Monday, August 27, 2007

India's wireless industry crosses another milestone

By Adding 8.06mn subscribers in July to take the total number of mobile phone subscribers to 193mn. It's amazing how much I personally underestimated the local market in India.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Interesting meeting yesterday

Had an interesting meeting yesterday with a junior from IITB. He graduated in 2003 so that means his batch has spent probably around 3-4 years in industry. During the course of conversation, he mentioned something that shocked me. It seems there are about 20-25 startups that people in his batch are founding. Amazing stuff. Why is it that ideation happens in waves and most people tend to ideate at roughly the same time? any answers?

P.S. It brought back memories of 2000 when I think there were probably roughly the same number of start-ups in dorm rooms at IITBombay.

Monday, August 13, 2007

joining a startup??

Joining a start-up is a big decision for most people. A decision that involves not just what they want to do, but what the significant people around them want them to do, how it will impact their lives, plans, joint decisions etc. Somethings I would advise all people to consider before joining a start-up

1. the fundemental premise that the start-up needs to exist.
2. the other people in the company and how good they are as people to work with.
3. Funding - not just how much but from where is it coming?
4. incentives - does the company appreciate the risk you are taking and is it willing to compensate that risk realistically? Is the risk measured on similar lines on both sides of the table?

Of these I feel 1 is over rated. Most people tend to look at 1 which is not the primary reason startups fail. They usually fail because of bad organizational culture, an inability to recruit talent and faulty understanding of the funds it will take to achieve a goal.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Reading / just read

Just read
The real deal - sandy weills autobiography
barbarians at the gate - story of RJR Nabisco and KKR
Am now reading
the undercover economist - Tim Harford
i would strongly reccomend all three books. They are all excellent must reads.

Does a business have to be high margin to be attractive?

Had a very interesting discussion today over lunch with a friend about
what should the attractiveness of a business be based on. While low
margin businesses worry me, i think i am getting over that fear to
appreciate the importance of return on equity. Margin is an abstract
thought in my opinion, a quantity that is calculated post, as an
entrepreneur i feel whats more natural is to look at whats the best
business to enter given a certain finite amount of resources. I guess
thats why funds are measured on IRR and not on the average margin of
the companies they are invested into.

Sunday update

The sunday update. Pretty good relaxed day. Did do some work. .lunch with an old friend i am trying to get to join the team..very good talk with him about all facets of business.. Then a visit to our new office to check on progress of interior work.. Lots of sleep, some cycling... Attended the annual general meeting of my building co-op, some socializing with other residents..back to cycle.. bliss

Sunday interrupted

Why do people ring doorbells at 0715 hours on sundays? Why do doorbells not come with internet controls that you can use to configure when they ring and when they wont? Zzzzzz

Friday, August 10, 2007

looking forward to the weekend

its getting close to the weekend. I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully will be able to take part of the Saturday off and also the entire sunday... unlike the last one where I was working on both....

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Interesting book

I have found a book at my house. Donno whose it is. The red carpet by lavanya sankaran. Nice collection of stories. If anyone has left it at my place, please claim your book. Cheers,

Monday, August 06, 2007

some good things that the media has managed in india

While I am the first one to usually crib about the sad state of media esp. news in india, I must admit it has done some good things. For instance, exposing such creeps§id=2&contentid=20070806023243375bbafee70

This is just.. disgusting behavior. I hope he rots in jail for at least 5-10 years.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I am waiting at the gate for my dubai bombay flight to start boarding.
I got to dubai 48 hours ago and am heading back now. Surprising thing
is that i'm seeing at least three other guys who were on the same
flight into dubai with me. Interesting. Do you guys think dubai bombay
will be one day like todays bombay delhi - people going in the morning
and taking the late night flight back. Its probably a shorter flight.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Chryscapital raises new fund

It seems chryscapital has raised its new 1bn dollar fund making it a
first for india. It will be really interesting to see how they deploy
this. In my personal opinion making such large investments in india is
really difficult without dealing with the family rich in india who are
control freaks and unethical by and large with lots of family and
emotional baggage. There is a new india but deploying such a large
amount of capital in 3-4 years is bound to be difficult. However,
these guys are some of the smartest in the business. I guess we're
seeing history in the making here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The end of oil?

Before leaving mumbai for dubai, met up for a late night strategy
meeting and bad chinese dinner at the leela with a really passionate
entrepreneur. This is someone who i think really has the potential to
make it big and in some ways is already living the entrepreneurial
dream. Our discussion went onto an interesting topic which i thought i
would put here. Infrastructre has always been built to support gold
rushes. The american railroad was put in to transport gold, the indian
rail to transport spices, textiles etc. More recently i believe a lot
of the technology infrastructure around india was put in to bring
indias best resources to the west - leased lines broadband etc.
However, its actually feeling like today the oil has run out. You had
a few good IIT and other engineers who went to the west and jazzed out
the fortune 500 who then decided to move work to india and indian
companies and then TCS, INFY, IBM, WPRO just employed a few ten
thousand employees each and thats it - there is no more oil. I have
not met a single half decent programmer in over a year. The people i
meet from the above mentioned companies are worse than the 20 year old
java programmer who works at a friends company in london. Its
depressing. I think these companies now will realize they need to dig
deeper for oil. They need to invest in much better education,
universities, training etc. Maybe the government could encourage it in
some way. Please do so guys. Dont expect us small guys to drill for
the oil.

Is it very tough to do what you say you will do?

Had a very sad experience over the last 2-3 days. Was meaning to catch
up with an old friend and some who i really respect both personally
and professionally. He missed two phone appointments and finally we
ended up leaving things open ended to catch up over the weekend when i
am back in mumbai. Whats alarming is not that he missed calling me
twice on preset times but that i genuinely feel this person must not
have had the time to do so. I find it all the more shocking is i think
the person is in senior management. I am in senior management and as
far as i remember i have been multi tasking with a very busy schedule.
However, i always keep my word. I dont have the time, i wont schedule
a call. I schedule a call. I will make it. Its something i was advised
by someone and i intend to follow. Do what you say you will do. Simple
principle and something i feel leaders must abide by. People who dont
do what they say they will do can be great contributors but dont make
great team players. Imagine a basketball team where the star player
never follows team strategy. An air force formation, where one pilor
decides to take that turn a bit earlier, the sales guy who always
tries to go after non named accounts. Do what you say you will do. Its
a simple way to live your life.

Motivated people

Am in dubai. Was waiting in a cafe for a meeting when i overheard an
interesting discussion two indian guys at the next table were having.
One of the guys (about 44 years old) was basically telling the other
guy how he grew up in a hindi medium school and learnt how to speak
english with the right diction and improved his vocabulary by
listening to the bbc radio and voice of america studiously over years.
He was obviously a senior sales guy pep talking his junior but it made
me appreciate his dedication and focus in improving himself. Its
something i feel thats sadly lacking in my generation. Very few of us
feel we need to improve our lots. Probably the indian job market is
such that anyone who speaks english gets a job. Sad times these are.
Its very rare to find one of those hard working guys who is
continuously adding value to himself where he will mature into a
rockstar by the mid forties.

If not debt, then equity?

Given that my last post discourages entrepreneurs from raising debt apart from a few specific cases namely:- 1. Very high ROCE low risk bus...