Author Archive for Jay

Remembering Arun Kumar

Arun Kumar, President and MD, Flextronics Software, and a great inspiration for the techpreneur community in India/US passed away in San Diego, USA on July 7, 2006. While the details of how a routine checkup, and an angioplasty became a threat to his life are still unclear, it just reminds us how fragile life really is.
Arun in the last 8 years that I’ve known him has epitomised the spirit that drives innovation and excellence in the Indian IT, or should I say the Innovation Economy.

Having worked with him closely on path breaking initiatives between 1998 and 2004 such as the HSS IPO- India’s first book built offer, the setting up and closure of RightServe, one of India’s first online advertising units, the telecom downturn and finally revival through the acquisition of Lucent’s global GSM operations, not to mention, the years of transition at Nasscom, between Dewang’s sudden departure and finding Kiran Karnik, I had come to admire the humility, depth of knowledge, and the disarming charm that came from human decency, fairness, personal integrity, and a fantastic sense of humor.

I’m sure a number of the readers and posters on this forum knew him as well as he was closely associated with the tech entrepreneural movement that started with TiE, and has now become the Band of Angels. You could leave your comments on www.hssworld.com or post them here, I’ll link it to a site - Remembering Arun – that is being constructed as an online tribute to the man and his work.

Here’s praying that his spirit eggs us on take entrepreneurship to more facets of the Innovation Economy.

Indian 3D animation in Cannes

Here’s a link to a news item – 3D Bollywood goes to Cannes- I picked up today morning. Looks like another story – Indian animation outsourcing – is moving towards maturity. With the depth and variety of content we
have in India, not to mention, a population completely bonded with Bollywood, cricket and music,
we may have a play that can take us places globally, only if we get the marketing and promotion
story right.

Here’s hoping for the next Pocahontas and Pokemon from India!

Is it already ending?

Just read this article in Businessweek.I believe media always picks up a trend a little late, and whenever they write about a boom or a bust both phenomenon are already over, i.e. the best plays are gone- both on the upcycle or the downcycle.
What do you folks think? is Web 2.0 picking up or has the window already started closing?
I remember the last time, the VC fund window was open for just about 9 months, what’s your predictions for this time?

Who wants to be an Entrepreneur?

I read this beautiful piece written by Subroto Bagchi in today’s TOI. Can anyone locate the clip, I tried but couldn’t. While it’s easy to generalise and say that Mr. Bagchi has a gift in expressing his thoughts lucidly, what he also manages to do is query existing myths and beliefs and perhaps, stir up a new line of thought.
Today’s line on entrepreneurship vs “MNC jobs”- challenges the Indian professional middle class mentality- in higher education is freedom! You slog your best years for degrees, land cushy jobs in MNC’s, slog some more and live happily ever after. i.e. you’re a cog in a global wheel, and as time goes by, you become a bigger cog and that means you spend more of your waking hours ignoring family and friends to deliver greater value to an enterprise you had no role in setting up. Why? because you’re a professional and this is your job? OK so you change companies, join another MNC, and you’re still doing the same thing, playing bigger roles in more massive acts.
The alternative scenario is, of course, entrepreneurship, where there is a greater role for creativity- as in to start you have to be chief cook, bottle washer and diaper changer, para-phrasing Bagchi’s sexist line “entrepreneurship is the closest thing a man can do to giving birth to a child”. But, are you willing to let the creative passions that nurture innovation, creativity and ultimately breakthroughs in not just your life but countless others, whose livelihoods you influence, wreck your safe haven thinking of “in MNC jobs is respect” is the question he puts forth?
I think the dividing line is where Steve Jobs about to be sacked from Apple had turned the famous Godfather line ( this is just business, nothing personal) on its head and stated to be an entrepreneur “It’s is not just business, everything is personal”.
Some of us know it inside, how are we spreading the word?

A “tight loose” approach

If technology as a disruptor is a given ..what is the best way to envision the next killer business opportunities?
In the book “Leading the revolution”, HBS prof Gary Hamel has a quote for the new innovation solutions- Industry revolutionaries are like a missile up the tailpipe.Boom! You’re irrelevant!
i.e. strategy is not the domain of the top management, everyone in the organisation can help build innovative strategies.

What then is required is a “tight loose” approach. Review execution and performance closely, but keep the strategy and business tactics within the domain of creativity and innovation.

The next big thought might come from a completely unexpected quarter.