Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Steve Jobs: Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

Somethings never grow old

A must watch for everyone!!!
Steve Jobs Speech: June 12, 2005
Stanford Commencement



Sunday, July 29, 2007

What a Catch!!!

Simply Incredible...



Reminds me of the SRK, Naseeruddin starrer "Chamatkar"

Aankh khuli to mid-term aa gaya..

aaphtar kweej seejan, naao eet ees egjaams taaim,
daa istaet auf maai maind ees seemeelar tu dees...


see last 1:45 mins (2:43-4:28) of the video "Early Days @ Joka"



आंख खुली तो mid term aa गया..
अपने संग डंडा लाया..
पहले finacc ch***..
फिर्र stats ch***..
bs ने भी ** ** ले ली..
दोस्तो ने RG की..
कउओं ने भी ना छोडी..

joka वालों क्या बताएं..
अपने दिल की क्या सुनें..
क्या सोचे थे क्या हैं पाये..
क्या चु** हम क्या बताएं..

~ting ting ting ting ...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mahesh Murthy $ Prahlad Kakkar: They said it all !!! (Repost)

REPOST: Since Internet Explorer fails to show the earlier post properly, the post has been reposted here without any formatting.
Firefox 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:
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?"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

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?"

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Entrepreneurship or the safe road??

So having already written about why and why not to join IIMs...I would like to take upon this topic in bit more detail.

We are often asked at various points in time a very basic question, which is also the basis of this post:
What is the difference between a LEADER and a MANAGER?


And often we answer this question, something like this: "A leader is a manager but a manger may not be a leader. A manager manages his team/resources while a leader has a vision and drives his team into that direction".
Hmm..looks like they possess similar characteristics.

They are not!!!

It is not just a coincidence that none of the successful leaders have/had MBA degree rather it is because they did not have MBA degree that they went on to do different things.

The role of a leader is a sharp contrast to that of a manager... Leaders are risk-seekers while Managers are risk-averse... Leaders take risky decisions to maximize profits while Managers take conservative/safe decisions to minimize the losses.... Leader has passion for what he/she does while to manager it is a treadmill....Leaders are trend setters while Managers follow proven success routes..Managers use jargons as much as possible, Leaders hate it.

The flip side as we look upon as is:
Uncertainty of success of enterprise v/s an almost guaranteed handsome amount of money
Non-defined roles v/s Defined roles and tasks
Social pressures on entrepreneurs are bound to be larger for the uncertainty involved.(including issues like family support etc.)


So how does one go about deciding: Leader or Manager?
Simple answer: follow your instinct forget rationalism. You'll get the right answer. :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Con and the rigour

The post has been removed for certain reasons.

Why / Why not go to IIMs??

Disclaimer: You may strictly disagree with me on any/all of these points but this is what I think. You are welcome to raise your concerns through comments/ by writing to me at abhi.taneja@gmail.com.

This question may look insane to people outside IIMs though not to many of those in the IIMs.
The grass looks really green from outside but we tend to forget, one learns marketing at B-schools.

Why??
- To get heavy paychecks/financial security.
- To learn to use jargons effectively.
- Repo in industry/society.
- To share a forum with exceptionally successful people.
- To meet/listen to/interact with highly successful/highly reputed people in the industry.
- To learn to show you are very busy, even when you waste 20 hours a day.
- To realize that money is not that important and there are better things to bother about in life.
- If you are traveling freak, you may like to do an MBA.
- If you already have your target set and MBA lies in the way to achieve that.(Forget financial aspects here)
- (To be completed)

Why not?
- The life ends at Microsoft Office.
- It kills your creativity.
- It kills your risk taking capabilities.
- Everything is relative. You learn to call a dummy life really interesting.
- Very high on individualism. Kills collectivism and team skills.
- A strict NO if you plan to be an entrepreneur. The paradox,"I will work in an i-bank for 3-4 years(make money) and quit to start my own venture" is 100% flawed. It only gets tougher to quit as time passes by and no one actually does.
- If you are satisfied with your current job, there is no point why you should be looking at MBA.
- If you are just looking for money, let me tell you their are better options out there.
-
(To be completed)


Why am I doing an MBA?
The question largely remains unanswered.
Probably I dint know all this before making a decision to join.
Probably coz there is no easy exit strategy to it.
Probably I still fear taking a risk.
Probably the heavy paychecks still tend to attract me.

The train to IIMC

So finally it was the time to get to a place i had been waiting to go for long...the place i considered heaven on earth.. needless to say the best among IIMs... but interestingly on my way to this place i was more curious/anxious/excited about some place and it was not the Jokaland but the state i had to pass through..Yup..BIHAR.

I was more than curious to see what Bihar is like..Having heard so many stories of badly managed state and its law and order situation, I wanted to see it myself 'How is this place different from other places?'.... Logically thinking i should have been worried and cautious of having to pass through such a place but surprisingly enough i felt neither and rather experienced great excitement..

The territory of the state was supposed to start at around 8 o'clock at night which when rounded off with perspective for Indian Railways was expected at around 9. I slept throughout the day (short naps every 20-30 mins) but dint want to miss the "opportunity" and made sure I dont sleep from after 7 o'clock till the time the train stops at Mughal Sarai... reached at around 9 o'clock... could not resist but to get off the train and take a walk at the Platform... everything looked similar except the people...everyone looked terribly terrified.. obviously this made me somewhat cautious as well but still i could not resist but to make calls to my friends from Bihar..called up Niraj Mohan and then Rahul Kumar..dint have anything to talk about except "Boss!! I am in your state"...sounds stupid.. aint it?? it does.. even to me.. but this is what is called emotions...something a mind cannot understand...anyways... got a piece of advice from these friends.. "Dude!! it is not a good place for you..get out of it ASAP"..as if I am driving the train [:P]..

The train departed from Mughal Sarai...was still kinda excited and then i noticed some police people roaming around very frequently...could not make much sense of it till one of the Bongs sharing the cubicle told about the security concerns...it was then that i noticed that atleast 6-7 police people were standing in each of the bogies..reason..obviously the security concern..The area from Mughal Sarai till Dhanbad is known for scandals and unlawful activities along with snatching at gun point and otherwise... Now I know why people had a cause to worry.. even i had it now [;-)] ..

Add to Technorati Favorites Digg! StumbleUpon Toolbar

Label Cloud