India *do need* everyone!

Posted on April 16, 2008. Filed under: Indian Startups, Thoughts | Tags: , |

Happened to see this post from The Startup Guy. Some of my thoughts on this. (Of course not to hurt anyone)

To begin with, lets categorize the different kinds of techies in India.

  • People who have been working in Indian services/product companies all along.
  • People who moved abroad (so called onsite) through an Indian company.
  • People who returned back from abroad, after working as just another employee oversees.
  • People who returned back after achieving or wanting to achieve something .
  • People involved with a startup in India.

I dont find any problem with any of these categories. Why blame someone just because he is/was abroad, just for the sake of it?

Now lets assume Kumar belonging to one of these five categories is interested in starting up on his own. Lets discuss some of the problems, Kumar would be facing during his entrepreneurship journey in India.

  • Impossible to hire people

Ask any Indian startup how much effort they have to put in to hire a single employee, you will understand what I am trying to convey. A number of startups are continuing to show their frustration on this. Number of fresh engineers willing to join IT biggies is still very high compared to number of freshers willing to join startups. This is something to do with the mentality of the people. Startups in US/UK doesn’t seem to have this problem at all. Either, they get sufficient funding very early to afford costlier resources or to outsource to some desi company in Bangalore or manage to hire people directly, because the startup ecosystem is very matured that people don’t seem to differentiate a small garage startup Vs Google. Infact, this blog post of mine is based entirely on my personal experience in trying to hire people in India.

Any person – Indian or non Indian trying to change this situation is definitely on my wanted list. Having said that, events like “Startup Lunch” are more than welcome. Kudos to Team Proto, for coming up with this idea. Lets hope for more such ideas from other similar groups too.

  • VCs are still without V

Yet to come across a VC who has taken the absolute risk by investing in an Indian Startup very early.

Any person – Indian or non Indian who can cause significant impact to this issue to the best of the ecosystem, stands second on my wanted list.

  • Not much support from fellow people!

Which is the most popular Social network in India? Orkut. Which is the most hot topic related to social networks in India? Launch of Myspace India. Which is the popular search engine in India? Google. Which is the popular website in India? Yahoo! Should I mention that in china – Baidu and other native ones are the most popular and are giving other companies a run for their name and fame?

500-600 startups starting up every year and eventually only a handful of startups remain. Others exist either for some adsense money or just because their hosting service has not expired?

What is the reason? Very simple … When was the last time you used Guruji to search for some India specific site instead of Google? When was the last time you accessed your rediff or indiatimes mail account instead of Yahoo/Gmail? Well to be honest, even I am not doing any of these. But at some point in time, people should show their support right? Best place to start is to check the Startups Directory page in this blog and tryout the different startups in each category.

Now if an American blogging about our Indian Startup, can increase the visibility and hence convince a significant number of people to try out our startups, then he is most welcome to do that. He is the third guy on my wanted list.

  • Global approach

How many Indian startups which target the entire world are known outside of India? If these startups are really serious about the global audience, then they should either showcase their startup to the global audience or encourage foreigners to visit them and tell the world on their behalf. Instead of this, making noise from a closed room doesn’t make any sense.

So the fourth person on my wanted list is someone who can take the startups to this international level. I don’t mind what nationality he belongs to.

Thus I conclude that we do need everyone on my wanted list. Sorry if this post appears to be emotional and feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

UPDATE: Interesting discussion in the comments section.

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16 Responses to “India *do need* everyone!”

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Well said. I agree to all your point. We should have this global approach to survive in this world.
However, changes will not happen overnight and for india will take significantly longer time. Blogs/websites like this should convey the right impression about the startups to the world and make them to get interested.

@Balaji
Well said balaji. Prabhu, looks like you have become highly emotional, perhaps you should have controlled that. I see a synergy between how the desi cool drinks market (fmcg to be general) got destroyed by pepsi, coke, colgate etc to the indian startups getting easily overtaken by Google and others.

My grandfathers, father happily used to colgate. Our generation are happily using the MNC companies. No difference. Perhaps, time has come for people to realize. Nice to see you mention china, one of the reason why the chinese market could survive any recession.

@ Not getting employees for start up
What I have observed in US is that people take more risk than Indians. They will put almost everything at stake to get the company moving. We Indians traditionally think many times even before taking a loan for 2- wheeler. More Risk = More Returns/Losses
@ Using Indian Startup products
I agree to what you have said in the post. There is no sufficient coverage. If a US startup sneezes, that will also be covered in TechCrunch.
@ Attitude
I have observed another thing. When u email an Indian startup for giving feedback/comments, you almost never get reply!
@Me too Phenomena-
We like to follow what US has done. I am not saying that is bad. I am yet to see an innovative startup in India which has rocked the blogosphere. How many orkut/myspace/facebook like startups do we have? I have lost count 🙂

VCs in the Valley
http://ericgonzalez.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/will-the-real-venture-capitalists-please-stand-up/

You need to understand that we are not the only ones with the problem. That’s a case in the valley.

Prabhu dont you think we all know what you said? I mean anyone who had ever thought of joining or starting a venture in India will identify same issues as you mention in your most.Done.What next?

Do you think what a young guy think about startups (no steady salary,no brand,lost of harddwork,s\no stability and 99 % failure rate)is wrong?

Is his preception of risk with start-up is unfounded?

Is the situtaion was different when start-up culture started in silicon valley with 8 famous traitors?

Dont you think first we need original entrepreneurs
who create cost effective solution for local market rather then engaging in mad imitation?

I believe real entrepreneurs dont need VCs and are passionate enough to buy,beg,borrow,steal right resources.

To me what we realy lack is not the people you mention in your post but right educational institute,great teachers who can foster creativity,appreciate individuality,encourge learning by experimention and teach studnts to accept failure as way of life.

If we take US and startup valley as role model we need Stanfords and MITs where real startups are created.

What our best insitute create is GREAT followers.What we need is great leaders and self believers.

Our actions are reflection of our needs (maslow’s hierarchy of needs).So far we had a socialist poor India where roti, kapada and makan was the priority (no matter if you r IITian or IIMAian).When we as whole will rich enough to more over self actualisation we will se a new India.So I beleive development of ecosystem is a evolutionary process.

If we are passionate enough to build right entrepreneurial system we should start with right education sytem.

I totally agree with satpal. Being someone who has just been literally spat out of the first phase of the Indian Education System (school), I can tell you that we are made to lose the most important quality for an entreprenuer – Self Esteem. Throughout school, you are very literally humiliated and when you pass out, you are either a poor soul who’s convinced that working in a Big Co rocks or a jock who views work as an unnecessary evil. I’m sure many here would’ve felt the pain of being a geek in school. Risk taking is not just discouraged but shot at, with anyone who’s not following orders dealt with severely. Do we need anything else to kill startups?

@satpal

Agreed educational system sucks in India. But what does educational system got to do with a person becoming a leader or a follower. It is something to do with the mentality.

For instance, I was trying to convince a fresher to join my startup. He had a decent tech knowledge, but I was confident that I could train him to do the right stuff. But couple of days later, he came back to me and said, I am not taking up the post, because my dad is afraid of me joining a small company like yours. This is infact after me promising him a fixed salary for 6 months.

Now tell me this. Should I ask his dad to go back to school and learn some tricks about taking risks?

It is people like you and yuvi, who should come forward and accept jobs with startups.

But what is happening is that, you guys are making up your mind that Microsoft or Google or some other MNC is the future. Worst come, there are always top 5 services company to the rescue, who will hire even trespassers. And a considerable, chunk of people with an America dream.

I would like to quote this.

“””
Dont you think first we need original entrepreneurs
who create cost effective solution for local market rather then engaging in mad imitation?
“””
If you think there are no such entrepreneur out here, why not you try to be one? What is stopping you to be the leader?

@yuvi
I have heard a lot about you and have seen you and your work personally too. I also heard that you got an offer from MS even before you finished your schooling.

What do you think will stop you from starting up on your own? Funding? Count me as an investor. Can we expect to meet you in an occ meetup soon?

Facts first: I never got an offer from MS:) (I did get a contract offer from someone else, but had to turn it down because of exams)

I’ll admit this: I never knew that a startup scene “existed” in India till I went to pipesCamp. I had already decided that the “IT Company” life was not for me, and it was either DPE/DevDiv at Microsoft for me.

So, would I join a startup? I will, very definitely, if: 1. The other folks in the startup are clued-in folks, unlike the /average/ “IT Service Company” guy. 2. If what the startup is doing resonates with me.

So, if it does, sure, I will join it. I could name a few off the top of my head if you wanna ask privately 😉

So, it’s either goanna be: 1. DevDiv/DPE at Microsoft or 2. Startup for me.

And for starting a startup? The only thing, besides /angel/ funding that will be hindering me is the lack of a “concentrated startup community” in here. Sure, there are many startups around, but they are geographically distributed – some in Pune, some in Delhi, Chennai, Bang, etc. No concentration ala Silicon Valley. That’s really goanna suck, ‘coz talking with people who think getting a fixed salary a month for their entire lives for doing something they have no idea about doesn’t really seem too appealing. I think any entrepreneur who had previously worked on an “IT” company would know what I mean.

Thanks yuvi. I am sure, a number of startups would be watching you keenly now for hiring 🙂

When was the last time you used Guruji to search for some India specific site instead of Google?

That’s because Guruji sucks.

I do use other Indian products – Slideshare, Zoho, Scrabulous – not because they’re Indian, but because they work.

Are you sure you dont see any correlation between right mentality and education?
To be eduaction and right social environment are the very factor helping in postive mentality.

Regardinf your case iw ould say
father: is a old hardcore socialist in my father wo believe it better to be safe then sorry.HE is like that becoz everyone around him was like that.

Guy: Is a doubtful soul like me who know that he is witnessing a inflection point in history of India full of opportunities.
He is not sure if is trained to take advantage of these opportunities or if he will be allowed to make few mistakes.

Yuvi: is the new face of India.Is represent new,confident,assertive,capitalist India.

Coming to your point to be a leader let me ak you a question: If I know what could not be the solution of a problem.AM I supose to know the solution or solve it?

Yes one day I would love to have a startup.But Right now I dont think I am ready for the challenge.As I said right now my actions are govern by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs i.e right now I am more concern about safety, love and family then self actualisation.

@Pratham: Yes, Guruji is bad. I don’t quite grok the concept of using something just ‘coz it’s Indian.

@satpal

If you are doubtful about your capabilities (whether you can do a startup on your own from scratch), then best is to join a startup. There is nothing wrong in joining a startup that has funding. Then start attending unconferences (BarCamp, WebCamp, MoMo blah blah blah) and open coffee club meetups.

This way you will get know a lot of interesting people and hopefully some inspiration too.

@Pratham/yuvi

Feeling very sorry for Guruji. But I keep using the word support startups. Which means try them whenever you can. Have you looked at Pringoo (one of my sponsor :)) off late?

What is stopping you guys from trying out?

@Prabhu: Yes, pringoo is cool – I’ll be getting a T-Shirt very soon (hopefully) 🙂

Also, I’m totally utterly lost on Satpal’s comment – can’t understand it. Care to explain a bit more?

Natually I’ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing…


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