Startup means Shutdown as well

Ola shut down Taxi For Sure – https://inc42.com/flash-feed/ola-shuts-down-taxiforsure

AskMe shuts itself down – https://inc42.com/flash-feed/askme-shutdown

Shutting down is part of the process of starting up. Whether you shut yourself out or you get shutdown by your acquirer, getting in and out of business is normal in the startup world. If you don’t have the gut to handle it, you must not play in this space.

I sympathise  with the employees who joined in the hope that they will make a living. I think these individuals who are not ready for so much risk must avoid the startup world. Because one thing is sure, closure is going to take place at a larger scale than what we are seeing. The simple logic is that – as we increase the number of startups starting up, the number closing down is going to rise.

People who don’t like this ‘getting in and out of jobs and startups’ must find more stable lands – corporations, governments, family businesses, small and medium enterprises, etc. Sadly even these are not as stable as we view them to be! But they are way more safer than real startups.

It is important that people joining the work force be aware of this and then make decisions.

Sad but True!

Vedantic Wednesday: Ingratitude is sin

Almost everything that we possess today is given to us by someone else. It is rather strange that we find fault with the people who helped us get here.

I recently heard a young management graduate complain about the company where he gained all the relationships he builds on today. While I concur on many things he said, I wondered how he could speak against someone who opened up a world for him. A world that he thinks will take him places.

The above person is not an exception. During the course of the past year I must have seen at least a dozen such examples directly. While their rational seems right, their behaviour opportune, I wonder if life is best lived this way. It is these brilliant minds that age fast, become sick, and eventually achieve stunted growth. Could ingratitude be a factor?

The positive side is that ‘Gratitude’ seems to make life even better. What is ‘Gratitude’? At its very essence, it is a sense of ‘Saying Thank You’. Thats all!! So simple, isn’t it? But not as easy as you think. Saying ‘Thank You’ is not lip service, it is a heartfelt service. It makes you feel so good. It relaxes. It energises. It calms. I am also thinking it could possibly detox.

Looking at how we live life, I have come to believe that ‘Ingratitude is sin’. It is probably the fastest way to stress oneself out.

Think. Reflect. If it makes sense, become grateful. Else Move on with the next thing.

Happiness!

What is a brand?

Questions such as this require deep reflection. But what I often get is quick, top of the mind answers. Some of the answers include: trust, image, ownership, loyalty, etc

Examples of Brands include – Companies (Apple, Google, Xerox, Tata);  Products (3M, Post-it Notes, Pampers); People (Richard Branson, Amitabh Bachan, Rajnikanth); and so on.

But what is a brand?

How much to learn by asking some basic questions – again and again!

I am asking myself this. I am reading answers from people who have spent a life time trying to answer them. I am reflecting on it from my own experiences in life. Hopefully I will have something to say, at some right time.

Happy Thinking!

Moving beyond the Razor-Blade Business Model

Almost every Business Model Class speaks about Gillette’s excellent idea of what is now popularly known as the ‘Razor Blade Business Model’. So many companies have milked this model. Examples include: Camera Films, Mobiles, Games, etc

There are even examples of the ‘Reverse Razor Blade Business Models’. Example: Apple.

Here is a study from a professor (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681316000124) that questions if this model has lived its life and is facing its end-of-life. The study shows how the time has come for organisations to look at better pricing models. The environment in which we live today provides a lot more transparency and access. There are also institutional voids in emerging economies and Intellectual Property is not respected the same way as in the West. With so many new and changed forces, it is time for organisations to innovate with their business models and more importantly their revenue models.

Happy Reading and Happy Thinking!

A Lesson for Teachers

I just completed the first session and broke the class for lunch. We were to re-meet in about an hour. When I went to the canteen, I found this boy walking around with his phone camera on and scanning in all directions. He occasionally was doing something and there was celebration from friends around. Since he was so lost in another world, I asked him if there was a problem. He smiled and asked – ‘Are you not playing Pokemon Go?’

Over the next 10 minutes I had a class (right there in the canteen). One on ‘Augmented Reality’ using Pokemon Go. This was one more occasion why I enjoy being a teacher. I love my students, because they ensure that I am never behind on anything. Only thing I have to continue doing is – never acting like a teacher. If I keep my student like mind open, I can learn so much from my students. This helps me be an even better teacher.

So, as a teacher, if you are not catching Pokemons, at least let your students catch them. Because if you keep telling them what not to do, they will not tell you what they are doing. It is (in my opinion) the teacher’s loss.

If you are a teacher or a ‘teacher wannabe’ – enjoy learning along with students. Don’t treat them as students but as colleagues in the journey of learning. Its the only way you can learn and stay ahead.

Happy Thinking!

Solitude and Creativity

While it may seem contrarian that ‘solitude’ catalyses ‘creativity’; it seems to have some validity.

While I believe that spending time with oneself is a powerful way to unlock your inner potential, I have never researched on this topic. But when I came across this wonderful write-up on the topic, I could not resist myself from sharing. ‘Is Solitude the Secret to Unlocking our Creativity?’ Link: http://observer.com/2016/06/is-solitude-the-secret-to-unlocking-our-creativity/

I spend a lot of time ‘walking’ and try to spend a fair amount of time in ‘solitude’. Both of these are getting more difficult. But almost every successful and happy person (the combination is rare) I meet increases my belief in both the above activities.

As entrepreneurs, you have a need to be actively engaged in social conversations. But you also need to disconnect from your company, industry, market and be with yourself. It provides you access to your original you. It is needed to help make that unique contribution that only you can provide.

Try it. It seems to me that ‘walking’, ‘solitude’ and ‘silence’ are also the pathway to happiness. Read more on this. Think about it. Reflect and Find out for yourself.

Be Creative. Be Entrepreneurial. Be Happy.

Are you catching Pokemon?

If you are not, its still ok! But, if no one around you is catching them, it signals a problem! While I have not caught Pokemons yet, many of my students are clearing them out from the Virtual World. They got me exposed to this!

No, I am not asking you, ‘teacher’, to play ‘Pokemon Go‘ but I am suggesting that you must keep yourself abreast of the quick developments taking place in the world of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Be around people (students) who are catching Pokemon. Figure out what they are doing and help them decipher the deeper trends behind the fun. They will value it forever. Here is something that you can do as an entrepreneurship educator.

When you are teaching entrepreneurship, one of the key things is to help aspiring and existing entrepreneurs identify emerging trends / be alert to changes. This helps them either find opportunities or create them. All of this is futuristic. And one of these futuristic trends is – VR / AR.

To help your students / participants appreciate and explore this new world, you need to be exposed yourself. Even if you don’t catch Pokemons, you need to understand a little more of this emerging trend.

Here is a nice article to get you up the curve: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/07/13/despite-hype-virtual-reality-still-years-away-making-difference-higher-ed?

Remember that this article provides you numerous pointers to identify opportunities around which million (possibly billion) dollar businesses can be built:

As an aspiring entrepreneur are you going to build one?

As an educator are you going to help one of your students build one?

Happy Reading, Happy Playing, Happy Imagining, Happy Entrepreneuring!