Saturday, February 18, 2017

Zerto to One - Peter Thiel

I just finished an extremely interesting book on entrepreneurship by Peter Thiel - Zero to One, and thought of sharing what I look as take away from the same.

For me the books sheds light on some of the subtle but important factors that would compose a high impact tech ventures. The essence of the following questions is what the book really delivers.
  1. The Engineering Question - Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?
  2. The Timing Question - Is now the right time to start your particular business?
  3. The Monopoly Question  - Are you starting with a big share of a small market?
  4. The People Question - Do you have the right team?
  5. The Distribution Question - Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?
  6. The Durability Question - Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?
  7. The Secret Question - Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don't see?

I would recommend this book to every one who is thinking of starting a tech venture, and may be re-read it!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

"ಪುನರಪಿ": ಕಾವ್ಯ ಕಡಮೆ ನಾಗರಕಟ್ಟೆ - ನನ್ನ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆ

ಇತ್ತೀಚಿಗಷ್ಟೇ ನಾನು ಕಾವ್ಯ ಕಡಮೆ ನಾಗರಕಟ್ಟೆ ಬರೆದ "ಪುನರಪಿ" ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯನ್ನು ಓದಿ ಮುಗಿಸಿದೆ. ಇದು ನಾನು ಓದಿದ ಪ್ರಥಮ ಕನ್ನಡ ಕಾದಂಬರಿ. ಇದರ ಮುಂಚೆ ಲಲಿತ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನಗಳಷ್ಟೇ ಒಡ್ಡಿದ್ದೇ. ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕದ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಗೂ ನಾನು ಹೋಗಿದ್ದೆ. ನನ್ನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತನಾದ ಸಂತೋಷ ನಾಗರಕಟ್ಟೆಯ ಜೀವನ ಸಂಗಾತಿಯಾದ ಕಾವ್ಯಳ ಪ್ರಥಮ ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಯಾಗಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಈ ಸಂತಸದ ಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗಿಯಾಗಬೇಕೆನಿಸಿತ್ತು. ಇದರಂತೆ ಅವರಿಬ್ಬರೂ ನನಗೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟ ಆಮಂತ್ರಣ ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸಿ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದಕ್ಕೆ ಆಗಷ್ಟೇ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯಾದ ಪುಸ್ತಕದ ಪ್ರತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸಹಿಯನ್ನು ಸಹ ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರು. 

ಈ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾವ್ಯ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡಿರುವ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ತುಂಬಾ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಮೂಡಿಸಿದ್ದಾಳೆ. ವೃಧ್ದಪ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಸಲಿಂಗ ಕಾಮದ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಕೈಗೆತ್ತುಕೊಂಡು ಸುಲಲಿತವಾಗಿ ಕೃತಿಯನ್ನು ಮೂಡಿಸಿದ್ದಾಳೆ. ಕಥೆಯ ನಿರೂಪಣೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಅಚ್ಚುಕಟ್ಟಾಗಿದ್ದು ಕುರ್ಚಿಯ ಅಂಚಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕೂತು ಕುತೂಹಲ ಕೆರಳಿಸುವಂತೆ ರಚಿಸಿದ್ದಾಳೆ. ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಎಲ್ಲ ಪಾರ್ತ್ರಗಳು ತಮ್ಮ ತಮ್ಮ ಛಾಪುಗಳನ್ನು ಮನಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ರೂಪಿಸುತ್ತ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತವೆ. ನನಗೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಕುತೂಹಲ ಕೆರಳಿಸಿದ ಪಾತ್ರವೆಂದರೆ ಸಂಜೀವಿನಿಯದ್ದು. ಪ್ರಾಯಶಃ ಆ ಪಾತ್ರದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪವೇ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ಇರುವುದರಿಂದಾಗಿ ನನ್ನ ಮನಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಕುತೂಹಲವಿದ್ದರೂ ಇರಬಹುದು. ಇದೇ ಕಥೆಯ ಸಂಚನ್ನು ಮುಂದುವರೆಸಿ ಇನ್ನೂ ಬೆಳೆಸಬಹುದು ಅನ್ನುವುದು ನನ್ನ ಪ್ರಥಮ ಅನಿಸಿಕೆ. ಅಥವಾ, ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯ ಕೊನೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ವಿಭಿನ್ನವಾಗಿರಬಹುದಿತ್ತು ಅಂತಲೂ ಆನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಪ್ರಾಯಶಃ ಈ ಅಂತ್ಯವನ್ನು ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯಾಗಿ ಮೂಡಿಸಬಹುದು. 

ಈ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯು ಕಾವ್ಯಳ ಪ್ರಥಮ ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಎಂಬ ಯೋಚಿಸಿದರೆ ಇದು ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ಒಂದು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ. ಇನ್ನೂ ಹೆಚ್ಚೆಚ್ಚು ಉತ್ತಮ ಕೃತಿಗಳನ್ನು ರಚಿಸಲಿ ಎಂದು ಹಾರೈಸುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಇಂತದ್ದೇ ಪ್ರಯೋಗಗಳು ಮುಂದುವರೆಯಲಿ ಎನ್ನುವುದೇ ನನ್ನ ಆಶಯ.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey Moore

One the classics that most mentors ask their technologically enthusiastic proteges to read through is "Crossing the Chasm". Moore through his years of experience working with numerous technology startups focuses on the very specific challenge faces by early stage entrepreneurs - "The Chasm."

The Chasm refers to the phase when the business has to make a transitions from its early adopters (called the technology enthusiasts and visionaries) to the larger mass market (including pragmatists, conservatives and laggards).

The challenge of this transition phases requires the entrepreneur to take tough calls and show the necessary tenacity to be able move past the Chasm Phase. Crossing the chasm is an essential phase for the venture to be able to really become a market leader and a force to recon. Moore doesn't stop by highlighting the characteristics of the chasm, but also provides a few tactics for these early stage startups are extremely handy for those who are facing the challenge of this transition.

While I find the book extremely relevant, there are however nuances one would need to develop for the Indian market scenario where the B2B market scenario is not yet well established. Some of the startups have been able to make the leap and generate a sustainable business venture or create an exit for themselves have been able to do it through interesting tactics and focus shifts. I shall possibly write about these in another blog, and keep this short.

Recommendation: I would just follow the numerous wisemen ahead of me and make a recommendation for all aspiring entrepreneurs to read through this book. This book is best read with other handy books which talk about the startup challenges- "The Lean Startup", "Running Lean".

More about the book at the following Wikipedia link:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Inventing Medical Devices: A Perspective from India - Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi

I just finished reading this book by my friend - Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi around a week back. I found the book well written and easy to read, specifically targeting the aspiring entrepreneur in India interested in MedTech innovation.

I met Jagdish in 2011 when he was working on his first innovation for the Indian market. He then went to the Stanford Biotech program and joined InnAccel which where he has been doing impactful work.

The book though written by his experience, seems has a strong academic underpinning (given that I am student of innovation and entrepreneurship, I could relate the recommendations to the strong academic underpinning). The MedTech process suggested by Jagdish reflects close resemblance to the user driven innovation that Von Hippen has been talking and debating about.

Jagdish in the book has not just shared his experience, but has compiled a very good resource that aspiring entrepreneurs can refer to and seek guidance from. The simplistic writing and the case studies which help the reader relate to the context of the discussion and highlight the issue discussed in the chapters well. Though there are some spelling errors, this is a handy guide to aspiring MedTech entrepreneurs. I would recommend reading this book before starting in the MedTech space.

You can purchase the book at:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 - AnnaLee Saxenian

I just finished reading this book by AnnaLee Saxenian! This was the first time I was reading a book that compares two of the regions I have been reading about in my coursework as part of the PhD program. Annalee builds an interesting argument which I could relate with closely to the time frame she has described in the book with the shift in the perspective in academics too.

When O. Williamson was building his theory of the transaction cost economics early in the 1970, the world around him was speaking about the large monolithic organization. The question asked was thus - which activities would the venture internalize (vertically integrated) and which of these activities would not be integrated. When the dominance of these large firms in the upcoming technology sectors, was challenges - the question that Annalee raises is gains prominence. What has lead the Route 128 based firms to loose their predominance, while the firms in the silicon valley successfully adapted to the change in the situation around them.

She theorizes the role of the network form of organization, the role played by the underlying social network which helped manage the interdependencies and accelerated movement of relevant information from learning that the members in the network developed.

I love this book not just for the insights it generated from the evolution of the two regions, but also for the underlying mechanisms that were she gets to the fore.
If you are interested in understanding the evolution of these innovation clusters this is a good book to start with. Read it!