My Day 1 at Nasscom Product Conclave Part 2

In part 1, I had talked about a few of Vinod Khosla‘s session.  Now I will cover the rest and the other speakers as well.  Much as I want to elaborate on each point that touched me, I see that I cannot do it quickly enough and so I will just make a mention and move on.  My personal comments would be in italic.

a.  Even if you don’t know how things are going to unfold in your venture, just jump in & make it happen.

b.  Its ok to try and fail but it is not done that you fail to try.

c.  I don’t mind failing but it better be worth succeeding if we do.  He gave the example of his investment in a start-up that is attempting to create a vegetarian meat.  He said that he is not sure if the venture will succeed but if it does then it will not be an incremental contribution because he is eying the US meat market which is estimated to be $200 billion of which he wants to have a major share.

d.  Its ok to start a venture just to make a lots of money so long as the entrepreneur is focused about it and is driven by it.  Keep asking the question “Am I passionate about it?” every time there is a doubt.

e.  Nobody remembers a failure (perhaps said in the context of US where people wear the badge of failure with a lot of pride and there is even an event like Fail con)

f. Accept the failure, take your lessons and move on

g.  In  your start-up, you need different kinds of people. VK spent about 40% of time whilst early days at Sun recruiting and bringing key people on board.

h.  He also made a statement that the best time to start a venture is when someone is less than 35 years of age and almost all speakers of day 1 (and even on day 2) made a direct or a passing reference to it.

His responses to the questions were bang-on and lucid.  He talked about the various trends and the future opportunities in different sectors.

A great session, by any reckoning!!

Now let me quickly add some of his sharing during a different session in the afternoon so that this becomes a full VK post

h.  Worrying “what will happen if this doesn’t work out?” isn’t really empowering.  A better response to the prospect of failure would be “what worked and what didn’t, in a clinical engineering manner”. I recall a poster I saw at my friend Dasarathy’s office in Chennai “Worrying does not solve tomorrow’s problems.  It drains today’s energy” and that resonated with this.

i.  “I wish I had that” doesn’t really work.  If there are x factors for success, you as an entrepreneur can have control over 1,2 or 3 factors only.  So keep focusing on things that you can do something about rather than worrying about the rest.  Although he didn’t say it, I see it as the reinforcement of the message from Bhagavad Geeta “Karmanyeva adhikarasche … ” meaning “You have control only on your actions and not on the outcome”

j.  When I build the teams, I look at all possible risks that the venture will face, find out who can best solve them and recruit them.

k.  I practise this and also tell my kids “Try new things and try hard things”.  Khosla attributed his fine physical and mental health (at the age of 57) and his expectation that he could go on for another 30 years because he keeps doing things that are not done before and those that were hard to do.  He is constantly trying to be out of his comfort zone.

l.  Focus on what you want to do vs what others think you should be doing

m.  If there is something that you want that is not around, just get it

n.  Just make a pitch to VCs to get their inputs even if you do not want their money

Whew! I got around to covering both his sessions on the basis of my notes.  How do you like it?

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1 Comment

  1. Ramkumar said,

    November 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Damn good, like it. Thanks a lot Badri


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