Swarathma and Shubha Mudgal for Dewarists…..how can you not root for a hopeful song about the river that was always the center of communal disputes…
Source: SoundCloud / swarathma
I had a couple of versions of blackberries in 2006 and even into 2007. You were not a business person of substance if you didn’t have a blackberry back then. But when Apple launched the iPhone, initially it was the ‘cool’ folks who got one, and the business folks stuck to the blackberry. I remember the passionate debated people would have about hot much easier it was to type on a blackberry than on a touchscreen smart phone.
For a while in 2007 I thought so as well, and I thought Blackberry would have apps too. But the first time I played with an iPhone, I realized that it was actually more effective to not write long emails on the phone. Ralph was a Board Director in my company then and we’d have long discussions on how to communicate effectively. I found that the biggest change was that as I wrote fewer long business emails on my iPhone, I got into the habit of scheduling when I did most of my writing. By writing most of my business emails early in the day and late in the evening, it gave me a chance to put emails in others’ inboxes, so they spent most of the day playing catch up and I had time to proactively think about the company, rather than being reactive to other’s emails most of the day.
So much is written about iPhones, but I find very few thoughts on how it got us all into being more proactive than reactive in our business thinking and communication. This is a huge paradigm shift effected by Apple on businesses, in my mind.
If there ever was an example of the froth in the market buying up incumbent shares and not spotting a disruptive change, look at what happened to the blackberry stock in 2007….
We share something basic - the desire to build great companies from the ground up. Though we come from diverse backgrounds, we are excited about the future of technology and united in our belief that expanding its use is among the best ways to contribute to our world.
Founders Fund’s very compelling argument that technology and globalization are two very different things. While globalization is a good thing to distribute existing technologies across new markets, the only moral thing to do for the capable ones is to build new technologies that push life forward.
I think companies in Silicon Valley should invest the pile of cash on their balance sheet into long term growth projects. By the same measure, shouldn’t countries with such big surplus invest heavily into innovative technologies?
Can we push Jeff Bezos’s annual letter into Merkel’s cell phone please NSA?
Peter Thiel pushing the envelope again
We have a team of developers in Bangalore for Haggle and we’re desperately trying to add more folks to the team. But the median quality of engineers we’ve interviewed seems to be mediocre. I’m really disappointed after our team has interviewed literally over a hundred engineers and not hired even one.
I think the problem lies in an eroding culture of continued education in the 20 somethings. A 22 year old graduates, gets a job in a services company like Infosys or Wipro and then falls into a system that rewards based on conforming to the system rather than learning new skills and working on complex projects. This naturally reduces the motivation to learn and over time this motivation is completely killed.
They say “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”. There is clearly a waning interest level in learning new technologies among the Indian 20 somethings and this needs to be fixed before it’s too late.
1. There needs to be a higher pay for doing high quality work. The Services companies with their market pressure to hire new engineers every year to show numbers need to recognize that they will always do backoffice/maintenance/outdated technology projects if they don’t start building a pool of talented engineers by rewarding excellence.
2. A culture of earned benefits should be created. Every 20 something I have spoken to is a Senior Engineer or Manager or Lead of something or the other. These titles should come with some credibility behind them and people should earn these rather than just be handed them as a trade in for a higher pay check.
3. The attitude of the Government and the Services companies should shift from doing backoffice projects to high end research projects. A company that wants to build a wireless or media product must think of Bangalore because of the expertise and not because of the cheap human resources cost.
4. Operational setups should be made painless to encourage entrepreneurs. It takes $200 to incorporate a company and a half hour to setup a bank account in the US. The same costs much more and takes an exponentially larger time in India, for no good reason.
5. Risk taking should be encouraged among the young. The startup ecosystem needs more investment and social acceptance.
6. It costs Haggle $200 for book keeping, HR and payroll and $1500 for office space in the heart of Manhattan and it costs $150 and $1600 respectively in Bangalore for the same sized team.
My motivation in building the team in India is not cost (not entirely atleast) advantage. I think for any startup it is important to figure out how you’ll hire the 20th to 50th employees - beyond the first ten who become part of the core team of the company. I think there is good math and logical analysis skills among Indian engineers fundamentally, and we should be able to hire good engineers in India without having to get into a bidding game with the likes of Google and Facebook like in Silicon Valley or New York.
I hope the culture of continued learning changes for the better in India
A ship in the harbor is safe. But that’s not what ships were built for.
Andrew Mason was fired as the CEO of Groupon last week and he wrote an amazing letter. Building a company takes everything you’ve got, and sometimes more. After putting in everything for years, to admit you were either wrong or incapable of delivering is one of the hardest things to do. I’ve quit being the CEO of a company before, and wrote a rallying mail to my then co-workers to support the new CEO. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, and it was also one of my best pieces of writing.
You can’t ask for much more from a leader than to admit that he was wrong and admit it with humility. Even though my company Haggle has an approach to commerce that will disrupt the daily deals space, I think Andrew deserves great credit for building a multi billion dollar company, and entirely new business space in such a short span. He has one upped his achievements as an entrepreneur by publicly taking responsibility for Groupon’s decline.
I’ve always considered Alan Greenspan’s admission that he was wrong about regulation as one of the finest examples of human character. For a man of his stature and accomplishment to admit that his whole life’s work and belief was wrong at the age of 82 is nothing if not magnanimous. You just can not ask for better human behaviour in society.
Entrepreneurs will always face failure. It is the very nature of the beast. To admit one is wrong in the public eye is what sets the successful ones apart from the failed ones.
I wish Andrew luck in his next venture.