy to A/B/N test your pages to infinity, but you are destined to find the local maximum. Losing site of the long-term, big picture goals and just optimizing what you have means you’ll never try anything radical. Someone else without the sunk costs of your existing platform will, and you’ll be out of luck.

The deck will look great but the ship will have sunk.

Controlled Flight into Terrain
Possibly one of the more fascinating occurrences in air travel, controlled flight into terrain is essentially when a perfectly good pilot takes a perfectly good airplane and flies it into the ground because he or she is unaware of his or her surroundings (…). If you’re a product manager, don’t do this with the development team.

Roadmaps are extremely powerful communication tools. A clear and well-communicated and supported roadmap can lead to massive output improvements. But, in a similar vein to what I talked about above, it can also be a crutch to rely on the status quo when more aggressive decision making is required. Don’t be afraid to change organizational structures and focus, even if it means you’ll need to create a brand new pretty roadmap and backlog from scratch.

Blaming Others
When things go wrong, it’s tempting to point figures in either direction out from the product team: the marketing team, biz dev team, content team, QA team, or the engineering team. In reality, there will always be an infinite number of external and internal factors out of your control. Take responsibility for all of them.

3.Dave Saunders

Ask questions that only serve to validate your own theories. There are many examples of this leading to total failures. New Coke is a great example. There was a significant amount of market research done which served to support the theory that there needed to be a new Coke. However, it was done in such a blind context that the decision makers failed to see if people wanted a new Coke. It’s very easy to fool yourself into a poor decision as a product manager.

Read more details here.

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