Tough times are the best times for entrepreneurs

It was indeed interesting to listen to a very distinguished set of Panelists, namely,

Sharad of Yahoo Labs

Captain Gopi of Deccan

Rajeev Modi of  Sasken

Saurabh of NGPay


Subroto of Accel Partners

Subroto took the perspective of VCs; he talked of a study that showed (based on a study of many companies that attained a size of 500 Million and above) that over a 40-year period recession had no impact; he also cited example of IBM & Google that started during “bad times”.

Captain Gopinath was more forthright; he talked of intellect alone becoming a “blade only knife” that can cut the fingers of the person who uses the knife; he talked of entrepreneurs being driven by passion, inner voice and personal conviction that does not go by external forces, but “driven” by internal drive. He talked of the need for “die for an idea” spirit that will enable a team to join for a purpose (not for employment)

Sharad & Saurabh talked of some of the advantages, such as access to quality manpower, not wasting time in a crowd full of noise. Sharad had personal experience of starting up, creating a new market & new standard that would not have been possible in the normal times (the biggie telecom players comfortably missed the opportunity). Sharad was clear that the biggies would have never got it, thanks to internal dissension, but clear that in “normal times” the biggies would have unnecessarily created barriers to entry

Rajeev and Captain Gopinath had their personal experience of starting at a difficult time

All of them felt there is a definite need for the media to project the pioneering companies (and not only the successful companies). There was also a felt need of the academics to partner with industry more closely.

They also talked of the need for frugality, overall discipline, focus on “must have” and “not on nice to have” features and articulating the core “value proposition” 

There was also the point that entrepreneurship should go the corners of the Nation, not limited to Bangalore, Hyderabad and the four Metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai)

All in all the message was loud and clear; tough times are also the good times for entrepreneurship; there were personal testimonies, and from industries that are NOT limited to high-tech alone

(Interactive Panel discussion organized by Economic Times in Bangalore on 10th February, 2009)

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