Making things Happen

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For life as we know it, to exist on Earth

Earth had to be at the right distance from the sun, warm enough, but not too hot nor too cold.

Earth had to have a hot core so that the planet is alive and developing everyday. The core gives earth its magnetic field, which shields us from countless radiations.

Earth had to have an ozone layer so that the UV rays from the sun does not fry life on earth.

Earth had to have a moon, so that tidal activity was possible to keep the water cycle active. The moon also shields the earth from astroids.

Earth had to have liquid water.

Earth had to be in a part of space where it would not be hit by a large meteor or comet for a considerable period of time.

 

It takes a lot of things to come together to make something right, it only takes one thing to be out of place to make something wrong.

To tell someone, something is NOT possible, is very easy; to make it possible is very difficult. Entrepreneurs are people who set out to make something possible. So the next time you think an idea is shit, think about it once more.

What is an MVP?

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MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. If you wish to setup a website that is going to do something, as you pore over the things that the site can do, you will certainly think up a hundred things. Obviously it is not possible to implement all of these in the first version. It is also ill-advised to do all of them in the first version since that would lead to a great deal of confusion in the minds of the user. Besides, a great deal of education would be required to use the site to its full potential.

Teaching your customer how to use your product is much like teaching a child how to play a sport, let us assume tennis. The first this that you are going to teach is hand eye co-ordination so that the kid can hit the ball consistently and then you will introduce the net and then the court with all of the constraints and rules.

It is much the same when you build a product. It happens quite naturally when the product is a game, take any game as an example. Level 1 is easy and then the complexity rises. It is a lot harder to think of products in this manner where it starts from something simple and then you add layers on top.

Starting with the bare minimum features means that you create a product that has a single point focus and the application can be very easily understood.

 

If I gave you a cycle and asked you to figure out how the application of effort on the pedal leads to the rotation of the wheel

Vs

Gave you a car and asked you to figure how the movement of the piston leads to the rotation of the wheel; 

which might you figure more easily?

 

The MVP is about dialling down the complexity and hence the investment needed to get your business kick started.

Even a Facebook page can be an MVP if you can attract enough people to it and get them to transact through it. I know so many small startups selling their goods through just a Facebook page. No website, no payment gateways, no fuss, simple. If they see good traction, they can move on to building an entire website.

Nastygal.com is a multi-million dollar business. It started as a channel on Amazon which served highly curated and unique products. When they saw that they had an invested and loyal customer base, they moved to build their own website.

Every business is based on an insight on human behaviour. The job of the MVP is to establish and validate the behaviour. If what you expect is what is happening then you can build out the entire product/service that you have envisioned.

The purpose of an MVP is to get the idea across in its simplest form, see how many people are interested and if the kind of behaviour that you seek can be encouraged.

MVP

Since most of my examples are to do with websites does not necessarily mean that this is not possible when it comes to hardware or other kinds of businesses. The first version on most products are quite basic. Obviously if the product is a tangible object, it is important to make it. Hacks such as Facebook pages may not work. Nevertheless it does not have to be a complicated and costly product straight out the door as illustrated effectively in the image above.

Partnering for Demo Day

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We work with several partners for the annual event which we organise under Startups Club, in order to make the day possible. Since our objective is to work and reach out to early stage startups we try to work with those who specialise in this segment. I would like to talk about three of those partners who we are working with for this year’s event.

GINSERV

Often times I come across a lot of startup entrepreneurs who have an idea and wish to start but need the initial money to get started. Due to various reasons they are not in a position to invest the sum that is needed initially for getting the business off the ground.

The initial sum that most of these startups require is to the tune of tens of lakhs and this is not a large sum of money. Further, it is also important for such startups to get access to a network of mentors that they may seek suggestions from and use as a sounding board.

There are very few entities that support startups at that stage of their venture. We found that Ginserv which is located in Bangalore has one of the best programs for the early stage startups. They have a seed fund, which deploys funding under the Business Incubation program setup by the Government of India. Not only do they provide funding but they also provide incubation support, in terms of office space and a mentor network that they have amassed over a period of years.

We decided to partner with Ginserv because they provide one of the most valuable offerings to startups in their early stages. They have been working with several startups helping them with their seeding stages and helping them move forward as they begin to grow. Their applications open once a year and it is highly recommended to early stage startups to apply for the program since it changes them up to reach the next level.

 

SIAM COMPUTING

Starting a business is about having a keen insight on human behaviour and exploiting the same for the purpose of building a business. It is most often those who spend large chunks of their time meeting people who tend to come up with these insights. Also, the people who are tasked with spending time with others tend to be marketing folks and they tend not to have the technical knowledge to build a platform that can serve as a solution. Since, Intuition has brought about the epiphany; these people have the conviction to follow the idea and build a business. Also, since they have been people who have been handling marketing and client interaction for a fair amount of time, they have the  They nevertheless lack the technical skills required to build a product/platform.

Siam Computing is a company that has been working on delivering some of the best product solutions to various businesses and has been recently working with several startups to help develop tech products that they are looking to deploy. They have a startup product of their own called hisabing.com, which is a MicroERP solution and hence understand the requirements and time pressures that startups face.

For the kind of founders described in the earlier paragraph, Siam offers a great solution that makes it possible for them to build the tech end of the business without having to immediately look for a tech co-founder. The tech end of the company can be slowly built, simultaneously. Siam Computing also takes care of bringing the tech team up to speed and handing over the technology to the startup as well.

 

ECONOMY DECODED

What happens when a group of college kids come together to create a media business that is full of quirky posts which is meant for the youth. Economy Decoded is a blog meant for the youth which provides a different take on the things happening around the world and the experiences that are shaping the youth of today.

In a world as complex as media, it takes some guts and some stupidity to want to create a platform that offers content which is highly differentiated and highly niche. Despite this, the young team at ED has been able to push their plans along to build a media platform which is differentiated, curated and interesting.

We admire their entrepreneurial spirit and their positive attitude and we are partnering with them because some pursuits are worth being with for just the audacity involved.