What are the key differences in being a tech entrepreneur in US and India?

I read this question on Quora and thought of adding my perspective to it. I am going to address the point of key differences between these two countries and their eco systems.

1. In India, our ecosystem surrounding Startups is still in the Nascent stage. Most people would say that the ecosystem is absent, but I don’t think as of today (May 2012) that is the case. We have certain IIT’s(Indian Institute of Technology) running incubators, we have Accelerators and Incubators such as http://themorpheus.com( who are in their 7th batch) and we have multiple VC’s investing their money in Indiann startups.

2. Though the First wave of Tech innovations in the US came around 1997-2001, we in India were a little late to catch on and had a good run around 2002-2005. These companies either had decent exits, got acquired or went to IPO’s. Which brings me to the important point, in India we are Now seeing second generation entrepreneurs. These people have seen the ups and the downs and are willing and able to mentor the current crop of entrepreneurs. This segment would include fantastic people like Mahesh Murthy & Alok ‘Rodinhood’ Kejriwal.

3. One of the biggest differentiating factors between being a (Tech) entrepreneur in the US and in India is that, in the US, failure is celebrated. In India, that may not be the case. In India we are very particular about the importance of “Completing one’s Formal Education”. Until the turn of the millennium, if an Indian girl/boy told their parents that they were “dropping out of school” to take up entrepreneurship, life would be very difficult (not impossible, but extremely difficult) for them. This mindset is also changing and most students are already forming small companies and servicing clients well before they are done with college.

Desert Rider
Jugaad: A mix of a motorbike and a tempo (Photo credit: Meanest Indian)
 4. To conclude, Indians, by nature are extremely entrepreneurial. They always find ways to complete a task in a way that would require less time and make optimal use of resources. Hence Local innovations in Agriculture and other such sectors which Indians have been introduced to for decades see a lot of Jugaad (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jugaad) But technological adoption in India has been slow through the 1980’s to 2000’s. Now that Technology has made inroads into India, I definitely hope to see some path-breaking innovation coming out of India in the near future.

For more on answers on this question, you can go to this link on Quora

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Want to ‘Social’ise your Startup? Heres How

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
  1. Build a company that’s social from the beginning. Create your social media accounts as you grow to develop an early fan base. Whether it’s limited to only a twitter account or you want to indulge various mediums depends on the nature of your product, but the important thing to remember is that you should use your account for more than just marketing. Get the word out, engage your prospective customers, find employees, and you could even solicit potential partners.
  2. Maintain a Blog. Everyone loves a success story. People love to read stories of people who start off from the bottom and work their way up. Tell your story. Connect. Create lasting relationships. All this while keeping your stakeholders informed about the developments within the company and a sneak peek into things to come.
  3. Focus on the platform that’s most important to you. Analyse the strength of your product and choose a platform which complements it. Pinterest might not work for some, as could be the case with Youtube. Keep in mind that content is very important and stretching over too many platforms might dilute your message.
  4. Consistency creates recall. Ensure you product has similar handles across multiple platforms. This breeds recall, which over time can create brand value.
  5. Identify key influencers and treat them like they mean the world to you. Every product has early adaptors, treat them with love, and incorporate their suggestions. Remember, they are not getting paid to do this; they are doing this because they love your product.
  6. Most Important: Drive traffic back to your website. Creating a community on Facebook that never visits your website might not be the best idea. In most of your posts, ensure you link back to your website. Give people a reason to come to your website, find ways to engage them there, and help them get into a habit of coming there. Goes without saying that you should ensure you have social plugins to enable users to bring their friends onto your site.

Homeless people as the new 4G wifi hubs!

An unconventional experiment which involved using homeless people as 4G mobile wi-fi hotspots has gather a lot of crowd at the SXSW happening at Austin, TX. The project is defined as a “Charitable Experiment“.

A lot of homeless men equipped with Verizon MiFi’s wearing specially printed t-shirts which say, for eg., “Hi, my name is Clarence, I am a 4G hotspot, SMS HH Clarence TO 25827 for access” with a URL of the Homeless Hotspots website. It suggested that public pay $2 for 15 minutes Wi-Fi access to the internet. Suddenly, a lots of sparks generated around the world as the news spread, some thought of it as an awesome idea, which may help the homeless people, while other called it downright demeaning.

Launched as a ‘beta test’ by advertising firm BBH Labs said “there’s an insane amount of chatter about this, which although certainly villainises us, in many ways is good for the homeless people we’re trying to help”, on their blog. The advertising firm, apparently says that it is trying to modernise the concept of street newspapers, which are created and sold by homeless people. Instead of selling a newspaper, the homeless person now sells Internet access as well as access to the newspaper’s content.

BBH Labs Director of Innovation Saneel Radia said, “It’s unfortunate how much information being shared is incorrect, this project is not selling a brand and there is no commercial benefit whatsoever to BBH Labs. Each of the Hotspot Managers keep all of the money they earn. The more they sell their own access, the more they as individuals make.”  What do you think?

via: BBC and DNNetworks

Innovation: Holidays packaged differently – in a “box”

Offered under the Mumbai-based SOTC brand of global travel company Kuoni, Box Holidays are tangible, prepackaged travel offerings that can be purchased online or off the shelf in a participating retail store. Rather than having to spend time and effort researching options with a travel agent, purchasers can simply buy a Box Holiday, which features all the key details on the outside of the box, including price, validity period, service inclusions and exclusions, complimentary offers, loyalty benefits, discounts, cancellation rules and hotel images.

Buyers (or recipients) of SOTC Box Holidays need only call to schedule the dates on which they’d like to redeem the package. Pricing begins at INR 7,000 for a three-day, two-night domestic getaway for two, and travel can be done at any time within the package’s validity period. International packages begin at INR 47,410 for four days and three nights, and price protection against exchange rate fluctuations is included. Also packaged into many Box Holidays are holiday vouchers, value add-ons, discount coupons, destination information, tips and other freebies. SOTC Box Holidays are available at Globus stores in Mumbai and select BigBazaar outlets in Delhi, as well as online.

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What Every Manager Should Know About Managing Gen Y – AMA

Welcome, Generation Y
Born between 1980 and 1995, Generation Y boasts 70.4 million members, representing 26% of the American population and more than 35% of the workforce. Like any group of people, you will find some difficult or impossible to manage, but with most, you’ll do just fine as long as you’re willing to work with their idiosyncrasies.

Generation Y has different work requirements and expectations than the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who manage them. Understanding these differences will help managers to be effective and their Gen Yers to flourish.

The goals for managing Generation Y include:
1. Help them integrate into the work setting without scaring them off or turning them off.
2. Provide them with solid primary experiences that lay the groundwork for their careers.
3. Keep them from self-destructing.

Tips for Managing Generation Y
1. Create Opportunities to Bond
One complaint employers have about Generation Y is that they don’t seem to care about their jobs. We agree: Many Gen Yers, especially the younger ones, don’t care about their jobs in the same way many of us didn’t care about jobs when were that young. But like any generation, they need jobs to earn money to pay the bills. Given their close family upbringing, jobs that offer Gen Yers a sense of belonging and a family-like atmosphere will have the most appeal to them.

Gen Yers like to feel bonded to their bosses. This puts you in the role of concerned coach. It’s a step beyond “benevolent boss” but short of “loving parent.” You still must insist they follow the rules, complete their tasks, meet their deadlines, and produce for the organization. If they do, you will applaud them. If they don’t, you will help them, coach them, encourage them, and counsel them—just like their teachers did at school and their moms and dads did at home. If they continue not to meet expectations, however, unlike their parents, you will fire them.

2. Tell It Like It Is
Unlike older Traditionals and Baby Boomers, who had to compete for every award, Generation Y got trophies for just showing up. As a result, there is a perception that they can’t handle bad news because they’ve had it too easy. This may be true for some, but they’ve also witnessed tremendous tragedies from Columbine High School to the Virginia Tech shootings. Generation Y wants to know the truth and sugarcoating bad news doesn’t help them develop, nor does it enhance their trust in you. If the assignment you are giving them will be hard, tell them so, but follow up with why you think they can handle it. If they have done something incorrectly, let them know and tell them how they should change it in the future.

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New Strategy: City dwellers to be enlisted and rewarded for delivering DHL packages

We’ve seen numerous efforts to reduce the energy used and urban congestion created by the small-package delivery industry, including both neighbourhood pickup spots and a ride-sharing program for packages. Combining a little bit of both ideas, bring.BUDDY is a program that will soon be tested out by DHL to recruit city dwellers to deliver packages along urban routes they’d be taking anyway.

Created last year for DHL by a team of students at the HPI School of Design Thinking at Germany’s University of Potsdam, bring.BUDDY taps all the consumers moving through a city each day, whether via bike, public transport or on foot. Interested participants indicate their travel route for the day using a downloadable Smartphone app; a text message then lets them know of any packages needing delivery along the way.

Continue reading “New Strategy: City dwellers to be enlisted and rewarded for delivering DHL packages”