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Showing posts from September, 2009

Are Entrepreneurs "their own bosses"?

From an Knowledge@Wharton interview with Atul Jain, the founder and CEO of TEOCO:
..people sometimes “tell me, ‘I want to be my own boss.’ I tell them that when you become an entrepreneur, nothing could be further from the truth. Every single employee is your boss because if they leave, you have nobody to do your work. Every single client is your boss because they tell you what to do. When you work for a company, you typically have one, maybe two bosses. When you're an entrepreneur, everybody wants to tell you what to do. Your employees will tell you what to do, your clients will tell you what to do, even your vendors will tell you what to do.”

...Part of business success is cost management. We never let expenses get out of line with revenue. The way I explains this is: think of your revenue as an 18-wheeler truck on a highway. It's like a large truck. Then there is another truck right behind it, another 18-wheeler called expenses. Sandwiched between the two 18-wheelers -- reven…

Wanted Fools and Angels! - Article by Sanjay Anandaram

Alexander Pope’s 1709 “Essay on Criticism” had these immortal lines “…for fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. He was of course referring to the literary critics of his time and, in his time, implied some one who behaved foolishly rather than referring to a simpleton or someone lacking in intelligence as it does now.

Every entrepreneur, observer, VC, analyst and even bureaucrat will tell you that there’s a severe shortage of true boot-strapping capital. The money required to really start off on the entrepreneurial journey. Friends, family and fools (collectively FFF, rather unfairly but with tongue firmly in cheek) provide the initial emotional and perhaps some monetary support for the budding entrepreneur. It invariably takes more than that to demonstrate the venture is capable of taking off.

Ours is a capital starved country. There’s a huge shortage of investment funds in the country. The shortage is on account of regulation and partly in fact as well. Almost all the money inve…

Satya Prabhakar on startup hiring and retention

I attended a presentation on entrepreneurship by Satya Prabhakar, Founder & CEO of Sulekha.com, on August 31 at an event organized by TiE-Chennai and the Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA).

I found the points he made on hiring and retention quite interesting.

He suggested entrepreneurs look out for "5Is" for hiring and 'three 4-letter words" for retention.

The "5 Is"

1. Intellect
2. Initiative
3. Industry (ie, Hard work)
4. Integrity
5. Interpersonal Skills

The 3 4-letter words:

1. Work (i.e., its content)
2. Love ("Am I valued and appreciated here?")
3. Hope ("Is this place enroute to something great?")

Entrepreneurs should not allow an employee to settle into a comfort zone and keep setting the bar higher.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the Private Equity and Venture Capital ecosystem in India. Click here to learn about Venture Inte…

Disclosures and Non-Disclosures - By Sanjay Anandaram

“Here’s a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) – please sign it”, said the entrepreneur. His face fell and he looked almost hurt when I told him that I don’t sign NDAs. It is simply impossible to keep track of the business ideas and plans that get discussed with various entrepreneurs. There are also many ideas and plans that sound and indeed are similar in concept if not in all details. One would open oneself to needless and avoidable complaints about plagiarism and favouritism if NDAs are signed.

So, how does an entrepreneur “protect” his business plan or “idea”?

Every entrepreneur actually believes that his/her business plan is singularly unique and that it will change the world if only capital were made available. While it is important for every entrepreneur to believe in his/her plan, it would be arrogant to assume that no body else has thought about it either.

Most businesses are the types that could be classified as “better, faster, cheaper.” In other words, they take an existing mode …

Intellectual Capital - By Sanjay Anandaram

I came across this interesting trivia about the late King of Pop from the “IP Marketing Advisor”: “In the 1988 video of the song Smooth Criminal, the pop star and his dancers leaned forward dramatically, seemingly defying gravity. It turns out Jackson didn’t just invent the move — he eventually patented it. To do what became a signature move in live performances without the help of harnesses and wires, Jackson created a shoe “system” called “Method and Means for Creating Anti-Gravity Illusion.” Granted in 1993 to Jackson and two partners by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, patent No. 5,255,452 covers a “system for allowing a shoe wearer to lean forwardly beyond his center of gravity by virtue of wearing a specially designed pair of shoes.” A heel slot in the shoes gets hitched to retractable pegs in a stage floor. Wearing the shoes, Jackson (or anyone) could seem to lean past his center of gravity without toppling.

“I’ve used (Jackson’s) patent for years in classes to teach students …