Sunday, August 22, 2010

A retrospection about my boyhood life...

Have you ever paused for few minutes to think about how your experience in the world has turned you into a matured person? I tried to do it few (may be several) years back; although the story I have is old, I just had the time to pen down it. When I retrospect my life, as a boy growing into an adult, I could point out a couple of differences in my maturity level that helped me understanding the world, the way it is.

[For those of you, who don’t know me, I grew up in India. Hence the stories I am telling may not be relevant in your country.]

I remember, on watching a popular Indian tooth paste ad during my boyhood days, I was tempted to write to the company pointing out the mistake that had happened to be in its ad. The ad did say that it had 20 ingredients, whereas it displayed around 23 ingredients in its visual form. I also bought the paste to confirm that there were only 20 ingredients and I did win! Afterwards, I was more certain that in their visual, by mistake they had added the extra 3 ingredients. But the day never came for me to write them a letter describing, what they had missed in their ad. In my mind, I was sure; if I had written such a letter, then I would have received some gifts, as a token of appreciation. As a boy, I was happy that I was able to spot out such mistakes on a leading brand; until the knowledge of world experience, which had taught me the truth that the visual form of the ad was on purpose to show the extra 3 ingredients. Although, I could not confirm with the company about the same, I could certainly tell with my experience (now growing) that the 3 ingredients were there to make the ad watchers feel that there are much more goodness in the paste, than it is in reality. As they say, “a picture is worth, a thousand words!” I could now see, why the company decided to deliberately mislead the audience. My experience taught me that how ethics is not all that important, when it comes to capturing people’s mind. Oops…business that’s a much better word for the last couple of words in the previous sentence. I told you, I am learning…Ok let’s go to the next now.

When i was young, seeing a rickshaw man working hard; sweating every day under the hot sun was really painful to me. For my age, I was quite a down to earth boy; I didn't like the idea of people sitting on rickshaws; pulled by the rickshaw men with all their muscle power. Ok, don’t imagine the rickshaw men to be strong, when I say 'muscle power!' I remember, most of the rickshaw men were skinny that they were barely grounded to earth, by the virtue of gravity! And that was a terrible scene for me to witness, “a man much thinner than the load, (literally the passengers here…)pulling the rickshaw” It was not until, I obtained a sense of maturity in life, I realized that in order for a man to live his life, he needs to earn money and money never comes for free. So, I reinstated my thoughts that hiring rickshaws is not all that bad; in fact, it would be better to give a struggling man, some business. Certainly at a young age, I was more worried about a fellow human’s struggle in pulling the rickshaw than the importance of money to lead one’s livelihood.

Anyways, I just wanted to leave you here with my stories; I could see the world imparting me the knowledge of how things work and not, how I (we) perceive things! Certainly, this is not the end, as I know that I would be learning, every second in my life, so as you! Seldom, we stop our clocks to think about all this stuff; I am happy that I did it… Hope you enjoyed my retrospection from boyhood to adulthood. Now, it's your turn!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Is MBA important to start a company?

For the purpose of this post, I have modified the original title "Is MBA important for a programmer to start a Tech Company?" as "Is MBA important to start a company?” in my opinion "programmer and tech company" on the original topic  is irrelevant. Someone who is good at what they do should be a good audience for this post.

I have asked the title question in several forums and to others. And if I were to conclude up on the answers; it is, may be MBA is useful. But not everyone can do MBA for many different reasons that we don't care from this post point of view. So if you want something to get going and your appetite for starting something is growing day by day, then you should at the least understand what is required for you to start a company? Especially when you have no experience in business models\marketing\margins. In the previous sentence, it is with intent I mentioned "no experience"; but having knowledge of the aforementioned domains by themselves, adds a great value to what you are planning to do.

My objective of this post is to distill the ideas that were mentioned on the original post. First and foremost, understand who your customers are? You would be doing injustice to your efforts and others involved, if you do not understand for whom you are trying to solve the problems. Once you have that work done and confident about your solution, pitch the ideas to people and get non-binding agreements, as mentioned in the original post. This step inherently takes care of two things for you; firstly, you know what the customers want and secondly, you care about the end user experience. Having done the above, should put you in a better position from the start. Now to get the next leap or getting close to where you want to be from the start; I have directly picked the takeaway about business from the original post, which is as below:

"1) a product or service that people want and are willing to pay for, and 2) a way of delivering that product or service, such that the amount of money you take in, is larger than the amount of money, it costs to deliver it.

That's it. There are a lot of tangential ideas, but most of them "orbit" that one. (Marketing, sales, margins, etc.) "

Enjoy the spirit of entrepreneurship and good luck with all your efforts!