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Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category


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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We are just few days into the new year and we are already seeing some exciting news coming. I read an article today that pointed that LinkedIn might have plans to go public this year. Honestly, I was not surprised. LinkedIn has been one of my favorite and I have gained immensely by staying in the vicinity of some amazing people. LinkedIn gave a new definition of professionalism. Recruitment took a new shape with LinkedIn and I must say that I would not be surprised to find certain job openings coming first on LinkedIn than other recruiting websites like Naukri or Monster. So, what made LinkedIn click? Let us try to understand few things that LinkedIn did great:

  • Stay connected with people we meet and interact.
  • Online references and of course, authenticity can be more trusted here.
  • Great Connectivity because one could find Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton to Bill Gates. It was phenomenal because I believe LinkedIn paved the way on which twitter attracted celebrities and legends.
  • Knowledge sharing platform across groups.

I am not a premium member at LinkedIn and hence, not the right person to comment on its premium services. But I cannot ignore the fact that it might be really good because LinkedIn generates a considerable amount of revenues from its premium users. Other than premium services, advertising is another source on which LinkedIn relies to generates its revenues.

LinkedIn claims to have more than 85 million members, which is a good number, I must say. So, what could be its value? LinkedIn never commented on its valuation and none close to it too. SharePost gives LinkedIn an implied value of $2.2 Bn. Now, I am not an expert but looking at the popularity of LinkedIn and the kind of platform it has provided to its members, I will not be surprised to see LinkedIn valued anywhere near to $4 – 5 Bn. I hope that I would have the technical know-how to evaluate a company’s profile but unfortunately, I dont’ have it now. Please don’t ignore the investment of Sequoia Capital in LinkedIn. Yes, it is the same company that invested in Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Apple and Oracle to name a few. And we all know what these companies went up to become.

Now, lets come to an interesting aspect. Why all of a sudden buzz of LinkedIn going for its IPO? And trust me when I say that LinkedIn might also be joined by twitter and Zyngya, in particular to go public. The reason is simple: FACEBOOK. The shark is in the sea and even though there are a lot of speculations of when facebook might go public, but all of us know if LinkedIn, Twitter and Zyngya don’t go public before Facebook, it might face the heat later. I completely agree with some of the experts that if Facebook goes public first, others might feel the pinch because it would be difficult to come out of the euphoria of the IPO of facebook. I can safely say that day and year Facebook decides to go public, it would be the FACEBOOK year. So, here was th news that kept everyone thinking:

“Facebook rocked the world when Goldman Sachs bought 1% stake in the company for whooping $500 mn. This makes Facebook valued at $50 Bn and yet to go public.”

Now, Facebook has mentioned of no intention of going public before late 2012 but here is the reason it might not take long. In USA, the definition of a private firm stands good if there are no more than 499 stakeholders and with Glodman Sachs’ investment, SEC has already initiated a thorough look-out into Facebook. Secondly, remember Google also never wanted to go public till Goldman Sachs invested in it and we know the history: with 10 months, Google went public. So, will Facebook follow the same route? Only time will answer the question.

To sum up, I am excited and I am more excited for these small firms, especially Facebook. A software application launched from a dormitory of a school in 2004 has today been estimated to be valued at $50 Bn. As we say the fall of 105-year Great Lehman Brothers, we also say the great Rising of Facebook. We will try to keep a close watch on the exciting developments of the social networking era 🙂

PS: Did you know Goldman Sachs does not allow to use Facebook in office? Now, will they remove the restriction after its investment in Facebook ;-)?

Sources: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-06/facebook-at-50-billion-valuation-is-looking-more-like-tencent-than-google.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7050DC20110106

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How many times have you ever participated in 100m or 50m races during your school days? How many times in your life you have dreamed of getting something – may be an admit into a top-notch program, cracking IIT-JEE, CAT, getting a promotion at office or getting the dream girl of your life? I am sure you would have definitely gone through all or some or at-least one of the above circumstances.

Sometimes, we go into our own cocoon and sit inside like a safe baby just like one of my friends, Roshan, always mentions himself. Some others, in fact a lot including me to some extent, say that why to risk so much. But isn’t life is about taking risks. Let me bring a small analogy.

Compare our upbringing to the upbringing of an animal child, such as a bird. We are always around our parents. As we grow, we always tend to come back. When we fall, they comfort us. When we make mistakes, they us. On the other hand, the first thing a bird learns is how to fly. Once she knows how to fly, she is of her own – to explore the world, to fly high into the sky, touch the sun.

Now, one might we also do that but wait, we used to do so as kids, as small children. We used to try to imagine a lion of may be blue color. I remember that as a small kid, I once asked my mother why the sky is blue or the grass is green. She could not answer. The question haunted me so much that I explored a lot of books in my school library till I found my answer. But to find one answer, I had to go through atleast of 30 books in the General Knowledge section. sometimes when I lie down and think about it, I think am I the same Deepak that I used to be.

The bottom line is we try to hide behind lame excuses and go back to sit behind in the pouch of our own Kangaroo. I vow to break my habit this year and I urge all of you to do the same. Fight for your DREAMS and don’t give them up so easily. If you ever wanted to play cricket, go get up, pad up and hot the ground. If you ever dreamed to be a writer, its time to get your pen and finish your book. If you ever wanted to be an actor, go get up and who knows you might be the next Shahrukh Khan. I am going to fight for my dreams and try all means to make it happen. Come and join me and chase your dream with utmost sincerity.

To be honest, I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur. This year I have taken a major step towards it and making a small move this month. With GOD’s grace and if certain other things work out since I am expecting few things to come through soon, I am going to chase my dream with sincerity. No more safe zones, no more lame excuses, MBA or not MBA does not matter – I just want o to live my dreams.

Let me caution you about the people around you. They will try all means to dampen your spirit. But don’t let them win. Its time for us and our dreams to win. As the source article from which this post is inspired, such people are monkeys who have give up their hope of living their dreams. So, don’t get bugged down ans tighten your seat belts. What are waiting?/ Are you ready to GET, SET and GO….. Trigger has been fired

Inspired from article from my favorite, John Maxwell – http://johnmaxwellonleadership.com/2011/01/03/fight-for-your-dreams-in-2011/

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My friend, Marquis Parker, featured me on his blog. It was regarding the Elevator Pitch post that I posted sometime back. I am not a business professional yet but he is and it means a lot to me when people like him give credits for what you write on. Read the below article for some amazing views how an elevator pitch can help you in your professional career. Master the tricks and I am sure you will leverage on it whenever required in your professional and personal life.

Thanks a  lot, Marquis for referring me yet again on your website. Its an honor for me 🙂

Read the full article here.

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I am going to keep this post short. This is a follow-up post to my earlier post on Elevator Pitch. I am not going to go into much details. Whatever I echoed in my last post, the articles below do the same but with more proper organization. So, I recommend all of you who would like to go through the below articles if you have interest in Elevator Pitches. For proper categorization, I am going to give the links with the ingredients of an Elevator Pitch.

  1. Personalize: http://articles.bplans.com/writing-a-business-plan/elevator-pitch-part-1-personalize/287
  2. Why you?: http://articles.bplans.com/writing-a-business-plan/elevator-pitch-part-2-why-you/289
  3. What you offer?: http://articles.bplans.com/writing-a-business-plan/elevator-pitch-part-3-what-you-offer-2/292
  4. Finish Strong: http://articles.bplans.com/writing-a-business-plan/elevator-pitch-part-4-finish-strong/294
  5. Delivery: http://articles.bplans.com/business/elevator-pitch-part-5-delivery/295

Additionally, I will recommend one more video from youtube which I followed when I was attempting my Elevator Pitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0EWScOXFpA

Finally, if you already have a solid business plan or you are already in business and looking to expand, here is a great opportunity for you. British Airways brings to you Face of Opportunity Contest, an amazing platform to present your pitch and then fly to meet potential investors to raise funds. More Details at http://www.faceofopportunity.com/home?cid=p1core-tbx02.f.1800/ae2a9/2fd/7b265974.e731bb9db9e33a47862f912028e5a10d

So, what are you waiting for? Go and make your pitch right away.

And of course, I still miss you AC!!!

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This post is in continuation to my earlier post on Winning-Take 1. Earlier, I wanted to go one chapter at a time, which I like but now, I am going to pick chapters as I feel about it. So, the chapter of the discussion will be random but at the end of this series, I feel I am going to share a lot of myths and usual working professional style in conjunction with the book.

We are going to concentrate Take 2 on “Leadership”, one of the most confused and badly defined word in today’s corporate world. Well, we will first point out the the different traits the book discusses as the defining characteristics of “Leadership” and then discuss them all putting the present scenario around and break some of the common myths that we see around. Before that, let me be very clear, all managers are not at all “leaders” but all leaders are definitely good managers. This statement makes us ask why there is a question on “managers”. Well, because in the corporate world, unfortunately managers (or sometimes, Leads such as Project Leads, Team Leads) are named as leaders. I am sure one would have encountered a statement like this too often, “we choose to decide Mr. XXX to lead the team. Again, a wrong word all in all. It should be “manage” and sometimes, it just remains to few predetermined guidelines with no power at all. At times, I have heard my friends say to me, I don’t know what’s wrong with Mr. ABC. He was a good guy till he became a manager. Now, he feels as if like he owns us. In other terms, Hitler left his hierarchy as attitude of managers.

According to Jack Welch, the following traits define a leader:

  1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.
  2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breathe it.
  3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.
  4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency, and credit.
  5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.
  6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.
  7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example.
  8. Leaders celebrate.

Let us consider point 1. Three points become prominent here: Leaders evaluate, coach and finally, build self-confidence. Evaluate what? Evaluate making sure right people are in the right jobs, supporting and advancing those who are. There is an issue here in advancing. In my short career span, I have seen a lot of highly talented people going mediocre because his/her manager does not care about him. The general statement is: one is paid for doing something in the job, no matter it is a routine job. Well, be careful when you hear these words. These are kind of “signals”, signals that convey that you are at the wrong place and with a wrong person. Once evaluated, Leaders Coach, helping people improve in every way possible. And finally but most importantly, Leaders build self-confidence poring out encouragement, caring and recognition. Why point is important is that too many managers limit the people development to annual performance review and sometimes, just in discussions rather than being open in with the comparisons. Many times I have heard that don’t compare yourself, but then I have one question for all those: when one is given 4/10 and 9/10 in performance, then it makes me hard to believe one has not been compared because for simple reason that it is not a Mathematics course test, where you multiply right to get the right answer immaterial of what.

Point 2: Vision. This is one characteristics that will differentiate the leader from usual managers. Leaders possess visions and they don’t fear to communicate it. I feel visions should be loud and loud enough that everyone hears it. But no vision in worth the paper it’s printed on unless it is communicated constantly and reinforced with rewards. Only then will it leap off the page and come to life. Please don’t confuse vision with “deadlines” or “expectations”. We will take about them sometime later. Vision is something a leader visualizes for the benefit of the whole group for a long term. Visions can make a simple manager CEO and its group as the star performing group of the organization. And of course, please don’t confuse it with number of years that one has to stay with the organization. Generally, when an organization grows to a big size, the general rule dictates one has to stay for x years to be at Y position. This is not vision. Vision is something that will break these borders, redefining the rules of the game by setting news standards and if a general rule is x years, then in x-z years, one gets the position, where z is a substantial period.

Point 3: There is an old saying, “The fish rots from the head”. It’s mainly used to refer to how politics and corruption filter down into an organization, but it could just as easily be used to describe the effect of a bad attitude at the top of any team, large or small. Eventually, everyone’s infected. An upbeat manager goes through the day with a positive outlook somehow ends uo running a team or organization filled with…well, upbeat people with positive outlooks. A pessimistic sourpuss somehow ends up with an unhappy tribe all his own. The right attitude makes a manager leader.

Point 4: With Indian attitude, becoming a manager (or so called leader) is a real power trip. Probably, more than an individual, it is our society that has imbibed this attitude but the issue is we resist to change. Such people relish the feeling of control over both people and information. And so, they keep secrets, reveal little of their thinking about people and their performance, and hoard what they know about the business and its future. With this attitude, they forget that leaders are leaders because people feel strongly about their leadership skills and not because someone is a Manager by the tag name. Trust plays a major role here but honestly, you know it when you feel it. It is that simple. Most importantly, leaders take responsibility for what’s gone wrong and generously pass around the praise. To be a good leader, never forget you weren’t give an crown, you were give a responsibility to bring out the best in others. For that, your people need to trust you. And they will, as long as you demonstrate candor, give credit and stay real.

Point 5: Leaders don’t fear to make tough calls because they don’t consider themselves to be in a popularity contest. I feel one’s gut feelings play a very important role here.

Point 6: When you are an individual contributor, you try to have all the answers. That’s your job – to be an expert, the best at what you do, maybe even the smartest person in the room. When you are a loeader, you job is to have all the questions. You have to incredibly confortable looking like the dumbest person in the room. Every conversation you have, must have “What if?” and “Why not?” and “How come?”. Questioning alone, however, is not enough. You have to make sure your questions unleash debate and raise issues that get action. At the same time, what distinguishes a leader from a manager is leaders know that saying something doesn’t mean it will happen.

Point 7: Winning companies embrace risk taking and learning. But in reality, these two concepts often get lip service – and little else. Too many managers urge their people to try new things, and then whack them in the head when they fail. And too many live in not-invented-here wordls of their own making. Leader set examples themselves if they their people to experiment and expand their minds.

Point 8: What is it about celebrating that makes managers so nervous? Maybe throwing a party doesn’t seem professional, or it makes managers worry that they won’t look serious to the powers that be, or that, if things get too happy at the office, people will stop working their tails off. One another eason is as if like they are spending fro their own pocket for the celebration. Whatever be the reason, there is just not enough celebrating going on at work – anywhere. What a lost opportunity. Celebrating makes people feel like winners and creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy. Imagine a cricket team winning the World Cup without champagne spraying everywhere. You just can’t! And yet companies win all the time and let it go without so much as a high five. Work is too much part of life not to recognize moments of achievement. Grab as many as you can. Make a big deal out of them. If you don’t no one will.

To summarize, the beat leaders care passionately about their people – about their growth and success. And we can find them comfortable in their own skins. They are real, filled with candor and integrity, optimism and humanity. Please don’t fall into the trap that leadership happens one day when one becomes a boss and gets the power to change the rules.

Disclaimer: In no form, the above perceptions can be related to any particular individual or organization. In case done so, I take no responsibility and the firm/individual will be doing so for its own insecurity, thus, proving the negative effects mentioned being followed by themselves.

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