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This post is to gather the VC directory from Larry and present it to you. I have been a keen observer of this field and really enjoy to be always how VCs make decisions. Personally, I feel VC domain is very interesting because it allows you to be always among the budding entrepreneurs: Young minds with bubbling energy and enthusiasm. So, here is the top 10 VC directory list:

  1. Paul Graham (@paulg), YCombinator, Essays (97,227)
  2. Fred Wilson (@fredwilson), Union Square Ventures, A VC (81,483)
  3. Mark Suster (@msuster), GRP Partners, Both Sides of the Table (53,655)
  4. Brad Feld (@bradfeld), Foundry Group, Feld Thoughts (38,821)
  5. Chris Dixon (@cdixon), Founder Collective, cdixon.org (20,988)
  6. David Skok (@bostonvc), Matrix Partners, For Entrepreneurs (14,173)
  7. Charlie O’Donnell (@ceonyc), First Round Capital, This is Going to be Big (13,970)
  8. Larry Cheng (@larryvc), Volition Capital, Thinking About Thinking (13,215)
  9. Dave McClure (@davemcclure), 500 Startups, Master of 500 Hats (11,127)
  10. Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz), Andreesen Horowitz, Ben’s Blog (10,686)

Personally, I have followed some of them like Fred, Mark, David and Larry for few years and have thoroughly enjoyed reading them time and again. For the complete list, do visit http://larrycheng.com/2011/01/19/venture-capital-vc-blog-directory-2011-edition/

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As I read this article, I lost myself with Steve Jobs. I, still, remember when I first read about Steve Jobs in iCon. I had heard about Steve earlier but the book made me fall in live with his leadership style. I always hoped that someday I could have made to one Apple Conference and meet this iconic personality, who has so much to offer with his individual presence: management, presentation, leadership, perseverance and many more. As Steve Jobs announced his second indefinite medical leave, Apple shares were bound to take a beating and I feel it should not have surprised many other like me. This post is about analyzing few points that the article tries to address about Steve Jobs and the POWER. As I have consistently mentioned in my earlier posts, we, Indians, are little bad with powers and History has proved it again and again. Most of us have a bad notion of POWER and for us, POWER is just another way to utter sentences like ” Do you know who I am or I am your —————- (You fill in the blanks and bang you are that) and mark your presence without any personal significance. Individuals find ways to stamp their authority everytime.

But lets come back to the article, I am referring to. The first power lesson the article points to is :

“power can result from sheer drive, persistence, resilience, and the ability to tolerate conflict”

Steve Jobs is definitely an inspirational figure for the above lesson. I agree with the author when he mentions that Jobs persisted, sticking with his same focus on the user interface, his fundamental vision of ease of use and cool design, but also learned from the setbacks. People who would have seen “Pirates of Silicon Valley” would know the history that Apple was once written off the radar and so does Jobs. But he held on to his dream and vision only to come back strongly later. Remember his last turnaround, he was sick. The whole world wrote him off, media said Jobs is gone but he again came back only to introduce another killer product – iPad. So hold on and hold tight to your dreams.

The second power lesson the article points to is:

power can come through the projection of an image of strength that may not yet be the reality”

Remember, what apple store has done to various software developers. It has given a platform for enthusiastic software developers to pursue tehir passion yet not only make money but also become famous. Stanford did not think at all to introduce a course in its computer science curriculum that promotes students to develop apple software application as part of its course. Pulse, an iPad application, is the recent success and latest sensation resulting from it. Android and Nokia followed the store concept of success with their own stores. But Apple did it first. So, powerful people project an image of strength and sustainability.

The third power lesson the article points to is:

“likeability is not a prerequisite to power”

Great and the one thing that I personally love the most. It is not necessary that all powerful people are likeable but as a matter of fact, very few are. It is a very well known fact that Steve Jobs is sometimes heavily criticized for his attitude and actions. One of the example that the article cites is a prime example: “Being Steved”. Being Steved is the official term for Apple employees getting fired by Steve Jobs. In the incident mentioned in the article, when the employee was packing up his things after getting fired by Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs comes by and inquires. And says, you are re-hired. I have personally heard of stories about people who were fired by Steve Jobs only to leverage on the opportunity of getting fired by Steve Jobs to make it big in their life.

Bottom line is: Apple is a success and a lot of its credit goes to Steve Jobs. He is a visionary person, may not be liked by all but he is a successful figure who knew how to make his own ways. Not to forget, his charismatic presence only puts the tagline that we see on Apple products. Personally, I feel this time the medical leave might last a little bit longer and may be a good strategy for Apple to prepare its successor while the market accepts the change and accepts the new Apple as we love today.

Source Article: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/01/steve_jobs_a_study_in_power.html

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Today one of my friends forwarded me the below story. I was not surprised at the conclusion of the story but I was surprised not to have read it anywhere earlier. Lets first read the story:

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A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, “Can I  also sit like you and do nothing all day long?”    The crow answered “Sure, why not.” So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the    rabbit and ate it.

Management Lesson: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

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Do you see people doing the same around you? Have you heard from your manager or any of friends quoting about his/her manager that I am your Manager? Have you seen leaders duping the warmth of their responsibility behind false powers?

I will be surprised if you weren’t. But the question is: is it correct to have such an attitude? Do people really don’t work as they go higher up?

I have two different perceptions on this. First, let us consider a fictional scenario. Mr. X passes from a top-tier institute from a not-so great branch. Industry Y was booming at that moment of time. X decided to join Y instead of pursuing a career in his core domain. Without much competition and leveraging on the good opportunities (including dirty politics like YES BOSS), he manages to climb up the ladder. Today, he is a manager, recruits people from top-tier institutes. Let me bring a simple IT example here which a lot of my friends quote. Their managers might be good at C, C++ but bad at the domain expertise for which he leads. So, what is the outcome? Subordinates don’t respect their managers. My only concern is if one needs to know C, C++ why don’t you go and hire someone from NIIT or Aptech and why do you go after engineering students for all this. One of my friends once mentioned to me that his manager mentioned that he was too aggressive to be in his company and today, he perceives the opinion that the recruitment process is flawed. One reason that he cites is that recruitment process in India does not look for the “FIT” and “CONNECTION”. Some standardized questions and if one answers them well, you are in. Now, when X goes for recruitment to a top-tier institute or someone really smart works under him and provided Mr. X’s competency is not up to an acceptable level, won’t he be exposed? Of course he will and it might not seem to be catastrophic immediately but it will for the long-term prospects of the firm. On the other hand, if he is competitive, he will gain the respect of his subordinates.

So, we have two different scenarios but who is responsible for encouraging such. I believe that it is the culture and system of the firm that is more responsible than the person. I, strongly, believe that a company exists if and only if it is competitive in the market and keep on innovating. And if any firm encourages the negative environment that we saw earlier, then there must be wrong somewhere in the middle of the chain. When people discuss with me such things, I tell them that probably the only way this can  be corrected is through a 360-degree appraisal system. Individuals don’t do anything when they know their subordinates can’t do anything to them or their feedback is limited to closed doors. I feel introducing a 360-degree appraisal system where 50% would depend on the feedback of one’s supervisor and 50% of your subordinates would greatly help the organization keep the system clean and competitive within. And please make the process transparent. There has to be solid criteria on which people are to be judged at every level and they have to be open and available to all instead of any random person deciding it based on their convenience. And this is where HR has to play a very strong and prominent role. I, sometimes, fail to understand why HRs are so badly recognized in our corporate world but the more I try to understand the more I feel that is is they who are responsible for their irresponsible behavior. Some systems bestow huge responsibilities as one moves up the ladder and individuals help to steer not only their careers but also the careers of their subordinates, subsequently helping the organization. Some systems do exactly the opposite. But at the end, it is we who has to make the final call to which system we would like to become part of.

Bottom line is: Please DO what you LOVE. And the moment you start doing nothing, remember it won’t be long to become a STONE, which anyone can crush with a little force. And do GAIN RESPECT and not FORCE RESPECT. Remember always what Spiderman said, With great power comes great responsibilities. And it is only when responsibilities are carried out with due diligence, we GAIN respect. I remember watching one funny video which puts a big question mark the way some bosses work. I urge you not to be this and reject all those who follow such. Bosses should ideally be the mentors of one’s careers and should try to be role-models whom others can follow. Good Luck and here is the video link (Enjoy and but be cautious of your actions): Please DON’T SHIT while you SIT at the top.

PS: Some of scenarios described are fictional and some are taken from friends’ responses. I am not responsible if someone relates it in any form to me or my work as it would be purely coincidental. I, in no form, has written this post to defame any particular individual or firm.

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BBC News reported World Bank’s report of slower economic growth in the year 2011. World Bank has predicted that global GDP growth will be 3.3% against 3.9% in 2010. It has also predicted a strong growth in the emerging economies with India and China leading from the front.

Well, let us try to take a closer look. Please note that I am not an expert. I am just a reader of news who have developed an interest into looking at different things and hope to share my thoughts. I have no doubt that the India and Chine are going to lead the world economic growth but at what cost. China is keeping its currency manipulated so that its exports benefits the country’s position. India, though not exactly an export-oriented country but definitely a service-providing company. Products are not generally produced here rather they are definitely serviced here.

Even though I, too bet on the Indian and Chinese economies, I have few concerns. Firstly, the population. There is no control over the population in these countries. And till date there is no solid system to measure unemployment or the population itself correctly. In such a scenario, would it safe to have its per-capita, GDP and other measures of economy to be absolutely correct. I doubt it. Secondly, I still don’t believe that the consumption power is good here. I would request someone to find out if the commodities and goods produced in China are really consumed within the country. I believe that the figures could be surprising for some. I still feel that majority of goods are consumed not here rather outside. So, I feel that the real consumer base is the developed countries. Having said that, i must say that we are improving but it is going to take quite a time to catch up. Thirdly, dependency on Oil. We all know all the emerging and developing countries rely heavily on Oil, whose price is hovering around $90. I feel that that Oil price should be around $120. One thing that China and India say in their defense in terms of their oil consumption is their per capita consumption is far less than the consumption of US. But boss, China and India has the largest and second largest population of the world. You guys take the call. Are the defensive statements justified? Lastly, Food Inflation. Inflation of food is at its peak. We have seen the effect of increase in the prices of Onion in India. People went crazy and made the hell out of the government. In the past, we have seen that the governments have lost power at the Central government in the past. Oppositions won over the ruling government just on the basis of high Onion price. Considering the current scenario, all the vegetables are at their record high. How it is going to affect the people and the economy, in general, would be interesting to watch closely but I am sure if the situation remains same as of now, India will definitely suffer.

Comparing the prevailing scenarios of developing and emerging countries’ scenarios, economies of developed countries will have to also tackle few obstacles. Among all of them, the most important and challenging thing will be “Unemployment” World Bank predicts that the unemployment scenario would remain dismal. So, I feel it is going to hurt more than anything else for them. Secondly, European scenario does look so good as of now.  I somehow feel that the European debt crisis is going to remain bad and it might not improve as quickly as we might have wanted it to. Thirdly, the government debt will continue to mount and may cause imbalances in their statements, not a good sign at all.

To conclude, I feel that the all the economies of the world will see some nice challenges and if they are tackled appropriately, I am sure that we will redefine how businesses will be done in future. Hope that the future brings more prosperity and happiness all around, equally 🙂

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For people who don’t know IPL, IPL is today’s money making machine in the sports arena. IPL aka Indian Premier League is the largest sports (cricket) entertainment in terms of money and entertainment. Now, the idea of IPL is not new. It exists in various forms of other games like basketball (NBA), soccer, football (NFA) and many more. So, what makes IPL the most popular game.

  • Cricket: Cricket is one of the craziest games of many countries especially in Asia. Go to any nook and corner of the countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and you will find kids and people playing cricket with a bat and ball. Very few them make it to the playing 11 of the team but to be 11, is like a dream come true for anyone. In India, cricketers and film stars are like demi-gods. If one legend dies, the whole country goes down in no time. If India gives one bad performance in a cricket match, the effigies are burnt. One would be surprise to know that we have temples to worship cricketers and film stars. Moreover, IPL paved the way for shortest version of cricket games: 20-over bringing the excitement right onto the audience
  • Entertainment: Cheer-leading has never been a profession earlier in India but it is one now. How can someone forget the Knight Riders’ team Cheer-leading Reality Show. Additionally, not to forget the eminent filmstars associated with IPL: Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty and many more. Not to forget how dozens more flock around during the matches to promote themselves and their movies.

The marriage of above two fields. Cricket and Entertainment was deadly and that drove the whole nation crazy. Of course, one might say the business model is not new. There is nothing innovative. Of course, yes. I do agree but then no one introduced the concept better than IPL. And let us accept the fact: almost all our business models are the borrowed concepts from abroad: well tested and proven because we, Indians,  (most of us) are not risk-takers by nature.

Today, IPL has emerged as the biggest and largest money spinner in its genre in the sports domain surpassing all NBA and NFL. Last year, its brand value was estimated to be $4.13 Bn and with the addition of two new franchisees, it is going to be more this year. Let us look at the some of the auction highlights of this year:

  • A total of 127 players were sold in the two-day auction at the ITC Gardenia hotel in Bangalore, while 12 players were originally retained by the franchises ahead of the auction.
  • Deccan Chargers have 14 players, spending $6,875,000 and keeping $2,125,000 still to spend. Dale Steyn ($1.2 mn) and Cameron White ($1.1 mn) were the costliest players for the team.
  • Kolkata Knight Riders have 12 players, spending $8,575,000 and keeping $425, 000 still to spend. Gautam Gambhir ($2.4 mn) and Yusuf Pathan ($2.1 mn) were star cricketers.
  • Royal Challengers Bangalore have 16 players, spending $8,640, 000 and keeping $360,000 still to spend. Saurabh Tiwary ($1.6 mn) and AB de Villiers ($1.1 mn) were top fetchers.
  • Mumbai Indians have 12 players, spending $8,520,000 and keeping $480,000 still to spend. Rohit Sharma ($2 mn) and Andrew Symonds ($850,000) rocked the table for Mumbai Indians.
  • Sahara Pune Warriors, the new franchise, have 14 players, spending $8,070,000 and keeping $930,000 still to spend. Robin Utthappa ($2.1 mn) and Yuvraj Singh ($1.8 mn) were their prized possessions.
  • Team Kochi, another new franchise, have 17 players, spending $8,640,000 and keeping $360,000 still to spend. Mahela Jayawardhane ($1.5 mn) and Muttiah Muralitharan ($1.1 mn) were the costliest players.
  • Delhi Daredevils have 17 players, spending $8,250,000 and keeping $750,00 still to spend. Irphan Pathan ($1.9 mn), David Warner ($750,000) and Umesh Yadav ($750,000) were star cricketers bought.
  • Chennai Super Kings have 18 players, spending $8,615,000 and keeping $385,000 in pocket. R Ashwin ($850,000) and S Badrinath ($800,000) were top fetchers.
  • Rajasthan Royals have 8 players, spending $6,195,000 and keeping $805,000 in pocket. Ross Taylor ($ 1 mn) and Johan Botha ($950,000) emptied their suitcase.
  • Kings XI Punjab have 11 players, spending $6, 945, 000 and keeping $2,005,000 in pocket. David Hussey ($1.4 mn), Adam Gilchrist ($900,000), Piyush Chawla ($900,000), Dinesh Karthik ($900,000) were their prized possessions.
  • Rajasthan Royals were allotted budget of $7 million because of Bombay High court order.
  • Koklkata Knight Riders were constantly on the news: for picking up Gautam Gambhir for a record money and then not taking the star player of the region and former Indian Cricket team Captain, Saurav Ganguly.
  • Saurav Ganguly, Brian Lara and Chris Gayle went unsold. More than Brian Lara, this IPL auction put a BIG DOT on the cricketing career of one of the most successful Indian Cricket team Captain, Saurav Ganguly. Media left no time to make a fuss about the situation and broke hell on Dada. Most surprisingly, can Kolkata Knight Rider play without Saurav Ganguly in the player’s hometown itself? I guess yes, because this is India and lets be honest, we take few seconds to make a star and few seconds to bring someone to ashes.
  • The another aspect of auction side of KKR is: If I am not wrong, they are the only team to have broke even and into the profits. Don’t forget that they have never qualified for the semi-finals and have been one of the worst performers in the league. The credit goes to the King Khan of Bollywood, their franchise owner, Shahrukh Khan. Personally, I don’t like him or his acting but I love his presence of mind and his sheer attitude and marketing skills inspire me a lot. Remember, those xxx energy drink or the cheer-leading Reality show, SRK rocked the IPL with his own presence. SO, why KKR needs to play when both franchise owners and players are happy earning money without winning matches.
  • Personally, I feel Team Kochi made intelligent buys and did not put in money anywhere where the stake was too high. A lesson well learned from the Deccan Chargers from the past.
  • Anil Kimble made a smart move by opting himself out of the auction at the right time. Prestige and honor kept intact and he also got to mentor the Bangalore Royal Challengers.
  • Rahul Dravid, another star player of Indian Cricket team, just escaped the fate of Saurav Ganguly when he was picked up but it is a YELLOW light for Dravid. Be careful for the next auction.
  • Youngsters from India and abroad made the most out of this auction. A lot of unknown names got picked up over well known names: a very good positive sign. I am a strong believer in the power of fresh blood and Ia m sure some of them are going to make their dream run this IPL. Best of Luck to all of them!!!
  • Last year, IPL debuted on youtube, live streaming all matches. I expect this year they should live tweet also 🙂
  • IPL3 also debuted on movie theaters, showing the IPL matches live in the multiplexes. So, I guess you can grab your popcorn this year too.

IPL4 is going to have more matches and it is going to get bigger and better. I have always been a strong fan of Mumbai Indians and I am going to stick to my team this year too. Who will win IPL4? What do you think?

Just sit back, relax, get your popcorn and enjoy!!! For me, I am more interested in knowing the facts and success of both IPL4 and Cricket World Cup and we will try to bring you a post-tournament report. I am curious to co a sided-by-side analysis of the two biggest cricketing events of the year. Are you anxious? Do check back that time…

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Ohh yes guys, the IPO of Micromax might hit the Indian market soon. Do you know Micromax? Honestly, I was not aware of this brand unless some of my friends and colleagues bought the mobiles of Micromax. Very few people know and in fact, even I was surprised to know that Micromax is the largest selling mobile handset in India. And the most amazing story of its success is: it has done so in a very short period of 3 years. Today, it is valued at $1 Bn. As far as I have heard about the Micromax from my friends, they say one prefers Micromax because it provided dual SIM support, qwerty interface at an amazingly low cost. Yes, low cost was its selling point and as I have discussed earlier on this blog, no matter what technology you provide and what features you give, we, Indians have just one first question: What is the price? And here is where I feel Micromax is a winner. I was not surprised to know that Micromax has gained its popularity in such a short period of time and captured 5% of the Indian mobile market, as reports suggest.

So, what does it mean to us?

  • Don’t stop dreaming and dreaming big. Remember 3 years back Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and few others were household names. Introducing itself at that time and emerging as the leading player is one of the greatest example of living a life of dreams for Micromax. kudos to all the whole team.
  • Entrepreneurs don’t fear. The believe in themselves more than anyone does. And Micromax proved it with its valuation.
  • Hard work, Focus and Determination are the key to success. Its the combination of all these factors that today Micromax is going for an IPO.
  • Ideas with customers in mind matter the most. I believe what clicked for Micromax is their approach to the Indian market. They just combined the idea of iPhone, cost factor plus the Indian attitude of shifting telecom providers to suit to the cheapest calling rates at that instant of time. Apple did not lunch iPhone in India and when it did, the cost was too high that it could even be anywhere near to success. Blackberry was not in market. And Micromax launched itself at just the right time with the correct attitude.

So, guys keep dreaming and believe in them. You never know when your Idea could be the IPO of the Indian Economy!!!

Sources: http://trak.in/tags/business/2011/01/10/micromax-ipo-stock-markets/

http://micromaxinfo.com/

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US Holidays recorded a record sales in the holidays: a whooping $32.6 bn. It is a great news especially when the economy has been struggling a lot. So, it’s definitely a great news for the business.

I visited US in 2207 just after Thanksgiving and during the New Year. I must tell that the deals during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year were definitely very appealing. So, I almost returned from US in a bankrupt state. but I need to blame myself and that time. First I was fairly new in my job and had hardly any savings. But what is defining the sales today is ONLINE and that is what is more exciting than anything else. Consumers don’t fear to spend money online and trust the products deliver online. There are definitely few benefits of online buying: we save a lot of money by not driving to and fro to the store, we save a lot of time by not going on a shopping. Rather I feel it takes less time to buy something online. Moreover, it is easy to view the feedbacks and reviews of products online, which is easily searchable. So, with a right kind of research, one can almost snatch a great deal of his own and no other time can beat the price than the holiday season.

On the contrast, I feel that Indian consumers are yet to embrace the online buying system. There is still so much resistance among people to buy online. I don’t have the data but if anyone can start looking for it, I am quite confident that it would not much different. Why? First, Indian consumers don’t trust the online shopping. secondly, we are too emotional people that we believe that we do better deals when we are in front of another person. And by dealing I mean the power of bargaining. I will not be surprised if any survey could affirm this. We believe in relationships more. Third and most important thing, we believe in buying things at the cheapest price possible. I would really hope that some consultancy or some MBA students could do this study. Bring a same product (lets say a car) and show it to people in different countries. I cannot comment on the psychology of people of other countries but I can definitely say that the first question that an Indian might ask is: how much it would cost me? So, it is not surprising that why small cars are so popular in India. Basically, it is not that Indians are environment friendly, it is just that we are way too price-conscious. Therefore, one can see all products having small variants available in India: shampoo and soaps to cars and houses.

I believe that the future is going to belong to the online sales. There is no denying that companies like Google and Facebook (don’t forget speculations on recent Facebook’s valuation of $50 bn) are generating such huge revenues from online advertising only. But the question would be to build credibility and confidence in the minds of the consumer. And I also believe that there could not be any better medium to do so than social networking sites like twitter and Quora. Secondly, understanding the psychology of the consumer would go a long way in the pricing and positioning the product in the a country’s market.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/07/BUQS1H5C84.DTL

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