Business Incubation 101 (India)

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 This post is India centric.

Thinking lag is a serious condition. I remember how the older folks used to tell us ‘in our times things were so much cheaper’. Look at how the Government patronises unsuspecting academia and students by announcing Goals 2020 and supports it with Funding 1920. It’s not even smart political thinking. Call it Politicalaggard thinking.

Mayawati will spend Rs. 2000 crores (USD 400 million) dotting the UP countryside with ego-stroking statues of herelf and her mock leather handbags while the Government announces 1 crore for business incubation. Here …

The government has now formulated a scheme to set up around 100 incubators in the country to encourage the development of new businesses. It has earmarked a budget of Rs 1.13 crore for 2007-08 for providing grants to 50 universities and training institutes for setting up these incubators!

[read the original evangelising here]. And don’t miss ‘proud’ exclamation mark.  Continue reading “Business Incubation 101 (India)”

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Innovation 101 – “Enjoy life while you can”

James Lovelock doesn’t think we will need innovation 10 years on.  Not because the business world will find a new jazzword to hang their marketing spiels on but ‘scarily’ because planet earth wouldn’t exist. According to Lovelock, by the end of the century, 80% of the world’s population will disappear and half of Britain will be under water. And to prove his point, the octagenarian is buying a ticket to outer space.

James Lovelock - Gaia Theory

Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam.’Therefore’, he says, ‘Enjoy life while you can’ via ‘Enjoy life while you can’ | Environment | The Guardian.

This is one scary take on climate change and sustainable development. Continue reading “Innovation 101 – “Enjoy life while you can””

Innovation 101 – Mouse Trap?

Mousetrap, mouse, bait (chocolate)Enough about money and the Oscars. And I’m still wondering why all the fuss about Slumdog Millionaire. Just like one swallow doesn’t make a summer, one event doesn’t make a nation. Sorry guys, but I’m getting sick and tired of diversions.

First it was Obama’s swearing in that we were waiting for. Come 20th January and we kept waiting for a miracle. Then came the Oscars and we’re all very euphoric that Slumdog Millionaire bagged 8 golds. Now we’ll wait for India to go to the polls and hope that the new government will right the economy. All we’ll do is wait.

The Pied Piper has driven out all the rats – now he’s after our children. And we continue to build better mousetraps while wondering why there are no takers.  The ‘smarter’ guys believe that if the mousetraps were cheaper, they would be able to sell. For me it is a no-brainer that a mousetrap is needed only if there are mice! Come let’s innovate they say. How about a GPS system that will show us where each mousetrap is located. Maybe some wheels to move it around. And a radio controlled wheelster on which to mount it. Gimme a break people – who’s going to ‘grow’ the mice?

We cannot solve the problems that we have created with the same thinking that created them. — Albert Einstein

The first law of holes: If you are in one, stop digging. — Anonymous Continue reading “Innovation 101 – Mouse Trap?”

Innovation 101: Throw money at the financial crisis?

Get your heads out of the sand
Get your heads out of the sand

I’m pushing 50 and I always thought my general knowledge was passable. Until I watched Slumdog Millionaire and found out that it wasn’t George Washington’s mug on a $100 bill but Benjamin Franklin’s. Strange coincidence and somewhat evangelistic that he was the one who said

He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. – Benjamin Franklin

So what’s America trying to do to quell the current storm that doesn’t want to go away. Allegation or not, the only course that seemed to come to you was to throw money at the crisis. How smart is that? Doesn’t surprise anyone outside the US but you are taken by surprise when the bailout money gets generously distributed against ‘bonuses payable’ among the very people that caused the crisis to happen. Continue reading “Innovation 101: Throw money at the financial crisis?”

Innovation 101 – Death of the VC

Thingamy’s Sigurd Rinde’s great post here. From the post – Goodbye VCs, it’s been a pleasure

Betting on markets is not business building, it’s not innovation, it’s financial crap shooting.

Many of the reasons I did not choose to have Ideafarms funded by Vulture Capitalists are so lucidly captured in his post.

1. On exit strategies

And my favourite – Andy Grove and the “payday” mentioned above: 

What really infuriates him is the concept of the “exit strategy.” “Intel never had an exit strategy,” Grove says. “These days, people cobble something together. No capital. No technology. They measure eyeballs and sell advertising. Then they get rid of it. You can’t build an empire out of this kind of concoction. You don’t even try.”

Did Microsoft, Google, Intel, Dell and Amazon spend time on “exit strategies”? Doubt it.

Exit strategy is something to pooh pooh at. Makes a money lender holding your home to ransom look like a saint! The VC community cannot even imagine the damage they have done to genuine entrepreneurship. Some of it will not be undone for generations.

2. On the role of the VC and the ‘passenger’  investor

I love Sig’s allusion to the investor being the passenger. How irritating to have a passenger sit in the back seat while you’re driving, giving you instructions about when to step on the gas when he has never even learnt to drive.

I’m not against delivering the best possible value to the venture investors, quite on the contrary, but there should not be any doubt that the best shareholder values delivered over time have consistently been delivered by those who can create a great value for their customers while keeping a good margin.
And the customer is the start-up, the VC is the vehicle and the investor is the passenger. The passengers are always much better off if the driver keeps his eyes peeled on the road.

I join Sig in wishing VCs farewell and hope they will never return. RIP