Breaking News: 1 year and MVP is still growing (& strong!)

A little over a year ago, when Sameer & I quit our jobs (again!) & set out on our journey called Morpheus Venture Partners, I could hear whispers in the sidelines…. Some shouted out loud on our face (I love the sorts who are upfront!) Many of them supported us of this decision and thought early stage eco-system in India badly needed something like this.  A few thought we were fraud & just trying to take advantage of innocent entrepreneurs; some thought that there was not much value in what we were doing, a lot of them thought entrepreneurs need money not advice… and so on…

I’ve always done what i have strongly believed in & so was the case with MVP. Not that we had the entire thing  planned out in our heads. We started with a loose model; something that could be of value to start-up entrepreneurs, we were open to learning, tweaking as we learned and executed. But our focus was and will continue to be to give the best and excel in what we do!

And now, one year later, we’ve just announced 10 start-ups as part of our Third Batch and expanded our team. Read Release Here What does it mean to me, as a Partner and one of the founding members of MVP? A whole freakin’ lot!

Indus is a super cool dude, who has entrepreneurship in his blood. The match in attitude, wave length between the team is superb! [Picture this – Indus lives in Bangalore, travels in the local bus, walks some distances to get to a meeting and yet he has all the energy to deliver!]

Thanks to Ankit of Instablogs via whom met Indus & engaged him as a pro-bono Subject Matter Expert for MVP companies. At MVP we had no plans or thoughts of expanding the team in any which way, partly because we ourselves operate like a frugal start-up & partly also because we were unsure about the role of a new team member. But, the guy he is Indus – we just could not, not have him on board! 🙂 Superb human being, great attitude, exceptional humility! With him on board MVP has grown stronger by bounds and leaps! Indus, Thank you! 😉

We were 10 companies strong till June 2009 and the learning with them was immense. Each one of them – Ankit, Nandini, Sumit, Lalit, Sahil, Siva, Rajnish, Varun, Namit, Himanshu, Rakesh, Waqar, Riz, Jay, Sarab, Vaneet & Ishu – are rockstars in their own right. Thinking big, executing fast, fearing not to fail, fighting and fighting through! Thanks guys for giving me an opportunity to associate with you. (okay this does not mean you’ll not see anymore of me!)

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Collage Courtesy: S P Hari

The Current Batch now has 10 companies and I personally believe each one of the founders is exceptional. They have a passion, they’ve dared to dream, they are focused.

Adscoot‘s Suyash, stands for hours in the major junctions at mumbai to learn traffic patterns and measure footfalls!

EasySquareFeet‘s Ashu & Snehesh are the most positive people i’ve seen! I can see their smiles through the phone when i talk to them (serious!)

Viv & Hari of InterviewStreet are two rockstar techies who are consciously & fast learning other skills to take their product to market. They have the passion & drive to make things work!

Shashank & Abhinav started on Naabo right out of college – the freshness in approach & the passion they bring with them is infectious.

Arjun of Picsean is an engineer, but his passion towards photography is amazing! He’s a good friend & i’ve seen his focus and smart work in his past ventures. His attitude to learn is commendable!

Robin of ReachTax is a star CA, but i love his humility and the motivational skill he has to make his entire team perform month after month!

Pankaj & Gaurav quit their fancy paying jobs to work on Retail Vector. Focus, quick work and frugality of life is what they are committed towards as they scale this venture!

The first thing that stood out when i met Abheek first was such an young guy and such maturity & humility. (Often age and humility dont go too well). This guy was 7 years old when he started putting Lego pieces into perfect ensemble & several years later, he’s using them at RobotsAlive!

I loved their designs and the quality of tees – Rahul & Mohit of Scopial have their focus completely on “Quality” “Design” “Niche”! They sell tees one could die for! Check a sample out here

I read about these guys in a print article & the next time we were in Mumbai, we met Jayesh & Karthik of VeriCAR. Two guys crazily passionate about automobiles & trying to solve a problem i was once a victim of! I love their attitude and their approach to things. They love getting down to basics and doing things themselves.

I am already having a lot of fun interacting with the current batch and looking forward to more fun, chaos, fights, fails, wins & whole lot of late nights!

Now, with all this happening – a whole lot of learning, association with the best of the lot, new challenges, lots of sense of humor & innovation. I don’t really have the time to think if MVP is a success or failure. But what i do know and will continue to focus on is “work harder”, “create more value”, “excel and achieve mastery”. And for evaluations of where we stand – let that be for the skeptics to comment on, while i play on….  & spread the madness!

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Taglines: Dead & Redundant Or Relevant?

Taglines traditionally are defined as a part of the brand building exercise that sums up the mission, intent and image of the business. When I studied brand, logo elements and the importance of the “tagline” in theory, as a student, I was fascinated about the fact that if the tagline copy was written intelligently – it can work wonders. I admired “Just do It” and still do! I did use some of the do’s and don’ts while designing logos and creating brand identity documents in my career.

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When I was creating the logo element for  Madhouse, my first startup, I religiously spent sometime figuring out what the tagline should be. I dint even think of my logo without a tagline. The belief was that, we should be able to use the tagline without the company /brand name eventually to create the same recall and recognition in users minds. Inspired by the Nike Swoosh!

As time went by, I noticed that most new generation internet companies were emerging without the tagline! What mattered the most was the brand name or the name of the business and not so much the tagline. I remember the likes of ebay, amazon, yahoo, google, apple, rediff, indiatimes, etc. not having a tagline. And as we move on, many more established companies are dropping their taglines.

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I guess, the way things have changed in branding, building companies, communicating the value of the business – brand recall is a great challenge and consuming, now imagine adding a tagline to it and trying to push the whole branding. Its too much to ask!

The reality for today is that Taglines are redundant! They are nothing but noise in the business scheme of things. Having said that, I think for statrups / new companies having a tagline is a personal choice. Thought, its important to get that darn tagline right – if not it’s a disaster of sorts before your company has started!

To quote relevant examples from my real-life experience: While working

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with LifeMojo as part of the MVP business acceleration program in 2008, we discussed at length to have a tag-line and when we launched the site we did have a tag-line too. But soon we realized that the tagline was not adding too much value, if anything, the logo was looking clunky and bad trying to

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accommodate the tag-line. And so, we just knocked it out! On the contrary,  the tagline Deskaway is Simplify Teamwork and this for me is the perfect summation of what Deskaway stands for as a business.

And so… Contemplate real hard if you’d like to have a tagline for your company or not. And if you’d still like to have a tagline for your business / startup here’s some insight that I’ve garnered through some years of experience:

  • Taglines can be of two major kinds:
    • Ones that have a direct reference to the business – company, service or the product, Deskaway’s tagline for example or Kingfisher Airlines’ Fly the Good Times or United’s Fly the friendly skies
    • Ones that reflect the philosophy of the company – Nike, Just Do it! Or Nokia, Connecting People.
  • So when you are contemplating having a tagline for your business. There are few things you may want to think about:
    • What’s the purpose the tagline is going to actually serve? “I’m lovin’ it” has become synonyms with the golden arch and McD’s burgers now. But to achieve this they’ve been at it for years now.
    • The tagline should actually add value to your brand, the business offering and enhance the perceived value of your business.
    • What do you want to say as part of the tagline? Do you want it to reflect your mission? Connecting People; Your business philosophy Always low prices, always or talk about the product offering directly? Utterly Butterly Delicious!
    • A tagline must reflect the feeling / emotions of the customer and not what the people behind the business want customers to perceive.
    • Ensure that the tagline is short enough to fit with your logo unit and to be reprinted anywhere – from a visiting card to a huge sky-drop size hoarding
    • The tagline must be well written to gel with your business ideology and should convey something.
    • The tagline should be simple in language, no buzz or jargon usage
    • A tagline should serve its purpose at least for a few years for the business.
    • A tagline has to be direct to appeal to the larger customer base, so that they can identify it and recall it when required.
    • Intellectual taglines are recipe for disaster
    • A tagline that has no recall is a tagline worth removing
    • A bad tagline is as good as a ruined brand. Better not to have a tagline, than have a bad one

In all, I frankly don’t remember many taglines of companies that are doing well. I remember an one off “Just Do it!” or “I’m lovin’ it!” coz these are the rare gems that have risen out of a lot of crappy taglines by established companies.

So, as a last tip – if you’re not sure what you want the tagline to be, if it hasn’t come naturally to you – then don’t waste your time on thinking up one – its not worth the time spent. Not at all for a startup!

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Xtreme Startups team is excited to announce “Startup Morning” in Bangalore

Start-up Morning/Evening” events are organized with the support and help from a lot of friends in the startup community. Previous editions of the event have been held Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Pune. In all events we were more than houseful on the capacity, participation was intense and interesting discussions took place. Read coverage here.

Recently, these events are organized under the Xtreme Startups banner. Xtreme Startups is a Non-Profit initiative to support /promote entrepreneurship. This edition of Xtreme Startups is supported by NSRCEL – IIMB, Chitkara University , Morpheus Venture Partners (MVP) and Startupnews.in.

The first Xtreme Startup event was organized in Chandigarh a couple of weeks back, details

Date: 24 May, 2009 (Sunday)

Time: 10:00 am – 01:00 pm

Speakers: Three start-up founders will share their experiences of starting a venture, sustaining it and taking it to the next level.

Phanindra Sama, Founder & CEO www.redbus.in

Phanindra is the co-founder and CEO of redBus, India’s largest bus tickets aggregator in just over 2 years of operations! He has a honors from BITS Pilani, and worked with Texas Instruments before he co-founded redBus. redBus was born out of a personal need and a market failure. Today redBus’s distribution spans across 75000+ outlets in the country! More…

Prateek & Nithya Dayal, Founders www.muziboo.com

Nithya and Prateek Dayal, a husband and wife duo run Muziboo. Prateek, a B.Tech graduate from IIT Guwahati takes care of technology and Nithya, the community. Both the founders believe in bootstrapping and harnessing the online medium to grow an internet business. Muziboo’s success lies in its emphasis on building a “community” for musicians & music lovers, as against being another file sharing platform. Professional & non-professional musicians ranging from free lancers & audio-engineers to enthusiastic hobbyists use the muziboo platform extensively! Prateek blogs at www.prateekdayal.net/blog and Nithya at www.nithyadayal.com/blog.

Himanshu Khurana, Co-founder & CMO www.lifemojo.com

Himanshu Khurana graduated from NSIT Delhi and worked at Trilogy for 3 years. He later went on to experience the startup world at ngpay(JiGrahak). After 2 years, he founded iStrait with two of his friends, Namit Nangia and Varun Gupta.  LifeMojo provides easy access to preventive health care experts and necessary tracking tools. It also has a platform that helps preventive  health care providers to run and scale-up their existing operations. Launched in November of 2009, they are adding users at a fast pace. Himanshu blogs at hkhurana.wordpress.com. Lifemojo is a MVP portfolio

Audience: Start-up founders / entrepreneurs

Format

  • Event will be attended by 30-40 start-up founders / entrepreneurs
  • The event brings together Startup Founders to share experiences and interact with other start-ups in an informal manner
  • The other guests, like you, will typically be experienced entrepreneur / investor / a person from the start-up ecosystem
  • Participation is “invite only”, concentrated group of Startup Founders and others in the startup ecosystem
  • There is no fee for attending the event
  • Refreshments will be provided at the event

What will you gain from the event?

  • Opportunity to interact with others in the startup ecosystem
  • Share and learn from each others experiences in running businesses
  • Potential to meet a business partner, investor, employee, etc.
  • Opportunity to build a strong startup community

Invite Only: It’s an invite only event. In case would like to attend write to indus AT morpheusventure DOT com OR info AT startupnews DOT in, with your full name and a brief introduction of your startup / venture.

See you on Sunday!

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Startup Fair’09: Hire talent

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Image via Wikipedia

The Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC), IIT Roorkee is organising a Startup Fair’09, in association with CSI, NSIT Delhi, to facilitate Startups to recruit.

Date:      Saturday, 25th April’09
Venue: Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), Delhi

The  Startup Fair will be a platform for established startups, looking  to expand their team, to hire interested talent from IIT Roorkee and NSIT Delhi as fresh recruits (final yr students) and internees (pre-final yr students).

An excellent opportunity for Startups to reach out to the active student community. 15 startups and 150 student candidates are expected to participate in the event.

Spread the word!

RSVP:
Sudhir Manchanda
Entrepreneurship Development Cell,
IIT Roorkee
startupfair@edciitr.com
+91-9719451595

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Interaction @ Chandigarh OCC : 17th April, 2009

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CHANDIGARH

Chitkara University, one of the most popular educational institutes in the Punjab/ Chandigarh region, are initiating the First Open Cofee Club in Chandigarh.

The inauguration and and first OCC Chandigarh meetup is backed by Chitkara E-Cell (Entrepreneurial Development Cell).

Details below:

Date:       17 April, 2009

Time:      3pm to 5pm

Venue: Chitkara Corp Office, Plot No-11-12, Dainak Bhaskar Building, Sector-25D, Chandigarh

Sameer and I have been invited to interact with the OCC Chandigarh members.

If you are around, come by. Lets meetup and share our experiences as startup entrepreneurs!


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The bitch is back, welcome bombaybitch!

There was once, not so long ago from now, a breeze of freshness – a new perspective, fearless opinions & unbiased bitching!.. it was all this and more@ BombayBitch. Sooner than i had gotten hooked and addicted to the Bitch i got news of this wondrous startup shutting shop!

I mourned and sulked for a while about this loss. Rizwan and I even spoke about approaching Webchutney (BB is/was an incubatee) folks to let us volunteer for BB, failing which we had our PlanB of starting something like BB on our own. In all, I just loved the way these guys presented films related information, reviewed movies and all the jazz. You know with some brands its the connection that comes naturally and BB had that going right for them!

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I currently have my dancing shoes on, party cap in place and am “Cha-cha-ing” away in celebration. Why? ‘Coz I just found out that the Bitch is Back!

Just as i was thinking if BB is back as part of WebChutney or not, I chanced upon this post by Nikhil Pahwa of MedianamaWebchutney Launches Mobile Agency; Bombay Bitch Shuts Down where Sidharth Rao, CEO & Co-founder of Webchutney mentions that BombayBitch would be back in a different avataar.

Different avataar? ohmy! i hope its not a change in the writing style, writing to please the sponsors… i hope not. Guess time will tell or the bitch will, as she speaks some more over the next few days.

For now, i have my fingers crossed and i want to get back my daily doze of unadultrated bitching on BombayBitch!

Influencing the influencers

The following writeup was written for I.T. magazine. Here is the published link – Finding and Influencing the Influencers

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In today’s world, with over thousands of advertising messages reaching out to us and with attention spans decreasing rapidly; with the lines between PR and Marketing blur; with the entire Social Media buzz and Social Marketing coming into play. It has become very challenging for startups and new products to reach out to the initial users and influence them to create a brand recall and recognition in their minds.

For a startup, company or brand (for ease of read I will use the word startup to mean all these three entities) it is an on-going, ever evolving process to build its identity, increase recall and recognition. With increased clutter in the world around, it is very important for startups to clearly identify who they are reaching out to, what the message is and the impact of the communication.

How does one reach out?

In the current market scenario, for any business, it makes sense to look for channels that have high viral effect, has low customer acquisition cost, has the potential to build high degrees of trust and awareness.

1.       Founders as Brand Ambassadors:
It is important for founders to channelize their efforts towards constantly building an identity for their startup and themselves as ambassadors. Constant interaction and discussion about the startup and business offering, candid sharing of opinions and thoughts on varied topics, communicating the USP and key messages about the startup – all these come a long way in helping the early adopters identify with you as the founders and the brand at large. This also helps in building awareness and trust towards the startup.

Vijay Mallaya of the UB, Kingfisher group and Richard Branson of Virgin are great examples of founders as Brand Ambassadors. These two have worked their way up in building and expanding their business empire, constantly promoting their products and offerings. Appearing almost naked for a key business announcement at the New York Times Square, flying gas balloons that are Virgin branded, personally sending out messages to all their travelers on Kingfisher and living a lifestyle that reflects the brand – these guys have done it all and constantly re-invent themselves to reach out to and make an impact in the users minds.

2.       Reaching out to the initial users to build trust about the startup:

For startups, it is important to engage in constant dialogue with the early users. The initial users, called the “early adopters” are creatures that associate with your offering for varied reasons. It could be because:

a.       they try everything that is new

b.      they are curious about the offering as it’s a related domain they are working on

c.       the startup is their neighbor

d.      they love to give their opinion on various things

Just about any reason. But, interestingly the “early adopters” are those that take on to a new offering easily, are candid about their feedback, have more patience than the normal user to try & test the product or service, help fine-tune, and most of all these are the ones who talk and propagate the startup.  Therefore, it is important to reach out to these people fast, create a feedback channel, interact with them regularly and improve on the offering based on their inputs.

3.       Influencing the Influencers:

While interacting with the early adopters or the influencers, it is important to constantly communicate with them and ensure that they see constant evolution in the business offering. Keep the influencers interested and influence them by way of fine-tuning the offering, making it sticky for them to talk and promote the offering further. These early adopters have a very wide circle of influence in the society. There are a section of people who are constantly observing the early adopters to try and test something, give their verdict for them to start using the products.

While at madhouse (Madhouse Media, one of the first organized movie rental services which was acquired by Seventymm in 2007), the one important task I had at hand was to continually seek out avenues and opportunities to reach out to, and establish a feedback loop with the end users, by way of direct interactions or through other mediums of communication.  Sameer (co-founder of Madhouse Media) and I did this to establish trust among the users about the founders – the people who are executing the idea. We did this to spread the word about our business. We did this to ensure that people saw us as authority in movies, recommendations and movie rental business. As founders who knew what their business was about. As a business that ‘cared’ and did everything to make it easy for the users.

Where & how does one find these influencers?

1.       Media: This has been a vehicle for over ages to reach out to a large audience, no doubt. But what this channel does is to interact with the early adopters first, who have influenced the rest of the society! The messages sent out via these channels have successfully created brands, heroes, patrons and most of all trust in the world.  This channel includes print media, radio, online media – blogs, news sites, social media tools like Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn, etc.

Many people recognize Basecamp of 37Signals, because of their blog signalvsnoise. The founders wrote about things that mattered to them on their blog and started sharing their experiences with a set of readers, who would later become the early adopters of their business offering. Their blog and their presence in the online world helped in creating a strong recall factor among the minds of people who were in the online world, the early adopters for Basecamp.

2.       Public Interactions: This tool is one of the oldest and is deemed successful since Aristotle’s time. Public representation of the brand and its ambassador has a long lasting impression on the end users, increasing the chances of recall, recognition and loyalty. The channel includes Demos, Presentations, Talks, Mixers, Meets, Tweet-ups, Other face to face communication

The more you interact with people face-2-face, the better it is for you to make a lasting impression.  Interact with the early adopters, the opinion leaders, the influencers. Engage with them intellectually, challenge their notions, allow your views to be challenged. Many successful personalities are people with good interpersonal skills, presentation skills, with the talent to reach out to and convince people of their thoughts – Hitler, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Obama, to name a few…

So, how exactly does one influence the influencers?

1.       Timeliness: Repeated updates that reach out to the early adopters, via:

a.       Announcement of important progress in the business offering or startup

b.      Reiteration of what the startup stands for and what the founders, promoters vision is

c.       Constant updates on relevant business related topics

As part of madhouse, Sameer and I continuously kept in touch with many people – people in the media, people who are early adopters, people who are bloggers, people who are influencers in the society. We made it a point to interact with everyone – big and small, as we believed that there is learning from everyone. Specially, with the early adopters – we kept in constant touch, informing them of our progress. Involving them in discussions specific to madhouse and otherwise. Connecting them to others. We entered into long-term relationship – not inferior or superior, but as equals. This worked well in creating a long term relationship. And our keeping in constant touch was – informal regular mail interactions, commenting on the writers articles, blogs, placing that friendly call once in a while – with an update, question, connection or just simply “Happy New year”, meeting them up when we were visiting that part of town or city or for that Friday evening beer. Bumping into them and spending quality time during mixers, conferences, bar camps, etc.

2.       Quality: Communication that has value, creates trust and exhibits the brands and the ambassadors authority over specific areas of expertise

a.       Authoritative write-ups about the field of expertise

b.      Analysis, projections, predictions in the area of expertise

c.       Taking a ‘stance’, which the startup and the founders  will stand for and project

I love Jason Calacanis, Seth Godin, Paul Graham…. Why? Coz all these guys have a view point, are articulate about it and provide useful insights, challenge my intellect and give me more to carry away each time I read their blog,  writeup or an article about them. This is what we tried to do as part of Madhouse. Sameer particularly, as he was the external face of madhouse – practiced and still practices “Quality”. We had our view points and made sure we express them on various forums. Madhouse stood for “legal rentals” “stood for doing things the right way” “stood for organizing the rental business in India” “stood for quality home video experience” – we made sure we expressed our view point and what we stood for in our words and actions. We also wanted to share our experiences as entrepreneurs and so we did, each time we met an entrepreneur, a blogger or in our personal blogs, etc.

3.       Dialogue: Create a channel of dialogue exchange with the early adopters. Listen to them, question them, find out how things are every now and then, make sure you dig deep into what their impression is about the business offering, how they use it, what they think needs to be changed, show them your concern, show them you care!

At madhouse our goal was to never miss a movie delivery or deliver the wrong movie. We constantly kept in touch with our initial users to get feedback from them. If we missed a movie or slipped on our service for what ever reasons, we would send a small little cake with a sorry note. This came a long way for us, as these early adopters who saw us sweat it out and pay attention to detail, spread the word and helped us grow our customer base later.

4.       Innovative Methods: Find the most economical and innovative methods of reaching out, use smart techniques, but not overtly obvious ones.  Especially, these days with the social media channels, reaching out and creating a buzz is rather inexpensive, if done well. Be on the look out for venues to reach out, it could be the blogger you meet in a mixer, a journalist who is a friend’s friend or just you who’s active on the social media channels. Best marketing is the one done with no spend!

Who’s got to do it?

Of course YOU – as the founder, promoter, CEO, stakeholder – you have got to do this. It’s an ongoing task, it helps immensely and the returns are immeasurable. No outsourced firm, No internee, No management hire can do it for you. It is very important for a startup to have the main stake holders put in the efforts of spreading the word for their startup and build a social image for them. As an entrepreneur, among the many things you do, you do this too. If it does not come naturally, you lean to doing it. It is of utmost importance that the stakeholders interact with the influencers and early adopters. This established a connect with them, makes them build trust, helps you share the vision of the company with them and for all you know, you can find your potential investor, partner or employee in them!

When we started madhouse, Sameer & I did all the work ourselves, from taking orders on the phone, buying movies, packing them to delivering them to the users doorsteps, and this came a long way for us as a company. We knew exactly what it took to doing these tasks helping us build good processes and training the employees. It helped us establish a relationship with the early users; get first hand feedback from them. We were the ones who stood there in the mall and sold those initial memberships, interacted with people who did not take the membership and understood their concerns, fine tuned the sales pitch and re-sold to the apprehensive ones! We were the ones who were there in conferences, barcamps, mixers representing madhouse, talking about the concept and getting feedback. All this helped us establish madhouse as a brand among the influencers, who in turn became spokespersons for the brand!

However, above all this, it is important that as founders and stakeholders while doing all the work, we are:

1.       Humble, as humility disarms

2.       Honest, as it helps us win people over, build trust and create deep relationships

3.       Fair, as this is the best way to run a business

4.       Quick to accept mistakes, as this is another good trait that makes people like you. Everyone makes mistakes; the one who accepts it and changes is a winner!

In any society, the early adopters or influencers are the ones who have their antennas activated to receive and accept new things. As founders we must take care in building solutions that solve a problem or address a need, then it sure will get noticed by these early adopters who will give you the advantage of candid feedback and help you improve on your business. So, keeping your ears closer to the ground will help you improve and spread the word through these sneezers!

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Lessons to bear the recession: Instablogs

Ankit the founder and CEO of Instablogs has shared on his blog how he and

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his rockstar team at Instablogs did the right things to take the recession head on, emerging winners so far!

The agility and presence of mind the Instablogs team has displyed can be a great learning for all startups. Get ready to make those back of envelope notes for your business too.

Here’s the original blog post: Counter-intuitiveness: Instablogs Recession Mantra

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MVP campaigning for entrepreneurship in Chandigarh

MVP with the support of TiE Chandigarh/Punjab chapter has been spending time in the Chandigarh – Punjab region and doing its bit to promote entrepreneurship here.

MVP had a series of press interactions to promote its cause towards entreprenurship in this region and we  got featured in 3 main newspapers today! Here goes….

  • Hindustan Times: Let’s Talk Business
  • The Tribune: Recession override (Scroll down to find the article)
  • The IndianExpress: What an Idea! (Their e-version isnt up yet, will update this in the evening. )
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Shout ‘em out louder!

(This post was born out of internal discussion that took place in MVP forums. Its jointly written by : Sameer, Ankit, Nandini and Indus)

Bharat Matrimony

Bharat Matrimony (BM) has launched its facial search feature that enables you to upload celebrity (you can also upload your ex-girlfriend’s pics) pictures and BM will find a look-alike. Check it out here

Though the technology is imperfect the idea is so perfect on so many levels:

  1. Viral nature
  2. Engagement of users
  3. Stickiness of the site
  4. Differentiator from other sites
  5. Users having fun, part of so many jokes

It totally rocks and its great to see an Indian company leading its way in innovation. On the other hand its disappointing to see so less buzz created by them in the Startup media.

AdaptiveAds

Glam Snaps Up AdaptiveAds. Mumbai based startup AdaptiveAds was acquired by Glam, a leading ad network based in US. This news was covered very well by Techcrunch and other leading tech blogs of US about a month back, but again coverage in Indian Startup media left a lot wanted.

Adaptiveads, a mumbai based startup, clearly demonstrated that an Indian startup can target the global market very well and it makes a lot of sense for other Indian Companies to tap into borderless economy. When we can serve millions of western companies by being an outsourcing hub, by developing the core technology for them, why cant we guys put together our collectible brains to bring Indian products to whole world.

Startup Media

The current Startup Media in India consists of the leading startup blogs, some newspaper / magazine columns, couple of dedicated magazines and little bit of TV coverage. The main credit for creating the “Startup Media” goes out to the leading startup blogs, they have been at it for few years now and have done quite a good job of covering the news, sharing good practices, aggregating discussions around startups. They have built a strong and sticky community of readers / contributors around them.

Shout ‘em out louder

Though a lot has been done, there is a need to increase and provide regular coverage “towards celebrating / highlighting / sharing the Indian startup ecosystem triumphs”. This post is a request to Startup media to shout louder about the successes. Indian ecosystem is evolving and it definitely requires much needed boosts from media to encourage them. There are quite a few successful Indian startups, may not be to the tune of 10-100 million USD, but still doing pretty good. But, every mention will only encourage and boost the morale of the others to push the bar & succeed!

Some suggestions to the Indian Startup Media:

  • Add regular weekly features that bring out startup success stories, backed by research. Bring out the reasons for the success and help others learn and get inspired. This can also be done with some guest writers contributing.
  • Missed out on covering the news in time? – not a problem – write enough juice and they’ll quote you on their blog!
  • Dig into the development of the startups you have already covered, ask them to keep you updated, monitor their blog feeds for news of successes – followup stories is always a welcome for a reader!
  • A lot can happen over coffee – spend more time with startup founders (new & old), listen to their stories – can make for a good copy!

Communication channels are the most important for development of any eco-system (Even Hitler banked on it) – you have the power to influence and help startups imbibe good practices – make the most of it! This will go a long way to also help dispel India’s image “as only copycats, service-based companies and outsourcing hub”.  It will encourage the ones who are on the edge and are evaluating doing a startup. Current and potential investors will see the successes and increase the financial participation towards Indian startups.

The day is not far when people will be bringing Garam chai and Samosas to your home (riff from people bringing donuts/coffee to Arrington to get covered) . While you make them the stars, they will make you the celebrity!

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