Entrepreneurship session at IIT Kanpur25 Sep 2010
Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell) team at IIT Kanpur invited me to talk about "idea to business-plan" to some students (budding entrepreneurs). I ended up speaking about different things, hopefully I covered what they were looking for.
I mostly iterated what successful leaders, entrepreneurs and businessman have shared over the years.
A very brief and high level outline of my talk:
- started session with Derek Sivers' Ted talk "How to start a movement"
- an entrepreneur is seen as half-naked guy who is dancing alone, different from crowd, in Indian society.
- it takes courage to start something while you have choice to work for the best companies
- there would be skeptics but don't worry about that.
- what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
- get going and get your feet wet, enjoy challenges, trust your instincts, get a good mentor, learn from experiences, learn from others)
- be prepared for uncertainty, rapid growth, quick and drastic changes, limited resources and resource conservation
- respect time, short cycles and more results
- some stories
- YouTube: first in solving problem but very late in figuring out business-model
- Flickr: their idea and usefulness
- Bulkr: how Prakaz came up with a useful product, while he is/was in job. Build something that you would use
- Directi: about two brothers who have built a great company with little or no funding
- Allies: why we got started, how we do some things, some pains and gains
- some books
- Blink: instinct and intuition. what customers do? how they do? avoiding asking what they want because human preferences are unstable
- The Tipping Point: why certain ideas tip
- ReWork: a new way of thinking business
- Freemium: business model. why freemium works? examples: google-apps, e-books, etc.
- some of my experiences
- funding: bootstrap on your own, if you can. or take as less as you can from outside. retain control and ownership. go to someone who can not only give you money but also be your mentor
- hiring: difficult to attract smart folks. share your ideas/vision. give equity instead of high salaries
- operations: equally important. be ready to take care of things so that your team can execute your ideas
- challenges: getting ideas executed, getting customers, getting a good team, getting a good accountant, etc.
- sales/marketing: various market-places, complicated tender process, social-media, word-of-mouth, freemium
- retaining customers: commitment, think of them before your own personal gains, good process, good support
- importance of connections
- keep in touch with everyone you know or would know
- go and enjoy parties (twitter, linkedin, facebook)
- follow gurus and interact with them over social-networks (twitter, facebook, linkedin)
- go out, help others and get helped
After session, couple of teams discussed their ideas with me and wanted my thoughts. I shared what I knew, hope I could be of some help.
Thanks to entire IITK E-Cell team for inviting and giving me an opportunity to share some of things I know. It feels great to give back.
I already know, I need to get better speaking on stage. With every opportunity and effort, I am getting better. Hopefully, I can engage audience and be entertaining in coming years.
I would hopefully elaborate some these items, when I feel like. I am posted these as a record/note to myself, before I forget what I talked about :-)