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Archive for the ‘Entreprenuership’ Category

Collaboration as a long tail phenomena

Posted by Girish Krishnan on August 7, 2007

The concept of long tail applies to teams also – In the internet world, many business models can be set up with the internet allowing them to work together. The key to such business models is interest. Take any open source project – key individuals are into it because of their own interest. Its difficult to keep good people tied to a business unless they are themselves interested in it.

From the above premise comes a business model, especially valid for creative pursuits. The more successful ones would have people working on them because of their own interest and the confidence that they can contribute to making it work. Visibility and co-ownership are the two most important characteristics of such an organization. This can be seen in big organizations too – if we observe closely there will be the seeds of these virtual teams that are waiting to be sown and grown. People who like to be together, with complementing personalities, and who share a common vision are the best incubators of new businesses.

How do you get a team like that? With internet and the long tail phenomenon, the cost of production and the cost of consumption came down, and more importantly there are tools which connect the demand and the supply groups. These tools could be Google search, blogs, emails, alumni networks and all kinds of stuff. Am sure in the coming future there will be the long tail teams that redefine creativity and the mode of doing businesses!

Tech Tags: Long tail, Entrepreneurship, New Business Models,alumni, Web 2.0, Creativity, Collaboration


Posted in Entreprenuership, MBA Info-Sources, Web 2.0, Work Life | Leave a Comment »

Philanthropy Vs Business

Posted by Girish Krishnan on April 13, 2007

Here’s an interesting connection between marketing and alleviation of poverty.
Advertisement campaigns have to break the clutter of already running campaigns /advertisements to be successful. In our country of more than a billion people, it is really tough to get your voice to be heard. If you are not heard in some way or other, you cannot create a change in the lives of people and help them take a path you feel is the right way to prosperity.

If many of us have an entreprenuerial drive in us, it is for a reason – that we can make a difference to our country.It has always been my strong belief that philanthropy is not the way out, but being in a position of influence certainly is – better still if you have a thriving business that can fund initiatives. Being a mother Theresa is probably more difficult for many of us as compared to becoming decent businessmen or women. Thats a tough statement to make, however i believe thats a practical one.

Read this quote from a person (a mexican – if that gives a clue!) who might just become the richest person in this world ….”Poverty isn’t solved with donations,building businesses often does more for society than going around like Santa Claus”! I cant agree with this more and I believe this is certainly a bigger driving force in the lives of many Indian youth who want to create that difference in our country.

Posted in Cryptic or philosophical!, Entreprenuership, General, Work Life | 4 Comments »

Creativity, Distance, Pareeksha

Posted by Girish Krishnan on April 5, 2007

Some of us have been experimenting with our own determination – by trying to collaborate and make something work even if there is good amount of distance between us – the team members! Work Offshoring is a time tested model in our own software industry but the paradigm in which we are trying out our collaboration is different. In our model the incentives are only about the kick that one derives out of the collective bonding and camaraderie that plays out during our interactions – and of course the push to achieve a common goal .. its a test for each of our free will in an environment where nothing is forced, where each one of the members are welcome to leave at any point in time!

The tasks we are trying to accomplish arent tactical or strategic – they are creative!!! I think this is a great way to test our drive, because creativity doesnt fall in line with the work that can be done with a blinding mask on one’s face. It needs total dedication and resolve – and unless we actually enjoy working with each other and are powered by an accepted collective goal, it isnt going to fructify.

The learnings from this exercise have been great – both in terms of discovering one’s own deficiencies and also in terms of understanding what kind of personalities gel well under trying circumstances; its been a lesson for all of us in both human and organizational behaviour.

I hope to share my learnings in detail through a later post – and also hope that we crosss the last mile with a lot of success. An awesome product is shaping up – I’m just so eager to release it …..

Tech Tags:

Posted in Art and Entertainment, Cryptic or philosophical!, Entreprenuership, General, MBA Info-Sources, Work Life | 2 Comments »

Leadership – Creating a symbiotic and synergistic relationship!

Posted by Girish Krishnan on March 20, 2007

Found this interesting article in rediff – Its probably “another” one of those high level leadership hand waving, but i like the simplicity with which the 7 idioms have been put forth.

I quickly made it into a picture…a simple ready reckoner to incorporate leadership into oneself 🙂

Leadership Insights

Posted in Entreprenuership, General, MBA Info-Sources | 3 Comments »

Glowing bulb

Posted by Girish Krishnan on March 19, 2007

Entrepreneurs are people who dont understand risk – its inherently wrong to portray them as people who know to handle risk the right way..

Its tough to build innovation as part of an organization and if you are an organization that thrives on creativity, you need three things to be doing well

  • extremely good talent
  • a proper orientation giving clarity of what to focus on
  • the right incentive structure.

Procrastination is evil – and this has to eliminated by creating an environment where there’s free flow of thoughts and where there’s willingness to absorb in mistakes.

Posted in Entreprenuership, MBA Info-Sources | Leave a Comment »

The Tail of the Pyramid

Posted by Girish Krishnan on October 17, 2006

Of late i have been getting opportunities to talk to some really interesting people and the experience has been worthwhile in terms of the new stuff I get to learn about various industries and behaviour of the world in general.One such discussion emboldened itself to compare the long tail as studied in the internet world to the bottom of the pyramid concepts elicited much earlier by CKP. I have my own analogies for understanding the long tail – such as one which starts by polling the opinion of the general public on matters and comparing it with the opinion of a few top people who rule the country!

Long tail, as a concept reverses the 80:20 rule on its head, and says that there is enough money to be made even if you go against the basic premise which companies of the world operate on while doing a targeting exercise ie- target the top 20% customers who can give you maximum returns.

But its just the sheer scale of business that the new age companies like Google depend on, to make their revenue models. Google, for eg:, derives 90% of its revenues from advertising – and that too completely search based! Its the channel which matters when it comes to leveraging the long tail (i.e in google’s case people who do one or two searches a day – the principle is that even a nickel per customer per day would boost the company revenues by millions!!)
The strength of the internet lies in the fact that it can make this channel work, mainly by attracting the customer with the product features that are provided free on the net. Now bringing it close to the Bottom of the pyramid concept, it is imperative that the power to make this as successful as any internet business is in the channel!

Come to think of it! This is such a freakin cool analogy – The internet is enabling all these long tail businesses because of its accessibility by the common folks and its ability to establish a connection through with multiple parties can communicate freely. So, even before we think of reap the benefits from the BOP, we need to grow the channel. But in India, just any one channel wont work to establish a link with the BOP – so its appropriate to think that we need multiple channels to make this possible. so, what could be these channels? ……

Posted in Entreprenuership, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Testing business ideas with sand..

Posted by Girish Krishnan on September 21, 2006

If you are interested in business at the Bottom of the Pyramid – here’s an article by CK Prahlad. Its called the Innovation Sandbox..

The Innovation Sandbox is an interesting concept, the basic premise of which is as follows….

Innovating in India has been tough because the environment is not very congenial for it(high cost, stupid traditions, regulatory authorities, corruption).The health care system in India is not something which we could boast of to the world as most of the high level metrics (collected) give a dismal picture – high infant mortality, rapid increase in people affected by HIV/AIDS, Type 2 Diabetes, large number of cases of child malnourishment etc. But our own inherent constraints such as non-availability of medical aid, inability of the customers to pay, time constaints in delivering the service etc have actually helped us to develop cost effective and globally competitive products and services – Be it cardiac transplantations done in Narayana Hrudalaya, the Jaipur foot distributed by the BMVSS or the low price eye surgeries done by Arvind eye hospitals. The number of such sparks are very few in an otherwise brownish grey world.But then from the view point of an optimist these nonnegotiable standards allow us to challenge many assumptions regarding cost, quality, and delivery!

The idea is to use the innovation Sanbox model to actually come up with new innovations. You could visualize this stuff as an open cardboard box, the borders of which represent the main constraints, and of course impose as many constraints on the sand so that it takes so new weird shape coherant with all the requirements. The model definitely looks good in paper and it really does do well as a tool to study the unique business models that have come up in tough Indian conditions.
But after seeing a zillion frameworks at my BSchool, i have got convinced that though they aid assembling a solution, they kind of suppress the raw creativity due to their silo-based approach. One should also remember that models are more driven by hindsight than foresight – they contain the gist of something that has already happened but dont always capture that elusive seed to creativity!

However, i agree fully with the idea that the BOP customers are probably a great base to try out new offerings. Because, if you are able to satisfy them, you have crossed the acid test for a new business idea.The constraints imposed for selling your service or product are so many, and more importantly you arent allowed to compromise on quality. So the next time you are thinking of incubating something world class, try using the sandbox as a filter – you might just find a competitive solution to the world’s problems!

Posted in Entreprenuership | Leave a Comment »

Tips to an entrepreneur

Posted by Girish Krishnan on June 18, 2006

This post is taken from the notes made by me on August 13th, 2005

— Not all those who wander are lost: Tolkien 

Being in the premier business school of our country for the last four months has given me the chance to hear a lot of good speakers.Akin to companies, there are good and great in this field also. Manish Saberwal falls into the second league. I didn't quite believe it when our PAEV (which stands for Planning An Entrepreneurial Venture) professor Dr Ramachandran said he was a great speaker. The feeling didn't kick in even during the first 10mins of the speech. But it did'nt take long before i was hooked on completely, and what a strong one that was!!

Manish is a pragmatic guy and that reflects in his speech. What makes it better is that he is flashy too; his speech has a lot of seasoning which everyone in this part of the world like! Manish started his professional career in 1990 with the Nagarjuna Group. He went to Wharton to do his MBA in 1994 and had a clear cut vision to make an entrepreneurial entry into the insurance sector in India. During his summer break, he came back to India and visited 15 cities as part of his investigations on whether his Insurance venture was feasible or not. In 1996 India Life was born. From pension/ asset management it went into provident fund administration to payroll administration to offering full-scale HR outsourcing services. In between, it had raised VC funding from VIEW Group. Got into a JV with Hewitt (to form India LIfe-Hewitt) in 2000 and later, Hewitt bought out 100% equity. Manish is now in the process of stabilizing and growing Team Lease to be the largest private sector employer in the country!!!!!!

As our professor rightly said, there are not many entrepreneurs who are successful every time they start a venture..Manish seems to be among the very few who got it right the second time also.

Here's what i found interesting in his talk:

  • Myth of starting from scratch; Einstein
    Key is not in discovering new lands but seeing with new eyes
  • Focus on big opportunities; same energy for 10 cr or 100 cr
    Biggest danger is not aiming too high and missing
  • God is not on the side of the biggest armies but the best shots
    If she’s on the other side, think again
  •  Money;  Raise as little as you can, as late as you can
     Team;  As good, as early as you can
  • Myth of individual hero; entrepreneurship is team sport
    Can’t fire a missile from a canoe
    Don’t Need; impulsiveness, charisma, operating experience, flamboyance, intelligence, or money
    Need; team, optimism, and courage 
  • Commitment sets into motion forces you cannot and need not understand
    Hernando Cortez; burn boats
    Boldness has power, magic and genius
  • To form a Team
    You have to kiss many frogs before you find the prince
    Get some grey hair also in the team, Give equity, P&L responsibilities

Controversial Lessons:

  • Perspiration can only take you so far; Inspiration.
    More cooks or Better recipe?
  • Uncertainty is what makes journeys meaningful; Maktub
  • Some problems cannot be solved but must be survived
  • Human Beings are irrational and imperfect; cracked vessel
    Fear, greed, ignorance, bounded rationality, aversion to change, etc
  • Power of timing; Auspicious moment? — I believe it is true!
  • Power of fidayeen — It works
  • The only thing worse than being wrong is being confused; Mask of Command


  • Hang out with smart people who dream big
    Athletes call “fast field”
    Walk with a cripple for a year and you will start limping; Bertoldo
  • Indian Family Businesses – Sexually transmitted CEOship vs. self destruct
  • Best bet is hybrid; Bisexual gets a date more easily!!!
  • DNA Authoring – Go for a Baby and not a Dwarf when you envisage a company
  • Confluence of ethical and practical
    100/0 are bad odds; Playing to win is not playing dirty
    Softest pillow is a clear conscience (When in Rome, don’t do as Romans do)
  • Remember- Anybody can be lucky or unlucky; being unprepared is unforgivable
    Good judgment comes from experience
  • What we teach and what you need to learn
    The hardest part is “the beginning of work”

 An overwhelming applause at the end of it all doesnt do as much justice to the speech as anyone would expect. I guess somebody putting some of these pearls into action would clear the debt we have towards thanking this great speaker. As he concluded…"Good Luck and Godspeed"..

Posted in Entreprenuership, ISB | 2 Comments »