Here’s to the crazy one!

Thank you Steve for showing me how life can be lived. To fearlessly make the most of all opportunities and seek opportunities where there is none. To push the limits of imagination. To dis-prove by doing. To live life each day as if it were my last!

Thanks for reinforcing the belief that a kick-ass product does its own marketing. That products are built to make life easier, hence make it an experience! An experience that end users crave for.

You’ve taught me a lot. Though i never knew you in person, though you were instrumental in making inanimate products, you spoke to me through your products. You told me that you cared about me. You gave me what i wanted. You surprised me by making possible what i thought would take technology many more years to achieve. You helped me gain confidence through your products. You made me look good with your products on me. You were the reson that people envied me 🙂

I am proud to be a round peg in a square hole. Thanks for the immense impact you’ve had on me, and will continue to have, without being obvious about it! You are a rock star. You are a hero. To me you are GOD. I will miss you.

Gurukulday2_086

We at The Morpheus love Steve and Apple so much that we recently borrowed the text of “Crazy Ones”, engraved it onto a plaque and gave it to the morpheus gang for inspiration!

 

What does it take to get started?

What does it take to get started?  This question is often asked in a tone and mood that’s sacred, as if there will be a moment of nirvana by my pronunciation of truth – something that will enlighten them!  As if I’ll give them the mantra to life’s secrets and life will be happy and sunshine henceforth! (sigh, if only!)

 I typically list a set of things. The list contains roughly the same items for everyone but I customize the narrative to suit the guy on the other side. My first reaction is – Nothing. You just need to makeup you mind! J (Yeah! Simply said than done, right?)

Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tutuwon/

So here I am trying to put down the most important things you need to figure out in your life before you get started!

  1. Belief:  Most important ingredient is to have belief in yourself. As an entrepreneur you will encounter times when you’ll be made to question yourself and keeping that confidence intact is super important. Closely related is the belief you have in the problem you are trying to solve – there are many (and unfortunately, near and dear ones) who will dismiss your idea!
  2. Undying Passion: You need to have a crazy passion that keeps the “never say die” attitude in you alive, even at the lowest point in your life! You need to be passionate about doing just about anything to keep that idea of yours alive. The passion that ensures you are focusing on the right things each day, a passion that will push you to solving the right problems, answering the right question, to go on when it seems all doors have closed themselves upon you!
  3. Stoic-ism (to an extent): Stoic is a dispassionate attitude, something that allows us to detach ourselves from something and not show feelings about it. I think its important to have or cultivate this trait as an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur you are trying to solve a problem that seems critical and many times that problem may not be all that critical, its important for you to move from that idea to something else that makes sense. Being excessively obsessed with the idea or be stuck to it will not help here. Hence, the stoic-ism helps. Being stoic also helps in moving on with what you are doing and not take all the critics too seriously J
  4. Discipline: This is something that we can consciously develop. Working as an employee is something else – you perform everyday or you perform when required; it’s a choice you make. But as an entrepreneur, of course you don’t have appraisals at the end of the quarter to evaluate you, but it is self induced discipline that sees you through many quarters. You must impose a schedule, have short-term goals, a to-do-list of what you need to achieve for the day, evaluate what got done and what did not on a daily basis, and follow all of this with a supreme sense of discipline and devotion. We need to be our own watch dog, follow a self induced gate-keepers role and ensure we achieve / learn something daily and move forward.
  5. Patience & Perseverance: As an entrepreneur, the task you’ll embark upon is no less than building Rome. It will take time to build a solution to the problem at hand. Sometimes months, many-a-times a few years. If you are someone who wants fast success – this is not your play! You need to exercise immense patience, keep going at it, as well as keep others you work with interested in the project.
  6. Sense of selflessness: Having personal ambitions and goals are important, but if you want to be the one appreciated for the efforts – then you’d want to think again. As an entrepreneur, start-up founder you are the leader, content and appreciative of your teammates performances. Even if you have done half the work, do not expect people to acknowledge you for it, instead appreciate the efforts of the others in the team. This may not bring you short-term glory, but will bring you long-term success. You have to be a team person and lead from the front.

Wondering why this post does not cover things like: Be an expert in the problem you are trying to solve, connections & networking, experience, money, etc. etc?  That’s ‘coz I wanted to deal with some psychological, attitude & qualities based traits that are required for an entrepreneur. And most of it, as against the common belief, can be consciously cultivated for self-growth.

I think it’s important for an entrepreneur to be like a cockroach. Yea a roach! It can survive anywhere & it can pretend to be dead and come back up alive!

And Oh! I don’t think you need money to get started, nor do I think you need experience (generically understood as work experience) – you can be a fresher out of college or even a school kid to realize a pain-point to solve it. 

So, have you got what it takes to get started? Yes? Then, we’re looking for you! Read more.

Each of us have a Laxmi Bai in us!

Jao Rani yaad Rakhengey yeh krutagna Bharatwasi,
yeh tera balidaan jagavega Swatantrata avinasi,
hovey chup itihaas, lagey sachchai ko chahey phansi,
ho madmaati vijay, mitaa dey golon sey chahey Jhansi.
Tera Smarak tu hi hogi, tu khud amit nishaani thi,
Bundeley Harbolon key munh hamney suni kahani thi,
Khoob ladi mardani woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi
.

English Translation:

The people of India will remember this debt of yours (O! Rani Laxmibai), may you be blessed, dear Rani,
Your this life sacrifice will awake an indestructible soul of freedom in the people,
History may be made silent or if truth is hanged or killed, or if the drinkers become victorious or if they destroy jhansi with cannonballs,
You, by yourself be the memorial of Rani (queen of Jhansi) because you had been an eternal token of courage.
From the mouths of the Bandelas and the Harbolas (Religious singers of Bandelkhand), we heard the tale of the courage of the Queen of Jhansi relating how gallantly she fought like a man against the British intruders: such was the Queen of Jhansi.

(Read the whole poem with its translation here)

Image courtesy: http://oldpoetry.com//images/ext/Opoem/41/54.jpg

Rani Laxmibai, is one of the bravest Indian woman. I’ve grown up idolizing. I chose this last para of Jhansi Ki Rani Poem, with a reason. No, its not that I want far too many people to martyr their lives in war. I wanted to capture the spirit behind the act of bravery. The immortality Jhansi wali Rani has achieved today.

I have immense respect for all women, Indian in particular. In a society like ours, I think our grand mothers, mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters – all of them deserve to be applauded, as they’ve figured out excellent ways and methods to more than just survive, keep the families together, maintain economies, and much more! In a way, they all seem to have a natural ability to be good managers.

Deep inside my heart I wish for each of us to emerge as Laxmi Bai – fearless, raising above expectations & taking charge to resolving problems & issues. And hence the context to why I have the poem pasted up here!

With all that natural ability to manage, bootstrap, last longer – some of it perhaps hereditary or genetic to the Indian Woman. I think each one of us (Indian women) have the ability to be entrepreneurs. Some opt to lead simple lives, some have other priorities.

For all those who have had the right opportunity, education & more – I think, there is nothing lost by choosing entrepreneurship as a career option. Infact, as a woman (though I personally hated working for someone else) my life as an entrepreneur has given me the flexibility to do things better, organize my time further more & more recently as an entrepreneur-mom (I am confident that this was the right choice) – I get to spend maximum time with my child and experience her grow, and can manage my schedule in a manner that’s best for her! (Of course without compromising on my commitment to my venture)    

In the past two years and some months, as part of The Morpheus – I have interacted with innumerable entrepreneurs and want-to-be entrepreneurs. Among them, I can almost count the number of women entrepreneurs I’ve chanced upon. Its not that they do not exist, perhaps, I’ve not been fortunate to meet too many.

As part of The Morpheus, we want to work with & fund people who leave no tricks untried to bootstrap, innovate, survive, scale & stick-on to succeed. We (I personally) also want to work with women entrepreneurs, as I think they bring a different perspective, are better focused and can make faster decisions. Personally, adding more women to The Morpheus gang will definitely give the much required different perspective to problems / issues / concerns our portfolio faces on a daily basis.

So, if you are a woman (lady or a girl) who has an idea that you’ve been looking to get started with or have ventured out – Perhaps, you should connect with me. We are looking for entrepreneurs, particularly women entrepreneurs, who we can work with as part of our next Batch of BAP & support them with 5 lakh funding. More on that here

PS: This post focuses on women entrepreneurs, men are allowed to apply too, we have 27 companies in the portfolio, mostly dominated by men 😛

PPS: No, we treat all gender / sex equal, there are NO reservations 🙂

Announcing The Morpheus: Batch 5 Applications Open & some

It’s been a little over 2 years now since we initiated Morpheus. Now, with some 26 startups as part of our portfolio and having interacted with over a 1000 entrepreneurs, the urge to interact some more still burns inside me. Infact the need to interact more, compare startup notes, share experiences and perhaps inspire seems to increase by the day. I am sure [@guglanisam (Sameer) & @1ndus (Indus)] will agree with me. 

We are almost at the end of our 4 month intensive engagement with the Batch 4 companies (see list here) and have opened applications for the next batch. However, we will continue to engage with all companies in our portfolio as long as there is a need for it! 

Applications for The Morpheus’ Business Acceleration Program, Batch 5 is open till the second week of November 2010. You can get more information and the form to download here.

Essentially, if you have an idea and are looking to start out or have already started out and are in the early stages of your venture, then we think there could be synergies between you and The Morpheus. If you have apprehensions, doubts or even assumptions about how The Morpheus can add value or even about its partners – the best thing would be for you to talk to us. We are more than happy to have a chat with you to discuss your venture, give you contacts of our portfolio companies or just have coffee with you (yeah, we pay for the coffee too many times :P)

Also, if you have an idea or have just started your venture or an entrepreneur – you can meet more entrepreneurs to exchange notes and chit chat. Also you can meet The Morpheus team to discuss your venture. 

When: 16th October 2010, Saturday

What Time: 12 noon to 6pm

Where: Commonfloor office, address here

Leave a comment if you want to meet on The Morpheus Blog here

Happy to answer questions if you have any about the program or the Open House! 

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