Nation means an imagined community. It stokes a certain pride in every human who belongs in it. Prefix it with Product and that makes it even more elite. In business terms it means climbing up on the value chain. Which in turn means more margins, more visibility and more power.

I heard the word Product Nation first inside a motley crew that was responsible for organizing the largest conference on building products from India. Ten years have passed since then and that sprout of an idea called Product Nation is a toddler now.

Lot has been learnt in this decade.

TLDR;

Take away for founders


Most startups die, only a few exceed expectations and become successful beyond imagination. These successful ones become the talk of the town, while the failed ones quietly fade away into the background. Nevertheless, it is the story of the moderately successful ones that get buried on the other side. In the purview of unicorn-chasing investors, it is these moderate success stories that come in the way of spectacular ones.

A Better Narrative for the Founder — The One That Is Often Suppressed

Compare this:

Founder of Startup A, let’s call it LittleBox, raises $200K

LittleBox extends its outreach to 50…


of 2018

or the entire last decade 2008–2018

Is Undoubtedly Lee Fixel of Tiger Global.

Every founder attempts to create value. It is not that hard. If money is handed out for a purchase, it is bound to create a consumer surplus. As Bill Gurley, legendary VC at Benchmark Capital says

To turn it into a business it is critical to capture some of that value back. Best founders are those that are good at capturing value after creating it. Capture that value for themselves, investors and employees.

Employees even in a typical valley based startup don’t make much money…


Change is easy to miss, hard to get right.

Policymakers take pride in thinking that they create markets. Many believe that the 1992 World Bank report which called India as likely software superpower was responsible for the creation of $150bn IT services industry.

In emergent systems like markets, it is hard to say which inputs change the outcome. Internet was an important ingredient, the outsourcing industry was an unintended consequence of the internet. It made it possible for sending back office (R&D and Support) from US to distant parts in the world where it created efficiency.

Thomas Friedman, renowned New York Times journalist was quick to declare this in…


Can he become a Super Mario?

Everything about the future is so clearly visible when looked through the rearview mirror.

Wish I knew what influenced outcomes for a tech startup founder in India.

When you look back decade-long to sketch the picture from 2007 till now, leaving out the frenzy of funding peaks & disappointment three distinct picture emerge.

In all cases, the rules of the games for Indian founder are not apparent. The game itself is very different.

First in how consumer technology businesses are built, second how enterprise business evolves. …


NN Taleb, Naval & Seth Godin are top thinkers of our time. What distinguishes Seth from others is his ability to take original difficult ideas and visualize it for a commoner. He is careful to remove the overtone of intellectual sound in what he says and does not scoff at those who don’t get it even after simplifying.

He is amongst rare few who can straddle across the different levels of first principle, mental model and metaphorical thinking. Seth explains new ideas in a way that even a kid can understand and be moved enough to act.

In his latest…


Many months ago I had read this wonderful tweet by Kanyi Maqubela‏, a young VC from Colloborative fund on 10,000 hours of his being a VC and I thought to myself that is good way to document one’s learning.

Last 18 months my stint was as a Fellow-In-Residence (M&A) at iSPIRT (startup think tank), I spent my time on a big hairy audacious goal of leveling the M&A ratio of Indian startups to that of the Israeli ecosystem. Given the current market coordination failure of cross border M&A I had to challenge many assumptions underlying an investment banking model and…


NN Taleb talks to mother nature, translates for rest of us. Skin in the game

Skin in the game (SITG) was one of my most anticipated book of the year. @nntaleb is nothing short of genius, it is as if he has conversation with nature and then translates that for rest of us mortals.

The book is still very hard to read but keeping his ‘looking the part’ principle I am not going to judge this for readability. It must be said though this is certainly not for 10 year old but the sophisticated reader but they also need to remember past 3 books and concepts from there.

Skin in the game (SITG) — One…


Naval is a first principle thinker, his ability to think about anything deeply and articulate them in the most lucid way is unparalleled, very rare to find an individual like this. Many have interviewed him on their respective blogs, podcasts and conference. Several of these places have curated nuggets of his thinking, here is my own curation of notes that I refer to from time to time.

Naval’s thoughts

On Principles, Skills

Decision MakingYou make good decision when it becomes an instinct ; when faced with many pick the difficult one

LearningTeaching forces learning; Mastery must be pursued for its own


Bhajan, Gita and Veda are hindi words when translated into english it stands for Metaphor, Mental Model & First Principles level of thinking.

As I was explaining blockchain, bitcoin, ethereum to few folks interested in ICOs I found it useful to explain it through above three levels of focus. Being a new space there is ton of information out there, folks end up mixing all different level thinking and it confuses more than clarifying.

Not just blockchain any novel or unprecedented topics it is useful to dial focus with the above depths of thinking.

To define something at Bhajan (metaphor)…

Thiyagarajan Maruthavan (Rajan)

Helping founders craft capital efficient SaaS business #ValueSaaS. Past life - M&A, Intuit, Entrepreneur

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