For Better or Worse

Starting a business with a partner (or partners) is very different than starting one alone. The closest analogy I can come up with is that it’s like marrying someone, and the business you build is your child… Having run my own business for over one and half years with a college friend as a partner, I completely agree with the above. At the end of the day, its about matching idealogies and merging interests, and working towards a common goal. And in spite of that, the “marriage” may not last as long as you’d expect it to.

[ via Rajesh Jain ]

I am a big supporter of Entrepreneurship and was happy to come across a well-written piece on Going into business with a partner, thanks to a post on the Emergic blog :

Starting a business with a partner (or partners) is very different than starting one alone. The closest analogy I can come up with is that it’s like marrying someone, and the business you build is your child. Now you’d never marry someone simply because they possess different skills than you do (she likes to cook, and I don’t mind cleaning up, so I guess we’re a match!). You marry someone who shares similar values and who shares similar goals. Choosing a business partner is a decision that should be undertaken with the gravity of any long-term commitment.

If you like to spend a lot of money and your partner doesn’t, you’re going to clash. If you want to grow the business and she wants to keep a small team, you’ll fight. Your partner may want to do something you consider morally questionable, how will you resolve it? Add to the partnership the questions of equity and authority, never mind cash flow and the actual work you have to do for clients, and pretty quickly you can find yourself in one heck of a mess. The more work you can do upfront before starting the business to ensure you and your partner(s) are a good match, the greater the likelihood of success. Spend a lot of time talking about your hopes and dreams for the company, and discuss what you’ll do when you don’t agree about something, and how you’d handle things if the money ran out.

Having run my own business for over one and half years with a college friend as a partner, I completely agree with the above. At the end of the day, its about matching idealogies and merging interests, and working towards a common goal. And in spite of that, the “marriage” may not last as long as you’d expect it to.

Some times, the individual paths start diverging after a while (as it happened with us). When that happens, it’s important that every one involved gets fair value for the efforts invested. As long as you don’t lose sight of that, you’re alright.

One more thing : Many of us want to go into business because they simply don’t like the idea of “working for someone”. I think taking that approach is a big mistake. In your own setup, you’re working for the “client”. And I can tell you this : The client is far more demanding than an employer can ever be. So if you’re thinking of taking the plunge, at least don’t do it for the wrong reasons.

Deeshaa – The Right Direction

When an Indian-born economist from Berkeley – Atanu Dey – first wrote about coming back to India to implement his RISC model, I was excited. After a few months of sweat and grime, the movement has started taking shape. This week, its online presence was launched at Deeshaa.com.

[ via Rajesh Jain ]

When an Indian-born economist from Berkeley – Atanu Dey – first wrote about coming back to India to implement his RISC model, I was excited. After a few months of sweat and grime, the movement has started taking shape. This week, its online presence was launched at Deeshaa.com :

 

Deeshaa Ventures aims to implement an innovative economic model called RISC – Rural Infrastructure & Services Commons – which has the potential for catalysing sustainable economic growth by addressing the primary causes of low economic growth.

 

 

RISC has the potential to # increase India’s GDP growth rate by around 1 percentage point # add about Rs.20,000 crores annually to India’s GDP # directly raise the incomes of around 70 million Indians

 

 

RISC is designed to coordinate the activities of a host of entities – commercial, governmental, NGO’s. It synchronizes investment decisions so as to reduce risk. It essentially acts as a catalyst that starts off a virtuous cycle of introducing efficient modern technology to improve productivity that increases incomes and thus the ability of users to pay for the services, and so on. It creates a mechanism that reduces transaction costs and therefore improves the functions of markets.

 

Here’s a cause I’d love to be associated with. And it augurs well for the future of this nation !

Payback Time

George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian Unlimited, provides a refreshing new perspective on the issue of outsourcing jobs to developing nations : Indian workers can outcompete British workers today because Britain smashed their ability to compete in the past.

George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian Unlimited, provides a refreshing new perspective on the issue of outsourcing jobs to developing nations :

 

If you live in a rich nation in the English-speaking world, and most of your work involves a computer or a telephone, don’t expect to have a job in five years’ time. Almost every large company which relies upon remote transactions is starting to dump its workers and hire a cheaper labour force overseas.

 

 

Britain’s industrialisation was secured by destroying the manufacturing capacity of India… Now the jobs we stole 200 years ago are returning to India. Last week the Guardian revealed that the National Rail Enquiries service is likely to move to Bangalore, in south-west India. Two days later, the HSBC bank announced that it was cutting 4,000 customer service jobs in Britain and shifting them to Asia. BT, British Airways, Lloyds TSB, Prudential, Standard Chartered, Norwich Union, Bupa, Reuters, Abbey National and Powergen have already begun to move their call centres to India. The British workers at the end of the line are approaching the end of the line.

 

 

There is a profound historical irony here. Indian workers can outcompete British workers today because Britain smashed their ability to compete in the past. Having destroyed India’s own industries, the East India Company and the colonial authorities obliged its people to speak our language, adopt our working practices and surrender their labour to multinational corporations… So a historical restitution appears to be taking place, as hundreds of thousands of jobs, many of them good ones, flee to the economy we ruined.

 

 

For centuries, we have permitted ourselves to ignore the extent to which our welfare is dependent on the denial of other people’s. We begin to understand the implications of the system we have created only when it turns against ourselves.

 

Delightful, isn’t it ?!

B-Schools : The Truth

In a recent column in Business World, Mahesh Murthy expounds some not-so-pleasant truths about business schools in India : My own (b-school) experience tells me : Each one of these truths is a gem !

In a recent column in Business World, Mahesh Murthy expounds some not-so-pleasant truths about business schools in India :

 

Understand that an MBA, in India at least, has nothing to do with education. Please ‘get’ this. It’s not that institutes teach you stuff that is irrelevant and obsolete. That’s probably true, too. It’s that nobody cares what you are taught here.

 

 

An MBA is about filtration. You’re an employer – more likely, an HR person, and you have to hire the batch of 2004. You can either search far and wide for the right people, and expend a lot of energy – or take the easy way out… So you set your sights on the right ‘level’ schools, and go hire at will. You secretly know your assumption is invalid, but everybody’s doing it so it’s okay.

 

 

I’ll say it again, in case it didn’t get through. It’s about filtration. Nothing else will explain why Day One hirers at IIMs are international banks who pick electronics engineers with specialisations in marketing to join finance functions. So much for what you actually spent six years learning. Practical value: zero.

 

 

An MBA in most places on earth is about learning to run your own business. Expand MBA and you’ll see. Here, it’s about getting a better job. So if you really want a great job, work hard to get into an institute that has a great placement record.

 

 

What if you actually want to be a master of a business you want to administer? Avoid the big-name schools. Look around and you’ll find programmes for family-run businesses at second-rung schools. You’ll actually learn stuff there.

 

My own (b-school) experience tells me : Each one of these truths is a gem ! But Mahesh’s column will be mostly read by people who have already obtained an MBA.

I only wish they taught such things in schools and colleges. That’s when we take these decisions that influence our life paths. That’s when we really need to know the reality behind the hype.

Blogging Survey

Perseus Development Corp. randomly surveyed 3,634 blogs on eight leading blog-hosting services to develop a model of blog populations : Some surprising results there, don’t you think?

[ via Rajesh Jain ] Perseus Development Corp. randomly surveyed 3,634 blogs on eight leading blog-hosting services to develop a model of blog populations :

Based on this research, Perseus estimates that 4.12 million blogs have been created on these services: Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga.

The most dramatic finding was that 66.0% of surveyed blogs had not been updated in two months, representing 2.72 million blogs that have been either permanently or temporarily abandoned. In fact, 1.09 million blogs were one-day wonders, with no postings on subsequent days.

Blogs are famed for their linkages, and while 80.8% of active blogs linked to at least one external site from a post on their home page, these links were rarely to traditional news sources.

Blogs are updated much less often than generally thought. Active blogs were updated on average every 14 days. Only 106,579 of the hosted blogs were updated on average at least once a week. Fewer than 50,000 were updated daily.

When you say “blog” most people think of the most popular weblogs, which are often updated multiple times a day and which by definition have tens of thousands of daily readers. These make up the tip of a very deep iceberg: prominently visible, but not characteristic of the iceberg as a whole.

As the Perseus site explains : The analysis does not cover nonhosted blogs – blogs that individuals maintain on their own servers using their own tools (like my own). Such blogs require more work to set up and will be characteristically different than those blogs created using hosting services.

But the survey still throws up some surprising results, don’t you think?

I, for one, was encouraged to note that the median update frequency for blogs was 14 days. Considering that, my own average of about one post a week is not so bad. 🙂

Another notable finding was the sheer number of blogs out there. At the rate they are going, it cannot be denied that blogs are a force to reckon with, as far as Internet 2.0 is concerned.