January 17, 2009

Book Review : Entrepreneur Journeys [Part-II]

In continuation to the review of Entrepreneur Journeys by Sramana Mitra, today we have look at the other Entrepreneurs featured in the book & some useful tips for the Entrepreneurial community.

Philippe Courtot,CEO Qualsys
  • Too many people crack under stress. In venture, you must thrive on bad news. If you don’t thrive on bad news, move over, because every day represents something uncharted and new where you sort of sit down and say, “How do we deal with this?” And you make mistakes every single day too. As soon as you realize you made those mistakes you go back and you fix them.
  • On "not" getting selected for a job in France : In France, we have psychological tests and when they turned you down, they did not tell you why.So when I wrote a letter to them, they wrote me back saying that their policy was not to tell why they had turned down people.But I insisted..insisted and finally they responded saying that my Psychological test showed me that I was far too much of an independent thinker.They were looking for people who were willing to be directed and they said that I would not be happy working with them.
  • It is very important to see yourself, what you do and what you have with the eyes of the customer.
  • American society was based on what you can do.So,it was than I realized that it would be best for me to come to US and work internationally.
  • I went extreme skiing for 9 months.I have done that every time between jobs- take a sabbatical.It allows me to digest what I have learnt.To digest and forget, essentially and than I come back fresh and new.
  • Lessons learnt from skiing : I learnt to push myself from a physical standpoint.The biggest thing I learnt to address was fear.In business it is the same.If you look at your competition, if you are afraid of your competition and you focus on that, and you don't look at where you should go, you get lost.The big trick in business is to transcend your fears and be aware of the obstacles, and then focus not on the problems but on the solutions.
  • Difference between Asian and Western mentality is that Asian people look at life as a complete interaction, while the Western mentality is about the immediate success.
  • A lot of VC(s) micromanage everything and they are on your back constantly, which doesn't work for me.
  • The only piece of technology missing today is ubiquitous broadband wireless access.
Steve Singh,CEO Concur
  • My professional background is very engineering oriented.I happened to have a passion for the business side as well, so I migrated in that direction.
  • The ideation story is quite interesting.During my days of extensive travel[in my job at Contract Software], one of the things the CFO told me was I had a week to get my expense reports in [before the acquisition by Symantec] and if I didn't , I was going to loose out on my expenses.As expected I lost money, but this made me wonder that there was no easier way to do this and this is how the idea of Concur evolved.
  • Our view is that you must confront the issues that exist in your business as soon as humanly possible and solve them.
  • One of the great things about an on-demand business model is you can drive your cost structure down to the point that it is very compelling for companies of any size.
Edward Fields,Co-founder Hotchalk
  • My parents were educators.I launched Hotchalk to actively involve myself in raising the quality of education worldwide.
  • Through the experiences, I realized the tremendous potential of web-based educational technology resources.I was inspired by my own experience as a parent and the frustration that parent teacher conferences always seemed filled with surprises.Since I did not have any continuous visibility into the daily or weekly goings at the school, I discovered all sorts of things at these meetings.
  • We[Hotchalk] know teachers intimately.We speak with them daily through surveys, feedback forms and phone dialogues.These open lines of communication with teachers enable us to offer resources on their sites known to provide value to educators.Schools cannot afford to waste funding on products that do not benefit their teachers, yet it happens all the time.
  • When teachers work together with students and parents, academic achievement follows. We don’t try to work with school administrators. We work with the teachers, and they’re the most crucial element of the education value chain.
  • It can take a long, long time to sell any new product to the schools, by going through the school administrators.
  • We do not accept advertising from fast food companies or anything that is sexually abusive.Hotchalk only presents tasteful advertising to meet the needs of students in a positive way.
  • Leaders work for their followers and it's the leader's job to make sure that the team has the tools, training and resources necessary to carry the day.
  • 2.8 million teachers need to be recruited over the next eight years to meet education demands. These future teachers are students in universities who use Web 2.0 applications daily, so using a web-based application is second nature.Hotchalk's product is simple and easy to use, so even less technology-savvy teachers can get on board.
  • It's time we remove politics from education and support teachers, making sure that they are given the best resources they need.
Harish Hande,Founder SELCO
  • SELCO is my first job and hopefully it is my last.
  • A lot of things get lost in translation.Between Orissa and Bangalore[since my mother is from Karnataka], we chose the latter.Another factor was the lack of money in my pocket, and I had relatives there who could subsidize my cost of living.
  • The focus in the initial period was not looking at where money was, but rather looking at what the success level of the technology was and if people would accept it.When you have no money, you tend to become more innovative.
  • In our company, we have to think of ways to help the poor, not sympathized with them.
  • You can always create a product that matches poor people's needs,it does not matter how poor they are.World bank has always said that solar does not make sense for them because they were not poor, but here you can see if the need is matched, then it is a productive fit.
  • The pressures I see today are when young people want to join the company, and their parents call up and ask how long we are going to be there.Convincing the families of my applicants is a difficult task.
  • Message to Entrepreneurs : There is no short cut to creating good processes.A lot of people try to solve it quick, and that can't happen.Some people do it by numbers, I would never do that.Concentrate more on the processes and the numbers will come.

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At Jan 18, 2009, 10:39:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to read your book review (enterpreneur journey (part-II).

Hiral Shah

At Jan 19, 2009, 11:11:00 AM , Anonymous Vineesh said...

Wow! Insightful points. :)

These would come in very handy during these startup times.


At Jan 20, 2009, 9:35:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back to ThoughtsPrevail.Great that you liked the review.

-Himanshu Sheth

At Jan 20, 2009, 9:37:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you liked it.The book is quite nice, may be when you are in Hyderabad, I can give the book to you.

I have loads of things to learn from you :)

-Himanshu Sheth.

At Feb 8, 2009, 2:17:00 PM , Blogger Sushil said...

Hi Himanshu,

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the nice words!

Inspirational stuff - your blog. Really relished the posts.

My works are currently on display in Delhi...but I am in talks with some stores in Mumbai. Meanwhile you can contact me at bhasinsushil@gmail.com or (0) 9811423915.


At Feb 8, 2009, 2:28:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great words.

In fact your work is just phenomenal :)

Have sent you a LinkedIn invitation, thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog.

Hope to see you again though, I would definitely keep a track of your great artistic work.

-Himanshu Sheth.


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