Thursday, August 24, 2006

I have already written about the several speaker series that takes place at ISB. As the person responsible for the Communications of EVC (they call it Director - Communications, fact everyone who is anyone is called a Director), I report all those news for the ISB website. I am posting this item here.

Hope you enjoy it!

EVC hosts Mahesh Murthy, CEO of PinStorm

Mahesh came visiting ISB last week and talked about Entrepreneurship to the students. One of the sustaining values of any business, according to him, is the ability to provide the customer with something that insanely delights him. The rest is taken care of by viral marketing or word of mouth.
Mahesh has run Passion Fund, he has been on the board of the recently concluded first season of “Business Baazigar”. He has also taught Entrepreneurship at INSEAD.
He discussed the 4 Ws and 1 H of Entrepreneurship.
Who becomes an entrepreneur?
Only those “who resist the urge to merge”. They are individuals who find the job that fits them, instead of fitting themselves to the job. They are unwilling to adjust and are discontented.
Where to start?
One can start a world-class company from anywhere. Skype started from Estonia, Procter and Gamble started from Cincinnati, Ohio…any place is suitable for an entrepreneur.
What to start?
According to him, every single trend that exists is dead for an entrepreneur as, as the top three companies in an industry (the first movers) control 80 – 85% of the profits. It is also a human urge to play it safe, but it is important to understand that “Trend means the end”, more precisely, from Mahesh’s own experience in journalism and media, he mentioned, “If a journalist knows about it, it is too late for an entrepreneur”.
How to go about it?
In India, startup funding is hard to come by, but interestingly, the most successful companies are not VC funded. The way Mahesh selects is team, is “by rejecting the toppers”. He would prefer a “jugaru” to a university medalist, as these people feel comfortable in ambiguity. His advice to budding entrepreneurs is to have friends around for moral support.
Why should one become an entrepreneur?
Mahesh impressed upon the students that the only asset that individuals have is their life, and entrepreneurship enables one to stretch that to the fullest.

PinStorm: is a company which explores the long tail of the search mail. Their business model is to spend on the marketing for the company and then seek a percentage of the returns that result from their efforts. PinStorm is two years old, and 65 people strong. It is the 4th or 5th largest company in Asia.
Mahesh also talked of some of the questions that cross the minds of VCs while looking at business plans, like, the exit options, whether the business can be helped by them, whether it is fundable by them and most importantly the commitment of the entrepreneur and the chemistry he shares with the VCs.

Mahesh was very enthusiastic in his interactions with the students, and offered to keep in touch with ISB students.
He advised students to enjoy their time, “rock-n-roll”, while learning about the world of business.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lots of rain...almost two days non-stop. The best thing was that it was on a weekend, so you could sleep without the worry of rushing to classes. At ISB, in weekends you don't have classes, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One may thank the stars for the break, but it is compensated by due dates for assignments and cases.

The other day, Manish Sabherwal, CEO Teamlease, and founder of India-Life, came on campus to address students of PAEV (Planning an Entrepreneurial Venture). He spoke for two hours, what he called "public bullshitting", and the time just breezed by! Amazing orator, his insights were profound. Having started two successful ventures himself, he gave valuable tips to a lot of us who hope to tread the path someday. "I wish I had", is one of the greatest regret of middle age and that life is not a sprint but a marathon (referring to his friends who made great jobs post MBA).

"Leadership lessons from Shakespeare", another wonderful talk to highlight the different kinds of leaders, the reasons for downfall and stories from India to draw parallels.