Entrepreneurship, StartUp

ICC 2017 Indo-Pak Finals – Lessons for entrepreneurs.

Like all of you, I too was keenly watching the Champion’s Trophy finals between India and Pakistan. Though I learnt that many of my friends lost interest and switched off after losing Virat Kohli’s wicket, I stayed on till the Pak team went around the Oval to acknowledge the cheers of their fans and supporters.

It reminded of an anecdote that happened with me many years ago. I was invited by the Dean of a Polytechnic institute as a Guest of Honour on their Annual Convocation Day. When I went to Dean’s office, he was enthusiastically waiting to receive me. He took me to his chamber where four students of his institute were eagerly waiting to show me the Winner’s Trophy and Certificates that they won in a tech competition. It was heart-warming to notice the spark in their eyes when these diploma students informed with a richly-deserved pride that the team from IIT was the runners up.

At NASSCOM, I travelled to every corner of the country to connect with students as I was enthusiastic about developing new IT-ITeS destinations in the country, and fostering platforms for Industry-academia interactions as I believed, these were the two most critical requirements for the Indian IT industry to maintain its globally advantageous position. I visited even tier III and IV locations like Aurangabad, Sangli and Satara, Trichy, Thrissur, Vellore, Kozhikode, Indore, Raipur, Lucknow, Jorhat in Assam, Rajkot and Surat, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Siliguri and many such towns of India.

I have seen and experienced that these students have two distinct characteristics. They are “angry” and they are “hungry”. They have a common complaint (anger) that despite their potential, there is no consistent and systematic support from the industry, they were unable to utilise start-up / entrepreneurial schemes and its benefits. Their struggle to glory has too many roadblocks. At the same time, they are ‘hungry’. They want to strive hard, absorb every ounce of knowledge and mentoring that they get on their way to success.

When DNA – English Daily News Paper was launched in Mumbai, the hoarding would carry a picture of a young man or a women who with folded arms full of determination, looking into the camera, the caption read – ‘So what if I am not from IIT?’ or ‘So what if I am not from IIM?’ This “So what?” attitude that we could find in the Tier II and III locations, is hard to find in the elite institutions. With three and a half job offers in their pocket, most students of such prime institutions are missing the point of ‘being an entrepreneur’. To me, and as I have said often, a true entrepreneurial spirit is depicted in this couplet –

“falaq ko zid hai jahan bijlee girane ki,
hume bhi zid hai wahin aashiyan banane ki.”

(I am determined to build my castle where the sky has decided to strike its lightening.)

Indian Cricket team had everything that any dream team would desire. They were the defending champions, had the best batting line up, world class seamers and spin bowlers, sharp fielding acumen and a favourable mind-set as they had defeated Pakistan in the first match by a huge margin of 124 runs. Experts had evaluated Oval’s pitch as good for batting, playing conditions were good, Fakhar Zaman could score a century, Hardik Pandya could play at will, Amir, Hasan and Shadab appeared lethal but our formidable batting line-up and bowlers failed to make any impact. There was no passion, no application and no desire to win, unfortunately what appeared was even no regret of loss when we succumbed. As you will recall, Bangladesh was also in a similar situation where their top four batsman were out with individual score of 0, 3, 8 and 14 runs at 4-33 in the 12th over. Then Shakib Al Hasan (114) and Mohammad Mahmudullah (102*) added 224 runs of partnership and the 5th wicket fell on 257 in the 47th over to win the evidently lost game against New Zealand.

When we look at start-ups, sometimes we over-emphasize the educational qualifications and institutions from where the founding teams are, but miss the point to observe and evaluate their “angry kya? Hungry kya?” attitude. Despite the best possible score on the competence index, such start-ups fail to deliver due to their lack of self-belief and application of knowledge with passion….and they are deprived of real hunger to WIN.

To an entrepreneur, I would say –

“woh aur honge jo tujh me dhoondhate hain masumiyat,
hume to dekhana hai, tu kis kadar qaatil hai.”

(they may be others who look for conformity in you, I want to see how disruptive you are!)

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About rajivvaishnav

Rajiv Vaishnav Managing Partner Cornerstone Venture Partners Rajiv is Managing Partner at Cornerstone Venture Partners, a global tech VC fund focused on Consumer business enablers (such as Applied AI) and Enterprise / SME BI solutions (vertical SaaS, AR & VR applications, Blockchain for enterprise, etc.). Cornerstone is a Pre-series A / Series A fund, the first institutional support for promising tech ventures enabling growth and customer access in unique ways. Rajiv brings over 35 years of solid experience in building brands, developing teams, expanding the market share and building organisations from grass root upwards. He was heading the Ecosystem & Partnerships Developmentt at Jio-GenNext Hub, A Reliance Enterprise. In this role, Rajiv is responsible to evangelize the Start-Up ecosystem, identify and connect with the deserving start-ups, academia, government agencies, mentors, angel investors and VC networks globally. Since 2002 till end of 2015, Rajiv was an integral part of NASSCOM’s senior management team. He headed NASSCOM’s first regional office in Mumbai and grown to manage the membership outreach nationally. He initiated many path breaking initiatives at NASSCOM including Cyber Safety initiatives with enforcement agencies, start-up incubators with State Governments under 10K Startup programme, evangelised Animation and Gaming industry and nurtured it, lead the ISO Standards initiative to establish a Global BPO and Product Quality Framework Standards out of India. He helped establish NASSCOM’s emerge forum in its formative days. At NASSCOM, he was enthusiastic about developing new IT destinations in the country, and fostering platforms for Industry-academia interactions as he believed that these were the two most critical requirements for the Indian IT industry to maintain its globally advantageous position. Rajiv was a member of AICTE (WR) and of IQAC of the SNDT Women’s University and Trustee at Dewang Mehta Foundation Trust. With Harish Mehta, the first President of TiE, Mumbai and the first Chairman of NASSCOM, Rajiv co-founded TiE in India. He built the organisation bottoms-up and nurtured the start-up ecosystem in India since early 2000. He got early exposure to work with TiE in Silicon Valley and investors, entrepreneurs and mentors such as Kanwal Rekhi, Suhas Patil, Desh Deshpande, Sridhar Iyengar, Raj Jaswa, Shabir Bhatia, Raj Desai and many others… He has worked with Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Franchising Association of India (FAI) and US- Environment Resource Center (US-ERC). In the corporate sector, his experience includes stints with two U.S. Freight Forwarding giants Emery Worldwide and Air Express International in sales & marketing. In 2000, Rajiv was invited by the U.S. Government to participate in their International Visitors programme on US Trade and World Market. Rajiv has administered several outward trade delegations including those to International Franchise Expo ’99, USA, Emerging Companies delegations to CeBIT Australia and Silicon Valley. He has represented NASSCOM in the International Advisors Council to the Mayor of Luwan District in Shanghai, China and E-Sports Symposium in Seoul, Korea. Rajiv is a Science graduate from Mumbai University. He is passionate about music and literature. His blog url: www.rajivvaishnav.com
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4 thoughts on “ICC 2017 Indo-Pak Finals – Lessons for entrepreneurs.

    1. Our Education system churns out Robots every year.Have any one heard of Indian invention.We r mechanics we can repair a car but can’t manufacture one.

  1. Amazing Start Rajiv. It was much needed. It’s a great pleasure reading your thoughts. I am a huge fan of your approach and down to earth connect with real issues of Indian society. Keep writing. Best

  2. Great start Rajiv ji. Congrats. You always give a food for thought. Your just gets matched with young generation… you are young at heart! and your शेरो शायरी! Enjoying reading….

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