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LEM-Workshop LEM (Laboratory for Entrepreneurial Motivation) Workshop was conducted by Prof.

Sunil Handa from 3rd to 5th October, 2008 @ IIM Kozhikode.

Tum log yahan kyun baithe ho? Seniors ne yeh bataya ki ek banda hai jiske sessions laughter challenge se achche hote hote hain? And a crowd of about 200 burst out laughing. Thus began the lecture by Prof. Sunil Handa. All those who came with the mindset that this is going to be one of those typical classroom lectures were taken for a surprise. His lecture technique was immediately appealing, and in no way overly pedantic. I'm sure most of us have seen too many lectures where the speaker simply shows slides after slides making it highly technical. This session began with questions from the students. What does it take to become a good entrepreneur? What is the skill set required to become a good entrepreneur? the answer to this one question set the tone of the discussion. Professor Handa began the lecture with an example of one of his batch mates, a Mr. K S Rao a lean, lanky, introvert, academic type student, a diametric opposite to the smart, extrovert, aggressive, assertive image of an entrepreneur who started his venture by manufacturing Neem pesticides and has gone to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs. Followed by examples of various successful entrepreneurs who could not be more diverse than chalk and cheese. Thus establishing a point that there is no set skill set

required to become a successful entrepreneur. All it takes is perseverance and passion for what you decide to do and simple common sense to set up a successful venture. Bacteria are typical entrepreneurship material. No matter what you do they thrive, they survive. Even under adverse conditions they grow.

On starting a venture If you think you may start a business by borrowing money, you probably need to relook at the mathematics of doing so. If you succeed, you will end up paying hefty premiums and if you fail, you may still end up paying more than the Principal amount!! Then how does it make any economic sense. Substantiated by an example of Narendra Nirkumbi wherein he started by taking up leased land and factory and then gradually moved forward to owning his own property. Prof. Sunil Handa cautioned the students that the scale up of business should be well paced, so that there are no hiccups in the growth of the business and also the work life balance of the entrepreneur is maintained. He suggested that even if the business fails, the experience is much greater than that can be gained from a conventional job.

Perseverance, Struggle, Humility is what it takes I went to a company for months before I got my first order. Its a struggle between who has more patience, you or the other guy. There is no shame in pursuing for what you believe in. And if rejected for the first time go for the second, the third or as many times as it takes to convince your buyer. This is what is required to establish a business. If you

think everything will just go right, it wont. You need to make it right.

Upto-date Info of Related and Unrelated streams: It is not uncommon in people to stop reading/analysing once they get success. However, SH suggested that one should always keep the habit of reading and be knowledgeable about things related directly or indirectly or not even related to his business. This is helpful when one needs to adopt methodologies/techniques/benefits from outside the business. As you decide to move from one venture to other, this reading helps you decide the feasibility of the business and helps generate more ideas. The essence of the point was that one must keep himself up-to date on different topics, regardless of whether they are directly influencing your business or not. Who knows when they come handy!!

An Idea or a Me Too product In answer to this query Professor Handa cited the example of his IV Fluids venture (Intravenous Fluids) wherein the product is common but how certain differentiation in the manufacturing process help you make huge profits. Its not easy to always have an innovative product or service hence going for a me too product is not wrong or rather its one of the coolest ways of becoming a successful entrepreneur provided you are deep into it. Tum poori tarah ghus jao. To quote in professors words.

Overcome the fear of a venture turning sour or an already failed venture. Nobody but you can help yourself. If a venture is failing abandon it, but it

would not fail if you look into the nitty gritty before starting a venture. Be objective, logical and practical about your idea and do not get emotionally attached to it. Unless until you decide to take the first step nobody can help you. Lottery lagegi kaise jab ticket hi nahi liya !! All in all, the lecture was most interesting, enlightening and entertaining. The audience were spellbound throughout. The lecture has certainly confirmed some of our beliefs mostly dispelled our notions about entrepreneurship and given food for thought for the rest. If you want to meet god become an entrepreneur. No person could be more egoless than an entrepreneur. One good point may change your outlook drastically and something similar happened after this session.

Home venture Sunil Handa : "Are You Just a Bloody Employee?" Sunil Handa : "Are You Just a Bloody Employee?" By Ashish Gourav on Saturday, August 08, 2009 Now, you are in an engineering college or some professional course or you might end up with one pretty soon. What next? A decent satisfying lucrative job in an MNC. An MBA degree just after graduation Some more professional courses which could get you a job

The question I need to ask you is, are you born just to be a bloody employee? By the time you have read till here, you would be cursing me as just another IIT undergraduate student giving a sermon on entrepreneurship . However, these words are not mine. I m just paraphrasing Prof. Sunil Handa from IIM Ahmedabad.

Sunil Handa came to IIT Kharagpur today and took the renowned Laboratory for Entrepreneurial Motivation (LEM) class with much fervour and filled us with motivation to become successful entrepreneurs. I also don t want to be a mere employee for the rest of my life and it got resonated with Sunil Handa s words. He reaffirmed my belief that multi-national companies just exploit our talent and most important phase of our life (20-35 years); and are detrimental to the personality of a gifted person. The question you need to ask yourself is will you be happy with a boring, glorified, clerical job throughout your life?

Keep questioning, keep improving

After reading this far, I hope you must have either got a feeling of stop-reading-this-shit or if not then proceed.

He threw light on various aspects of entrepreneurship. He told his own story as how he managed to persuade his father for his business aspirations. He laid a lot of stress in the choice of partner and the number of co-founders. Ideally 2-3 is the best. Though, partnership comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Partnership helps you to achieve 100 times more than what you are capable of; the synergic effect. However, partnerships are bound to break some day or the other. You should be ready to face this reality. The choice of business partner still remains as important and pivotal as choice of a compatible spouse. The most hindering stone in the path of entrepreneurship is acceptance . Acceptance by society; acceptance by family, acceptance by friends and the list never ends. However, acceptance comes with time and success, as parents in most of the cases are not very specific about your choice of career; they only want your happiness.

He talked about how he saved millions of rupees by just having a proper outlook of the world. He also validated the need of an MBA degree from a top college; it improves one s personality by leaps and bounds. To sum it up, I don t want to be a bloody employee! Do you?

If you are an IIT-KGP student, just don t miss the tomorrow s part. Sunil Handa is going to talk about Consultancy as a viable and lucrative career option to start with. Are you attending it?

A pill in Entrepreneurship by Dr. Sunil Handa Life @ K No Responses Sep 132010 If anyone has read the book Stay hungry, Stay foolish, one would come across a chapter titled The Alchemist. It is about the success story of Prof. Sunil Handa, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad.According to the book, From a hard nosed businessman to an educational entrepreneur, his is a fascinating journey. On 9th and 10th of September , 2010 , students of IIM Kozhikode had the unique opportunity to engage in an interaction with Prof. Sunil Handa in his flagship programme Workshop on LEM ( Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation).By the way ,the subject LEM is the most sought after elective course in IIM Ahmedabad .With his no-nonsense inspirational take on entrepreneurship , interspersed with witty anecdotes , Prof. Handa has managed to keep the students in the Auditorium engrossed in his words of wisdom .He urged the students to be like a Shiva linga .He told that whatever type of liquid one pours on it , there as no affect on the Shiva linga . It just stands firm. Likewise, during ones entrepreneurial venture, if anyone is faced with any sort of criticism, one should not be undermined and be firm and should just focus on ones goals. He went on to dwell on obstacles, stressing the fact that they are like margasuchak. They give right direction to oneself and that whenever someone encounters an obstacle then they should thank the obstacle. He quoted an example of him not receiving an offer from a famous FMCG company and that was the reason for him to do bigger things in life. He even went to the temple and thanked God for that incident in his life. He also quoted from Hanuman Chalisa, Aapan Tej Samharo Aapei, Tanau Lok Hank Te Kanpei When you roar all the three worlds tremble and only you can control your might. This means you are the limit of yourself. He asked the students to strip the quote of its religious meaning and apply it to their managerial practices .According to Prof. Handa, A century ago, being patriotic would have meant Getting freedom from the British. Today if you want to help your country, start some business and help the economy grow better.

Prof. Debashis Chatterjee, the Director of IIM Kozhikode, expressed his desire that if at least twenty students out of the batch of first year students could turn up into successful entrepreneurs then the whole purpose of the workshop would be fulfilled. He was curious about the quality of the Business Plans that the students discussed with Prof. Handa and asked about them. Prof. Handa was pleased with the business ideas put forward by the students. The Director informed Prof. Handa that the curriculum in IIM Kozhikode is under revision and feedback is taken from the students themselves on what they exactly want .The Director revealed that if the students suggested some courses on Entrepreneurship, then the faculty would try to include more of such courses as they are trying to be very flexible in revising the curriculum. E-Cell (The Interest Group of IIM Kozhikode which promotes entrepreneurial spirit among the students) enquired Prof. Handa about the activities that E-Cell should involve in to foster Entrepreneurship. His suggestion was introduction of a course with focus on one-to-one sessions and industry visits and meeting with top management of the corresponding industries. During a one-on-one session regarding Business Plans, a student told Prof. Handa that he has 20 acres of land and asked about his desire to start a dairy farm.Prof. Handa replied, It is a fantastic idea. I always wanted that one of my students have a dairy with 10,000 cows and buffaloes. If you ever plan to implement the idea, contact me, I will help you with the whole thing. Well also start a milk processing factory, use cow dung to produce bio-gas and will make organic compost of the final waste. Such is the charisma of Prof. Handa that he has turned many students in B Schools over India into successful entrepreneurs. Undoubtedly, his Workshop in Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation has become immensely popular over the years.

A tryst with higher mortals

Prof. Sunil Handa visited the IIMK campus last week. Kumar Vivek, PGP 11, reports:

He mesmerizes you the very first time. Sixty minutes and its enough for him to convince a packed IIM Kozhikode classroom that servitude is the worst nightmare which can happen in the career of an IIM graduate. Sunil Handa, the 53-something pioneer of Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation (LEM) and a visiting faculty across IIMs puts himself at ease with students from the very beginning communicating in their language! Shattering all myths about the riskiness of entrepreneurial ventures and cushiness of fixed-income jobs, his arguments flawlessly describle the limited growth potential in an employee setup. Coming from a man who has experimented with 7 businesses after graduating from an IIM in 1979, the realities of the corporate world and its job nature embed themselves on the minds of every listener. Each one of you has the capabilities to make it big his advice reverberates with numerous live examples of his students in his rich teaching career, spanning a little over one and half decades. Be an employer Be the Superman! is the theme of a poster he circulates. Augmenting the effect is his box-theory you cannot be contented when you are contained whether its salary growth, career growth, or service to the nation; to be effective requires being on your own.

Discussing the importance of an MBA curriculum, he repeatedly drives his point of how the course structure and case discussions can shape the entire personality of the participants and the students should, well, study! Further, to top everything, his motto is - giving back to the society. Millions of dollars of his personal wealth were contributed to Eklavya, the educational foundation he established. The man, with his uncanny ability to connect, is not only a teacher but an amazing inspiration. Life is short, Ab nahin to kab?!! If not now, then when?

Prof Sunil Handa also spent 3 days with the senior students, 3 days packed with intense intellectual stimulation and inspiring anecdotes. We hope to see many more visits from you, Sir.

Update: Prof Sunil Handa mailed in the LEM slogan, that he had not discussed so far but planned to bring up in his next visit. In his own words: "It's a bit of funny hindienglish mix, basically says there is no tomorrow, there is no yesterday, there is only HERE and NOW : not to kab, not to tab, but to ab, not to kahan, not to wahan, but to yahan!! Sunil Handa.Inspiring Professor October 24, 2010 Filed under: Uncategorized nishikantp @ 6:37 pm

Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation Prof. Sunil Handa On a cozy Saturday afternoon at IIT, when you find over hundred people sitting in an auditorium rather than lazying around in their rooms and another fifty lined up outside the door, you know something is different. It definitely was. Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur took the pleasure of inviting Prof. Sunil Handa, Professor at IIM Ahmedabad and Founder of Eklavya Education Foundation a no-profit-no-loss endeavour for a Leadership Guest Lecture on 8th August, 2009. Students had thronged up to hear Sunil Handa who is both an entrepreneur with a

difference and a teacher with a purpose. He took a class on Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation, (LEM), the same course that he takes at IIMA. This course is an extremely coveted one at IIM and students bid almost 90% of their credits to get admitted to this course. He started the class on a grand note, describing his own fascinating tale of the transition from an extremely difficult childhood to become what he is now a truly inspiring entrepreneur and a mentor to many other entrepreneurs. An alumnus of BITS Pilani 1977 EEE batch, he went on to join IIM Ahmedabad after his graduation. He considers the IIMA experience to be one the most challenging ones in his education, with the grueling competition and the enormous work-load. He believes that the experience of living two great years with the best minds of India is worth every effort. Right after graduating, he joined a company like many of his mates, but soon realized that he could exploit not more than 2% of his potential working on a desk. The job wasnt challenging enough for him. Frustrated of the work environment, he left his job and decided to establish a consultancy company along with his brother. He took a small loan from his father and as he calls it, plunged into the ocean of entrepreneurship. His first idea was a mediocre success. He was not satisfied wanted more. So he left the venture to enter into something else. The brothers toyed with various ideas with varied success and failure. Finally, after experimenting with about 8 ideas they finally struck gold with their 9th idea. His Core Emballage, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company became the largest manufacturer of IV fluids in the second year of its operation and went on to become third largest in the world later. The net worth of the company was over $240 million by 1998. Clearly, it shows that persistence is the key. The opportunities lie scattered around the world, we just need to dig them out for ourselves. He further elucidated his point by illustrating the tale of one of his student Narendra Murkumbi, who started a factory that made Neem insecticide, something which was unheard of at that time. He was relatively successful with the venture, but like his mentor wanted more. He

bought sugar mills of a sick unit, shifted them to his base and started a sugar making company called Shree Renuka Sugars. Today, he is a man worth 1600 crores rupees. Prof. Handa kept on stressing on the fact that a job means to limit ones abilities. Glorified technical clerks, as he calls them, are what IITians and other bright people become when companies lure them with six-figure salaries and perks. He, through examples from his own life and life of his students, was able to show the ability of the human mind and its infiniteness, and how entrepreneurship is able to draw it out. He exhorted people not to sell your potential for a petty amount which service pays, he told people to expand their horizon and startup to earn big. There are no traits of an entrepreneur he says. An entrepreneur does not necessarily have to be a good speaker or a very outgoing person, even a shy and reserved one like another of his students, Raghavendra Rao, who was an average student with a vernacular education background and a particularly reserved person now is a rich man and owner of a large pharmaceutical company, Orchid Chemicals. He particularly highlighted the importance of a mentor in an entrepreneurs journey to success. He says that the mentor should be someone who is someone close, and who is experienced and progressive; somebody who believes in your idea. The person should also be very honest with you and should not give you false assurances. Mentors are really important in the early rigors of an entrepreneurs career. Upon being asked, which thing to chose Value Creation or money, he replied that both entities went hand and glove. If one is creating something which will add value to the society then the idea is bound to create wealth. He also discussed about the fact that choosing your partner(s) is a very crucial decision. While starting up its really difficult to manage things all by oneself, so its always better to have a partner or two so that the storm can be weathered much easily, but the number should not exceed than that. However, he also warned that if the partnership breaks, its normally very disheartening and it takes the individual a lot of time to recover from it. He also took swipe at people selling their successful ventures for instant money. The next day he took another class at 8 AM in the morning, and students attended the session with even more enthusiasm. He spoke about potential learning environments where fresh

graduates can hone their entrepreneurial skills. With all eyes open wide, he shared with us THREE jobs which one could take up before starting out. First one was to be a part of the execution team of a new upcoming field project of a large company. For instance, if Asian Paints were to setup a factory in Gujrat, they will need a project team that could spearhead their operations there. One could be a part of this team and being an integral member, one can understand the dynamics involved in putting up a new project in motion. Second suggestion was join to a middle-sized company in its growing phase as senior team executive it would provide the individual a deep insight into the challenges of building a company. Third and the most interesting one was to become an executive assistant to the CEO/MD in a mid-sized company and be right in the middle of every important decision made by the company. One can learn all the nuisances of running a business being an executive assistant to a top brass of the company. Prof. Handa also said that starting up a consultancy is also a great option just after graduating, through which one can learn great deals. His life-story, right from a tough childhood to a fighter entrepreneur with a magnetic personality has inspired over 250 people to become entrepreneurs. If India has to solve its problems and make vision 2020 a reality, we need people like him to lift up young minds and motivate them into becoming world leaders. We salute the phenomenon that is Prof. Sunil Handa.

Enlightenment by Prof. Sunil Handa Prof. Sunil Handa(SH) from IIM-Ahmedabad visited IIM-Calcutta recently and I had an opportunity to attend one of his sessions. Considering the fact that I am myself a bit oriented to start something of my own, I liked the session. One may argue that most of the points these people (entrepreneurs) talk about are just the same .. hmm.. may be.. but there is a lot to make a difference. One good point may change your outlook drastically and something similar happened to me after this session. On Exit options: The session started with example of one of his student from IIM-Ahmedabad who had started a company of his own but had recently decided to sell it off!! Prof. claimed that this guy sold his

soul. As per SH, there is no exit option for an entrepreneur and he outrightly rejected the idea of selling a venture after say 5 years of establishing it. I had been fascinated by the idea of creating and selling off a business before restructuring period (I believe after some 5-6 years, processes etc. in a business need to be restructured coz by this time others also find it worthy to get into it..so selling off at this point would mean avoiding the restructuring cost and efforts, which can be further used in setting up something else, plus you get a healthy deal for current business at such a time). Although SH was of different opinion and he commented that 1.) One tends to get an emotional bonding with the current business, 2.) Rarely do people start a second venture as they get too old by the time they plan to sell off first one 3.) Even is one gets past the emotional bonding and timing factor, one tends to lose good people. You may plan to switch over your business (coz that is your business) but the employees may not be ready to take that risk and would be resistant to change. This made me think of the establish-and-sell philosophy again, especially the third point which is most crucial as what i think. Anyways, I need to evaluate that well. On VCs: So, what would you do once you sell off your venture? I would start a new one is a typical answer. How many do you think do that? Hardly anyone, SH claimed. The factors include the social pressures and the family responsibilities. Add to it reduced appetite for risk as you grow old. If you quit your own child(company), you will end up being only an uncle(Venture Capitalist), where you will just guide and help and wish others children(ventures you fund) do well. Most of their(VCs) days go in praying for others ventures to get successful On Diluting Equity: If you wish to start a business, do you need a lot of money or you may as well get it from Venture Capitalists? If you think you may start a business by borrowing money from VCs, you probably need to relook at the mathematics of doing so. If you succeed, you will end up paying hefty premiums

and if you fail, you may still end up paying more than the Principal amount!! Then how does it make any economic sense.. Those who still might be thinking of it being useful, I suggest reading the post on session by Mahesh Murthy. Assertiveness, Struggle, No shy factor: When I used to travel in Public roadways buses, I used to end up traveling most of the times standing. Then I realised this is not how it gonna work and I learnt the art of finding and making space to sit. I started asking people to shift even if there was no place and most of the times ended up getting some place to sit.- That was my first lesson into entrepreneurship I learned to be assertive. I struggled and I was no longer shy of asking for place. This is what is required to establish a business. If you think everything will just go right, it wont.. you need to make it right. Impact of Contacts in Initial Phase: Another way of getting initial success is a shortcut- to use your contacts. But as soon as you use contacts to get any favour, you lose the race. Nothing comes for free in this world!! If you ask for a favour today, youll be asked to repay in some form or other tomorrow and it wont end there. Since you got a favour in initial days of struggle, you would feel indebted for long and you would have to make compromises at some point due to these favours/contacts/people/.. Struggle in Initial Phase: So the alternate way is to struggle!! People, if given option, would love to skip this part but this is most important phase one goes through and this is the phase that basically lays the foundation for rest of the career. There was a bird, which was trying to come out of the egg-shell. She was fluttering her wings and trying desperately to break the shell. A man walking beside saw this and out of his genuine concern and care, broke the egg-shell with a knife. The man was happy as he thought he had done a good job, helping the bird out of the shell. The bird, on the other hand, could never fly in her life coz her wings were just not strong enough to fly. It is not difficult to understand why the bird could never fly!! So you decide by yourself whether you want to break the shell yourself or do you want an external support!!

Upto-date Info of Related and Unrelated streams: It is not uncommon in people to stop reading/analysing once they get success. However, SH suggested that one should always keep the habit of reading and be knowledgeable about things related directly or indirectly or not even related to his/her business. This is helpful when one needs to adopt methodologies/techniques/benefits from outside the business. He took an example of his own venture which in no way related to plastic industry, and he could make a benefit of a few lakhs using that. I dont remember the example exactly and it would not be appropriate to quote it wrong but it was something on the lines that huge amount of excise and tax could be saved by purchasing a machinery in parts due to differential tax rates for plastic and other material. The essence of the point was that one must keep himself up-to date on different topics, regardless of whether they are directly influencing your business or not. Who knows when they come handy!! On Consultants: To keep it short, I just quote his words,Consultants are people who wont tell you anything unless asked, even if they know something is going wrong!! Without having any first hand knowledge of this, I think it is difficult for me to make up any perception based on this point. On Ethics: Everyone claims ethics in business are very important but no one spells it so clearly!! Everyone talks of setting an example in front of juniors but no one says how exactly it makes a difference. He took example of a manufacturer trying to save some tax amount by manipulating accounts and stealthily selling some of the goods. The same person ends up pursuing his employees so that the news is not leaked publicly and in case that happens..Brand Image tarnishes!! Precisely why people do not feel proud in saying that they work in Reliance!! Skills One must Learn at IIMs: Leadership skills Negotiating skills Delegating skills

On Partnership: Reiterating what MM said, SH also said it is better to have partners for the moral and support and better to start in smaller teams. A larger team is bound to fail. Although, he discarded that the two partners need to be good friends from college days and things like that. According to him, a better team would have people with only some understanding of each other. More understanding may result in you taking other for granted, which might not be the case always. But still, more the understanding between partners the better it is. Idea or partner? An idea is worth nothing unless implemented, said MM. Unless you have a good partner, it is difficult to succeed in a venture, said SH. Clearly both of them had an emphasis of a good partner first, someone who is equally, if not more, passionate about the venture. Moreover, SH made a claim that no one would be working on their first idea for long, no matter how attractive it may seem to them in starting. It is only the third or fourth idea that people end up doing! Not to forget, Irrespective of what you may think, the partnership doesnt last forever and which sometimes may be an emotionally testing times but that is how it is!! To end with a globe statement, you need Midas touch to succeed in a business more than anything else. To get an extraordinary person is difficult but to make ordinary people extraordinary is simple.: Some great philosopher.

Tumhare professor yahan baithe hai, but even then I say.. Woh business shuru nahi kar raha kyuki uski phat ti hai

The sentence probably captures the spirit of what Prof. Sunil Handa was trying to convey.

There are times in life when you are down and out. There are other such times when life just goes on, with that spark or the X-factor missing. At such times, you need an inspiration, an angel, and a stimulus. You need an initiative, some of those trillions of neuron fibres activated. You need vitality about life; you need to add that jazz. In short, you need a Sunil Handa.

Prof Sunil Handa spoke about basic things- but stuff which was reinforced in a striking way. For example, he gave an instance of a salesman trying to sell a product for Rs. X, while the customer said, Bahut mehenga hai. Prof. Handa defined a good salesman as the one who does not give up and say, Abe tu ruk, 10 minute aur is product ke bare mein gun gaan gaata hoon, gaatha sonata hoon.. Aur tab tu yeh product kharidega. This example had the audience wishing for a marketing professor like him!

There were these numerous instances of Prof. Handa speaking about his students, peers, colleagues, employees. All of these stories had something to tell you, something to motivate. He inspired, mocked, pleaded, forced and did what not to drive home one point- You are the maker of your own destiny. Do you have the bloody guts to take up something of your own? He even shattered myths by proving that getting trapped in the matrix of being an employee is far more risky that being an entrepreneur or a businessman.

The way Prof Handa connected, interacted with the audience was fascinating. I mean, its not every day that the audience wanted more even after four hours- today was one such day. How Ive wanted more such days during my stay at Indore!

Personally, after all the frustrations of the last few days, this was a morale booster, warm hot chocolate for the soul. Thank you Prof. Handa!

Id like to finish off by saying something which Prof Handa reinforced in a beautiful way, The day someone comes and tells me that your son is a boy of gold, I shall be happy to die! Remember that this is the only thing which every mother wants from you. And this cannot be achieved by doing a bloody job.

I could see tears in the eyes of the audience after this narration.

Entrepreneurship @ Prof. Sunil Handa

How often have you been mesmerized by a speaker? How often have you wished that a seminar would never end? I m sure it s not too many times But with Prof. Sunil Handa, that is exactly what happened. He has an ability to make you think and rethink. When he speaks about entrepreneurship, he can bring even a snail out of it s shell,

to challenge the world. I remember his words

Be aggressive, Be assertive Do not ask, Take

it! The worst that could happen is that you will be told no. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to bring out the atmosphere of that session through this blog-post, but I m just gonna let my thoughts flow Prof. Handa started off by asking people what stops them from venturing on their own. When he asked why many of us would want to work for a couple of years before starting a venture. Some of the replies which came out were: 1. Id work for a couple of years to earn some capital (seed money) for my business. 2. Id work for a few years to increase contacts and create a network. 3. Id work some time to gain experience. 4. I have to pay back my educational loan. How many of us give the exact same answers? Who are we kidding? As Prof. Handa said, the only reason is Tumhari phatti hai! With his extremely frank style, he dismissed each of those bluffs one by one: 1. Seed Money Two Years How Much??!! On evaluating his earnings over 2 years, one of the participants here, Nemo, said that hed probably save about 2-3 Lakhs (he undervalued himself TOO much, the downturn has really psyched people out). Isnt that a bit too little for capital money? Guess what the Prof had to say. Ill give you a loan for 3 lakhs (zero interest) when you finish your studies. Work on your venture If it clicks, you can pay me back the principle, otherwise forget about it. He had just one condition Immediately write a letter to the Placement Cell telling them that youre opting out of Final Placements!! Did he accept the offer? Well, would you have? Lets face it many out there are just too unsure about how much risk they can take. 2. Work to increase contacts: Prof Handa drew this diagram on the board and told us, During the next 2 years, you will be that small white dot in the huge organization.

Do you think youre gonna build contacts with the boss of another company?. Lets face it, he was right again. Kutte ki dosti Kutte se hi hoti hai. lol I guess that rules out number 2 also. Prof. Handa gave the example of one incident when one of his students got an appointment with Mr. Dayanidhi Maran for half an hour which ended up getting cropped to 5 min. A small window of opportunity opened during that brief visit and Prof Handa said he slid through in that one-millionth of a second. Essentially, he wanted to prove how you must be aggressive, and the fact that you dont need work experience to create contacts. You might just see a vacant seat at a table of esteemed personalities. Go grab the chair! 3. To gain experience According the Prof, you dont gain any experience at your 2 year job. Even if you do, youd learn far more working on your own venture. So this reason is again pointless and just a myth. 4. To pay back educational loan This is where Prof Handa spoke about The Circle of screwed Indebtedness. Whats that?? Well, its essentially a vicious circle of loans You know, loans taken to pay off previous loans. And the saga continues. The prof was ready to give an offer here as well To pay off our loan till we can pay him back, if wed agree to start our own venture. Why exactly are people afraid?? When OD told the Prof that jobs were safe and comfortable whereas entrepreneurship was risky, he made a complete mockery out of him. He told us that it was the over-protective behaviour of many parents and at times their non-terminating government jobs which gave us such perceptions. For him, it was obvious Venturing out on your own was the absolutely safer bet, and then again, he askedDont you guys want to be rich? Oh that qs. triggered another

drama when one of us said, Money isnt that important, I just wana chill out and enjoy life. Bad thing to say to Prof Handa. Another person got sent to the crusher. Let me tell you a bit about The Sunil Handa: Born in a simple family, Prof Handa and his brother jumped into entrepreneurship early and with just Rs. 15,000. They soon owned over half a dozen pharma factories and had to their names a whooping 1200 Crores (1995). However, that was when life took a turn for him. A dispute and business split with his brother left him devastated. It took him numerous months and visits to all the saadhus (pendulum babas, magneto-therapists etc.) whom relatives referred him to, before he could come out of the depression. When he finally did, he kind of retired from his busy entrepreneur life, and started Eklavya School in Ahmedabad. For the past 17 years, Mr. Sunil Handa has been teaching a course called LEM (Labrotary in Entrepreneurial Motivation), at IIM Ahmedabad, a course which he says has no book, no notes, no quizzes/exams, practically no pedagogy. Just a few lectures and a whole load of one-to-one sessions. And his students he calls LEMmers. Prof Handa said that around 200 of his students are entrepreneurs today; people who interact with him very regularly and seek guidance on numerous issues. There were two main entrepreneurial examples which the Professor gave: The first one was of Mr. K R Rao, one of Prof. Handas own batchmates at IIM Ahmedabad. (1977-1979) This lad was a true social butterfly at that time; someone who many didnt even remember during their silver jubilee reunion (2004). But with Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals under his sleeve, Raos net worth is over Rs. 3000 crore today. Though Mr. Rao was a B.Com-MBA grad, he was a true visionary. Moving on to the next example, Prof. Handa spoke about his teaching careers first entrepreneurial student, Mr. Narendra Murkumbi. This lads first idea was that of manufacturing a Neem Insecticide in Belgaum. Though Prof. Handa was apprehensive about the idea initially, he was assured of its success after speaking to an international neem expert, Dr. Gupta at ICRISAT. Though the product turned out to be a great success, the customers were farmers and hence the Receivables on his balance sheets were huge. It was in 1995 that Narendra came up with the idea of buying old sugar mills and starting production of sugar. Prof Handa told him that

he was crazy and that sugar was meant for people in the upper echelons of politics. But like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Murkumbi was willing to risk it. He went on with his plan and today he is the owner of one of the worlds most scientific state-of-the-art sugar mills, Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd.Not only that, he was also featured as one of Indias new bilionaires by Business World. One interesting thing about Renuka Sugars is that they use co-generation to produce their own energy (using the waste, bagasse which comes from sugarcane). No electricity is purchased from outside. When Murkumbi explained the idea to Prof Handa, he said, When god created sugarcane, he put enough energy in it to bring the sugar out of it. Flirting with Ideas After numerous success stories, Prof Handa told us that we must face reality, and its not necessary that your first venture becomes a million dollar lottery. You have to experimentFlirt with different ideas and eventually one of your plans will click. For some its the first for Prof Handa it was the 7th. One on One Interaction It was after the first session that Prof Handa decided to interact with a few participants who were interested in entrepreneurship. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity as well. (Thanks Jalan). It was nice speaking to Prof Handa for about 25 min where we discussed certain patchy ideas that I had in my mind. He had so much to share and I couldve sat there forever. But time is one thing you dont get when you need it the most. Anyways, I guess we all hope to interact with him again in the future. Lets see how much effect such talks have on IIM Indores participants, and how many of us venture out on our own some day. Interaction with Prof. Sunil Handa POSTED BY SHASHANK ON TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009 Hello! Haan Manoj*? Arey yaar wo us chemical ka kya kya naam hai jo tum 1 crore me bechne wale ho? Oh Achha haan yaad aa gaya.. ok.. thank you.. bye! In a class room full of amused faces, Prof. Sunil Handa disconnected the phone and went on to explain how and why one should go about being an entrepreneur. Mixing hindi with english in a very identifiable Gujrati touch to his accent, Prof. Handa carried out what I term as one of the

most inspiring talks I have attended. To say that every ear in that room was impressed would be an understatement. Addressing people by their names and siting examples from their and his own perosnal lives, he ensured that the session was vivid and interactive. A master at public speaking as he appeared to be, he used various quotes, jokes and anecdotes to support his ideas. He was sharp and straightforward. And believe me, he was effective like anything. I could already see many eyes in the room dreaming of their own ventures. How do you decide what business to take up? I never get it when people say that they dont want to continue with their family business, he said. Stressing on the fact that one can easily learn on the go, he suggested that the best option for a person is always to join his fathers business and add new dimensions to it according to his personal interests and competencies. He also explained how one can identify the growth sectors and rising industries and try and exploit that growth. To B school students he had a very clear message that the summer internships are one of the best opportunities to learn about a business and identify oppportunities. When to start? Can you name one successful person whose reason of success can be found in the later part of his life? When Prof. Handa reeived no answer to this question, his mesage was clear. The best time to start is now. Now, when we are young, ambitious and energetic. He said that all a man does after the age of 30 is to reap the crop that sowed in his twenties. He also said that according to him one year wasted now was commensurate to 10 years at his age in terms of productivity. Leadership While entrepreneurship was his prime focus he also touched upon the topic of leadership as entrepreneurs have to eventually prove themselves as leaders in orer to be successful. Using a mix of story telling skills and theatrics he beautifully brought out the example of Alexander as a great leader. He said that if entrepreneurs could be great leaders, attrition would never have been heard of. Be it your subordinates or your peers, to be successful as an entrepreneur, you must be a champion at relationships and thats what maketh a leader.

On the topic of choosing subjects during MBA, he stressed on taking up subjects dealing with soft skills and behaviour sciences as he feels those are the subjects that would prove to have the most practical relevance for an entrepreneur. He also gave ideas on scaling up a venture and identifying the weak spots. There were many more topics and many more examples to suit them. Overall it was a session that left many people including myself thinking seriously about starting a venture as soon as we pass out of this institute. He expressed great interest in helping anyone who had a serious inclination towards entrepreneurship. The best part of his talk was that he got very personal and yet did not lose connection with the overall audience. And most importantly, while he agreed that you need lady luck by your side to become an Ambani, he definitely showed a few roads that could lead to her and one of them is the right outlook. Let me tell you, it is extremely rare for me to get impressed by a professor but even I think that the standing ovation he received at the end of the session was justified.

Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation Prof. Sunil Handa Public Event Date and Time August 8, 2009, 2:00 PM to August 9, 2009, 10:00 AM Description On a cozy Saturday afternoon at IIT, when you find over hundred people sitting in an auditorium rather than lazying around in their rooms and another fifty lined up outside the door, you know something is different. It definitely was. Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur took the pleasure of inviting Prof. Sunil Handa, Professor at IIM Ahmedabad and Founder of Eklavya Education Foundation a no-profit-no-loss endeavour for a Leadership Guest Lecture on 8th August, 2009. Students had thronged up to hear Sunil Handa who is both an entrepreneur with a difference and a teacher with a purpose. He took a class on Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation, (LEM), the same course that he takes at IIMA. This course is an extremely coveted one at IIM and students bid almost 90% of their credits to get admitted to this course.

He started the class on a grand note, describing his own fascinating tale of the transition from an extremely difficult childhood to become what he is now a truly inspiring entrepreneur and a mentor to many other entrepreneurs. An alumnus of BITS Pilani 1977 EEE batch, he went on to join IIM Ahmedabad after his graduation. He considers the IIMA experience to be one the most challenging ones in his education, with the grueling competition and the enormous work-load. He believes that the experience of living two great years with the best minds of India is worth every effort. Right after graduating, he joined a company like many of his mates, but soon realized that he could exploit not more than 2% of his potential working on a desk. The job wasnt challenging enough for him. Frustrated of the work environment, he left his job and decided to establish a consultancy company along with his brother. He took a small loan from his father and as he calls it, plunged into the ocean of entrepreneurship. His first idea was a mediocre success. He was not satisfied wanted more. So he left the venture to enter into something else. The brothers toyed with various ideas with varied success and failure. Finally, after experimenting with about 8 ideas they finally struck gold with their 9th idea. His Core Emballage, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company became the largest manufacturer of IV fluids in the second year of its operation and went on to become third largest in the world later. The net worth of the company was over $240 million by 1998. Clearly, it shows that persistence is the key. The opportunities lie scattered around the world, we just need to dig them out for ourselves. He further elucidated his point by illustrating the tale of one of his student Narendra Murkumbi, who started a factory that made Neem insecticide, something which was unheard of at that time. He was relatively successful with the venture, but like his mentor wanted more. He bought sugar mills of a sick unit, shifted them to his base and started a sugar making company called Shree Renuka Sugars. Today, he is a man worth 1600 crores rupees. Prof. Handa kept on stressing on the fact that a job means to limit ones abilities. Glorified technical clerks, as he calls them, are what IITians and other bright people become when companies lure them with six-figure salaries and perks. He, through examples from his own life and life of his students, was able to show the ability of the human mind and its infiniteness, and how entrepreneurship is able to draw it out. He exhorted people not to sell your potential for a petty amount which service pays, he told people to expand their horizon and startup to earn big.

There are no traits of an entrepreneur he says. An entrepreneur does not necessarily have to be a good speaker or a very outgoing person, even a shy and reserved one like another of his students, Raghavendra Rao, who was an average student with a vernacular education background and a particularly reserved person now is a rich man and owner of a large pharmaceutical company, Orchid Chemicals. He particularly highlighted the importance of a mentor in an entrepreneurs journey to success. He says that the mentor should be someone who is someone close, and who is experienced and progressive; somebody who believes in your idea. The person should also be very honest with you and should not give you false assurances. Mentors are really important in the early rigors of an entrepreneurs career. Upon being asked, which thing to chose Value Creation or money, he replied that both entities went hand and glove. If one is creating something which will add value to the society then the idea is bound to create wealth. He also discussed about the fact that choosing your partner(s) is a very crucial decision. While starting up its really difficult to manage things all by oneself, so its always better to have a partner or two so that the storm can be weathered much easily, but the number should not exceed than that. However, he also warned that if the partnership breaks, its normally very disheartening and it takes the individual a lot of time to recover from it. He also took swipe at people selling their successful ventures for instant money. The next day he took another class at 8 AM in the morning, and students attended the session with even more enthusiasm. He spoke about potential learning environments where fresh graduates can hone their entrepreneurial skills. With all eyes open wide, he shared with us THREE jobs which one could take up before starting out. First one was to be a part of the execution team of a new upcoming field project of a large company. For instance, if Asian Paints were to setup a factory in Gujrat, they will need a project team that could spearhead their operations there. One could be a part of this team and being an integral member, one can understand the dynamics involved in putting up a new project in motion. Second suggestion was join to a middle-sized company in its growing phase as senior team executive it would provide the individual a deep insight into the challenges of building a company. Third and the most interesting one was to become an executive assistant to the CEO/MD in a mid-sized company

and be right in the middle of every important decision made by the company. One can learn all the nuisances of running a business being an executive assistant to a top brass of the company. Prof. Handa also said that starting up a consultancy is also a great option just after graduating, through which one can learn great deals. His life-story, right from a tough childhood to a fighter entrepreneur with a magnetic personality has inspired over 250 people to become entrepreneurs. If India has to solve its problems and make vision 2020 a reality, we need people like him to lift up young minds and motivate them into becoming world leaders. We salute the phenomenon that is Prof. Sunil Handa.

The Alchemist Eklavya Education Foundation / Core EmballageMr. Sunil HandaMr. Sunil Handa came to Ahmedabad after the Pakistan s partition. Having lost both his parents hestarted his life from scratch as a mill mazdoor in a textile mill there. He worked from 12 in the mid night till8 in the morning living in a chawl, near the mill. He did little study in the morning & worked as a labassistant in a polytechnic during noon. Sunil declares he was sleeping in his life until he joinedHyderabad public school in class XI, where a professor made a prince out of the frog in him. Being an allIndia topper in physics, Sunil got into BITS, Pilani and there he did a lot of research on solar energy. Healong with his friend identified one idea called Honeycomb Collectors , they worked on it and wrote apaper on the findings. It was published in International Conference at Centre for Theoretical Physics inItaly. Both of them were asked to present it, unable to bear the travel cost he tried arranging it throughhonorarium from few companies along with his friend. It was considered a breakthrough work in solar energy.From a career in research he decided to something new & now it is management and eventually got intoIIM A. After his MBA, he opted to join FAIR Foundation to Aid Industrial Recovery a hot organization tojoin at that time along with 4 seniors and 10 batch mates. The concept of FAIR was to take a sickindustrial unit from bank, put a young MBA in charge as Chief Executive and turn around the company in2 ears. Sunil zeroed in on a company called Merchants Steel Industry Private ltd at Bhavnagar.Meanwhile he did some consultancy services being part of FAIR and organized Master CraftswomanAssociation of Mithila which still exists even today. After paying back old loans, salaries and constitutinga new board at Merchants Steel Sunil realized

that this chapter of his life was over.Sunil s Brother Sushil was running a management consultancy & he made an offer of partnership to him.They became equal partners in a Core consultancy Services which after a couple of months becamePrivate limited company. Along with management consulting they did consulting in areas of computerstoo, were their turnover was1 crore a year. [a huge amount then]. But suddenly, they closed it all down &got into Pharma Industry, besides tha fact that they didn t know anything about it. But Sunil has alwaysloved the challenge of mastering something new. Core Parenteral made remarkable innovations in IVFluid Industry sector though after which he decided he didn t want to its first factory was not IV Fluid italso made tablets, Capsules & liquids. Later after a year, IV Fluid Factory Core Parenteral private ltd wasstarted. It was 600 crore company with 5 huge factories. Sunil s innovation there includes design changesin machine, setting up of standard Batch size, time period of sterilization etc which are still put in use by95% of Pharma Industry. He then started another company called Core Emballage which manufacturescorrugated boards. It made a turnover of bout 3 crores and Sunil did pursue innovation there in the newcompany too, just to educate people about what the potential lies in that product. But later he happenedto separate from his brother which was a traumatic 10 months period for Sunil. After which he decided hedidn t want to do that business & corporate kind of a thing, there came the Sparkle idea of Education fieldand Eklavya was born. He plunged into that filed hiring 3 IIM A Graduates and spent 15 months going allover India & world to understand What made a great school . Being fairly clear in what they wanted their school to be, it began functioning from the year 1988. It has been divided into 4 different portions: pre-primary, junior, middle and senior level. Eklavya is stable and in a sense self sustaining but yet thrives onthe energy Sunil invests in. He had made an impact not only in the school, but also as an lecturer at IIM A

taking the Laboratory in Entrepreneurial Motivation (LEM) course. Out of 500 students who took up LEMover years have become Entrepreneurs.

" Hello! Haan Manoj*? Arey yaar wo us chemical ka kya kya naam hai jo tum 1 crore me bechne wale ho? OhAchha... haan yaad aa gaya.. ok.. thank you.. bye! " In a class room full of amused faces, Prof. Sunil Handa disconnected the phone and went on to explain how and whyone should go about being an entrepreneur. Mixing hindi with english in a very identifiable Gujrati touch to his accent,Prof. Handa carried out what I term as one of the most inspiring talks I have attended. To say that every ear in thatroom was impressed would be an understatement.Addressing people by their names and siting examples from their and his own perosnal lives, he ensured that thesession was vivid and interactive. A master at public speaking as he appeared to be, he used various quotes, jokesand anecdotes to support his ideas. He was sharp and straightforward. And believe me, he was effective likeanything. I could already see many eyes in the room dreaming of their own ventures. How do you decide what business to take up? " I never get it when people say that they don't want to continue with their family business " , he said. Stressing on thefact that one can easily learn on the go, he suggested that the best option for a person is always to join his father'sbusiness and add new dimensions to it according to his personal interests and competencies. He also explained howone can identify the growth sectors and rising industries and try and exploit that growth. To B school students he hada very clear message - that the summer internships are one of the best opportunities to learn about a business andidentify oppportunities. When to start?

" Can you name one successful person whose reason of success can be found in the later part of his life? " When Prof. Handa reeived no answer to this question, his mesage was clear. The best time to start is now. Now,when we are young, ambitious and energetic. He said that all a man does after the age of 30 is to reap the crop thatsowed in his twenties. He also said that according to him one year wasted now was commensurate to 10 years at hisage in terms of productivity. Leadership While entrepreneurship was his prime focus he also touched upon the topic of leadership as entrepreneurs have toeventually prove themselves as leaders in orer to be successful. Using a mix of story telling skills and theatrics hebeautifully brought out the example of Alexander as a great leader. He said that if entrepreneurs could be greatleaders, attrition would never have been heard of. Be it your subordinates or your peers, to be successful as anentrepreneur, you must be a champion at relationships and thats what maketh a leader. On the topic of choosing subjects during MBA, he stressed on taking up subjects dealing with soft skills andbehaviour sciences as he feels those are the subjects that would prove to have the most practical relevance for anentrepreneur. He also gave ideas on scaling up a venture and identifying the weak spots. There were many moretopics and many more examples to suit them. Overall it was a session that left many people including myself thinkingseriously about starting a venture as soon as we pass out of this institute. He expressed great interest in helpinganyone who had a serious inclination towards entrepreneurship. The best part of his talk was that he got verypersonal and yet did not lose connection with the overall audience. And most importantly, while he agreed that youneed lady luck by your side to become an Ambani, he definitely showed a few roads that could lead to her and one of them is the right outlook. Let me tell you, it is extremely rare for me to get impressed by a professor but even I thinkthat the standing ovation he received at the end of the session was justified.

A Day with Prof Sunil Handa, an Entrepreneur Evangelist We hear about so called Evangelist, in different fields. There are umpteen numbers of such folks. But there are few people who redefine Evangelism itself. They live, eat , breathe and preach what they love. You meet them once and it changes your life in a unique way. I have had the fortune to meet few such people. One such person who had come down to our campus is Mr. Sunil Handa, Professor at IIM Ahmedabad who takes LEM (Laboratory for Entrepreneurial Motivation) in IIM-A. When I saw the workshop invitation from IIM-Lucknows E-cell wing, I assumed it to just to be another so called workshop sessions. Except that this mail stated that he is not only a seasoned entrepreneur, he has inspired and motivated many of his students to take the untrodden path and become entrepreneurs themselves. I have been playing with this thought for sometime about taking the path of entrepreneur and making my mark, yet there has been this What If scenario in my mind. What if I fail, What if I dont succeed So I thought why not go and listen to a wise man and hear it from the horses mouth itself what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Prof.Sunil Handa started the workshop with the question why have you people come for this workshop. Few said they had come to listen to him. Someone said that he had been having an

idea in his mind for a long time and that he wanted to hear his speech to be inspired. Prof Handa called it the Kick in the Ass requirement.

And then he started sharing about his experience as an entrepreneur. One thing which stood out of his speech is the fact that the guy is passionately passionate about Entrepreneurship. Every word and every action of his would make you think and consider Entrepreneurship as your career option. The workshop he took was of three sessions of two hour duration. I cant put down all that he shared with us (mainly coz I dont remember all that was shared), yet Iam sharing the important highlights which he said about entrepreneurship.

Foremost, the point he said was that its best to become an entrepreneur as soon as you can. Few of the people had asked if its better to work for few years (2-3 years) , save some money, build network and then try out the waters. For which Prof. Handa said that the two years at this time of our life is equivalent to 20 years of his time. The energy, madness, passion and enthu which we have at this moment will fade as time goes on. Not to mention, the additional responsibilities which we would be having. Hence, this is the best time ! About the money saving/network, he said that at this time, the money we would end saving would be miniscule which can be arranged anyhow. And the contacts aim to make, would be of our similar profile, to be of any major help. Overall, his message was that the two years not is the GOLDEN period of your life. Leverage it!!!

Another important message which he had shared was the fact that whichever business you want to start on, make sure you are the KING in that business. Nobody in this world should be more knowledgeable than you in that field. Know the in and outs of the business, its working, your competitors etc. The moment you are qualified to that extent, you will be the best in your business too.

Then he told us the importance of Partnership. Partnership is the most important thing while starting out, hence choose your partner wisely. He advised that Partners should have complementary skills, instead of having someone you like, or someone you gel well with. He said that Partnership is a deep and meaningful bond which one has to share. So choose carefully

and in a wise manner.

He also said the two commonly repeated phrases which a Entrepreneur hears often. First, is whenever you suggest to do something in new way, people will give you one answer we cant do it that way Coz people have never done it that way! Secondly, most of the time things will go on as they have been going on. Be it be any process to manufacture something, or way of ordering things etc. unless you question it, it wouldnt change. And questioning is what every entrepreneur should do. Because, most often, we can find new ways of doing things much better. The standard reply people will give when you ask them why werent you told that this could be done before is You never asked me

I will end up by saying the one thing he said which stood out in his workshop. You all would have heard about it, yet its the Elixir for an Entrepreneur. It is Never give up. In the business and in life, you will face many situations when obstacles seems insurmountable, you dont find answers to your problems, and nothing seems to be happening. At those moments, remember this NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP ! Some thing would definitely happen., if you keep persisting, the problem is gonna yield sometime. But just ensure that you NEVER YIELD to the PROBLEM.

Thus ended the wonderful six hour session workshop by Prof.Sunil Handa. Just want to convey my sincere thanks to him and hopefully one day will give my Guru Dakshana to him by charting along the same path and making my mark. He is one hell of an Evangelist !!! Entrepreneurship @ Prof. Sunil Handa Posted: March 16, 2009 by Ravi Mehta in askbima, eklavya school, Entrepreneurship, fireup, IIM Indore, K R Rao, LEMmers, narendra murkumbi, orchid chemicals and pharmaceuticals, ourownbook, shree renuka sugars, Sunil Handa 13

Prof. Sunil Handa How often have you been mesmerized by a speaker? How often have you wished that a seminar would never end? Im sure its not too many times But with Prof. Sunil Handa, that is exactly what happened. He has an ability to make you think and rethink. When he speaks about entrepreneurship, he can bring even a snail out of its shell, to challenge the world. I remember his words Be aggressive, Be assertive Do not ask, Take it! The worst that could happen is that you will be told no. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to bring out the atmosphere of that session through this blogpost, but Im just gonna let my thoughts flow Prof. Handa started off by asking people what stops them from venturing on their own.When he asked why many of us would want to work for a couple of years before starting a venture. Some of the replies which came out were: 1. Id work for a couple of years to earn some capital (seed money) for my business. 2. Id work for a few years to increase contacts and create a network. 3. Id work some time to gain experience. 4. I have to pay back my educational loan.

How many of us give the exact same answers? Who are we kidding? As Prof. Handa said, the only reason is Tumhari phatti hai! With his extremely frank style, he dismissed each of those bluffs one by one: 1. Seed Money Two Years How Much??!!

On evaluating his earnings over 2 years, one of the participants here, Nemo, said that hed probably save about 2-3 Lakhs (he undervalued himself TOO much, the downturn has really psyched people out). Isnt that a bit too little for capital money? Guess what the Prof had to say. Ill give you a loan for 3 lakhs (zero interest) when you finish your studies. Work on your venture If it clicks, you can pay me back the principle, otherwise forget about it. He had just one condition Immediately write a letter to the Placement Cell telling them that youre opting out of Final Placements!! Did he accept the offer? Well, would you have? Lets face it many out there are just too unsure about how much risk they can take. 2. Work to increase contacts:

Prof Handa drew this diagram on the board and told us, During the next 2 years, you will be that small white dot in the huge organization.

Do you think youre gonna build contacts with the boss of another company?. Lets face it, he was right again. Kutte ki dosti Kutte se hi hoti hai. lol I guess that rules out number 2 also. Prof. Handa gave the example of one incident when one of his students got an appointment with Mr. Dayanidhi Maran for half an hour which ended up getting cropped to 5 min. A small window of opportunity opened during that brief visit and Prof Handa said he slid through in that one-millionth of a second. Essentially, he wanted to prove how you must be aggressive,

and the fact that you dont need work experience to create contacts. You might just see a vacant seat at a table of esteemed personalities. Go grab the chair! 3. To gain experience

According the Prof, you dont gain any experience at your 2 year job. Even if you do, youd learn far more working on your own venture. So this reason is again pointless and just a myth. 4. To pay back educational loan

This is where Prof Handa spoke about The Circle of screwed Indebtedness. Whats that?? Well, its essentially a vicious circle of loans You know, loans taken to pay off previous loans. And the saga continues. The prof was ready to give an offer here as well To pay off our loan till we can pay him back, if wed agree to start our own venture. Why exactly are people afraid??

When OD told the Prof that jobs were safe and comfortable whereas entrepreneurship was risky, he made a complete mockery out of him. He told us that it was the overprotective behaviour of many parents and at times their non-terminating government jobs which gave us such perceptions. For him, it was obvious Venturing out on your own was the absolutely safer bet, and then again, he askedDont you guys want to be rich? Oh that qs. triggered another drama when one of us said, Money isnt that important, I just wana chill out and enjoy life. Bad thing to say to Prof Handa. Another person got sent to the crusher. Let me tell you a bit about The Sunil Handa:

Born in a simple family, Prof Handa and his brother jumped into entrepreneurship early and with just Rs. 15,000. They soon owned over half a dozen pharma factories and had to their names a whooping 1200 Crores (1995). However, that was when life took a turn for him. A dispute and business split with his brother left him devastated. It took him numerous months and visits to all the saadhus (pendulum babas, magneto-therapists etc.) whom relatives referred him to, before he could come out of the depression. When he finally did, he kind of retired from his busy entrepreneur life, and started Eklavya

School in Ahmedabad. For the past 17 years, Mr. Sunil Handa has been teaching a course called LEM (Labrotary in Entrepreneurial Motivation), at IIM Ahmedabad, a course which he says has no book, no notes, no quizzes/exams, practically no pedagogy. Just a few lectures and a whole load of one-to-one sessions. And his students he calls LEMmers. Prof Handa said that around 200 of his students are entrepreneurs today; people who interact with him very regularly and seek guidance on numerous issues. There were two main entrepreneurial examples which the Professor gave: The first one was of Mr. K R Rao, one of Prof. Handas own batchmates at IIM Ahmedabad. (1977-1979) This lad was a true social butterfly at that time; someone who many didnt even remember during their silver jubilee reunion (2004). But with Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals under his sleeve, Raos net worth is over Rs. 3000 crore today. Though Mr. Rao was a B.Com-MBA grad, he was a true visionary. Moving on to the next example, Prof. Handa spoke about his teaching careers first entrepreneurial student, Mr. Narendra Murkumbi. This lads first idea was that of manufacturing a Neem Insecticide in Belgaum. Though Prof. Handa was apprehensive about the idea initially, he was assured of its success after speaking to an international neem expert, Dr. Gupta at ICRISAT. Though the product turned out to be a great success, the customers were farmers and hence the Receivables on his balance sheets were huge. It was in 1995 that Narendra came up with the idea of buying old sugar mills and starting production of sugar. Prof Handa told him that he was crazy and that sugar was meant for people in the upper echelons of politics. But like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Murkumbi was willing to risk it. He went on with his plan and today he is the owner of one of the worlds most scientific state-of-the-art sugar mills, Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd. Not only that, he was also featured as one of Indias new bilionaires by Business World. One interesting thing about Renuka Sugars is that they use co-generation to produce their own energy (using the waste, bagasse which comes from sugarcane). No electricity is purchased from outside. When Murkumbi explained the idea to Prof Handa, he said, When god created sugarcane, he put enough energy in it to bring the sugar out of it.

Flirting

with

Ideas

After numerous success stories, Prof Handa told us that we must face reality, and its not necessary that your first venture becomes a million dollar lottery. You have to experimentFlirt with different ideas and eventually one of your plans will click. For some its the first for Prof Handa it was the 7th. One on One Interaction

It was after the first session that Prof Handa decided to interact with a few participants who were interested in entrepreneurship. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity as well. (Thanks Jalan). It was nice speaking to Prof Handa for about 25 min where we discussed certain patchy ideas that I had in my mind. He had so much to share and I couldve sat there forever. But time is one thing you dont get when you need it the most. Anyways, I guess we all hope to interact with him again in the future. Lets see how much effect such talks have on IIM Indores participants, and how many of us venture out on our own some day. Some recent ventures by IIM Indore alumni: OurOwnBook: OurOwnBook.com is a user driven writing community started by 2 participants from IIM Indores Class of 2008, Dhruv Bhushan and Anubhav Jain. ourownbook.com is based on the revolutionary concept of Collaborative Book Building (CoBooBu). It brings together users, who wish to write, in an interactive and collaborative form to develop a storyline which would be published as a book. The two co-founders believe that Anyone Can Write. In fact, most people are desirous of being able to write an article, story, poem, blog, anything. They hope to someday see their names on the front page of a book. The only limitations are the lack of time to sit down and write hundreds of pages or the opportunity to be able to get a best seller published. OurOwnBook overcomes both. How it works? OurOwnBook provides a brief storyline. The users develop the story collaboratively by appending to the already existing content. The moderators continuously review the contributions while providing cues, to develop an interesting plot. Once the storyline is completely developed, they get it published in the form of a

book. All contributors are recognized as co-authors of the book, making it Our Own Book.

Fire up: fireup.co.in is a revolutionary e-learning portal for Management Entrance Training. It has been designed to help the students fraternity crack the toughest management entrance examination, CAT, to qualify for admissions to the IIMs and other top B-schools in India. It is the brainchild of Mr. Vineet Patawari (IIMI Class of 2008) who spurned lucrative seven figure job offers to devote himself to his burning passion of expanding the learning horizons with new emergent technologies. Ask Bima: askbima.com is another one of Patawaris innovative online ventures. It is an online insurance information and application portal serving both investors and advisors. It offers investors a platform to compare independently and choose the best life and non-life insurance product. Entrepreneurship @ Prof. Sunil Handa

How often have you been mesmerized by a speaker? How often have you wished that a seminar would never end? I'm sure it's not too many times...

But with Prof. Sunil Handa, that is exactly what happened. He has an ability to make you think and rethink. When he speaks about entrepreneurship, he can bring even a snail out of it's shell, to challenge the world. I remember his words - "Be aggressive, Be assertive... Do not ask, Take it! The worst that could happen is that you will be told no."

It would be IMPOSSIBLE to bring out the atmosphere of that session through this blogpost, but I'm just gonna let my thoughts flow...

Prof. Handa started off by asking people what stops them from venturing on their own. When he asked why many of us would want to work for a couple of years before starting a venture. Some of the replies which came out were: 1. I'd work for a couple of years to earn some capital (seed money) for my business. 2. I'd work for a few years to increase contacts and create a network. 3. 4. I I'd work have to some pay time back to my gain experience. loan. educational

How many of us give the exact same answers? Who are we kidding? As Prof. Handa said, the only reason is - "Tumhari phatti hai!" With his extremely frank style, he dismissed 1. Seed each Money of those Two bluffs Years one How by one: Much??!!

On evaluating his earnings over 2 years, one of the participants here, "Nemo", said that he'd probably save about 2-3 Lakhs (he undervalued himself TOO much, the downturn has really psyched people out...). Isn't that a bit too little for capital money? Guess what the Prof had to say.... I'll give you a loan for 3 lakhs (zero interest) when you finish your studies. Work on your venture... If it clicks, you can pay me back the principle, otherwise forget about it. He had just one condition... Immediately write a letter to the Placement Cell telling them that you're opting out of Final Placements!! Did he accept the offer? Well, would you have? Let's face it - many out there are just too unsure about how much risk 2. will be Work that small they to white dot in can increase the huge take. contacts: organization.

Prof Handa drew this diagram on the board and told us, "During the next 2 years, you

Do you think you're gonna build contacts with the boss of another company?". Let's face it, he was right again. Kutte ki dosti Kutte se hi hoti hai. lol ... I guess that rules out number 2 also. Prof. Handa gave the example of one incident when one of his students got an appointment with Mr. Dayanidhi Maran for half an hour which ended up getting cropped to 5 min. A small window of opportunity opened during that brief visit and Prof Handa said he slid through in that one-millionth of a second. Essentially, he wanted to prove how you must be aggressive, and the fact that you don't need work experience to create contacts. You might just see a vacant 3. seat at a table To of esteemed personalities. gain Go grab the chair!

experience

According the Prof, you don't gain any experience at your 2 year job. Even if you do, you'd learn far more working on your own venture. So this reason is again pointless and just 4. To pay a back educational myth. loan

This is where Prof Handa spoke about "The Circle of screwed Indebtedness". What's that?? Well, it's essentially a vicious circle of loans... You know, loans taken to pay off previous loans. And the saga continues.... The prof was ready to give an offer here as well - To pay off our loan till we can pay him back, if we'd agree to start our own venture. Why exactly are people afraid??

When OD told the Prof that jobs were safe and comfortable whereas entrepreneurship was risky, he made a complete mockery out of him. He told us that it was the overprotective behaviour of many parents and at times their non-terminating government

jobs which gave us such perceptions. For him, it was obvious... Venturing out on your own was the absolutely safer bet, and then again, he asked..."Don't you guys want to be rich?" Oh that qs. triggered another drama when one of us said, "Money isn't that important, I just wana chill out and enjoy life." Bad thing to say to Prof Handa. Another person Let me tell got you a sent bit to about "The the Sunil crusher. Handa":

Born in a simple family, Prof Handa and his brother jumped into entrepreneurship early and with just Rs. 15,000. They soon owned over half a dozen pharma factories and had to their names a whooping 1200 Crores (1995). However, that was when life took a turn for him. A dispute and business split with his brother left him devastated. It took him numerous months and visits to all the saadhus (pendulum babas, magneto-therapists etc.) whom relatives referred him to, before he could come out of the depression. When he finally did, he kind of retired from his busy entrepreneur life, and started Eklavya School in Ahmedabad. For the past 17 years, Mr. Sunil Handa has been teaching a course called "LEM" (Labrotary in Entrepreneurial Motivation), at IIM Ahmedabad, a course which he says has no book, no notes, no quizzes/exams, practically no pedagogy. Just a few lectures and a whole load of one-to-one sessions. And his students he calls LEMmers. Prof Handa said that around 200 of his students are entrepreneurs today; people who interact with him very regularly and seek guidance on numerous issues. There were two main entrepreneurial examples which the Professor gave: The first one was of Mr. K R Rao, one of Prof. Handa's own batchmates at IIM Ahmedabad. (1977-1979) This lad was a true social butterfly at that time; someone who many didn't even remember during their silver jubilee reunion (2004). But with "Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals" under his sleeve, Rao's net worth is over Rs. 3000 crore today. Though Mr. Rao was a B.Com-MBA grad, he was a true visionary. Moving on to the next example, Prof. Handa spoke about his teaching career's first entrepreneurial student, Mr. Narendra Murkumbi. This lad's first idea was that of manufacturing a Neem Insecticide in Belgaum. Though Prof. Handa was apprehensive

about the idea initially, he was assured of its success after speaking to an international neem expert, Dr. Gupta at ICRISAT. Though the product turned out to be a great success, the customers were farmers and hence the Receivables on his balance sheets were huge. It was in 1995 that Narendra came up with the idea of buying old sugar mills and starting production of sugar. Prof Handa told him that he was crazy and that sugar was meant for people in the upper echelons of politics. But like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Murkumbi was willing to risk it. He went on with his plan and today he is the owner of one of the world's most scientific state-of-the-art sugar mills, Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd. Not only that, he was also featured as one of India's new bilionaires by Business World. One interesting thing about Renuka Sugars is that they use co-generation to produce their own energy (using the waste, bagasse which comes from sugarcane). No electricity is purchased from outside. When Murkumbi explained the idea to Prof Handa, he said, "When god created sugarcane, he put enough energy in it to bring the sugar out of it." Flirting with Ideas

After numerous success stories, Prof Handa told us that we must face reality, and it's not necessary that your first venture becomes a million dollar lottery. You have to experiment..."Flirt with different ideas" and eventually one of your plans will click. For some One it's the first... on for Prof Handa One it was the 7th.

Interaction

It was after the first session that Prof Handa decided to interact with a few participants who were interested in entrepreneurship. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity as well. (Thanks Jalan...). It was nice speaking to Prof Handa for about 25 min where we discussed certain patchy ideas that I had in my mind. He had so much to share and I could've sat there forever. But time is one thing you don't get when you need it the most. Anyways, I guess we all hope to interact with him again in the future. Let's see how much effect such talks have on IIM Indore's participants, and how many of us venture out Some on recent our ventures by own IIM some Indore day.... alumni:

OurOwnBook: OurOwnBook.com is a user driven writing community started by 2 participants from IIM Indore's Class of 2008, Dhruv Bhushan and Anubhav Jain. ourownbook.com is based on the revolutionary concept of Collaborative Book Building (CoBooBu). It brings together users, who wish to write, in an interactive and collaborative form to develop a storyline which would be published as a book. The two co-founders believe that Anyone Can Write. In fact, most people are desirous of being able to write an article, story, poem, blog, anything. They hope to someday see their names on the front page of a book. The only limitations are the lack of time to sit down and write hundreds of pages or the opportunity to be able to get a best seller published. OurOwnBook overcomes both. How it works? OurOwnBook provides a brief storyline. The users develop the story collaboratively by appending to the already existing content. The moderators continuously review the contributions while providing cues, to develop an interesting plot. Once the storyline is completely developed, they get it published in the form of a book. All contributors are recognized as co-authors of the book, making it "Our Own Book".

Fire up: fireup.co.in is a revolutionary e-learning portal for Management Entrance Training. It has been designed to help the students fraternity crack the toughest management entrance examination, CAT, to qualify for admissions to the IIMs and other top B-schools in India. It is the brainchild of Mr. Vineet Patawari (IIMI Class of 2008) who spurned lucrative seven figure job offers to devote himself to his burning passion of expanding the learning horizons with new emergent technologies. Ask Bima: askbima.com is another one of Patawari's innovative online ventures. It is an online insurance information and application portal serving both investors and advisors. It offers investors a platform to compare independently and choose the best life and non-life insurance product. Rashmi Bansal inspires IIM K potential entrepreneurs Life @ K No Responses

Sep 212010

Rashmi Bansal was invited by ECell to visit the campus on 19/09/2010. She held an informal session with students talking about her books Stay Hungry Stay Foolish and Connect the Dots. She also spoke about some interesting entrepreneurs she happened to meet in Kerala. She spoke about some entrepreneurs whose stories could not be published in the book Connect the Dots but were interesting stories. Examples included two alumni of IIMK who are into the business of Banana chips. She also gave a very interesting example of a young entrepreneur in the incubation centre, NIT Calicut. She used this example to convey how inspirations may be there everywhere around us, we need to have the tendency to look for them. Rashmi also guided students regarding the importance of having informal interactions with faculty members because they always have stories which can be enlightening to students. On being asked about examples of Failure in entrepreneurship, she told that there is nothing called a permanent failure in entrepreneurship; it is like an addiction, you would seldom feel like closing down a business and going back to job. She told she has never met any person who has felt like a failure after being an entrepreneur. If you dont succeed it is a lesson, if you do, you fulfil your dream. A job is a safe option. so one can rather seek the adventures and do something new than work in a job with limited exposure. Students were lucky to get some practical advice from her when she told them that every campus has around 10 percent students who are capable of making it big if they try something different, but every student should use the

time in the college to discover if he or she belongs to that 10 percent. When asked about the difficulty in getting a book published in India, she said one should write for himself, and his satisfaction, publications and audience will follow. She spoke about
y y y y y

Her experience as a book writer How she ended up being a writer? What the life of a writer is like? Journalism as a career option Challenges that one faces in starting up and maintaining a magazine

She was full praise to the architecture of the buildings on campus and the beautiful natural landscape around the campus. She commented that the campus looked very different from the other IIMs and it is the most beautiful of all the IIMs that she has seen. She liked the concept of Contemplation Room and Meditation Centre in the campus.

The Sunil Handa Guest Talk Posted on October 24, 2010 by hillockeye Sunday mornings on campus are like desultory conversations. There is no saying when theyll begin, where theyll end and what track theyll follow. This Sunday morning was a little different. Of course, we all woke up groggy-eyed from the nights revelries. Unlike the other Sundays though, we woke up at the ungodly hour of 10:00 am. Somewhere amidst the stupor, wed realised that Sunil Handa was coming to campus for a guest talk and we were acting with this never-before sense of urgency. By, 10:30, an eager auditorium was nearly filled with students. Normally it requires dire threats like compulsory attendance and other draconian laws to fill the auditorium. This time the students came on their own. Sunil Handa is a familiar name in the B-school circuit. All of us have global gyaan on him, associate him with entrepreneurship, know that his motivational speeches are highly regarded. Few of us really knew anything substantial about him, until today. Just like many of us have a

latent dream and nebulous plans of starting our own venture, articulate them in our B-school interviews but rarely have the motivation and wherewithal to take the plunge. He started speaking, about entrepreneurship his own experiences and those of his students. One had expected in his speech, a very polished, almost stilted English style of a Professor talking to his young students. Instead, the professor frequently ditched formal for vernacular, eschewed pompous English sayings for simple Hindi aphorisms, and replaced jargon with plainspeak. Here was a self-made gujjubhai, cut from the same cloth as most of us, with an authentic nasal twang to boot. Three or four things came out clearly from his talk. The first was about taking the plunge the urgency and the ease of doing it. He used the CAT as an example to show how those who had risked everything, resigned from their job and devoted themselves full-time to crack the CAT, enjoyed a better chance of success than those who tried to minimize their risk by holding on to their job and hoping to scrounge into the IIMs simultaneously. Similarly, or to an even greater extent, it is difficult to have a job, dream up an entrepreneurial venture and then leave the job when the venture becomes successful, he said. Because, when youre doing a Lallu job, you can never think beyond its narrow confines and do what you were meant to do. To make you realise how eminently doable this (starting a business) was, he told you that nearly all his 300 successful student entrepreneurs had started with a capital investment of 2 to 8 lakhs. Another theme was perseverance. Most of his students had succeeded with their seventh or eighth venture. He himself had bit the dust with several failed businesses including a management consultancy, a ceiling fan distribution agency, a TV distribution agency before finally coming good with a pharmaceutical venture. He then went on to obliterate a few myths , starting with job security. What security does a job in this cut-throat corporate world provide, he asked? According to him, today if you are above forty and without a job, youll be condemned to be jobless for the rest of your life (convenient friends example cited). A small mom-and-pop store in the corner of your locality, a self-owned business, is what provides true job security. Another myth busted was about the need to have specific personality types to succeed as an entrepreneur. He gave the example of Raghavendra Rao,

owner of Orchid Chemicals, one of the most anonymous and introverted of his batch-mates at IIM Ahmedabad batch of 79. And so on and so forth he went, occasionally fielding questions from the participants, buttressing each point with anecdotes and driving them home with witticisms. Some of the stories were as amusing as they were inspiring. He talked about the way he forced one of his subordinates to resign from a routine salesmans job, because the fellow had potential as a sculptor. It all ended on an inspiring note. Insights on What your parents really want from you. The answer was, They want you to be successful, reasonably well off, and most importantly, respected in society.. If a stranger meets your parents and says that they are fortunate to have a child like you, then yours is a life well lived. And perhaps, entrepreneurship is the best way to leave that imprint on this world, across the sands of time. The simplicity of his message was truly poignant. And there were lump-in-the-throat moments for some in the audience. What better compliment can be paid to a speaker than the fact that complete strangers in his audience were moved to tears. Entrepreneurship Workshop by Prof. Sunil Handa Sunday, August 15, 2010 Yesterday I bunked a class of a top IIMB professor to attend a session by a top IIMA professor :p

However I was not disappointed. It was some of the first best sessions, I had till now @ IIMB. It was the Entrepreneurship workshop organized as part of the event Eximius, the Entrepreneurship Summit at IIM Bangalore.

How more motivating can a session be more than this! At the same time not with just only motivational gyaan! but also the hard facts and some cruel, real life things that can be expected from an entrepreneurial career.

Prof Sunil Handa started the session informally with an intriguing question "Why are you here? " After some intersteing answers from audience like "I have floated a company now; would like to get some tips on how to move forward", "to understand how it is like to be an entrepreneur from your experiences", "always wanted to attend a live session of the famous Sunil Handa" and so on... he started talking about our well know phrase:

"Oh Man!, again today I have to see the **** boss; I want to quit the job today!" "I should not be working like a slave like this! I should do something different!!" The thought provoking question he was continuously asking was "What is stopping you from doing these??"

The typical answers were:

1. Lack of competency & network 2. Social Obligations (barriers from kins) 3. Lack of investment power

He counter argued for each of these by mentioning his views which were truly thought provoking. Some of the excerpts:

Working in a company for 2-3 years will not help you to build a core competence or a influential network. Even if you are an MBA from IIM, you will just be placed as an employee, say as Marketing in charge for a product in a region for a country in the firm with many products, above which many groups & hierarchy. You will not gain much by working in the profile even for 5 years to start a firm; better you can start it straightaway. If you are adamant that you will start only after a couple of years of working, go for a challenging job; a self example he explained of taking up the CEO post after graduating from IIMA of a firm which was seized by bank because of bankruptcy.

I liked the way he kept on saying, "what are you? A Management Trainee! ; I am the chief

executive; even if its a bankrupt company!!". The point he was trying to make was, even though he spent less than 2 years there, the experience he got was more than even if you work for 20 years! because you will have to deal with every aspect of the business; make the decisions & trade offs.

Some of the other aspects he discussed were on the number of partners, one should look for:

- If you are saying my partners are like minded; you will fail! What you require is those who complement each other. We need a visionary & an executor, a missionary! - One person starting alone a company is not advisable since you will be just stretching yourself a lot. With regard to this, a person asked whether hiring all the best people out there and put to work will help? Professor's answer was NO: If that is the case World XI would have always won against any country; Coco cola would have been the best software company today; Infosys would have entered steel market today. The point he was trying to make is always not the investment alone matters; it is the core competency! - 2-3 Partners is the optimum; More than that is like too many cooks spoiling the soup!

Next for the social obligations/barriers, his views were again thought provoking:

If you cannot convince your parents, kins; how are you planning to convince the customers, the employees, the Govt: .... You should learn the art of being cruel or professional or rude or adamant or whatever you call it! You should believe in your instincts. The couple of things I liked the most in regard to this discussion were:

1) Don't always try to please everybody. You will have to make some calls. Also don't sugar coat in your discussions thinking, "what the others will think about me!". Put what you want cut and straight. Also, learn to draw a line - make the other person understand couple of times, third time, literally kill him, if the person is not coming into your terms or find another way! to get what you intend to.

2) What your parents really mean, when they say "Son, business in not your cup of tea; why take

risk". They say this because the way their minds are tuned because of their 9-6 jobs. However, you should understand that, they aren't really against business, they just want to see you as: (a) A happy person (b) Financial sound to some extend (c) A respected person & one who bring pride to them

So, as long as you can convince them that these are all possible by being an entrepreneur too, then what else you need!

With regard to the last point, that its tough for a middle class person to raise capital, he argued that, at the present condition, raising even 20 L is not a tough thing; If courage is there, anything is possible! He explained about his own journey and the Renuka Sugars' journey.

Some of the other aspects he touched were:

- Any market is infinite in a country like India. He touched the examples of sugar industry, the IV bottles & his company etc. It doesn't matters whether the industry is profitable or not; what matters is whether you are profitable or not in it.

Generally he advised, too much of calculations is not needed; some craziness and illogical thinking are required for entrepreneurs :)

Finally, he talked about women entrepreneurs, which he mentioned is even tougher. He advised either be solely concentrating on career or think something once the family is settled!

Even though the session was mesmerizing, I am not sure how far a middle class person can still take the huge risk, given a decent paying job out there..... Enlightenment by Prof. Sunil Handa Prof. Sunil Handa(SH) from IIM-Ahmedabad visited IIM-Calcutta recently and I had an opportunity to attend one of his sessions. Considering the fact that I am myself a bit oriented to

start something of my own, I liked the session. One may argue that most of the points these people (entrepreneurs) talk about are just the same .. hmm.. may be.. but there is a lot to make a difference. One good point may change your outlook drastically and something similar happened to me after this session.

On Exit options: The session started with example of one of his student from IIM-Ahmedabad who had started a company of his own but had recently decided to sell it off!! Prof. claimed that this guy sold his soul. As per SH, there is no exit option for an entrepreneur and he outrightly rejected the idea of selling a venture after say 5 years of establishing it. I had been fascinated by the idea of creating and selling off a business before restructuring period (I believe after some 5-6 years, processes etc. in a business need to be restructured coz by this time others also find it worthy to get into it..so selling off at this point would mean avoiding the restructuring cost and efforts, which can be further used in setting up something else, plus you get a healthy deal for current business at such a time). Although SH was of different opinion and he commented that 1.) One tends to get an emotional bonding with the current business, 2.) Rarely do people start a second venture as they get too old by the time they plan to sell off first one 3.) Even is one gets past the emotional bonding and timing factor, one tends to lose good people. You may plan to switch over your business (coz that is your business) but the employees may not be ready to take that risk and would be resistant to change.

This made me think of the establish-and-sell philosophy again, especially the third point which is most crucial as what i think. Anyways, I need to evaluate that well.

On VCs: "So, what would you do once you sell off your venture?" "I would start a new one" is a typical answer. How many do you think do that? Hardly anyone, SH claimed. The factors include the social pressures and the family responsibilities. Add to it reduced appetite for risk as you grow old.

"If you quit your own child(company), you will end up being only an uncle(Venture Capitalist), where you will just guide and help and wish other's children(ventures you fund) do well. Most of their(VC's) days go in praying for other's ventures to get successful"

On Diluting Equity: "If you wish to start a business, do you need a lot of money or you may as well get it from Venture Capitalists?" If you think you may start a business by borrowing money from VCs, you probably need to relook at the mathematics of doing so. If you succeed, you will end up paying hefty premiums and if you fail, you may still end up paying more than the Principal amount!! Then how does it make any economic sense.. Those who still might be thinking of it being useful, I suggest reading the post on session by Mahesh Murthy.

Assertiveness, Struggle, No shy factor: "When I used to travel in Public roadways buses, I used to end up traveling most of the times standing. Then I realised this is not how it gonna work and I learnt the art of finding and making space to sit. I started asking people to shift even if there was no place and most of the times ended up getting some place to sit.- That was my first lesson into entrepreneurship" I learned to be assertive. I struggled and I was no longer shy of asking for place. This is what is required to establish a business. If you think everything will just go right, it wont.. you need to make it right.

Impact of Contacts in Initial Phase: Another way of getting initial success is a shortcut- to use your contacts. But as soon as you use contacts to get any favour, you lose the race. Nothing comes for free in this world!! If you ask for a favour today, you'll be asked to repay in some form or other tomorrow and it wont end there. Since you got a favour in initial days of struggle, you would feel indebted for long and you would have to make compromises at some point due to these favours/contacts/people/..

Struggle in Initial Phase:

So the alternate way is to struggle!! People, if given option, would love to skip this part but this is most important phase one goes through and this is the phase that basically lays the foundation for rest of the career. There was a bird, which was trying to come out of the egg-shell. She was fluttering her wings and trying desperately to break the shell. A man walking beside saw this and out of his genuine concern and care, broke the egg-shell with a knife. The man was happy as he thought he had done a good job, helping the bird out of the shell. The bird, on the other hand, could never fly in her life coz her wings were just not strong enough to fly. It is not difficult to understand why the bird could never fly!! So you decide by yourself whether you want to break the shell yourself or do you want an external support!!

Upto-date Info of Related and Unrelated streams: It is not uncommon in people to stop reading/analysing once they get success. However, SH suggested that one should always keep the habit of reading and be knowledgeable about things related directly or indirectly or not even related to his/her business. This is helpful when one needs to adopt methodologies/techniques/benefits from outside the business. He took an example of his own venture which in no way related to plastic industry, and he could make a benefit of a few lakhs using that. I dont remember the example exactly and it would not be appropriate to quote it wrong but it was something on the lines that huge amount of excise and tax could be saved by purchasing a machinery in parts due to differential tax rates for plastic and other material. The essence of the point was that one must keep himself up-to date on different topics, regardless of whether they are directly influencing your business or not. Who knows when they come handy!!

On Consultants: To keep it short, I just quote his words,"Consultants are people who wont tell you anything unless asked, even if they know something is going wrong!!" Without having any first hand knowledge of this, I think it is difficult for me to make up any perception based on this point.

On Ethics: Everyone claims ethics in business are very important but no one spells it so clearly!! Everyone talks of setting an example in front of juniors but no one says how exactly it makes a difference. He took example of a manufacturer trying to save some tax amount by manipulating accounts and stealthily selling some of the goods. The same person ends up pursuing his employees so that the news is not leaked publicly and in case that happens..Brand Image tarnishes!! Precisely why people do not feel proud in saying that they work in Reliance!!

Skills One must Learn at IIMs: Leadership skills Negotiating skills Delegating skills

On Partnership: Reiterating what MM said, SH also said it is better to have partners for the moral and support and better to start in smaller teams. A larger team is bound to fail. Although, he discarded that the two partners need to be good friends from college days and things like that. According to him, a better team would have people with only some understanding of each other. More understanding may result in you taking other for granted, which might not be the case always. But still, more the understanding between partners the better it is. Idea or partner? An idea is worth nothing unless implemented, said MM. Unless you have a good partner, it is difficult to succeed in a venture, said SH. Clearly both of them had an emphasis of a good partner first, someone who is equally, if not more, passionate about the venture. Moreover, SH made a claim that no one would be working on their first idea for long, no matter how attractive it may seem to them in starting. It is only the third or fourth idea that people end up doing!

Not to forget, Irrespective of what you may think, the partnership doesnt last forever and which sometimes

may be an emotionally testing times but that is how it is!!

To end with a globe statement, you need 'Midas touch' to succeed in a business more than anything else.

"To get an extraordinary person is difficult but to make ordinary people extraordinary is simple.": Some great philosopher. My Life ..
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jump to navigation Morpheus a.k.a Prof. Sunil Handa October 25, 2010 Posted by Karan in IIM Indore. trackback Tumhare professor yahan baithe hai, but even then I say.. Woh business shuru nahi kar raha kyuki uski phat ti hai The sentence probably captures the spirit of what Prof. Sunil Handa was trying to convey. There are times in life when you are down and out. There are other such times when life just goes on, with that spark or the X-factor missing. At such times, you need an inspiration, an angel, and a stimulus. You need an initiative, some of those trillions of neuron fibres activated. You need vitality about life; you need to add that jazz. In short, you need a Sunil Handa. Prof Sunil Handa spoke about basic things- but stuff which was reinforced in a striking way. For example, he gave an instance of a salesman trying to sell a product for Rs. X, while the customer said, Bahut mehenga hai. Prof. Handa defined a good salesman as the one who does not give up and say, Abe tu ruk, 10 minute aur is product ke bare mein gun gaan gaata hoon, gaatha

sonata hoon.. Aur tab tu yeh product kharidega. This example had the audience wishing for a marketing professor like him! There were these numerous instances of Prof. Handa speaking about his students, peers, colleagues, employees. All of these stories had something to tell you, something to motivate. He inspired, mocked, pleaded, forced and did what not to drive home one point- You are the maker of your own destiny. Do you have the bloody guts to take up something of your own? He even shattered myths by proving that getting trapped in the matrix of being an employee is far more risky that being an entrepreneur or a businessman. The way Prof Handa connected, interacted with the audience was fascinating. I mean, its not every day that the audience wanted more even after four hours- today was one such day. How Ive wanted more such days during my stay at Indore! Personally, after all the frustrations of the last few days, this was a morale booster, warm hot chocolate for the soul. Thank you Prof. Handa! Id like to finish off by saying something which Prof Handa reinforced in a beautiful way, The day someone comes and tells me that your son is a boy of gold, I shall be happy to die! Remember that this is the only thing which every mother wants from you. And this cannot be achieved by doing a bloody job. I could see tears in the eyes of the audience after this narration. Entrepreneurship @ Prof. Sunil Handa This is a blog entry of an IIMI guy about an entrepreneurship lecture delivered by prof. Sunil Handa, a very respected IIMA prof. I have copied it verbatim here..

How often have you been mesmerized by a speaker? How often have you wished that a seminar would never end? I'm sure it's not too many times... But with Prof. Sunil Handa, that is exactly what happened. He has an ability to make you think and rethink. When he speaks about entrepreneurship, he can bring even a snail out of it's shell, to challenge the world.

I remember his words - "Be aggressive, Be assertive... Do not ask, Take it! The worst that could happen is that you will be told no." It would be IMPOSSIBLE to bring out the atmosphere of that session through this blog-post, but I'm just gonna let my thoughts flow...

Prof. Handa started off by asking people what stops them from venturing on their own.When he asked why many of us would want to work for a couple of years before starting a venture. Some of the replies which came out were:

1. I'd work for a couple of years to earn some capital (seed money) for my business. 2. I'd work for a few years to increase contacts and create a network. 3. I'd work some time to gain experience. 4. I have to pay back my educational loan.

How many of us give the exact same answers? Who are we kidding?

As Prof. Handa said, the only reason is - "Tumhari phat ti hai!" With his extremely frank style, he dismissed each of those bluffs one by one:

1. Seed Money

Two Years - How Much??!!On evaluating his earnings over 2 years, one of the participants here, "Nemo", said that he'd probably save about 2-3 Lakhs (he undervalued himself TOO much, the downturn has really psyched people out...). Isn't that a bit too little for capital money? Guess what the Prof had to say.... I'll give you a loan for 3 lakhs (zero interest) when you finish your studies. Work on your venture... If it clicks, you can pay me back the principle, otherwise forget about it. He had just one condition... Immediately write a letter to the Placement Cell telling them that you're opting out of Final Placements!! Did he accept the offer? Well, would you have? Let's face it - many out there are just too unsure about how much risk they can take.

2. Work to increase contacts

Prof Handa drew this diagram on the board and told us,

"During the next 2 years, you will be that small white dot in the huge organization.Do you think you're gonna build contacts with the boss of another company?".

Let's face it, he was right again. Kutte ki dosti Kutte se hi hoti hai.

lol ... I guess that rules out number 2 also. Prof. Handa gave the example of one incident when one of his students got an appointment with Mr. Dayanidhi Maran for half an hour which ended

up getting cropped to 5 min. A small window of opportunity opened during that brief visit and Prof Handa said he slid through in that one-millionth of a second. Essentially, he wanted to prove how you must be aggressive, and the fact that you don't need work experience to create contacts. You might just see a vacant seat at a table of esteemed personalities. Go grab the chair!

3. To gain experience According the Prof, you don't gain any experience at your 2 year job. Even if you do, you'd learn far more working on your own venture. So this reason is again pointless and just a myth.

4. To pay back educational loan This is where Prof Handa spoke about "The Circle of screwed Indebtedness". What's that?? Well, it's essentially a vicious circle of loans... You know, loans taken to pay off previous loans. And the saga continues.... The prof was ready to give an offer here as well - To pay off our loan till we can pay him back, if we'd agree to start our own venture.Why exactly are people afraid??

When someone told the Prof that jobs were safe and comfortable whereas entrepreneurship was risky, he made a complete mockery out of him. He told us that it was the over-protective behaviour of many parents and at times their non-terminating government jobs which gave us such perceptions. For him, it was obvious... Venturing out on your own was the absolutely safer bet, and then again, he asked..."Don't you guys want to be rich?"

Oh that qs. triggered another drama when one of us said, "Money isn't that important, I just wana chill out and enjoy life."

Bad thing to say to Prof Handa. Another person got sent to the crusher.

Let me tell you a bit about "The Sunil Handa": Born in a simple family, Prof Handa and his brother jumped into entrepreneurship early and

with just Rs. 15,000. They soon owned over half a dozen pharma factories and had to their names a whooping 1200 Crores (1995). However, that was when life took a turn for him. A dispute and business split with his brother left him devastated. It took him numerous months and visits to all the saadhus (pendulum babas, magneto-therapists etc.) whom relatives referred him to, before he could come out of the depression. When he finally did, he kind of retired from his busy entrepreneur life, and started Eklavya School in Ahmedabad.

For the past 17 years, Mr. Sunil Handa has been teaching a course called "LEM" (Labrotary in Entrepreneurial Motivation), at IIM Ahmedabad, a course which he says has no book, no notes, no quizzes/exams, practically no pedagogy. Just a few lectures and a whole load of one-to-one sessions. And his students he calls LEMmers. Prof Handa said that around 200 of his students are entrepreneurs today; people who interact with him very regularly and seek guidance on numerous issues.

There were two main entrepreneurial examples which the Professor gave:

The first one was of Mr. K R Rao, one of Prof. Handa's own batchmates at IIM Ahmedabad. (1977-1979) This lad was a true social butterfly at that time; someone who many didn't even remember during their silver jubilee reunion (2004). But with "Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals" under his sleeve, Rao's net worth is over Rs. 3000 crore today. Though Mr. Rao was a B.Com-MBA grad, he was a true visionary.

Moving on to the next example, Prof. Handa spoke about his teaching career's first entrepreneurial student, Mr. Narendra Murkumbi. This lad's first idea was that of manufacturing a Neem Insecticide in Belgaum. Though Prof. Handa was apprehensive about the idea initially, he was assured of its success after speaking to an international neem expert, Dr. Gupta at ICRISAT. Though the product turned out to be a great success, the customers were farmers and hence the Receivables on his balance sheets were huge. It was in 1995 that Narendra came up with the idea of buying old sugar mills and starting production of sugar. Prof

Handa told him that he was crazy and that sugar was meant for people in the upper echelons of politics. But like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Murkumbi was willing to risk it. He went on with his plan and today he is the owner of one of the world's most scientific state-of-the-art sugar mills, Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd. Not only that, he was also featured as one of India's new bilionaires by Business World.

One interesting thing about Renuka Sugars is that they use co-generation to produce their own energy (using the waste, bagasse which comes from sugarcane). No electricity is purchased from outside. When Murkumbi explained the idea to Prof Handa, he said, "When god created sugarcane, he put enough energy in it to bring the sugar out of it."

Flirting with Ideas After numerous success stories, Prof Handa told us that we must face reality, and it's not necessary that your first venture becomes a million dollar lottery. You have to experiment..."Flirt with different ideas" and eventually one of your plans will click. For some it's the first... for Prof Handa it was the 7th.

One on One Interaction It was after the first session that Prof Handa decided to interact with a few participants who were interested in entrepreneurship. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity as well. (Thanks Jalan...). It was nice speaking to Prof Handa for about 25 min where we discussed certain patchy ideas that I had in my mind. He had so much to share and I could've sat there forever. But time is one thing you don't get when you need it the most. Anyways, I guess we all hope to interact with him again in the future. Let's see how much effect such talks have on IIM Indore's participants, and how many of us venture out on our own some day....

Mahesh Murthy Pin Drop Storm Posted by Kaustubh Katdare on February 1, 2009

Mahesh Murthy CEans, He has been there, done that. He got into engineering college but dropped out after 3 semesters. He sold vacuum cleaners door to door and later went on to shape & design Yahoos first GUI, shape Amazon.coms strategy & launch Paul Allans net properties. He currently heads one of the top 10 coolest companies in India and and funds exciting startups through his passionfund! He is probably the only venture capitalist who advises startups against raising venture capital. He is Mr. Mahesh Murthy! We are extremely proud and happy to have Mr. Mahesh Murthy, the Founder & CEO of Pinstorm for Small Talk with us. In Maheshs own words it is one of the most exciting & exhausting interviews I have ever done. Check it out CE: Mahesh, from being a college dropout to a successful entrepreneur: how is the journey in hindsight?

Mahesh: I was brought up to believe that theres a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you put your head down and work hard during the journey and then finally at the end there is comfort and wealth. I disagree with all that now. I dont believe theres a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Even if you die with Rs. 1,000 crores to your name, you dont take the money with you. So at the end you have absolutely the same you started with zero. Hence I now believe that the pot of gold is not the end of the rainbow but that the pot of gold is the rainbow itself. All that we have is the journey. There is nothing else. And it is our responsibility as sentient beings to have as much fun, joy and new experiences during this journey. So in hindsight, I think the journey has been great so far. Its been only about 25 years I cant predict the future, but I hope whatever there is that is left will be fun, learning and a great experience going forward too.

CE: In 1982, you enrolled for a course in Chemical Engineering, and dropped out of college after 3 semesters. What were the thoughts running in your mind at that time? Mahesh: Well, I joined engineering because I was programmed to. In the background I came from orthodox Tamilian Brahmin there was a well-established binary decision-tree regarding career choices. It went thus: If youre good at Maths and Science, then youll be an engineer or a doctor. If youre good at Maths but not Science, then youll do Commerce. If youre good at Science but not Maths, then youll do a B Sc. If youre not good at Science and not good at Maths, then we have to find you someone rich to marry. Being somewhat well conversant with Maths and Science, I was told I was lucky- I had a choice Engineering or Medicine. All I remember then thinking was, Hey, I dont like the sight of

blood on people so I guess I cant cut them open, so I guess I cant be a doctor. Then I must be cut out to be an engineer. So, engineering it was. Till I got to college. And then I figured that there was nothing remotely interesting in engineering for me. There was very little application of logic, of thinking or of intelligence. There was more learning by rote, which I knew I was not cut out for. I still think anything that needs learning by rote is a failure of either the subject, or the teacher, or both. And when I asked my classmates what they thought they seemed to say hey just shut up, learn the stuff and graduate dont ask questions. I was really depressed that this supposed dream career in engineering just didnt excite me. My life was stuck in a rut and I was listening to a lot of moody Rock music at that time. One song in particular, seemed to mock me, and I played it dozens of times on an old LP. It was Time from Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon. The lyrics seemed to be written just for my state of mind: Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town Waiting for someone or something to show you the way Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today And then one day you find ten years have got behind you No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun And so on. Every time I played it, I felt that I was doing nothing but kicking around on a piece of ground in my home town.

I guess I then decided that I needed to do something. And the only positive move I felt I could do was to stop this mockery of college that I was supposedly going to. I did that. Stopped going to college. The rest followed, quickly and (in hindsight logically, but at that time, unpredictably). My parents and grandparents took objection to my stopping college. My family gave me an ultimatum if you want to live within our 4 walls, follow our rules and go to college. I bought their point I had no right to live my life in their house so I left home that very evening. I didnt have too much with me just a few thousand rupees of scholarship money I had earned by being a NTSE scholar. I checked into a cheap run-down hotel that then charged Rs. 50 a night and bought the Deccan Chronicle the next morning. The only job ad it had that did not demand a graduate degree was one from Eureka Forbes, selling vacuum cleaners from door to door. I went for the interview and they hired me I knew next to nothing about selling. And of course, I knew my parents would be mortified an educated Brahmin boy doing door-to-door selling oh God! The horror! But, I was quite determined that I had to show dignity of labour and that no job was unworthy and that I had to give anything and everything a fair shot. So I talked myself into that job. I did later discover that I was a truly mediocre salesperson but thats another story! CE: At the age of 19, you were running your own business: vacuum cleaning service & you became door-to-door salesperson. How did your family & friends react? How did you handle it all? Mahesh: Well I started off as a door-to-door salesperson and soon discovered I was not cut out to be a good one I guess then I had too much empathy for the customer and too little killer instinct. Though I guess on the plus side I did learn more about marketing and sales than a dozen business schools can teach you.

One of the constant objections of prospects was that a vacuum cleaner then had limited utility for them as it was useful for carpets and curtains and they couldnt imagine making a huge capital expense of Rs. 3,300 (which was then about one months salary for the average middle class family). Many of them asked if the company offered a vacuum cleaning service they were happy to pay Rs. 100 or even Rs. 200 a month then for someone to come and clean their carpets etc once a month. The company absolutely didnt want to do this even after our repeated requests so two of us from the company thought we would and we went and started, or I should say, tried to start a vacuum cleaning service called Vaclean. In creating brochures for the business I first discovered the joys of writing and design. Eventually the business never really got off the ground much but certainly I figured I liked writing and designing persuasive communication and tried to start a design firm which also failed! The first failure was because of lack of focus on building clients and the second failure was because I never put focus on billing, following up and collecting monies due. That however led to me joining an advertising firm as an employee which was the first career stability that I ever had. By now my parents were actually happy to see me in a job they were earlier resigned to much worse so this was a definite move up in their eyes. My friends were jealous I was the guy who broke all the rules and actually made out well I dropped out of college and left home- but in a couple of years I ended up in a job, which paid well, I had my own motorbike, I had a few girlfriends, all of whom knew each other and were cool about it, I had my own place to live etc. And all this while they were mugging for their B Tech finals. They felt it was unfair I was not supposed to end up well after breaking all the rules. I guess I was supposed to be the bad example for them but I was refusing to play my designated role

But one thing I can say my friends stood by me when my family didnt. This lesson has stayed with me for a long, long time. For me what matters is not who is by you when times are good but who stands by you when times are bad I know my friends did when my family didnt and I have lived my life knowing that at the back of my mind. I guess your friends love you for who you are and your family loves you in many cases for who they want you to be. My friends from back then 25 years ago are still the ones I hold dearest to me. CE: You have helped Yahoo! with its first graphic UI & branding in 1995. You have also helped create & launch Worlds Biggest Bookstore campaign for Amazon.com. Could you please tell us more about your work with these biggest brands on the Internet? Mahesh: After a career in advertising that took me from Hyderabad to Bombay to Delhi to Hong Kong over 10 years, I landed up in the US in an interactive agency that was based out of Silicon Valley. (The one thing for you to note here is that, yes, you CAN get a H1 visa if youre 12th class pass and not even a graduate, let alone a post-graduate!) Anyway, back to the work Yahoo came to my firm, CKS Partners in mid-1995 and asked if we could help them. They had a loooooong list of text links on their home page and I spent a huge amount of time actually categorizing all of those links into some sort of groups and hierarchies it was like cataloguing all human knowledge into categories. The existing systems of cataloguing information Dewey Decimal etc did not work as we tried to categorise all websites based on topics as well as number of sites in that topic and the amount of traffic to the sites. You can imagine we had to make a lot of room for sex-related content back then! Well, more than just the re-design or actually it was the first graphic design of Yahoo see it here: (http://web.archive.org/web/19961017235908/http://www2.yahoo.com/) what was interesting was what we did and how we introduced it to the public.

Jerry Yang and David Filo were really scared that their college audience and Grateful Dead-like fan following would think they had sold out. So every decent design we did for Yahoo was rejected. So we then tried very hard to make the design look college-kid like. I remember asking my designers to deliberately make the icons look ugly and childish, and to avoid anything that looked elegant or professional! It had to look like it wasnt designed by experts but by an untrained college student. We had to maintain the pretense that it was still a company running from a Stanford dorm though they were all venture funded and grown up now. The second thing was how we launched the new UI for Yahoo. We put it up in parallel on a link on the original page and then asked people to try it out (like we were taking their opinion first) for a few days. Tens of thousands did- we did a survey amongst them and incorporated a few suggestions they came up with and went back to the community and said that hey this is the design you looked at and approved and only then did we change the home page to the new design. We always maintained the presence that it was a user-approved and tested page even when we knew what we were always doing and what we wanted to have happen. The Yahoo re-design was a big success it doubled the page views in just a few weeks and soon became a case study for us. We then won the Amazon.com business. I remember then going to meet Jeff Bezos and gang when they were 8 people in south Seattle, sitting on upturned apple crates. Jeff had an unused door turned on its side as his desk. I remember the arguments I had with Jeff on two issues. One, on the logo and the other on the positioning of Amazon.com The logo Jeff had was the letter A with a river flowing through it. I strongly felt that if Amazon was a bookstore then the river Amazon was not the right metaphor, but the Amazon rainforest was the right metaphor, with its wildness, diversity of life forms etc. We fought in vain and Jeff insisted that he wanted the river as Amazon was going to be the high volume provider of many things and it wasnt about diversity.

Within years, and on seeing how Amazon grew, I knew that he was right and I was wrong and I learnt from how he held on to his beliefs. The second argument with Jeff was one that I fortunately won. He wanted to position Amazon as the leading online bookstore against other online bookstores. Then the only other online bookstores then were I think Books.com and someone else out of Boston or England. He wanted to say he was better than them. I argued that to be seen as the leading online bookstore, we should not visibly take on other online bookstores, but that we should be seen to take on terrestrial bookstores and say that were as big or bigger than them. This would automatically set us apart in peoples minds as the leading online bookstore. This was an outrageous recommendation, given how big and respected Borders and Barnes & Noble were then and I argued that this taking on the Goliath would give us the kind of publicity that taking on Books.com would never be able to. I finally convinced him. We created a campaign around this called Earths biggest bookstore and we demonstrated it through ads like 864 books on golfing and, just in case, 1,165 on divorce. Amazon.com. Earths biggest bookstore We ran these in print and online. All were funny, and made a point that you could choose from over a million books on Amazon while the average terrestrial bookstore just had about 25,000. Sure enough, a huge controversy brewed up with Barnes and Noble suing us saying they were many times our size etc, we responded saying it wasnt about revenues but about the number of books customers could see and buy etc. Thankfully we won consumer hearts, lots of free editorial space and that PR battle and Amazon.com never looked back after that positioning. I was really proud of the work I and my team did on the brand and I still am. CE: What is your take on present education system?

Mahesh: At the school level in some tiny elitist pockets of India, it is improving. My son goes to a school in Bombay that is fantastic and that I wish I could have gone to. But for a large chunk of India, it is still as pointless as ever. We talk of our great Indian education system that has created so many qualified people and I think that all it has perhaps created is a billion mugpots. We have trained our students to learn without thinking, to study without understanding and to answer without processing. This is fine to create more people bound for BPOs but it is a recipe for disaster if we want a generation that can think for itself and take calculated risks. The same is true not just for schools but also for our engineering colleges and our MBA colleges nowhere are you taught to think in every case you are trained to work in brain-dead mode and become part of somebody elses company. So what of entrepreneurs? In this environment we will create entrepreneurs not because of the system but in spite of it. If you are a student, your best bet in India is to not take this education seriously it is not worth the degree you are going to be awarded but instead to use the time to have fun, enjoy and to dream about whatever you love and to work towards making your dreams come true. If it means dropping out, so be it youll start on your road faster than your peers and you will end up far ahead of them. As advice to students, I can offer this: Forget about topping class toppers dont end up anywhere important in life. Study but only at the last possible moment and just enough to pass your exams if you HAVE to get your degree or whatever. But dont waste even one minute more than necessary on anything academic or anything related to what you have to study unless you want to become an academician or a researcher. CE: What are the important questions any aspiring entrepreneur should try to answer before taking the plunge?

Mahesh: There are many kinds of entrepreneurs business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, even philosophical entrepreneurs. Assuming were talking about business entrepreneurs, Id say that your journey begins first with the fire in your belly to make a difference. If that is not there, dont even bother. Dont become an entrepreneur because its fashionable just like the thousands who learnt programming because it was the in-thing, or the thousands who went to BPOs because it was the in-thing or the thousands who went abroad because it was the in-thing. All of them are leading wasted lives somewhere on the planet. You cannot become an entrepreneur if its the in-thing as it now seems to be because the dumb American companies like Goldman / Lehman etc have stopped hiring fools at large salaries from campuses. You have to have the fire that makes you resist joining a job. If that is there then the next thing you need is a problem to solve. Some big problem out there you have personal knowledge of. And that you want to solve. And that you have the crazy drive, will and passion to solve. After identifying a problem you need to figure out that you have the solution for it. Ideally its a solution that causes insane customer delight, and its a solution that others cannot easily replicate. Delight because thats what causes businesses to grow and what propels positive word-of-mouth. And hard-to-replicate is what creates your sustainable competitive advantage. After the problem and the solution you need a third thing a way to make a business out of it that is, to find people who will pay you for your solution more than it will cost you to produce and manage the solution. After this comes the team that will help you figure out the above and implement the above. Once you have this all and business is really so simple then youre on your way! CE: What would you advise to engineering students / professional engineers who think Ive a great product/service/business idea but Ill work with MNC for 4-6 years (or get a higher degree), gain experience & gather enough money to quit and start my own venture.?

Mahesh: The best experience you can gain that is relevant to a startup is experience in the market you want to be in. i.e. you cannot join an investment bank and then leave after 4 years to start a restaurant there are no relevant experiences gained here and you are fooling yourself if you belief that your experience is of any real value. Experience for its own sake is meaningless. So if you are going to take a job take one ideally, customer-facing in the line you want to start your own business in. Else, dont delude yourself that your experience means anything. The second delusion is save up money for it. Today your MBA is likely to cost you money. And youll have a loan on it. By the time you pay off your loan, you wont have any savings left. So dont fool yourself here. Even if you dont have the paying-off-a-loan issue, believe me, your expenses will quickly rise to meet your income and you cannot make any meaningful savings in the first few years of your career. Perish the thought. On the other hand, starting a business takes very little money and the earlier you do it the better. Frankly, how much does it take you to survive if you have a roof over your head and food on the table? Maybe not even Rs. 10,000 a month. So live at home and spend as little as possible, get a few people together who share your dream and start off. The best funding you can get is revenues from customers. Dont delay it. Or youll be competing with your classmate who started off right after school while you wasted 5 or 6 years after that getting an education that is worthless and he is going to be 6 years ahead of you by the time you hit the start of the race. CE: You are a venture capitalist and yet, you advise not to go for venture capital? You have also advised against having plan-B (the backup plan) while starting a venture. Mahesh: Think of the entrepreneurs you admire: Ambani / Tata / Narayanamurthy / Branson / Jobs / Gates / Dell / whoever.

They all started without venture capital. That is the most common way to be successful yes it is harder but when you start with no funding then you focus quickly on delivering a sustainable competitive advantage and on making money early on which all of these people did. And hence they landed up with great businesses. And none of these people had a plan B. They had no choice to be successful. That is the best way to be successful. The second best way is to take money from someone else, like a VC. But it does come with drawbacks in that it can make you fat, rich and lazy and in all these cases you must beware of the un-funded person who has a greater fire than you to defeat your company in business. CE: What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your varied experiences? Mahesh: Its too soon to do a life summary. I am just 43 and I am still learinng. Theres still more to my life, I hope. But what Ive learnt till now is this: Follow your heart. When the heart doesnt know, follow your gut. Dont, in any circumstances, follow your mind. In no circumstances, whatsoever, follow a SWOT analysis that B-school asked you to do. That is the worst possible way to take a decision on your lfie. CE: We thank you for spending time with us. What is your advice to our CEans?

Mahesh: The reports on life-after-life and punarjanam (rebirth) are unreliable. Currently, we all have to assume the worst case that there is just one life we have. We came with nothing and we will all die and go with nothing. Our only asset is the statistically indicated 70 or 75 years of time we have (more for women, by the way, than men the numbers tell me).

Our only responsibility, hence, is to live the fullest 70 years of life that we can, packing it in with every possible experience, emotion, every bit of love, adventure, happiness and exploration that our souls demand. And to live it with no regrets whatsoever. Dont live it for another- be selfish live it for yourself. Dont live it for your parents or your family or your girlfriend or boyfriend or your spouse or your kids. All those people will automatically be happy when you are happy not the other way around. Have a full life and die happy. Have fun, all of you. There is nothing else worth living for. By Mahesh Murthy The genetics dont seem to indicate much if anything, being a Tamilian Brahmin Iyer boy, or TamBrahm as my generation puts it, is probably a chromosomal situation that contra-indicates a desire to chuck the salary and PF and set up shop somewhere. But here I am. Not just running a startup of my own but also advising a couple of dozen others on how to make it big or survive, whatever comes first. And now mentoring more online, and yes, through The Wall Street Journal Appa, its really me. And I love it. It wasnt always this way. I was reasonably-well programmed to be on the path of TamBrahm Boy + Good In Maths + Coconut Oil In Hair = Studies To Be Engineer + M.S. Abroad = Good Job In Intel + Dutiful TamBrahm Wife = Good Suburban U.S. House + 2.3 Kids + 2.1 Toyotas = The Boy Has Done Well. But somewhere the well-trodden path was stepped off. I didnt quite like studying engineering o horror of horrors. So I, even worse clap hands over ears, please left college. Left home too by now you know The Boy Has Gone Bad. Then sold vacuum cleaners from door to slammedin-face door. Eventually landed up running a business, after having been an employee for more than a dozen years in random multinationals.

What made it happen? What makes one give up the cushy life and pick the spiky-pointed one? I dont think its any romantic love for risk. Entrepreneurs arent wild risk-lovers. I think were calculated risk-takers. In a perverse sort of a way, it might be in the genes. I do believe all humans are different, DNA-wise at least, at the core. (If not, then forensic sciences are in bit of a jam.) And I believe that for every individual mental make-up, theres a particular job thats particularly perfectly suited. Some people are just born to be Bank Officer, Grade 4. Some others to be one-down right-handed batsman. And if these people are lucky, they get the jobs that are right for them. They dont ever have to go through the trouble of being an entrepreneur. But there are perhaps a few million types of jobs out there. And there are seven billion of us. So theres obviously a lot of us who are not in jobs tailor-made for us. Look around you know anyone who isnt deliriously happy in their current job? Know anyone who is? The rest of us just cant find a job that suits us. And we really dont like adjusting. So we make a job for ourselves. Where we like our bosses ourselves, the business our own, the working hours whenever we feel like, and the location wherever we are. We dont do it to take a risk we do it to be safe. And the world calls us entrepreneurs, heroes of some sort. But really, were just folks who didnt find a job that suited us well enough. By Mahesh Murthy Mahesh Murthy is the Founder at Pinstorm and Managing Partner at Seedfund. He can be reached at mahesh.murthy@gmail.com

'If you do a typical MBA, you'll never be a successful entrepreneur' September 26, 2006 09:25 IST

"Dream big. The earth's the limit!" says Mahesh Murthy.

Murthy represents the new breed of entrepreneurs who have taken the offbeat and unconventional track to build their little empires. Murthy has funded 10 start-ups in India and three overseas. Murthy-funded firms -- like Geodesic, Webdunia, EasyBuy, CareerLauncher, Tulleeho and Pinstorm, his latest venture -- are today successful companies. "Pinstorm has made a place for itself as the leading search engine marketing firm in Asia and among the top five search marketing agencies by size in the world," Murthy says. Bullish on technology and media-driven companies, Murthy is looking at funding new companies and is set to launch a new fund soon. Proud to call himself a "college dropout," Murthy attributes his success to being "unreasonable" and "the conviction that the whole world is wrong and that you are right. And, of course, some foolishness." "No one knows anything. You can discover your own rules and create your own playing field. It is better to move in business as an innovative, nave person rather than as a cautious experienced person," Murthy explains. Is it that simple? Find out more about Mahesh Murthy as he shares his interesting career and entrepreneurship experience in an interview with Manu A B. Pinstorm has completed two years. How has the company fared in two years? Pinstorm has made a place for itself as the leading search engine marketing firm in Asia and among the top five search marketing agencies by size in the world. And the rate of growth isn't slowing down. For the first time, we have an India-based marketing company making its mark internationally, among all the American and European multinationals that dominate the advertising business. Pinstorm started in May 2004 and we've done reasonably well in these 2 years, with offices now in Singapore, Malaysia, New Delhi [ Images ] and Mumbai [ Images ] and clients in 9 countries.

What was the idea behind starting a search marketing firm? A non-profit firm inspired us to set up Pinstorm. I was advising a charity firm on how to use the Internet to raise funds from overseas and, as a test, ran a campaign myself for six months to see how successful it could be for them. While doing so one discovered two issues: that search marketing worked really well if done right; and, to do it right, one needed to invent technology that didn't exist to help buy keywords for less and to bid better. The encouragement from the charity firm, Child Rights and You (CRY), was the impetus behind setting up the company -- to solve the technologically difficult problem of picking more effective keywords and buying them at better prices. How do you help companies with the search analysis? Could you explain? People use search engines billions of times. When they look for something related to a firm's offerings, we make sure the company gets connected to the customer. For instance, potential customers of Taj Hotels might not just be looking for a 'hotel room in Seychelles' but also for 'whale watching expeditions' or 'honeymoon packages.' This is one critical part of the mix -- we have an in-house database of over 10 million potential search terms that we query and add more from our experience to spread the widest net to reach these searches by potential customers. We call this the 'long tail' of search terms. Then we study how the client's site does on natural search against these terms. As can be expected, natural search optimisation plays an increasingly smaller role as customer needs fragment over time. We then estimate the search volumes against these terms, we study the competition and bidding heat on each of these -- then selecting a keyword choice and bidding strategy that allows our clients the greatest return on investment. And then we add the icing on the cake -- we work on a 100% pay-for-performance basis, unlike any other marketing firm in the world.

We pay for the media and the creatives ourselves and only charge for the results of these campaigns. This allows us to win the confidence of clients in the long term and lets us succeed when they do. What is the potential of search marketing? India alone produces about a billion searches a month and the number is growing as people research choices, product details and prices for every sort of buying decision -- from travel to banking to insurance to education to even a film career. Every search to us is an expression of consumer intent. Marketing will veer around to this mode of communication because one is able to segment finely -- a typical client effort we run may have two dozen or more campaigns and strategies and we are only advertising to stated consumer intent instead of shooting in the dark. As traditional media increasingly fails to deliver desired target segments, search will increasingly become the prime media weapon in a marketer's arsenal for its sheer ability to target and deliver to an interested consumer. How was your experience working with corporates and how does it feel to work in your own company? This isn't my first entrepreneurial venture but it's my first venture in advertising. It's nice to be back with an offering that's broadly similar in terms of strategy and creativity to what I used to do at FCB, Grey and Ogilvy -- but vastly different in approach, targeting and pay-forperformance basis. Clients have been a dream to work with -- you hear of the death of creative advertising these days and the loss of smart advertising people to other, better-paying professions, etc. But I guess advertising is to blame -- it's the only business where the players work on miniscule margins, while the media can charge whatever they want starving the industry of money to pay its people well.

Pinstorm's pay-for-performance models help us earn more than typical advertising businesses and grow with our clients ensuring that our performers stand to earn a lot when they succeed. In addition, we also pay for our own creative rather than ask the client to bear the cost: this ensures that we have the final say in the campaign and that it is not watered down by an insecure brand manager. Both these aspects -- the creative freedom and the ability to earn more for betterperforming work -- have allowed us to bring back the fizz and the spark in the advertising business. Personally, it's been great growing an international business in India -- in a parallel role I also manage a VC fund -- and it helps me keep my feet on the ground and look at issues faced by start-ups more critically. How has your experience of funding several start-ups in India been? I've funded 10 start-ups in India and three outside India. Of the three overseas firms I funded, all have shut down, while nine out of the 10 Indian companies still survive in some form and several of them, including Geodesic, Webdunia, EasyBuy, CareerLauncher, Tulleeho and of course Pinstorm are thriving. It goes to show the resilience of the Indian entrepreneur -- we don't give up as easily as Americans do. It also shows that it pays to invest close to where I am so I can oversee things in person instead of over the phone. Are you looking at investing in new companies? Yes, I am at the helm of a new fund called Seedfund, along with two ex-Infinity Venture partners: Pravin Gandhi and Bharati Jacob, the people behind Indiagames, Indiabulls [ Get Quote ], etc. We're really bullish about technology and media-driven consumer plays that are created out of India. We will be making investment announcements soon. How do you decide on investing in a particular company?

I think about the idea, whether it will make an impact, can it make a big difference to people's lives? Do I understand the business and can I help in some way other than just money? Is the entrepreneur completely committed to making it happen -- has he/she burnt their bridges? Do we get along well -- the start-up team and the investors? And, of course, are we limited by the amount of money we can invest and does this suffice for the business plan at hand or should the entrepreneur go to a larger VC? If all these signs line up, they usually portend that one can make a positive call on the business. How did you start your career? Did you ever think you would start your own company? Oh, absolutely! I tried my first business when I was 19! It was a vacuum cleaning service. It never got off the ground. I then set up a TV commercial production company when I was 26. That never did much either. Later, I was part of a start-up management team at a software company. That did okay and was acquired by Intel. I turned around Channel [V] till it was acquired by Star -- that was almost, but not quite, a start-up. What is needed to start and run a successful company? The conviction that the whole world is wrong and that you are right. The ability to resist giving in to the temptation of listening to others or being "reasonable." And, of course, some foolishness! What do you think are the reasons for your success? Perhaps that I'm foolhardy, unreasonable and foolish! Where do you draw your entrepreneurial aptitude from? I come from a traditional Tamilian Iyer Brahmin family, so I certainly don't think it was in my genes. My first truly rebellious move to drop out of college was fuelled somewhat by repeatedly listening to 'Time' on Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon [ Images ]. The rest is all an

adventure. I haven't had too many mentors, but I have role models and Richard Feynmann, the physicist, is one of them. He lived a full life. That's all I would like to do too. How important is education for an entrepreneur? The content of what you study is completely useless. In fact, if you do a typical MBA at a typical business school, you will almost never become a successful entrepreneur because they still teach complete nonsense like Kotler and Ries & Trout. You are taught to be an 'employee' and not an 'employer,' and you are actually handicapped compared to someone who hasn't gone through the degree programme. You will typically end up working for an unschooled person like me (I'm not even a graduate!). But the friends you make at school and college are a really important part of your life -- they are your support system and network into the future. Where do you see your company five years from now? I can't see that far. Two years from now, Pinstorm stands to be a world No.1 or No.2. What do you think about the growth of Internet in India? It will happen on the mobile phone, not the desktop, and it will happen in languages, not English. And when that happens we will be the world's No. 1 or 2 Internet-using population. What do you think is the future of the Indian IT industry? Where do you see yourself in this bigger picture? We barely have an IT industry, we have an IS (information services) industry and all we offer is lower-cost services. There is very little technology we develop. Over time, our stability and growth will not come from sweatshops like Infosys [ Get Quote ], TCS [ Get Quote ] and Wipro [ Get Quote ], but from companies that create brand and market their own products, getting larger profit margins and a reputation in the process.

In this potential future, I think Pinstorm will do very well though we're not a technology company as much as a marketing company that creates and uses an enormous amount of technology. What are your views on innovation? Do you think that Indian companies lag behind in innovations? How can they be global players? Well, we have the ability to innovate. Our brains are at least as big as anybody else's. But what we need are not brains but guts and support. The former you have to find within yourself and I'm glad to see numerous venture capital firms offering the latter. There is no route to be a global player other than to produce the best products in the world -'products', mind you, not 'services'. What are the biggest lessons that you have learnt from your varied experience? No one knows anything, least of all any supposed management guru or consultant or expert. You can discover your own rules and create your own playing field. It is better to move in business as an innovative nave person than as a cautious experienced person. What would you say to budding entrepreneurs or tech students who might be the next big entrepreneurs? Don't listen to the Gartners, the IDGs, the BCGs, the KPMGs, the PwCs. They know nothing! Reject the job offers from the Goldmans and the Lehmans. . . Why do your B Tech in Computers and MBA in marketing to become a banker? Understand the gaps in the market. Create a product that can service those needs better than anybody else can, sustainably and do it at a really low cost. And dream big. The earth's the limit. Mahesh Murthy $ Prahlad Kakkar: They said it all !!!

IE Users..Read here

So while I was wondering of 'Why I am doing MBA?', Mahesh Murthy & Prahlad Kakkar happen to come to the campus to deliver talks in Ascent'07, an e-cell initiative.

Mahesh Murthy: His talk was primarily focused on why should one go for his own venture and how to go about it? Primarily an interactive session, he talked about his journey in brief and emphasized mainly on the minimal barriers to entrepreneurship and focused the discussion to promote entrepreneurship amongst students.

On Advertising Against the widely accepted notion of advertising as a tool to benefit a business, Mahesh was straight forward in saying that all the expenses on advertisements are actually a waste of money and only companies who cannot innovate need to spend on the advertisement. His basic line of reasoning was that if the product can be differentiated from a competitors product, no expense on advertisement is required except to facilitate "Word of mouth publicity". As for instance, he took the example of Pepsi and Coke(the two companies with max advertisement cost), he said that since these companies cannot innovate much as far as user experience etc. is concerned, they have no option left but to spend on advertisements.

On Opportunity Cost

What is the one biggest factor stopping people from becoming entrepreneurs? It is the thought when they start calculating the opportunity cost of their starting their own venture and look at the short term certain losses and long term highly uncertain(certain to the condition of survival but that is a big 'if') benefits.

On "The lesser money you have to start with, the more successful you will be" This kind of follows from the previous point of opportunity cost plus the "greater dedication" due to lesser security. Take an example of successful businessmen and you'll find a very surprising pattern there. A large number of Generation 1 businessmen had very little money to start off with plus they had almost non-existent backup plan(Plan-B as what learned people do suggest). Not very difficult to get an example with Dhirubhai Ambani belonging to the same league. Is it a mere coincidence? Probably not. With no backup plan comes insecurity, that brings along a greater dedication and devotion to the venture. With no backup plan and low starting amount, the feeling of "not much to lose" takes a high(Low opportunity cost)

so Mahesh was very clear while he said, "If you plan to start a venture, make sure you don't have a Plan-B. There is no need to feel secure while making a decision. Let every decision be "the" decision of your life.

On Entry Strategy "I have an idea worth so-and-so but how do i enter the market?": This statement is one of the most useless statement under the sun.

Note that your idea is worth nothing. You need an idea to start but it is the implementation that is worth it.

On Working Years & The Expected Returns in Long Term "You enter the industry as an employee, make handsome amount in initial years, good amounts in later years. But if you enter the industry as an employer, you make pennies during initial years, good amount afterwards and great amounts then afterwards." (Note: Great=Good* 10 to even Good*100 or even more) You people are all 20 odds and you have around 50 years of work-life remaining. Take your call!!!

On Unsuccessful Ventures So is entrepreneurship an all sweet sweet story? definitely not. out of every 100 ventures, 4 are successful. of these 4, only 2 make newspaper headlines. So the sweet part is just 2% of the story. "But also note that no entrepreneur die of unemployment"

On Need of a Team One of the biggest challenge in starting your own venture is that you tend to feel lonely since you are the only one involved in this work. Plus if you succeed, it is all fine but if you fail, you gonna die alone!!! So it is generally suggested to startup a venture in team. This, apart from the above two factors, also bring in the fact that the team may bring in more capital and sharing of ideas.

On Uselessness of VCs and Consultants "Venture Capitalists and Consultants are most useless professions." Now this was totally unexpected. You wont expect such a statement from a venture capitalist but Mahesh meant it all when he said that. He explained, One, you don't need a lot of money to start a new venture, two, even if you don't have it, try and get it from the people you know like your family, your friends, other acquaintances. Why? Simple, as if you take the money from people you know you tend to feel a liability and along with that comes tendency to make it ASAP and return it back. Having taken any external amount, the liability reduces with the fact that the fear of failure if gone. Similarly consultants are also useless. "They do not know anything. They do not have any solutions. If they had, they would have been in the business. They just get the solutions from one company and tell it to others, most of the times just fitting a solution which does not."

On Smaller and Larger Players Who do you fear more? smaller players or the larger players? If your answer is larger players, then I am sorry to say but you have not understood the game at all. The larger players are least to be bothered about as most of the times they are complacent and rest of the times bureaucratic and inefficient. But on the other hand, smaller players are striving hard either to survive or to get into the league of bigger players. In either case, they pose a major threat as they strive to grow.

On the Paradox "I will work in an i-bank for 3-4 years(make money) and quit to start my own venture"

Laugh out loud when someone echo the above statement to you again. It is really very simple. You enter a profession and you get stuck over there, not for one but for many reasons. One, the "opportunity cost" rises exponentially with passing time. Two, you get out of touch of the current happenings and trends in the sector. Three, you hold a position of respect in your earlier profession. .....

On Involving Employees into Ownership I believe most of the people realize its importance and Mahesh just echoed the same.

Prahlad Kakkar:(See also: TOI except the best ad part :P ) The Ad-man with the hat was no different today. His talk was supposed to be a story of his life as an entrepreneur, although most of the time he talked about cons of doing an MBA and focused on following the dream/passion/hobbies and supported it all with his own example citing reasons for him venturing into advertisements, scuba diving, cigar and restaurant business. Although i would say some of his reasons appeared to be out of place and not the actual reasons, but if for the time being and with not much background knowledge, let us assume he said it right, then it was nothing but chasing his hobbies, with no priority at all to money.

On Rational v/s Instinct and its Effects on Decision-Making: You enter a B-School and you are told from day-1 that the world is rational. Assume rational behaviour says eco. Prof. Probability prof. tells you how to make calculations to get to a rational decision. Marketing Prof. assumes a rational market.

But this is what differentiates a manager from a creative person. If you start evaluating your instinctive idea on rational scale, more are the chances that you end up scraping off the idea. The instinctive idea is your creative self but the rational idea likes a more treadmill task and hence the conflict is bound to happen.

On Various Advertisements Most of the advertisements that are being created today are from MBAs and hence are more of routine ads. Most of the advertisements companies have a well defined advertisement template which defines when product name should appear and for how long, when credits should appear, what are the different techniques,... and the advertisement making gets reduced to the task of fitting in different pieces together. He personally was very upset with the state of advertisement industry these days. Nonetheless he showed certain great ads to make us realize what he actually meant.

On Following the Hobbies/ Importance of assion This is something he focused really a lot on. In fact, he stressed a lot on the fact that all his ventures are actually his hobbies. Take for an example, Cigar, he said he liked it a lot and hence thought of consuming it for free so setup his own company. Scuba diving, it was very expensive and he liked it so he started his own training school to do it for free. Though I was not very convinced with these last set of arguments but still, with no data to counter it, I would rather accept it and believe that all these ventures are actually his hobbies. Anyways, it gives me a reason to follow my dreams as well.

So Now after these sessions, the situation has gone worse. Now it is not "Why am I doing MBA?" rather it gets to "Why does anyone do MBA?", which Mahesh partly answered in his talk, "If everyone is an employer, where do we find the employee? The Lonely Journey of an Entrepreneur by Mahesh Murthy Entrepreneurship has long been considered a solitary journey, but times are a changing. There are now plenty of networks and groups to keep business owners company. The instant messenger pings and a little querying rectangle pops up on screen. Got a minute? my friend, the entrepreneur, asks. Sure, I say. I know what she wants to say will take more than a minute . I also know it s important to her, not just in terms of getting an answer to her question, but also in terms of having someone around even if it is at the other end of an iffy internet connection to talk to.

I remember the few times I started out trying to form a business what hit me was that no one had ever told me it was going to be so lonely.

It s been a long time since I rock and rolled, It s been a long time since I did the stroll. Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back, Let me get it back, baby, where I come from.

I was starting out businesses without knowing how to do it. My college, or whatever little I had attended, wouldn t deign to touch unworthy subjects like how to start a company . Instead, it concentrated on far more important issues such as what Babcock and Wilcox considered when they designed a boiler . Books didn t help. Most management and text books I read, seemed to speak in that arcane language which only professors and students shared neither of who ever seemed to have come near starting a business, even from a distance.

Magazines such as Fortune were a slim hope, when I could steal a glance at a copy never had the money to buy one. However, it focused more on what a start-up did once it hit the billiondollar mark in revenue and was no longer a start-up. That was way too far out for me. Still is, actually.

I didn t know who to ask questions. Starting a business was not in my blood, as my family repeatedly told me, at least not for the past 10 generations that they had news of. Not only was there nobody I knew then who I could ask, the few I ended up talking to not only told me not to do whatever I was doing, but to be a good boy and make Appa-Amma happy, finish my studies and take up a job. That was the second and worse whammy.

It s been a long time since the book of love, I can t count the tears of a life with no love. Carry me back, carry me back, Carry me back, baby, where I come from.

Yes, I failed then. My first two efforts in business ended up as bad memories, lost cash, burnt relationships and gaps in the CV.I remember when I had started out I had kilotonnes of confidence and eyes bright with dreams that all entrepreneurs harbour. I d ended up with dark circles a humbled loser.

Maybe my ideas sucked, maybe my execution sucked more so, and maybe I did deserve to fail. But, equally maybe, I deserved some support system when all was against me. Yes, it is romantic when the world is against you and off you go, all Don Quixote-like, lance in hand, looking to fight windmills. But horses run out of hay, you run out of breath, and eventually both of you need a place to collect calories and courage before you start the next day and the next fight.

In India, these places are traditionally within the family, as businesses move from generation to generation under the family s watchful eyes and guardianship. I didn t have the right genes to be a part of that set. There was little else I knew then. So, I reverted to being an employee, working for others in India, and then outside.

Seems so long since we walked in the moonlight, Making vows that just can t work right. Open your arms, opens your arms, Open your arms, baby, let my love come running in.

Years later, in the US, I discovered the sort of networks that I would have loved to have had. Angel investors telling start-ups the doors they would open. VCs telling you who to go to and how to shape your pitch. Sales directors signing up for businesses that they could help deliver. And I saw promoters drink like hungry camels from these wells of support. Given all these, it would be harder to fail, I thought. When I came back to India and started investing, I tried consciously to be a part of such groups, or to help form some.

We had some flashes in the pan. One group of entrepreneurs met for social do s one Tuesday every month. Another hung out in the lobby at the Oberoi in south Bombay. A third hung out at a cafe, called Just Around The Corner, in the suburb of Bandra. I was one of this last lot with almost an official table and drink (iced tea) designated for a few years.

Very few of these networks lasted long. One that I stuck to was TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) a Silicon Valley import that started before the boom, and fortunately for us, lasted through the bust. Today, TiE does an amazing job of forming a nexus that tries to help entrepreneurs not fall through the cracks to mix a few metaphors. I m really happy to spot TiE chapters in dozenplus places around India. A bit of our role, as early birds, has been to hand over the baton to others who are now ready to serve. And things have gotten even better since.

I see Start-up Saturdays happen around the country in a super collaborative way, glued together by the social media. Sites such as Pluggd.in exist with news and views for those of us who are tech-start-up minded.

Events such as Headstart and Proto do things with professionalism, sponsorship and make money off it and why not? As long as entrepreneurs are being served. And there are other groups that I m not a part of, which have been around for long. I m told that YEO and YPO help you if your daddy was an entrepreneur that s a support system for the second generation business people too. So, you re beginning to see specialisation here, too.

A couple of years ago, there was no demand for columns on how to start a business. Now there are magazines devoted to it. I write columns here and in a couple of other places as well, and have had to say no to some folks.

Never before has there been so much support for the entrepreneur in this country.

It s been a long time, been a long time,

Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Yes, it has.

Never have you ever been so un-lonely. Enjoy the company, enjoy the conversation.Plug yourself into groups who will support you for there are sure as heck many who won t. And remember this, it s not like it used to be for many of us. There are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of others out there like you. You re no longer alone.

Dream big, The earth s the limit : Live your Dreams : Part 3 July 21, 2009 by ireboot

Murthy at the 140conf Dream big. The earths the limit! Thats what Mahesh Murthy, CEO Pinstorm has to say. Coincidentally the third person to feature in our series of Live your Dreams is also a person who has never completed formal education. The last two being Sachin Tendulkar, who never completed school and Steve Jobs, who dropped out of college. Mahesh also features in the top 20 list of Most Successful Dropouts from College in History.

Mahesh, got into engineering but 3 semesters (18 months) into the course, he chose to drop out. So why did he drop out ? As is the case with most of us, coming from middle class families, having studied maths and science, we are told that there is no other choice than become an engineer. Thats what happenend with him as well. And like all of us do, somewhere down the line loose interest in the subjects we are being taught and cant figure out why we are doing it. But there was one thing different in Mahesh from the rest of us and that was, yes you got it right, Guts! All or probably 99% of us cannot do what he did, drop out of college and start selling vacuum cleaners that too door-to-door. In the process he also got discarded from his family, quite natural to happen. But that did not stop him, he was destined for bigger things. He moved into a hotel paying Rs.50 a night, the money he had earned from his NTSE scholarship. He sold vacuum cleaners, then starting a cleaning company Vaclean, but after failing in both he finally joined an advertising company. Since then theres been no lookingback. Maheshs traveled placed, done the UIs for Yahoo and Amazon, worked for Ogilvy and and a few other firms before finally settling in Mumbai with Pinstorm. Pinstorm is a unque pay click advertising company which has worldwide operations and consists of offices in India, Malaysia, Singapore, China and US. Thats not the end he also owns a VC funding company called Seedfund through which he has mentored and funded 10 Indian startups and 3 US based ones. Some of his funded companies include Geodesic, Webdunia, EasyBuy, CareerLauncher, Tulleeho, Redbus etc. His advertising company, Pinstorm, has been selected by Red Herring (magazine) to their list of Asias 100 Hottest companies for 2008. Mahesh has become a guru in this field and is often been invited to conferences and summits around the world. He also is a strong believer that only those who wish to become academicians or go in research should go for studying hard. The rest, should just scramble through the exam and in the meantime Follow your Heart. Well end with words from the man himself :

No one knows anything, least of all any supposed management guru or consultant or expert. You can discover your own rules and create your own playing field. And dream big. The earths the limit. Sources : Crazyengineers, Wikipedia, Rediff Have a Dream to Reality real life story, why not share with us. Drop in the comments section, well contact you and who knows you may win yourswlf a gift! Mahesh Murthy from sales person to Yahoo! and amazon June 1, 2011 Written by prateekverma1 Leave a comment Think of the entrepreneurs you admire: Ambani / Tata / Narayanamurthy / Branson / Jobs / Gates / Dell / whoever. They all started without venture capital. That is the most common way to be successful yes it is harder but when you start with no funding then you focus quickly on delivering a sustainable competitive advantage and on making money early on which all of these people did. And hence they landed up with great businesses. And none of these people had a plan B. They had no choice to be successful. That is the best way to be successful. Mahesh Murthy Mahesh Murthy- CEO and Founder of Pinstorm An engineering college drop-out. From being a door to door sales person selling vacuum cleaner to designing user interface for Yahoo! and Amazon s strategy. He has done it all the hard way. He is the CEO and Founder of Pinstorm and a venture capitalist. Pinstorm is one of the earliest proponents of pay for performance advertising. The company does not charge a retainer fee, media or creative charges. Clients are only charged on the basis of the results their communication campaigns deliver.

Mahesh Murthys lifeHe was brought up believing that there was a pot of gold at the end of rainbow but now after struggling and achieving success he believes that the pot of gold is the rainbow itself, the journey is all we have. Being from a Tamilian Brahmin family, and conversant in maths and science, engineering was an automatic choice for him. But later when he joined college he figured out there was very little application of logic, thinking and intelligence and more of learning by rote which he was not cut out for. Thats when he realised he should stop going to college, which for obvious reasons was opposed by all family members. He even received ultimatum from his parents that if he wants to live in their house he should follow their rules or else leave. He bought their point and realised if he wants to follow unconventional route he had no right to live in their home. So he left the house with his meagre amount of money he earned from being a NTSE scholar. He checked into a cheap hotel and the next morning applied to a job with Eureka forbes, selling vacuum cleaner door- to- door, as it was the only job that didnt require a graduation degree. Showing dignity of labour he gave a fair shot to anything and everything that came across his way. One of the constant objections from everyone was vacuum cleaner in cleaning curtains and carpets had limited capability and Rs.3300 for a middle class family was a tad high. They were ready to give 100-200 for cleaning service per month but it was not acceptable by the company, so he with one more friend of his started Vaclean a vacuum cleaning service. Although it didnt succeed , but in designing brochures for his company he realised his inclination towards writing and designing persuasive communication. This led him to join an advertising firm. After a career of 10 years in the advertising firm he landed up in an interactive agency in US, Silicon Valley. Then yahoo came up to them (CKS Partners) and asked for help in designing their UI. Yahoo had lot of text links back then, so Mahesh had to categorize each of them into groups and hierarchies according to its topic, and the no. of site it contained and traffic it generated. In accordance with yahoos Jerry Yang and David Filo he had to make the design college-kid like so that it kept the feel of a company running from Stanford dorm. After

surveying and testing, the design was up and running, it immediately doubled the page views. It was a success. Then they won amazon.com business. He helped in positioning of amazon.com. Jeff Bezos founder of amazon wanted to compete against online stores like books.com but Mahesh persuaded him to take on terrestrial book stores like Barnes and Noble, which would automatically set in people mind as biggest online bookstore. It was not about revenues but about number of books customer could see and buy. They led a campaign around Earths biggest book store. They ran ads like 864 books on golfing and, just in case, 1,165 on divorce. Amazon.com. Earths biggest bookstore .This of course led to a huge controversy and Barnes and noble suing them but amazon won consumer heart, editorial space and PR battle. From then on amazon never looked back. What Ive learnt till now is this: Follow your heart. When the heart doesnt know, follow your gut. Dont, in any circumstances, follow your mind. In no circumstances, whatsoever, follow a SWOT analysis that B-school asked you to do. That is the worst possible way to take a decision on your lfie. Mahesh Murthy From Proto.in: Mahesh Murthy s Advice For Entrepreneurs; Left Handed Hockey Sticks

By Nikhil Pahwa on July 19th, 2008 | Email

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Some great tips from Mahesh Murthy of Seed Fund and Pinstorm, during his talk at Proto. 1. Spend as little as possible on advertising. 2. The only thing that builds your brand, with no advertising, is price. Price is unique look at super premium products with super premium pricing. Competition is not as worried about companies that price their products cheaper, as they are about companies that price their product higher. Price is your first positioning weapon and should not be based on your cost. No company has won the market by simply pricing a product cheaper. 3. Have great User Interface (Ed: later in the day, someone also mentioned that there arent enough UI experts in India) 4. Market your product - go to conferences and be a speaker (they get in free). Challenge speakers, and be seen as a thought leader 5. How to get media attention ( ed: I took that as how to con journalists *grin*) when you go to journalists, have data to back you up. Have a unique positioning, no matter how niche it is. Be the world expert in left handed hockey sticks. Position your product well, and back that up with data. They want to communicate new and interesting things to their audience, and how you position your product is important. (ed: very true) 6. Dont follow a trend: if you cant be 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the market get out. Dont follow a trend. Chances are, if youve read about a segment covered in a newspaper it is probably too late already. You can almost never be successful by following a trend. In short The Trend Means The End 7. Market Research is Crap: Every future expectation of market size is bullshit. You have to create a market, youll got to get feet on the ground. 8. Finding the right employees if youve found someone who wants a raise to join your startup, thats a clear indication that hes not the right guy. You cant hire a mercenary to fight

your battles. It is your passion that will get people on board. Dont go for the IITs, but get guys from small colleges, who have something to prove. I also wanted to listen to Sanjay Anandram of Jumpstart Ventures, but had to leave early for our own Seminar and mixer. Hope the WiFi at Proto is upwill be there for the second half of day today. E - Factor Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, BITS Pilani Mahesh Murthy talks on "The Fundas of Starting Up" at Conquest 2009 About the Speaker: Mahesh is the Founder and CEO of Pinstorm. Mahesh has 24 years of marketing and communications experience of which over 14 years are in online marketing. After dropping out of college, Mahesh sold vacuum cleaners from door to door, worked with Grey in India and Ogilvy in Hong Kong, where he won notoriety and awards as a creative director on HP, The Economist, Pepsi and MTV - for whom he wrote and directed a spot voted Asia's best commercial of the decade. He then moved to a Silicon Valley firm, CKS Partners as Creative Director, General Manager and Partner where he helped launch the first commercial version of Yahoo in 1995 and the Earth's Biggest Bookstore campaign for Amazon.com in 1997. After a successful NASDAQ IPO, Mahesh moved to head marketing at iCat, an e-commerce firm in Seattle subsequently acquired by Intel. Mahesh then returned to India to run Channel V, a rival to MTV, till its sale to Newscorp in 2000 and then founded Passionfund to invest in startups. Some of his investees include Geodesic, Compassbox acquired by Careerlauncher, Cypherix, Indiaproperties, EBS and Webdunia. Mahesh penned a reasonably infamous column in Business Today and Businessworld, and played the Donald Trump-equivalent role in Business Baazigar, a game show similar to The Apprentice, involving entrepreneurs and business plans. While running search marketing campaigns for his favourite charity in 2003, Mahesh believed there was a need for a pay-for-performance online

marketing company - and set up Pinstorm in Bombay. With over 120 people across 7 offices in India, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Europe and the US, Pinstorm is today among the worlds leading digital marketing firms. Mahesh has a passion for earlystage investing and teamed up with Pravin Gandhi and Bharati Jacob in 2006 to set up Seedfund, today a leading early-stage venture capital fund in India. Seedfund already has 10 investments, including Carwale.com, Printo, RedBus.in, AFAQs.com and Vaatsalya. Description of the Talk: As I grew up, I always wanted to study in a place like this. Now Im here to deliver a lecture.Revealed Mr Mahesh Murthy while speaking on the topic Fundas of Starting Up. An entrepreneur is a person who realizes at a very early age that he or she is different. I dont have to be like anyone else. Entrepreneurship is about living your DNA. Im as different from you as my fingerprint is from yours. He said while emphasizing on the uniqueness of each of those in the lecture hall, which was filled to capacity by then. Through examples, he then proved that the location of a start-up doenst really matter anymore. He claimed that a world class company can be built in Pilani itself, the crowd broke into a huge round of applause to convey their agreement. He then pointed out that world leading companies such as Google, Ferrari, YouTube and EBay never advertise. The trick is to get your customer so thrilled, that he/she cannot stop talking about your service or product. While encouraging students to start-up early he said, You dont need to learn what it is like to be an employee to know what it is like to be an employer. He then downplayed the role of Venture Capital funding by pointing out that most of the worlds greatest entrepreneurs never received any such funds. The ultimate

source of funds is the revenue developed from the customers, develop a good enough revenue model and your job is half done. He concluded by stating that an entrepreneur leads a lonely life. It is emotionally very tough to be an entrepreneur because you might have to oppose your parents, your friends and almost everyone you know. He advised the students to have friends who share the same dream so they can get through the whole experience together. "A shared illusion" Entrepreneurs' Voice - Mahesh Murthy Mr Mahesh Murthy spoke to the students at the Indian School of Business. There was an article carried out in the magazine "The ISB Mentor".

We replicate the article below. Way to go Mahesh. KV Picket is proud of you !

Mahesh Murthy is the founder and CEO of Pinstorm, a company that helps clients optimise their ad spends on search engine marketing sites. An award winning advertising professional, Mahesh created and launched the first commercial version of Yahoo in 1995 and the Earth s biggest bookstore campaign of Amazon while working with CKS Partners, a Silicon Valley firm that went public in NASDAQ. Mahesh returned to India in 1999 and in 2000 set up Passion Fund to invest in and guide start-ups. Some of his investments include Geodesic, which went public on the Indian stock market, Compass Box that merged with Career Launcher, India Properties, and Web Dunia. He was a member of the jury of the reality show Business Baazigar, where aspiring entrepreneurs competed for an eventual funding of their dream.

Mahesh spoke to the Class of 2007 on the how and why of entrepreneurship. Answers to some of the fundamental questions of entrepreneurship were found after a breezy interaction

between Mahesh and the students.

Who becomes an entrepreneur?

A large number of people working in organisations are mismatched to what they are doing. A majority of them make the adjustments needed and serve the organisations well as employees. Those who are intolerant and unwilling to make the required adjustments, end up as entrepreneurs.

Where does entrepreneurship flourish? Entrepreneurship flourishes just about anywhere. Estonia is home to such hot technology companies as Skype. When it comes to entrepreneurship, location does not matter.

What kind of business should one start?

An entrepreneur must aspire to be where nobody else is. Every single trend about a sector mentioned in the media is a signal that that sector is dead as far as entrepreneurship is concerned. Trend, he said, signals the end. Entrepreneurs must pursue those kinds of ideas that lead to the creation of a product or service which uniquely delights customers. This would lead to the customers evangelising the product or service and enables the start-up to outsmart competition.

How should one start an entrepreneurial venture?

Most successful start-ups are able to bootstrap their ventures with funds raised from friends and family. They develop the ability to survive the hardiest of circumstances. They also hire multi-faceted talent who are comfortable with ambiguity

What motivates an entrepreneur?

As a successful entrepreneur himself, Mahesh said it wasn t the wealth created that he found appealing but the excitement that the path of entrepreneurship provides. To entrepreneurs, the pot of gold is the rainbow.

As an investor, what does he look for in start-ups? As an investor in start-ups, Mahesh seeks answers to the following questions:

Can I exit the company? Will I be able to find somebody else or the public at large to buy a stake in the company?

Can I help? Am I in a position to support the company with more than just money?

Can I fund it? Are the fund requirements within my means?

What kind of commitment does the entrepreneur show to the venture? Is he/she committed to it full time?

Is there chemistry between the entrepreneur(s) and me?

Concluding the discussion, Mahesh said that it was never too early to start an entrepreneurial venture. It is important that the entrepreneur get as many people on board as possible for the venture to succeed. The best funding a start-up can aspire to is customer funding, with customers paying for the product or service of the company.

Why you should not be an Entrepreneur [And why I am still an Entrepreneur!]


By sinha on 12, December, 2008 29 | Topic: inspiration

[Nikhil V, Founder of letshead.to shares few hard reality of being an entrepreneur - and yet, why he is still one! Being a college grad to launching a magazine to going bankrupt and bouncing back - do read his story!]

Everyone talks about how cool and glamorous Entrepreneurship is. Its almost become like a fluffy parallel universe whose inhabitants have 5 arms, 4 legs and 3 eyes.

Since everyone is so seduced by entrepreneurship, let me take this opportunity to tell you why you should NOT be an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship is for fools

Its for people who believe so blindly in something, that nothing will stop them from achieving it. They could go mad, lose their marriages, break relations with family, give up their education nothing will stop them.

An entrepreneur is someone who lives by the words No Matter What .

Isn t it easier to be a sleaze? To give that hidden middle finger to your boss when he asks you to do something? To know fully well that your boss will get fired by his higher up if you are not productive? That its totally OK to not finish something? That you always have other options? That there is always an easier way out?

Entrepreneurship is for people who want to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders

Its for people who want to solve the world s problems. Its for people who think it is upon them to be The One . People who are actually delusional enough to think that they are like Neo from the Matrix? That if they stop doing what they are doing, the world will crumble and lives will be lost.

Isn t it easier for someone else to do the worrying? To chill out, relax and laugh at people stressing out? To know fully well that someone else will clean up your mess? That you left the world exactly the way it was, and did nothing to change it? Do you really want to be responsible for people s salaries, happiness, and putting their children in a good school?

Entrepreneurship is for Visionaries

Its for people who don t live in the present people who think they can alter the course of destiny for the planet. People who always think there is a better way of doing something. People who can see the future, and stake their lives to make it a reality.

Isn t it easier to just do what is told to you? To just finish the day s tasks and forget about work till the next morning? To use the current solution, however inefficient it is? To only think about getting married, having kids and settling in life? To leave predicting the future to a palmist or an astrologer? After all Astrologers and Palmists have an easier job, they just predict the future and leave it these mad entrepreneurs will actually go and make it happen.

Entrepreneurs are Fighters

Its for mad guys who like to fight till their last breath. For people who will keep on breaking barriers, ceilings, impossibilities, resistance, competitors or whatever is thrown in the way. For people who will keep on punching till the opponent begs for mercy, no matter how much they themselves bleed. For those who just cant stay away from a challenge.

Why do you wanna get hurt? Why do you wanna break barriers? Isn t it easier to just let people be, and barriers stop you? If something is impossible, why challenge it? Who gives a damn about competition anyway its your boss s problem!

Entrepreneurs make pots of Money

Its for those who want to create huge amounts of wealth. Enough for them to make a pile and swim in it. To be able to blow it up buying fancy cars and huge mansions. More importantly, its for those who want to create pots of wealth for those who work with them to see their employees buy all these fancy things. Most importantly, To create funds, and give back to society and the economy.

Who cares about giving back to society? Why be so altruistic? Isn t it enough to just find a better paying job, save properly and make sure your children study in good schools? Why bother about your colleagues?

Entrepreneurs change lives

Its for those who change the lives of people around them, and in the entire process have their own lives changed. For those whose lives are not the same once they embark on the journey. For those who grow into Superman, Batman, Shaktimaan and Hanuman all in one. Those who seek to attain mastery over their art because they have no choice but to be the best at it for their startups. For those who know that their team s lives will not be the same once they are done with the startup.

Why do you want to be Shaktimaan? Why do you want to attain mastery over anything, when one can just Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V? Why do you want your life to change, when everything is so nice and normal?

Entrepreneurs are Survivors

Its for those who can be thrown into an island full of monkeys, devoid of human beings, and they will still manage to build a roaring business by finding a neighboring island with humans and export coconuts to them while having taught the monkeys the basics of economics, and living a luxurious life. For those mad guys who can survive a nuclear holocaust. For those who can turn the proverbial eskimo into a Ice cube franchisee. For those who can not only survive, but make the most of it.

Why look for opportunity when all you need is to survive? If there is a nuclear holocaust, then why not just accept it, and die the way god intends you to? Why struggle to breathe, when you can just slip into a peaceful happy sedated coma?

Ladies and Gentlemen. Entrepreneurship does all of this to you.

I was a confused 20 yr old who hated college. I was insecure about who I was, scared that I was wandering about aimlessly and had zero self confidence.

Then I started a magazine! An industry that has a 90% plus failure rate that too for a kid with no background in publishing, writing and no money! Sure, I could have started something a little more achievable, but being young and reckless comes with its madness.

So I started Strange Brew a 28-48 page full color magazine which ran for 6 issues and was a big hit with the readers but a mega flop with advertisers. And knowing nothing about funding, VCs and financing did not help at all! So the print magazine crashed, I burned with a massive debt, abused by the 20 odd ppl working with me, dumped by my girlfriend, almost got thrown out of home a million times and other unspeakables.

Today Strange Brew is relaunching as an online magazine having paid off all our debts, and is doing thriving business as a media company making videos for global companies, NGOs and other prominent clients. Its running itself with an awesome team, and I dont even need to be around for it to grow.

I started a company called Strange Labs and we run www.letshead.to which is a web concept that partners with Restaurants, Nightclubs, Cafes etc and we have a totally new way for them to get customers and do sales. I work with a team of 7 Superstars, and we will stop at nothing to grow it into a gazillion dollar venture. And my life absolutely rocks!

Entrepreneurship changed my life, and gave me much much more than I bargained for.

Are you up for it?

http://www.pluggd.in/inspiration/entrepeneur-story-3338/