Entrepreneurship

Four Ways to Think like an Entrepreneur

The Premise


Entrepreneur in you

Today, a lot of things don’t work like they did before. And as a student, you know what’s happening in the world around you. A student has better idea than an existing professional about what the future is going to be, since she/he is already using stuff that would grow more popular in the future, thats the nature of your demographic. The best way to use this situation to your advantage is to think like an entrepreneur!

Why to think like an entrepreneur


Ownership –

The real reason why entrepreneurs are so valued is the sense of ownership that they bring to the table. In many ways, corporates and Startups alike love those people who take ownership. The ones who take responsibility, and own a particular metric, balance sheet, growth objective, business target – these are the people who are truly respected in the firm.

‘Hiding’ Information is not a long term competitive advantage –

In many ways, the truth about majority of industries today is that information has become much more fluid than before. This means that a lot of information, industry tips and tricks are available freely. An example of this is Google and Facebook share more data about their ecosystem than top media companies ever did. This means that you have to start thinking differently in order to stay ahead.

Achieving targets –

Every sphere of professional life is associated with a Business Goal. An entrepreneurial spirit is something that can drive you to transcend the ‘achievement’ aspect but in fact it should be ‘finding easier and scalable ways of achieving a target’.

Ways to think like an Entrepreneur


Way #1 – Competitive Benchmarking

One thing is for sure, every business line, right from HR to Analytics, has competition. Some competition within the company, some outside. Its very important to understand what works for these people, and adopt in many ways the best practices. At a firm level, there is also incentive to collaborate with peers in order to achieve a company wide goal. These collaborative projects form an ideal ground for yourself to benchmark against your peers, find your weaknesses and turn those on their head into your strengths.

Way # 2 – Intensity at work

A lot of times, intensity at work is a function of external factors such as push from top management, personal lives, even weather! This is not how entrepreneurs work. The best entrepreneurs don’t let these things act as impediments, but instead give their best intensity at work. That in a way separates the entrepreneurs from te rest.

Way # 3 – Knowhow – Read, Read and Read!

One way to create a difference at your workplace is to keep constantly reading about developments in and around you. If you are a developer, read about the latest Android update. If you are in Finance, read about the latest tool by Intuit. Read about Sales, Marketing, Ops – but surely, do Read!

Way # 4 – Problem Solving

In many ways, life has so many elements that can be traced back to one key theme – Problem Solving. This is the common thread that runs across functions, across seniority and across sectors in the professional world. A ‘Can Do’ attitude is what entrepreneurs bring to the table when it comes to Problem Solving. As such, this is what makes your professional life fun and worth it – whether you enjoy Problem solving in your expertise area or not!

In Conclusion


I feel a lot of times, our education system trains us for ‘jugaad’. Find the easiest way of doing ‘x’. To truly prosper at workplace, you don’t need the easiest way for you, but for the organisation. That takes some serious ‘un-learning’. This is the true spirit of entrepreneurship. Do check what Paul Graham has to say about Counter-intuitive aspects of startups and entrepreneurs –

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Business, Technology

Flipkart and its BigBillionDay!

Yesterday, Oct 6, 2014 was a huge day in Indian Ecommerce. It all started with this ad by Flipkart, and Snapdeal tried to ambush it right on TOI front page itself! (Surprise, surprise!) .

In any ways, here’s what I thought of the whole thing –

  • I thought largely the BigBillionDay was executed well
  • Of course there were aggrieved customers, and posts from an ‘esoteric’ blog about how prices went up and down, but still I thought, a lot of consumers actually did prepone their buying decisions and that was great for the ecomm players.
  • In fact, even other ecomm retailers benefited in this frenzy! Won’t be surprised if one found out that other players like Amazon, Infibeam, Snapdeal also benefited from the #bigbillionday
  • This was basically an attempt by Flipkart to emulate Alibaba’s strategy of achieving 5x sales, which Alibaba routinely executes, and with aplomb on Singles’ day – Nov 11 in China. -Check this BBG article to know more!

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s largest e-commerce company, broke its one-day sales record by more than 80 percent as it heads toward an initial public offering that may be valued higher than Facebook

Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba’s two main platforms, topped 35 billion yuan ($5.75 billion) in the 24-hour period, surpassing last year’s sales of 19.1 billion yuan, the company said on its official Twitter Inc. account. Yesterday was China’s Singles’ Day, a local twist on Valentine’s Day, and e-commerce firms marked the occasion by flooding the Internet with promotions and fueling demand on China’s biggest online shopping day

What’s more, Flipkart has got a lot of marketing eyeballs, for free as well! Flipkart, and Indian Ecommerce is slowly reaching heights that few have reached, and to me, this is just the beginning! Quite exciting times for Indian Internet space, I say!

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Reflections, Strategy

Three Tips for your Self Zeitgeist 2013

Yep, its that time of the year when Zeitgeist stories take centre stage again. The time before holidays start and the time when a lot of people start looking forward to the year that will soon start with a lot of hope!

Its at these times that Zeitgeist type of stories work the best. Whats a Zeitgeist in the first place?

Zeitgeist – The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

Here are the top Zeitgeist stories I have found so far which would help fashion a Self Zeitgeist –

1. Facebook Stories – Found Facebook stories to be a compelling read. You can view the most inspiring Facebook stories here or check your own ‘Year-in-Review’ on Facebook by typing the following link on your browser – https://www.facebook.com/yearinreview . Found the Year in Review very compelling because you feel like you are going through what you did in the year all at once.

Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist on Facebook Stories

2. Slideshare Zeitgeist – Perhaps the most shareable & readable content in the world – both text and visual is found on Slideshare today. So, its quite natural that Slideshare Zeitgeist would be awesome too. Check the same out below –

SlideShare Zeitgeist 2013 from SlideShare ( Click on this link if you cannot view the Presentation in the email newsletter)

3. Self Zeitgeist

– I feel creating a Zeitgeist for oneself at these times would be quite awesome too. It will help you take a self evaluation on what could be done better and try and make efforts to better that. For example, one thing I realised while thinking back is there is a necessity for me to be consistent in my efforts towards a certain goal. I had, still have a habit to go with the flow, but that really doesn’t help. At some point of time, consistency / persistence is what may lead to a long term reward.

What is your Zeitgeist? Please share in the comments section!

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
India Trending topics
Marketing, Strategy

Are Facebook updates and Tweets equal to Mass media popularity

Over the past few months, I have been trying to gauge if yesterday night’s top program was indeed on twitter or not, in its Trending topics section I mean. As an example, Sunday Night’s top Program in Mumbai was the Champions Trophy final, billed as the last clash between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Empirically, the correlation stands. Even at 7.45 AM on Monday, these programs were on Trending topics of twitter. Check it out –

mass media to twitter trends

Trending topics on Twitter and correlation to Mass media spends

The real question here is – Can & should mass media be swayed by the “socially” active programs? Should mass media advertisers truly ascertain value to such twitter trending topic presence or Facebook Trend presence? Lets look at both sides of the coin here –

Continue reading

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Marketing, Technology

Whatsapp – The meteoric rise and Impact in India in 2013

Whatsapp and its rapid market capture in India

Whatsapp groups are immensely popular in India

When the world talks of Social Networking, they talk of Facebook or twitter, but when India talks about social networking in 2013, Indians talk of Whatsapp. Facebook is still the application that the web-enabled junta use, but in terms of engagement, whatsapp has clearly beaten them all.

In fact, a lot of Mobile telecom companies are claiming Whatsapp to be the trigger why people have started using their GPRS or 3G plans. Whatsapp has become THAT utility which has started making people look at stuff like 3G seriously. While this sounds incredulous, India as a country is totally capable of actually exhibiting that behavior.

2013 could be summarised as a year of true smartphone adoption ( even commoditization in India) . With such smartphones, users are becoming aware of the utility of 3G etc. For example, my family members today ask me of 3G availability in some region of India before they leave for that place. But in this age, conventional wisdom would have placed a bet on Facebook becoming more and more dominant on mobile in India. However, that hasn’t happened. How did whatsapp actually capture mindspace in India? Here are my top three reasons  why Whatsapp became so popular in India –

1. “BBM for all” – Around 24 to 30 months back, Whatsapp actually started growing due to its positioning as a cross platform messaging. At that time, BBM was immensely popular in India.

2. Made free by Android – As part of Android’s growth, Google was promoting Whatsapp as a free app on the Android ecosystem which lead to zooming adoption rates across the world, particularly India

3. Simple, ad free & Social – With the social network coming on Whatsapp, there was an inherent lock in, and now, it was further increasing due to simple usability of Whatsapp per se.

Whatsapp – the utility and impact it has caused –

1. Largest personal & enterprise social network + collaboration – A lot of teams at the workplace have an internal whatsapp and this is increasing collaboration

2. Largest Alumni networking tool – Be it your school group, college group or graduation class group- every major institution that people joined have a corresponding Whatsapp group now.

3. Always on, Always Live, easiest – You can whatsapp when travelling, listening to music or as a refresher during office hours. This wasn’t the case with Facebook as it was blocked in a lot of offices

Right from a wife telling her husband that she is safe but under the rubble after a building collapse in Africa to wishing Happy Independence Day to Indians all over India, Whatsapp has had a deep impact already & in my opinion would be the top mobile app in India by a long way.

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Business, Marketing, Technology

The Smartphone Commoditization era

Yesterday, I was watching one of those typically bollywood movies – Phata Poster Nikla Hero. Why – well, funny as it may sound, I like the senseless dance, plot, storyline etc once in a while. However, while doing so, I noticed a very curious thing – everyone in that theater had a smartphone and all of them looked absolutely similar. This happened with me in the local train compartment, at the bookstore, at the Ganpati festival line everywhere. That made me wonder – are Smartphones getting commoditized – so much so that Smartphones are now classified as FMEG ( Fast Moving Electronic Goods!) ?

Smartphones now getting commonplace in India

Smartphones now getting commonplace in India

With Android getting increasingly dominant in the ecosystem, and so many players jumping on to the Android bandwagon there is a definite possibility that smartphones will become the de facto standard of the mobile world. Just counting the number of companies with at least one Android 4.2+ model launched successfully in India gives you a staggering number – 15! – Samsung, LG, Micromax, BenQ, Karbonn, Sony, HTC, Intex, Xolo, Spice, iBerry, Videocon, Huawei, Gionee, Lava and many more if you dig deeper! Also note that all of these companies have multiple models at various price points. On a related note – The lion’s share of the profits on Android phones globally have been made by one company though – Samsung. However, smartphone commoditization presents a different set of challenges. I try to name a few here –

1. Early adopter disenchantment – From the day when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in June 2007, there has been a cult of early adopters – to smartphones, to tablets, to app stores and to ecosystems. Commoditization leads to disenchantment among early adopters. These early adopters will now find some other pasture to buy their technological marvels.

2. Eroding margins – If everyone is selling basically the same product, the only way to compete becomes price. Unless there is massive cartelization, prices are bound to come down, even if Moore’s law is applied to smartphones. While this is good for consumers, I doubt if the mobile industry can take such a situation. The raw material cost etc is high and increasingly, quality cannot be compromised in front of a consumer who is getting more technology savvy by the day.

3. Power of alliances and marketing grows – In such a situation, the carriers will become increasingly powerful and career bundling may again come into the picture for India. With the smartphones increasingly getting commoditized, alliances on the carrier side, retailer side, marketing side, mass media side and distribution side will become vital to stay afloat for these firms.

4. Consolidation – While some of these firms have enjoyed tremendous profits and have deep pockets – unless they diversify, there is a definite possibility of consolidation happening in the Device manufacturer industry. Similar consolidation has already been happening in the app manufacturer industry, gaming industry, e-commerce industry and I don’t see why this industry won’t see consolidation in the near future.

What is your opinion – Is Smartphone commoditization really going to happen? Let us know in the comments section! ( Image – 1)

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Graph about falling crime rates
Technology

Web security in an increasingly wireless world

Here is what happened over the last 4 days –

  • Thursday – An unknown developer hacks into Apple Developer website 
  • Saturday –  Apple detects the problem late Saturday
  • Sunday –     Apple pulls its developer website offline
  • Monday –   Apple developer website is still offline.

That this comes in the wake of this article on the Economist cover page – which emphatically states that Crime rates have fallen is an indictment on the nature of our times . To quote –

Graph about falling crime rates

Graph about falling crime rates

Demographic trends are an obvious factor. The baby-boom in the decades after the second world war created a bubble in the 16- to 24-year-old population a couple of decades later, and most crimes are committed by men of that age. That bubble is now long deflated. In most Western countries, the population is ageing, often quite fast.

Clearly, the Economist does not take into account the fact that a lot of these 16 to 24 year olds are now expert hackers and are trying out new ways to find entry doors into secure websites . Today the incentive for a hacker to hack successfully into websites is enormous. Today’s ‘power’ isn’t cash nor is it forging signs. Today’s power is data, information, Credit card numbers and passwords. The site you are reading this piece on was itself grappling some hacking attacks over the past 6 months which meant that authors could write less on a blog thats close to five years old.

My hypothesis is that today, with so many things going online, it is also getting harder to detect crimes. Someone illegally swipes your credit card in Scotland ( for example ) – and you come to know about it only 2 weeks later – how can one prevent such an eventuality? Or how can one be aware of external environments when getting cash out of ATMs ? These are questions of 2013 which are relevant from an information security perspective.

So, what can web users as alert citizens do in the wake of such attacks? I suggest three simple tricks –

1. Be watchful – especially with things like Credit cards – do not make credit card information visible in public, even in ATMs. Cover the card and swipe it carefully even at an ATM

2. Passwords and 3DS/VBV – In India, there is an extra layer of security when it comes to swiping Credit / Debit cards online. This is a very nice feature from a security perspective for the consumer ( while it causes heartaches for the vendors though 🙂 ) . Do make sure that you sign in to your Bank for the 3DS program. Also, basic hygiene rules about passwords are a must.

3. Chargeback – If in case you stay outside India, and your credit card got swiped online, there is a consumer protection tool that can help you. It is called a chargeback. The customer has to claim the same with his bank and the bank would reverse the impact of the transaction , thereby charging the merchant a refund amount at its end. This transaction is called a Credit card charge back. To quote  –

The chargeback mechanism exists primarily for consumer protection. Holders of credit cards issued in the United States are afforded reversal rights by Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act. United States debit card holders are guaranteed reversal rights by Regulation E of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. Similar rights extend globally, pursuant to the rules established by the corresponding card association or bank network.

Do you have any other interesting ways in which web security can be observed? Let us know here.

Image – Economist

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Will 2013 be the year of the enterprise startup?
Business, Leadership, Marketing, Technology

Is 2013 the Year of the Enterprise Startup ?

There has been a lot of talk about enterprise startups becoming ‘cool again’ , ‘the place to invest’ and so on. So what has really changed? How have enterprise startups, long considered boring and ‘un-scalable’ become sought after again? Here are the top three reasons

enterprise-startups
1. Tremendous focus on ROI at enterprise level
– The one common thread across all enterprise startups is an unwavering focus on ROI. This focus has particularly come in the spotlight in the wake of the global downturn that hit the World Economy in 2008. After this, there has been a definitive shift towards optimally using all resources, without exception, at an enterprise level. This has created newer opportunities and startups are exploiting those.

2. B2B outreach is easier than before – The biggest problem for a B2B startup is marketing. For example, an Accenture advertisement at best serves as a branding tool in the minds of 99% of the advertisement viewers. After all, mass media is definitely not the way to reach out to the enterprises. However, with the advent of channels like Google, Slideshare, Linkedin etc, this process has become simpler and inquiries through these channels are increasing for enterprise startups.

3. The advent of the cloud – Cloud, the ease of access and lowering costs of storage has meant that enterprise startups can stay afloat longer by curbing their expenses to the minimal. It wouldn’t be far fetched to say that enterprise startups owe a lot to services like AWS ( Amazon Web Services) for actually enabling their business models to go afloat at a lower cost than before.

Given all these factors, it is natural that enterprise startups are doing all sorts of innovative things and most importantly, at scale! Here are a couple of areas in which enterprise startups are totally cracking the whip –

(a) Analytics – A huge area where startups are innovating big time is analytics. An analytics backbone is a huge plus across sectors, be it in the ad network domain or in the enterprise effectiveness domain.

(b) Cloud storage – Startups like GitHub, Box, Dropbox, Diablo, Messagebus, Gridstore etc are all innovating on the cloud storage front and evolving new business models that are not only sustainable, but also scalable. And, they are well supported by Angel/VC money as well.

(c) CRM – Salesforce has literally become a common factor across almost all major companies today. The scale that Salesforce has been able to achieve has proven the scalability of B2B Startups. However, in the field of CRM, Salesforce is not alone and is closely followed by competitors like SugarCRM.

Given this, its natural that top VCs are entering the fray here –

KPCB is investing $200 mn

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers will invest at least $200 million this year in mobile applications and cloud computing services for corporate users, investment partner Matt Murphy said. The Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm, which boosted its enterprise-technology investments in 2012, will also seek security-startup investments, Murphy said in an interview.

Startups focused on corporate users are benefiting as employees adopt personal smartphones and tablets for work. That’s triggered increased investment by companies in new tools to manage mobile and cloud-based computing, Murphy said.

“The traction in our enterprise portfolio really surprised us,” Murphy said. “We view the timing and opportunity as even better than in 2012.”

WSJ Articles about enterprise startups

When Andreessen Horowitz VC Peter Levine looked around a conference room Thursday in San Francisco and saw 10 reporters sitting next to five CEOs of enterprise tech startups, he could barely contain his glee. “There’s a renaissance in enterprise computing – if this were five, six or seven years ago, to get one person to show up in this room would have been quite difficult,” he said. Perhaps he was calculating how much those exits would be worth. After all, 80% of tech IPOs next year are expected to be from enterprise startups. Andreessen Horowitz has invested more than $100 million in the startups in the room.

An India view

In India as well, there is an unquestionable need for enterprise startups. In fact, a lot of Indian startups focused on the enterprise have made global waves too – Zoho being one such example. Will India react or adapt to this boom in Enterprise Startups? What enterprise startups will emerge from India in 2013? Have your say below.

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Justice-verma-committee
Politics, Public Issues

Justice Verma Committee – Criminal Law about Women Safety

The earlier course of events about Women Safety and security, particularly in the aftermath of the heinous gang-rape case in New Delhi has caused more than a kerfuffle in the Government machinery, thankfully. The Government has formed a three member committee to form a law and this committee will be headed by Justice Verma.

The objective of this committee is to to the following in case of “aggravated” sexual assault

(a) Provide for speedier justice

(b) Review Law for enhanced punishment

Justice-verma-committee

Advertisement-in-newspapers-about-Justice-Verma-Committee

The notice encourages people to give their suggestions about this. Its really great that the Government and Judiciary is willing to improve itself. Whats a bit disturbing is that it takes such massive protests to make the judicial machinery take notice, but anyways, at least efforts have begun in the right direction.

We at Strat.in thought that we can act as the messenger in this case. We have created a form about this below – whereby we shall collate all responses and send them over to Justice Verma on January 4, 2013.

Please fill in your requests and send them back to us. We would be glad to send them back to Justice Verma committee.

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard
Royal Enfield Pune Showroom 7
Business, Marketing

Design led business transformation – Royal Enfield Showroom

Editor’s Note: Design today plays a crucial part in every business. To quote Steve Jobs –

Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.

This is becoming increasingly true even for offline businesses. The way your customers get introduced to your product, the level of comfort they experience when they visit your office, and most importantly, the flow through which they go while ‘interacting’ with the product influences sales. Alok Thakurdesai, a designer based out of Pune, has taken a shot at proving this intuitive but not-easy-to-prove hypothesis. The case in consideration is the Royal Enfield Showroom designed by him which has led to a 50% increase in sales as compared to other established showrooms. His writeup and experiences are below –

Redesigning the way customers experience Royal Enfield

These days, people are becoming more and more design aware. It is in the sub-conscious of the customer that design makes an impact. In the Retail business, what differentiates you from the pack is what experience you have on offer. Yes you have a brilliant product, but how you present it to your customers that matters. This is exactly what we at Three Fourteen Design wanted to achieve when we started work on redesigning Royal Enfield‘s Retail Space Design.

Auto Companies focus on building retail spaces that are mere bases of interaction with the customers. But how are they presenting the company to the customer? Design goes hand in hand with the User Experience at an Automotive Showroom. When you sell an experience, people will be loyal to your company and they will never even look elsewhere.

Royal Enfield as a company has a very loyal customer base, and its roots are grounded in rich history from England to india. The starting cost of a bike in the Royal Enfield range is a lakh rupees. A lakh rupees! And the fact that each and every bike is hand-built just adds to the value and the “pride” quotient. Why then should the Retail Space be ignored? The Showroom is the first point of interaction between the customer and his/her future bike. We wanted the showroom to shout out “Welcome to the ROYAL Enfield experience”.

Each and every corner of the showroom we designed keeping in mind the company’s story. The colour palette is warm yet rich with small added details. Details that, just like the company and its bikes, makes you want to explore for more! Every piece of furniture holds some relation to the history of the bikes. For example, the chairs we chose were designed by Charles and Ray Eames during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Elements like these add to the detail of the experience!

The bikes and the design now compliment each other well and makes your experience of buying your next Royal Enfield even more Royal!

Royal Enfield Pune Showroom 7

Royal Enfield Pune Showroom -vintage enfield

Royal Enfield Pune Showroom 1

Royal Enfield Pune Showroom 1- bikes

 

Photos and case study: Threefourteen | You can reach out to Alok Thakurdesai on his website – Threefourteen .

Like what you read? Share in your network!
Standard