Scaling the Irony!

In the past decade or so, I have seen the start up ecosystem mature big time. The reasons might be different, ranging from jumping on the band wagon to cash in at the right time to really being concerned about something that one might find amiss in the society that they live in, and few for the sheer want of making it big some day.

What has facilitated the above is a transition from a capitalist to a market economy, where instead of few people holding all resources, the money is there to be got from the market if they consider you worthy enough of the same, which more often than not, comes down to the kind of network one has and the profiles of the founders.

Among this buzz, what has remained a constant theme to look for is the numbers, be it the investors who talk nothing but numbers to founders who try to achieve the same as they would want to raise money, which fortunately or unfortunately becomes the goal of many startups.

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In this rush for numbers, at times, the very purpose of establishing a business takes a beating. Any business or organization, both from a fundamental ethical point of view as well as practical sustainable point of view, is supposed to cater to the well being of it’s clientele.

For those who are trying to make bucks and move out in the short term, the above might not be so relevant, but for those who have put their skin in the game, it might make great sense to focus on the well being of their customers, if they want to be in it for a long term and see their venture evolve into what the world today refers to as unicorns. 

So far so good, but as a society, if you notice, all the so called unicorns and other multinationals, the foundations on which they prosper, tend to be human misery, what most seem to encourage is a consumerist mindset, which, in a way, goes against the very fundamentals of well being.

Many would argue that the circumstances are such and that they are only cashing in on the reality, and scaling on the basis of the irony that projects well being but goes against the very nature of the same.

Fair enough as it might sound, just wonder, whether the very parameters of success can be bent to cater to the real well being of the ecosystem that we live in and the kind we belong to.

Source for the Image: http://digestafrica.com/ugandan-startups-know-scaling/

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Game of Chairs!

If you had heard of Game f Thrones before, I wouldn’t be surprised. But have you ever heard of the game of chairs? 😉

Well, may be not, but am sure you do witness the same every now and then, be it the political scenario in our country, or in a professional setting where, thanks to the cut throat competition, you might see your nearest neighbor trying to out do you for the much coveted boss chamber and chair.

Quite literally in an office space, where there are limited chairs, chair becomes the most valued possession in the office. It is like playing the dancing chairs, where the moment you get up to leave your chair, there is someone sitting diagonally opposite, who has been eyeing your chair for a while, might sneek in to get what he considered his biggest wish, since he had joined the office.

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And if your chair happened to be the non-cranky most beautiful looking chair in your office by any imagination, trust me, there would be many takers for the same. 😉

You might not encounter such a scenario and the fun that goes along with it in, let’s say in a normal office set-up, but if you happen to be sharing the same space with other companies, thanks to the start-up ecosystem, then it becomes pretty much an integral part of your life.

Looking at the positive side of things, you get to sit on different chairs at different point of time and get to experience the opportunity of using the assets associated with the space, not everywhere there would be enough flexibility and not everywhere would you be privileged enough to do so.

Should you consider yourself fortunate enough? Well, going by the kind of thought process I have, it’s all about having fun, no matter where you are, be it a professional setting or a personal one.

After all, it’s not often that life provides you that all important opportunity to have fun. And when and if at all, you get one, why not make the most of it! 😉

Source for the Image: http://www.worldmarket.com/category/furniture/dining-room/dining-chairs.do

The Jungle Club!

Don’t know how many have or want to become a part of the consortium of start-ups or anything that has to do with any aspect of a start-up, which I call the Jungle Club.

The first thing that hits you once you take cautious strides towards the jungle is the buzz that surrounds it. All animals tend to cluster around that all so-significant event room where each one has their own agenda, with few not having the slightest of clues, as to why they are there, and are extremely happy being part of the buzz, possibly giving them a much needed chance to come out of the boring chores that they have got accustomed to doing on a day-to-day basis.

As you tend to draw close, you see few familiar faces, who have had the opportunity to become a part of such events before and who have got so used to being there, that it proves to be a home away from home.

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Finally, when you tend to enter the arena as an audience or a prospective pitcher per se, you realize that reality might be very different from what you actually perceive, be it outside or inside, depending on which side of the table you are actually sitting, whether you are a start-up co-founder looking for funds or an investor looking for an excellent investment opportunity which you might not want to miss upon.

By the time the event ends, you are filled with all kinds of feelings, including nostalgia from your previous pitch or networking events and a hope to get the much needed attention from an investor, which you might not have been able to achieve this time round.

And then you go back to doing what you are supposed to do. After all, the business about doing business is business itself. Isnt’t it?

Source for Image: http://www.contactvirginmedia.com/virgin-media-business/

Life=Startup!

With around 4200 startups already in India and with 3-4 startups being formed each day, the day is not far off, when everything from womb to tomb will be taken care by a startup.

There is a startup for nearly each and every aspect of our materialistic lifestyle, be it buying groceries on the go, or booking a cab, be it getting your car serviced to taking care of your pets at home, be it ordering food online to getting an electrician/plumber etc. for your household repairs.

Soon, it will become so aspirational that a kid, before learning to say mom or dad would learn to say “startup” and the happiness on the faces of the parents and grandparents would be exemplary considering the kid would be progressing in the right direction.

Soon, parents would not want their children to become doctors or engineers but would ideally want them to tread the entrepreneurial path, knowing that success lay in solving that all important problem and with VCs and funds chasing guys who would be able to do it successfully.

Soon, parental thinking would transform into the much talked about platform thinking, with parents aspiring for their kids to go on to become the “Zuckerberg’s” of Indian start-up ecosystem.

Soon, youth would not want to run after jobs, but would ideally want to create jobs and contribute towards the much hyped GDP concept of development.

Soon, the startup culture would engulf the entire mental framework of beings and from morning to evening, the quintessential thing that one would be discussing would be a startup.

Few among the learned say that it’s nothing but a bubble and will soon burst and sanity and good sense will prevail.

Few also are of the opinion that it’s not at all sustainable and that there needs to be some logic to the prevailing madness, though they are not sure how and when that would happen.

Few are cynical enough to say that the youth has gone crazy, not realizing that only 1 in 10 startups would ultimately get funded, leaving the rest to suffer, not realizing that the best years of their life would go in vain with no future in store.

Though opinions are varied and can be appreciative or cynical, one extremely significant thing which is happening is that the youth is not so scared to take the plunge as they were before. They are more than happy to take the dive and then learn to swim as they go along. They are no more cautious about what if it doesn’t succeed.

There is this aura being created by the aspirational youth, where there is no place for fear and doubt.

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Youth is learning and prepared to take on the challenges head on. The energy and motivation is addictive and inspires the others.

So, can we say, India is ready to churn out startups capable of going on to become the best of the best in the World?

Well, yes and no! Yes, because of the attitudinal shift, yes because of the startup ecosystem being created at the policy level, yes because of the funding opportunities with investors ready to focus their energies on India.

No, because of the herd mentality where each and everyone is trying to get a piece of the cake, no, because the focus remains on fund raising and not actually trying to do what they are supposed to do, which is to solve that one important problem for which the startup was formed in the first instance.

Instead of chasing the funds, let funds chase you; instead of making funds an aspiration, make the funders aspire to reach out to you; how and when is the mool mantra that many in the space with cash crunch would need to figure out; but if they are able to crack this code, the world would be at their doorsteps knocking for that single opportunity to invest.

After all, it’s the investors who need you more than what you think you might need them for. The choice is yours and how you perceive the entire scenario is the key to the same.

Economists would get into a debate of demand and supply, where more the startups, more is the choice for the investors to choose from and more is the cut-throat competition for the limited funds.

True to some extent, but imagine, if there were only a few good startups among the lot and the plethora of investors vouching for that all important investment which could give them those 10X returns, won’t the tables turn in that case?

Indeed, it would. For this to happen, one might have to turn days into nights, might have to tread the harder path, might have to go beyond one’s means, might have to make his/her life a startup; but if one is able to successfully achieve the same, the world will be at their feet, looking up to them as a source of inspiration.

Source for Image: https://www.lendvo.com/tips-startup-business-loans-funding/