The Nondescript Anonymous

"“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.” – Ayn Rand

Tag: ideas

O! Startup, My Startup…why did you fail?

Starting on a new venture, apart from other things, is a very risky expedition and more often than not, people tend to ignore the word ‘risk’ and take ‘expedition’ at its face value. Result: Chaos. You may have a remarkable idea at the back of your head, an idea which may have the potential to break barriers…but is it a sufficient condition to survive in a business?

Startups are usually associated with enthusiasm, glee and a lot of positive energy in the initial days. Soon after, Mr. Market steps in and that is when most businesses collapse. While reasons for breakdown of the entire machinery are subjective, some of the common problems which haunt these companies can be discussed –

Business Model This is the crux of any business. Your remarkable idea won’t fuel your business, a robust business model will. If you don’t have it in place, hold your horses. A spineless business will only harm you in the long run.

Scaling This is where most excellent companies fail after an initial homerun. There is either an acute shortage of capital or there is an absolute lack of a concept driven strategy.

Lack of innovation In a world where the chances of survival are minimal, innovation becomes the de facto norm. This is something that you must religiously follow. It can be anything – from inventory management to payment of wages. Innovation doesn’t have to be path breaking ideas. Sometimes, simple cost effective techniques do the trick.  If your area of operation is services, this is the bare minimum standard which you must always comply with.

The last thing that a company may want to do is coattail its competitors. Unless you are in a market where the market mechanism will always be in your favour, you should avoid this at all cost. Instead, focus on your core competence, improve your quality of services, try and add value to your business…in this way, you prepare yourself well for the future.

Understand the business It may seem like the most obvious thing to do…but this is the thing that entrepreneurs seem to forget.  It is upon you to decide what your business represents, what it wishes to achieve…how to achieve whatever it wishes to achieve…in what timeframe and whether the goals are realizable or not. The more you understand your business, its potentials and its drawbacks, the easier it will be for you to take your decisions.

Visionary leaders – Managers are at the helm of corporate affairs and if they exhibit skills in the form of excellent leadership, risk taking ability, capacity to beat the doldrums and learn from mistakes, the business will have a greater chance of survival.

 

Running a business is not an easy task. It is not something that a tutorial or a business course can teach you. It is something that one learns along the way. It requires a lot of patience, a truckload of appetite and a rational mind. Every business is unique and there are no thumb rules. Being successful is all about common sense, ability to survive and a relative amount of luck.

 

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.” – Ayn Rand

 

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So,what gadget did you purchase today?

Pardon me for being a technologically retarded person, I fail to understand which way this ‘age of innovation’ is leading the public exuberance. Technology, in the most basic sense, is committed to making lives easier…or so I have been told by people who hold positions of respect in the world of microprocessors and what-not. They fail to mention the added benefit which is intrinsically a part of their ‘loyalty programme’- converting the otherwise normal people with relatively deep pockets into a veritable showroom of sorts.

Don’t believe me ? Check this

Our brains are inversely related to the improvement in technology and other services. The more advanced the latter gets, the more primitively the former reacts. Weird,yes..but true. We are either passionately submissive, shamelessly submitting our mind to the prevalent trend and forces or we are just plain idiots who are too busy to think straight.

Read on…

Case in point – E-book readers/ tablet computers/ notebooks/sub-notebooks

People are talking in the Indian market. A set of new devices has suddenly grabbed the attention of the ever anxious aam admi (common man). There is a mad rush to purchase (grab) the latest gadget in town. There are Kindle, Ipad, Pi, Galaxy Tab along with Reliance, HP and a couple of other players in this segment. They are all ‘better than the other’ and the ‘best in terms of technology and style’. Result – Conundrum. The consumers are spoilt for choice and they are not complaining either.

If you look into the seller’s psychology – it is flawless. They are being smart. People all over the world are smitten by this ‘I-want-the-latest-tablet’ bug, they are simply capitalizing on the situation. The points at which they absolutely beat the consumers can be broadly classified into –

  • Brand equity – If Apple is producing it, I want to have it (In most cases). I do not need to look into the usability or the functionality of the device, just the brand logo is enough.
  • Marketing – The bigwigs make the consumers belong. The sense of superiority that a consumer feels while holding a product of these cos always, always work in the favour of the giants.
  • Design- These products are aesthetically designed to appeal to the consumers. These poor guys gape at them in awe and admiration and sometimes, it takes just that to sell an idea.
                                                                                              

The buyers, on the other hand, are simply following the trend. In almost all of the cases, it can be safely assumed that no amount of concrete thought goes behind purchasing a high-end gadget. So, common sense isn’t very common, after all!

To my mind, If I own a laptop or a computer in any other form, every product listed above is useless. Why would I want to purchase an e-book reader? What is the functionality ? My laptop does a tidy job when it comes to reading e-books. I am sorry, I don’t need a Kindle. Tablet computers/e-book readers do have some advantages over its predecessors, no doubt…but they, collectively, cannot provide one solid fundamental reason to why I should definitely own these overvalued commodities…and therefore, like mentioned above, they are as useless as junk.

” Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein.

Simple isn’t always easy: Read the fine print

It is amazing how most people use the two terms ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ almost interchangeably, blissfully unaware of the cataclysmic connotations they carry. Although, I wouldn’t be able to deliberate upon the exact cause of this mindlessness (pardon me, I am not Nietzsche) , I can, without hesitation, roughly estimate how this simple error of omission can potentially jeopardize one’s career or life.

When a person is taking a decision based on the assumption that ‘things which look simple are easy to understand or solve’ , he is not reading the fine print and hence, forcing an error which could easily have been avoided. It is imperative to not follow the public sentiment and to look for rationality behind every judgement/action. ‘Simplicity’ is a matter of perception and therefore, highly subjective. It has different interpretations for different people.  It is unfortunate that most people ignore this basic fact.

It may seem like I am overemphasizing a minor issue.  In reality, however, this ‘paranormal’ activity is anything but minor or uncommon. If you look around, you will know what I mean. I notice this every single day, in fact,  I noticed this minutes before I sat down to write this blog post.

Food for thought

If you are a kind of person who needs to be reassured about every action that you are about to take, you may be inviting trouble.

Read:- Seth Godin’s handy advice

‘Saucerful’ of Ideas

Another blog.

I remember the awkward feeling that had gripped me the first time I went up on stage to address a gathering of about five hundred people. I distinctly remember the half-broken “good morning”, almost breaking into a cackle as the sound of my voice emanating from the bête noire loudspeakers echoed in my ears.

The usual problems associated with new ventures are, in essence, derivatives of inexperience. My blog, being just another blog, is no exception to it. I have no content, no preparation, nothing to write home about. The only way to overcome this handicap, as I had realized in those intense hours before a houseful of audience, is by accepting the impediment to be an impediment and then, acting on it as though it never existed.

I shall be back soon.

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