Archive for the ‘The_Entrepreneur_in_Me’ Category

An chance encounter today with one of my ex-colleague and senior left me on the thinking table again. It’s all about choices you have and choices you make. Different people, same subject but different take. In discussion was the eternal question in this race called ‘potential next professional move’.
So, when should a person move and what should a person consider while moving places? One good point he made, which I also agree is, when your contribution to the company becomes significantly more than the company’s contribution to your skillset, it’s time to move on. He gave some good pointers on what skills set to learn and focus on. What I should be focusing on before making my next professional move to another corporate and all. Very fair points… all well taken.The point he made was simple – if what you want to learn from entrepreneurship is what you are getting to learn (even if 80%) in a good corporate profile then why opting for more risky alternative. Do good things, learn skills set and earn good money.

This discussion left me wondering… what should I actually be doing? Corporate way or Entrepreneurship way? Again some questions and self-doubts. So, thought will write something about this and writing might help in clearing up my mind.

So, why entrepreneurship? I will try to list down few of my thoughts that pull me towards entrepreneurship. All reasons listed here and honest!

  • The (Entrepreneurship) itch started in very first months of my first job. Why? Probably, I started to think that I could make at least double the money, while working for myself. So, reason #1 – I want to make money.
  • I started to think very early into corporate that the complete environment is more restrictive than free. The philosophy around free thinking I found was good only in books. Reason #2 –  I need freedom to think freely
  • I have this feeling for long now that they (corporate) can not realize and utilize my full potential. Reason #3 – I want to produce the best I can 24×7.
  • I mostly don’t fight much for that one notch up rating in performance appraisals. I don’t believe in pushing back much. I know I don’t deserve to be there being evaluated based on someone’s perspective . My delivery and execution on ground speaks of itself which is corroborated by repeat projects, client’s feedback and the respect I carry. So, reason #4 – I want freedom from being judged based on subjective perspectives.
  • I don’t find the complete corporate environment enough challenging intellectually. Reason #5 – I want more challenges and more frequent intellectual interlocks.
  • I have taken up tough projects and delivered well. I know I can deliver any type of project now. What’s next? Looking for next big challenge! Reason #6 – Challenges! Let them come in!
  • I know that I have lot of potential in me, which just needs a little bit of direction and some means to come out. Reason #7 – Self improvement, Reason #8 – means to bring out my best potential
  • I have thought of many business ideas (mostly internet based) in past few years. All original. But could not take them forward and have later seen different companies coming up around similar ideas. Disappointing at times, but it corroborates my belief in my ideas and their business worthiness. Reason #9 – To prove that my ideas are well worth it.
  • I have started to realize that most of my ideas are customer/consumer centric. I can help create systems to help community at large. Reason #10 – To exhaust the best in me to impact lot of lives in general.
  • When I close my eyes and think how I want to be remembered, I can see myself as a person who has created something significant and have touched millions of lives during my lifetime. Reason #11 – Live out my life to my purpose
  • I want to do something at the very intersection of creativity and intellect, intersection of left and right brain. Reason #12 – To create my own work around my own interests and strengths
  • I am passionate and creative at heart. I want to see a creation of mine where I put in all my heart and mind. I want to feel that stage where heart, mind and soul becomes one. A creation that will take me to the state of ecstasy, complete synchronization and resonance with nature and universe. That stage is my ultimate pursuit. Reason #13 – To reach the stage of synchronicity
  • I realize and know that universe has given me something unique and my life will be wasted if I don’t use that special something to achieve my life’s purpose. Reason #14 – To use my unique gifts to add something significant to this world
  • I realize that my life is all about pursuit and realization of that purpose. Reason #15 – I believe that my pursuit of life’s purpose goes through the entrepreneurial me.

Yes, I think I have listed most of the reasons that pulls me toward entrepreneurship. I am just a change agent in this special scheme of things.

And, it really helped writing out my thoughts today. I am much relieved, clear and motivated. Yes, all set! I know what I want!
Blurting down inner thoughts on paper sometimes act as meditation it seems. Great!

[tags doubts, purpose, entrepreneurship, the calling, heart, mind, decision, soul, philosophy, self-help, thoughts]

‘Entrepreneurship by Demand’ Vs ‘Entrepreneurship by Choice’
Lesson on Entrepreneurship from likes of  ‘Jack the Ripper’.

For more than one year now, I have been reading much around Entrepreneurship – Biographies, Success stories, books, articles and whatever interesting I get my hands on. And this interesting thought striked me while I was thinking about the right time to get into Entrepreneurship. Interestingly, if we look closely, we find that there are two types of Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurs by Demand and Entrepreneurs by Choice.
You are an immigrant (forced or voluntary) and have come to a new country, new place to make a living. You don’t have any support system, you don’t have enough money. You have to support your family and you have to earn a living. You have to start from scratch. You are talented, you are skilled… but you are unable to land with a job. Now, all you can do to make a living is to sell (use) your talent directly in the market. A roadside shop to sell your art or some law advisory. Anything depending on your skills. But, you have to start something on your own. Bingo! You are an Entrepreneur. And this is Entrepreneurship by Demand. Look at the history and many of these Entrepreneurs have made a big fortune starting from the scratch.
Another scenario. You are a person from a stable family. You always had access to good education. You always have been a good student. Now you have a good cushy job. After a relaxed sleep you get up refreshed in the morning. You have filling breakfast and go to work. You are at work from 9 to 5. You come home and have good time with you family and kids. End of the month, you are taking home a decent salary. You have build up few assets and you have reasonable savings in your account. And then, one fine day you decide, you don’t want to work ‘whatever’ for ‘whoever’. You want to be your own boss. You are filled with gallons of confidence that you have accumulated over years. You take a stalk of your strengths and skills. You decide to start something of your own. Bingo! You are also an Entrepreneur. And this is Entrepreneurship by Choice.
So, whenever I think about Entrepreneurship, I find two types of entrepreneurs:
1.       Entrepreneurs by Demand.
2.       Entrepreneurs by Choice.
So, which one of these makes a more successful Entrepreneur? I could not decide and I understand this is debatable as well. Some will vouch for Entrepreneurs by Demand and equally for Entrepreneurs by Choice. Nevertheless, let us give it an attempt.
Probably, we can start by high-level comparison between both these type of Entrepreneurships side by side:
Entrepreneurs by Demand
Entrepreneurs by Choice
Initially driven by ‘Urgents’
Primarily driven by ‘Importants’
Play on existing strengths
Play on existing + Develop required strengths
Tactical focus
Strategic Focus
More perseverance , ‘Do’ or ‘Die’ situation
Less Persevereance
No looking back. Commitment.
Can switch back to cushy jobs.
So, can we say which one is better? Hmm… No concrete conclusion yet!
I was just wondering if we can draw some parallel from criminal psychology to deduce which type of Entrepreneurship could be better. In criminal psychology, it is said that there are two types of criminals – Criminals by Demand and Criminals by Choice. Law enforcers and Psychologists vouch that it is harder to catch Criminals who are criminals by choice and that they are shrewder than criminals by demand. Remember Charles Shobraj, Jack the Ripper.
Now, would it be fair to compare entrepreneurship with crime scene? I guess not, but here I think we are comparing the cases where environment Demands us to get into some action Vs where we make some thoughtful Choices within the given environment.
If we accept Criminal Psychology then we should agree that Entrepreneurship by Choice should be better. So, why is it not true always? Why history stands equally behind Entrepreneurs by Demand.
Looking closer we find that there is one underlying principle which we have been ignoring all this while when we are trying to make direct conclusion based on the analogy of criminal psychology. Criminals, irrespective of whether by choice or by demand, makes an ‘irrevocable commitment’. It is difficult for them to again become acceptable in the society. In most of the cases, they commit themselves to the criminal lives. The same is not true in case of Entrepreneurship by Choice. Failed Entrepreneurs are acceptable in work and social life though there is some social stigma of failure that they have to face. But, there is nothing like point-of-no-return for Entrepreneurs and especially for ‘Entrepreneurs by choice’.
And again, this difference now becomes of greater prominence when we compare Entrepreneurs by Demand and Entrepreneurs by Choice. Entrepreneurs by Demand, because of demanding pressures, have higher level of commitment to the Entrepreneurship route they have been forced to take. They are bound by a commitment which is kind of irrevocable.
So, based on this thought would it be justifiable to conclude that ‘by Demand’ or ‘by Choice’, the most important thing for any Entrepreneur to be successful is ‘To make an Irrevocable commitment’.  And, I have started to believe that this makes the real difference between Entrepreneurship by Choice and Entrepreneurship by Demand – ‘Irrevocable Commitment’ of never looking back. If both type of Entrepreneurs are bound by similar level of ‘Irrevocable Commitment’, I believe Entrepreneur by Choice would be more successful. And why not? He would have all the time and all the resources to take more informed decisions and he would have time to develop on his skills and to plan his moves strategically. But, apart from all these good to have time and skills, there is this one thing that Jack the Ripper can teach all Entrepreneurs is the importance of ‘Irrevocable Commitment’.

Speed Dating concept has been used by a New Zealand online portal Speed Renting for finding flatmates.

It helps people who are looking for sharing flats/rooms. The site provides a platform to bring likeminded ideal flatmates together. All this for a price tag of NZD 12, which includes a free glass of beer/wine.


Find how it works on their website:

Where is my money?
Figures say that for 1 USD we donate to NGOs, on an average only 70 cents goes to the actual cause.
Rest 30 cents are wasted as fundraising and administration cost.
As per global trend people are increasingly willing to donate today,, but they want each cent of their money to be utilized for the real Purpose. Whereas, in the wake of such facts people end up asking “Where is my money!!?”

This high administration and fund raising cost severely affects NGOs Productivity and Efficiency. 
NGO Productivity   α Total Funds Raised for the cause.

NGO Efficiency (%) = Funds Used for Cause
                     Total Funds Raised
Fund Raising Efficiency = Total Funds Raised
                           Fund Raising Cost
Problem defined:
‘How can NGOs increase their Productivity and Efficiency?’
Reasons explored:
If we assume that all the funds finally available (after deducting fund raising and admin cost) to the NGO are being used completely for the cause then there are two clear factors that affect Productivity and Efficiency of NGOs.
1.  Total Funds Raised
2.  Cost of Fund Raising
So, what are the reasons that are holding back NGOs on these parameters?
1.  Total Funds Raised
a)  Limited Geographical Reach – Fund raising activity is limited to area of operation.
b)  Limited Penetration/Awareness – Even in the area of operation not everyone is aware of the NGOs.
c)  Lack of Credibility – I don’t know if my funds will be completely used for the cause.
d)  Lack of Tangibility/Transparency – I want to see where my funds are being used.
e)  Limited Resources – Limited volunteers and resources.
f)  Poor supporting technology infrastructure – Not using adequate technology and infrastructure because of limited funds.
2.  Cost of Fund Raising
a)  High fund development cost – Capturing new private and corporate donors is costly.
b)  High Marketing Cost – High cost of marketing, road shows, awareness campaigns, etc.
There is a need for an efficient fund raising channel for NGOs.
Solution Proposed:
A web based ecosystem for NGOs
An Internet portal to provide a one stop website solution to connect global donors and various (participating) NGOs.
However, it is not simple as it seems to fill the gaps by simply building a portal.
The portal should be designed to fully exploit the potential of Web 2.0 (Interactive web, social networking, facebook, twitter, etc.) to reach millions of users.
Some of the desirable features of such portal could be:
·         A large user base.
·         Integration with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
·         One Stop Solution for various NGOs.
·         Country, NGO and Project level Transparency.
·         Making donation a fun process.
Potential Benefits:
Contact me at

Not sure of the traffic situation!? Not sure which route to take!? Log on to ‘Twitter’!!

All of us are aware of inconvenience caused by bad traffic situations. No one wants to end up burning fuel and getting mad in such situations. One day while traveling to office, I found myself stuck in a similar bad traffic!! Traffic jams are not unusual here in Mumbai, specifically during office hours. That day it was real bad as it took me 90 mins to cover a distance that I cover in 30 mins on a reasonable day.
That time I started thinking how could I have avoided such traffic and started wondering of ways in which such traffic situations can be made available to the commuters.
Available solutions and their inherent problems:
There is an official traffic police website where they ask you to register your mobile number so that they can update you about bad traffic situations. Irony is that I have not received a single SMS from them since I have registered around one year back and moreover no one has a clue what they actually mean by bad traffic. Only source available to us (commuters like me) is the traffic update broadcast on radios/FM. That is one thoughtful step, but again even that is subject to few limitations. There is absolutely no control of user/listener on the timing of information broadcast. Sometimes you don’t have that much time to wait and other times you don’t want to listen to those useless songs while waiting for the broadcast. And, just in case you are lucky to catch the timing, you need to be very attentive so that you don’t miss the specific update. So, is there any possible solution to this problem?
Problem re-defined: How do I get accurate traffic update whenever and wherever I want?
Solution thought of:
I can think of one solution to address all the problems captured above.
Answer lies in ‘Twitter’.
How about having a website which would broadcast real time traffic updates through ‘Twitter Tweets’!!
Potential Product: A website to broadcast real time traffic updates.
Now, another problem for such website could be to get the real time traffic updates?
I can think of two solutions to address this challenge.
Alternative 1: Collaborative model
1.    Users to contribute real time traffic updates:
a.    Through SMS; or
b.    Through their reply ‘Tweets’ or through ‘Twitter’.
2.    Users to update any upcoming event and the anticipated route diversion in advance.
Alternative 2: Crawling.
1.    Get traffic updates by scanning, crawling and searching various websites like Facebook, twitter, Orkut to capture any traffic related user status.
2.    Structure traffic updates area wise.
1.    Braodcast/Tweet as and when website receives any new update.
2.    User to follow the website Tweets to get the traffic update.
3.    Subscribe/follow area specific traffic tweets or general traffic tweets as per your need.
Potential Benefits:
Real time traffic updates on the go, whenever and wherever needed.
* Watch this space for more such thoughts and ideas.

I was reading about penetration of social websites and micro blogging and their relevance in today’s business context when one thought suddenly flashed in and left me wondering.

If we trace the Internet presence of companies/businesses over the last decade, there is a surprising trend that emerges. To make things more clear, let’s go back in time and trace some trends in internet space with context to Companies and Businesses.

Time: Early 2000s
Internet Presence: Company Website.
Use/Content: Content Sharing. Mainly used for sharing Company specific content. Products, Solutions, Success stories,etc..
Content Update Frequency: Long intervals. Usually Months or Years.

Time: Mid 2000s
Internet Presence: Websites + Blogs
Use/Content: Experience Sharing + Content Sharing
Content Update Frequency: Shorter Intervals. Weekly or Fortnightly.

Time: Late 2000s
Internet Presence: Websites + Blogs + Web 2.0 (Micro Blogs + Social Network) Presence
Use/Content: News update + Updated Customer + Experience Sharing + Content Sharing
Content Update Frequency: Even Shorter Intervals. Daily or Weekly.

So, tracing the internet presence of companies, the trend shows that focus of companies have moved from ‘uploading large content less frequently’ to ‘updating smaller content more frequently’. Strange trend…

Either companies have become more customer centric, OR, it is just another battle for consumer’s mind space where companies are trying to engage customer on a more frequent basis.

The thought just left me wondering, after short and sweet daily updates on Twitter, what could come up next? Is there anything shorter than Tweets being developed somewhere!!?
Watch this space for more such thoughts.
Contact me at

Imagine this. You are flying alone to some place. Domestic or International. You reach airport 2 hours prior to the departure. You check in. You block a window seat. Get your security check done and then you wait for boarding to start. You look at the watch and you still have 1 hour for boarding. Now you spend this 1 hour somehow and then you board the flight. You enter early and take your window seat. You realize journey is 3 hours to 8 hours long. At this point, have you ever wondered how will you be spending next few hours? Who is going to sit right next to you? Have you ever wished a celebrity, a business tycoon or a beautiful girl to take the seat right next to you?

Problem defined:

There is a long transit and travel time when people travel between cities. In most cases, this time goes unproductive.

There are only few choices available for travelers at present.

1.  Read magazines/ books.

2.  Tune into in flight entertainment.

3.  Turn on your laptop.

4.  Catch some sleep.

How can a person traveling utilize this travel time more productively to build social network?

Solution – The thought:

Travelers should be given an option ‘To socialize consciously!’. The person traveling should be facilitated to choose his/her fellow passenger (by mutual consent of course!)!?

This can be achieved through a product (software/application) with integrated features of ‘seat booking management system’ and ‘Social networks’.


Such product can provide multifold benefits for all the stakeholders:

1.  For travelers – Productive utilization of travel time.
2.  For travelers – Opportunity to get along with likeminded / enhance social network.

3.  For airlines – More takers for middle seats in airlines.

This window of 5+ hours (boarding + waiting + flying) is a great opportunity waiting to be tapped. This window can present a good platform to people for socializing, building contacts and cutting business deals on the fly!

Who knows… you might fly with Angelina Jolies of the World, next time!

* I am sure, many more business ideas can be brainstormed to tap into these 5+ hours of unproductive time of a Traveler. Please share.

* I have worked on detailed features and business model of the possible product. Contact me at

How can small businesses attract good talent?

Small businesses have always struggled to attract good talent.

Thoughts on this started with a writeup by Raj Shankar on his blog. Raj says in his blog that “Small
businesses need to stress on the importance of the role, job, person to the
institution and impress on the best graduates to join them.”  Read Raj’s blog “Small Business and Talent: An Irony!” here

Now, to dwelve further and to understand the reasons for this gap, we can borrow some concepts from some management principles. Broadly, I can see four guiding
principles on which most of these decisions about individual salaries and small
businesses are based.
Demand and Supply – market
determines which talent to price how much.
Contribution i.e. value addition –
The more a person produce/contribute/value-add more he is rewarded (salaries,
incentives, recognition, etc.). So, it becomes difficult for a person to leave
a high paying job to take more responsibilities with low salary. However, when
other rewards (like recognition, achievement, etc.) are plenty to balance the
salary factor then people are sometimes willing to consider the change.
High Risk, High Gain – For a job
with high risk i.e. small business (unpredictable sales, salaries, etc. in
initial phase) a person should get higher rewards. Again these rewards can be
monetary or motivational.
Maslow’s hierarchy 🙂 – First
priority of a person is to get a decent income to sustain a decent living
(physiological and safety needs). Once this is achieved, people start thinking
of other things like esteem (achievement, recognition, etc.). However, there
are some rare exceptions.
So, person create/produce/contribute something based on his
talents. This contribution is priced based on demand and supply. The market
sets his price/salary for the contribution he is making. More talented attracts
higher price tag.
Now, he is getting a high market salary in a big established
brand/MNC for his contribution. Then going to small business means higher risk.
So, person will be willing to switch only if rewards (salary + incentives +
motivation) are higher. At this point if the person has already met his
physiological/safety needs then he is ready to switch for motivational purpose
otherwise he works for salary to meet his daily needs.
Also, when a graduate comes out of college he is struggling
to get his daily needs right (physiological/safety need), so they first look
for a job, any job and if options are available then a good salary package.
Once this is achieved, a job is secured, they start thinking of other things
like esteem, achievements, challenges etc.
So, what is the solution? 
Considering all these factors for small business we can
see that if a small business (mostly in growing phase and lesser stable than
stable brands/companies) wants some good talent they can get it by one of the
(higher) salary and incentives.
opportunities for motivation (challenges, achievements, learning etc.)
Small businesses usually don’t have fat cash reserves. So,
the options to explore this alternative are limited.
Freshers, entry level employees – Still small businesses can manage
decent salaries as the baseline salary for entry level is low.
Mid management and senior management – Companies can offer them lower
fixed salaries + Motivational incentives like equity, ownership, commissions
(e.g. percentage of sales they bring to companies). However, here small
businesses have to also ensure that people they are hiring share similar
passion for the work and vision of the company. If they can find people who
share similar higher purpose (life’s purpose) then that is the best bet.
 For any of this to happen the bottom line is that small businesses need to highlight the opportunities to find
people with similar passion and purpose. They have to ensure that their
customers and employees are the evangelist of their company. 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it livingsomeone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living withthe results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’sopinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have thecourage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already knowwhat you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Using Twitter to sell ice-creams!!?
Recently I have come across many articles about the power of
Web 2.0 (social websites/Facebook/Orkut, microblogging/twitter, etc.).
Popularity and reach of these sites is well known. Many companies (even the
likes of Dell, Dominoes, etc.) are using them to their benefit. Predominantly
companies are using them for promotion and marketing activities to reach out
millions of users. This prompted me to think, in how many different ways can
these websites be used to get a business benefit? What different business and
delivery models exists at present around these websites and what new
possibilities can be explored? 

I am trying to understand the possibilities. I have listed down
couple of things based on my limited presence and knowledge on Twitter,
FaceBook. Please contribute with sharing anything you have come across – any
interesting model, any interesting website, your thoughts, anything.
I will keep adding them to the list, as they come.
To list few areas:
1.      Marketing
and Promotion
Travel Companies
2.      Brand
Building and Awareness – Companies are using them to update customers and
employees with latest news.
Mahindra Satyam 🙂
3.      Connect
and Network – Connecting like-minded
a. – Connecting
4.      Crowdsourcing
and Brainstorming – Yes, few companies have started using twitter for
crowdsourcing ideas overnight. Interesting.
5.      Broadcasting
Some interesting websites and specific
ideas I came across:
1.      #Twitter
– Twitter powered icecream trucks/vendors to share there whereabouts
2.      #Twitter
– School lunch menu published via Twitter
3.      #Twitter
– Crowdsourcing ideas overnight through Twitter
4.      #FaceBook
– Gaming applications like Farmville, Restaurant city, some Pictionary type
game, etc.