Some tips from India’s successful entrepreneurs

Rediff has an article on India’s millionaire Net entrepreneur, some tips from these successful entrepreneurs

Sanjeev Bikhchandani (Naukri.com) says :

“With no venture capital ready to fund us, we realised from the beginning that we had to earn revenue from day one to stay afloat and cover our costs.”

“Today investors are ready to give high valuations to Net companies and want to grab companies that have a first-mover advantage in their space. Or those that have a dominant market share, a good brand and, of course, if they already are profitable”.

Deep Kalra (Makemytrip.com) says : “If you can’t deliver the service at the most efficient price, at the right time, and map all the customer queries effectively, users are not going to come back to you.”

India, Then and Now, a Tourist Paradise and an Intellectual Pool

A colleague-cum-friend (Australian) of mine is travelling for holidays in India for next 3 months, so he came back happily to share about his approval and how long the Q to Indian Embassy in London, UK was, etc! I had a Brit friend next to me who had a pun unintended query “Why do you need VISA to go to India”  😉
I smilingly asked which countries you can travel without having a VISA, he said of course any in Europe, I said, ohh you see India is not in Europe and there is no free entry to Brit or any other nationalities to India as was possible during Imperial times 😉

Though I am not sure what he meant with that pun, but this brought back one famous discussion we used to have, when I was doing my bachelors during 1990’s and my senior used to say “There will be a day when foreigners will stand in Q to get VISA for India” the way we do now to go abroad to work there. I was not very positive then thinking it may take at least 25 years to reach to that stage. But hey, I was wrong, it only took 15 years (from 19991 onwards) to really see things happening in favour of India. There has been number of reports discussing of reverse brain drain and Indian returning back to grab the huge opportunity, so I won’t go into that discussion now.

Today India facilitated a five-year tourism visa with a provision for multiple entries for tourists. How prepared is India for Tourism? I think more infrastructures is needed to make India world’s hot spot in tourism, many part of India is still unexplored, planning commission (both state and national govt.) should utilise the tourism Industry to convert the rural India to natural tourism. This is a beginning and there are many spots in India still remain hidden and unexplored. The mindset of Tourism department/ agencies must go global in accepting and really making effort to make tourist happy. I hear states like Kerala, Rajasthan are prime destination for Tourist!! What are other state doing??

I remember, as a child I would have hardly seen any foreigners in many state run small airport like Bhubaneswar or Vizag. People used to flock around if they see a foreigner. However, now many foreigners live in India & working with multi-national having global operations. Life has changed in totality in 10 years!!

So what about the Intellectual pool/capacity of India? Some strongly agree and some say it is cheap labour. I have heard both category and have argued with both categories. Here are my takes… as a child I was told the only way I can survive in this world is by speaking beautiful English and solving mathematics in lightening speed. Even today, this is true; competition starts from very early ages in India. Also as part of living style we believe “knowledge and prosperity” are the essence of life. IITians have pioneered these essence and they are the people who really took their knowledge to global landscape. Most Indians can talk more about history and geography than most Brits I have met. This is not a comparison but my analysis is to draw focus that gaining knowledge and learning more to survive are part of daily life for any professionals in India. Therefore there is a tradition towards acquiring knowledge. However the higher education mainly engineering in second rung colleges or state colleges has been the most disappointing fact. The course curriculum has always been old dated, with no scope to do practical and in the process more graduates are coming with plenty of theory knowledge than applications. I see an opportunity for organizations to align with educational institutions and guide them to produce skilled graduates. Therefore there is a concern that India is not able to supply the amount of skilled people an organization needs for an exclusive R&D operation in India. But given chances and proper grooming, I bet they will produce best of the best.

To those categories who say India is only cheap so let’s go there, my take: – Labour is cheap but with that you get to be in a country which gives you huge market opportunities when the PPP of average Indian goes higher. So don’t go for cheap labour only but go for a strategic future. And also work smart to retain key intellectual resource because they are there too apart from cheap labour.

China vs. India == Central Command vs. Individual

You would have heard, read many articles these days comparing booming economy of China and India, explaining and comparing how each country is poised to be the next century economy hub. Here is an interesting article published in Economic Times, India. The author writes ..

So in India, when we build one Sardar Sarovar dam, thousands pour out to galvanise public opinion, right or wrong, in their favour. But when China decides to build the world’s biggest dam – the Three Gorges — nobody gets to know how many get displaced and hopefully rehabilitated. Whether the executive and political talent of China is individually as good as ours may be questioned, but collectively, it is an unbeatable delivery machine.

Now, the micro level. An average Indian is a free bird. He can be born the poorest in the remotest part but can rise to the highest chair in the country. He can choose to work or not work. He can work wherever he wishes to work and whichever way he decides to work. The legacy of the value system favours the citizen, inflicting him with only softer indictments. He can be as ruthless as he chooses in his expression for or against anyone. Therefore, an Indian is supposedly in charge of his individual destiny.

The destiny of an average Chinese rests with the central command. He contributes more than what he gets, be it in urban or rural China. For past 25 years, he cannot have more than one child. Whether he works as a white or blue-collar worker, he has to maintain discipline. He has multiple responsibilities for civic behaviour. He cannot be unproductive in work or indulge in any economic crime. Punitive deterrents are too severe. He may lose his work permit and revert to his village along with his family, ending his urban dream forever. At home, he has to look after his family comprising his wife and his one child, parents of both spouses. There could be grandparents too. All these, with little or no social security. Clearly, the Chinese system holds the destiny for each Chinese.

==> This article is more in-line with Nobel prize winner Economist Amartya Sen’s thoughts like

**Development should be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people experience
**Development is just not economical but political one too
Based on Sen’s thesis, Human Development index has been designed covering (i) political freedom, (ii) economic facilities, (iii) social opportunities, (iv) transparency guarantees and (v) protective security. Each of these distinct types of rights and opportunities are essential and closely interrelated in advancing the capability of a person. To appreciate the inter-connections between these freedoms, an empirical linkage that tie the distinct types of freedom are central to our understanding of the instrumental role of freedom. The approach of considering each of these freedoms to development is termed ‘capability approach’.

==> I liked some aspect of Chinese system whereby they put the overall country and its destiny ahead of the individual when there is a big question mark about country’s destiny. That doesn’t mean that individual has no value, it all depends upon how well the country has defined the parameter to fulfill individual’s basic need arising from such decisions. Taking India as an example, to implement any infrastructure projects like roads, dam, etc etc which has huge and positive impact on millions people for generations to come, has been always difficult. May be the political & bureaucratic system is not functioning well which makes people suffer from decisions and in return NGO’s block such projects. This is where India lacks a democratic but fast-functioning system to define country’s destiny rather than blocking both individual and also country’s destiny. In one way, India’s slow system is soft-peddling individual’s own destiny. To me such soft-peddling is why we see millions Indians still below poverty line, having lived in villages then urban and then Ultra urban India, I can say that in India, individual’s destiny has been man-made. India has lot to learn & implement from its proud son such as Amartya Sen.

28% of Immigrant Entrepreneurs In US are Indians

Rediff (Indian online newspaper) writes :

Indians account for 28 per cent of all foreign-founded private start-up companies in America, according to a first-of-its-kind study, ‘American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on US Competitiveness.’

The study found that over the past 15 years, immigrants have started 1 in 4 (25 per cent) US public companies that were venture-backed, representing a market capitalisation of more than $500 billion. Moreover, a survey of today’s private, venture-backed start-up companies in the US estimated that 47 per cent have immigrant founders.

India was the most prevalent country of origin with 28 per cent followed by the United Kingdom (11 per cent), China (5 per cent), Iran (4 per cent), and France (4 per cent).

BT hiring 6000 staff in India & Earning $250 million by 2009

BBC reports : BT has also formed an alliance with Indian firm Jubilant Enpro in order to seek out opportunities in the market. India is one of the world’s fastest growing telecoms markets but it is fragmented and service levels vary. BT said it believed its Indian business could generate sales of $250m by 2009.

My Thoughts : To my friends/bloggers in UK, whom I have been meeting in various meetups and events. One thing which always puzzle me in UK is 90% people believe Globalization is one way ..that means everything from UK is going to go away to India/Asia/some other developing countries. However I keep saying the Globalization is multiway, it is bound to produce benefits for overall economy and make market more competitive. Hopefully they see the benefit of “250 million $” sales of BT from India.

Come on folks, time to embrace fast-paced globalization, give in one hand and take in 2 hands 🙂 or other way depending upon competitiveness.

Exciting days for Internet Consumers in India

Exciting days for Internet consumers in India…

Vivah(a Bollywood movie) is Bollywood’s first movie which went online premier. Rajshri media has produced this movie. Vivah will be premiered over the internet for $10, This is the first time that a Bollywood movie is premiered live on the internet (legally). Update -In fact none of the Hollywood movie has done online premier yet 🙂 so looks like Bollywood is encashing the global Indian diaspora audience and also Bollywood audinence from various countries. Content is king!! & consumer wants content and medium freedom, so let them watch media wherever they want to be. Way to go Bollywood..

Read more about Rajashri, ContentSutra has an excluisve interview with them.

India’s Top Cricketer Anil Kumble has started a Softwar product company StumpVision for various sports products, starting with Cricket. That is a matser stroke Anil, you give thousand of Indian entrepreneurs of this generation to bring the best on world space!!

The company has built products using Microsoft technologies and Steve Ballmer launched StumpVision services in India!!!

Oxford to set up first research centre outside UK in India

Rediff Writes :
Oxford University will invest 10 million pounds initially to set up its first business research centre, which will study a wide span of issues in the country starting from infrastructure and education to social entrepreneurship and business taxation.