2015’s Best Startup = India’s Startup Community
I might be addressing more than one topic and may also go out of context but please spare with me and let me walk you through why i am little skeptical of the entrepreneurial drive that is said to be thriving in India. This thrive is not wrong but it can be easily turned into one. This thrive is leading a number of people to join the community and thus resulting in rapid scaling or thanks to the Stanford course a term called “Blitzscaling”.
In short, the startup community of India is a very successful startup(lets call it ‘Our Startup’) in itself that caught wildfire and had a phenomenal 200–300% growth for this particular year in sales( New startups ). This community based startup should be termed the Best Startup because adding to the scaling metrics ,it spends ZERO rupees on acquiring customers. Its something that is unheard in our startup ecosystem. But there is a high possibility that ‘Our Startup’ might not be able to hold its position in 2016, because of the developing Fault lines in the ecosystem.
There are three important aspects of ‘Starting Up’ and we will try to mention the fault lines in each one of them with respect to ’Our startup’. The first aspect being the Startups itself and these being a product of the other two aspects, Community and Ecosystem .This is a broad diversification and may have overlapping concepts within them.
‘Our Startup’ is the perfect case to analyse and helps us in coming up with solutions to the problems that are surfacing at the moment. If we delay them till the later stages, then there is a heavy possibility that it may lead to a bust.
Scaling at such rapid pace can have severe unwanted consequences that may lead to a total burnout and result in complete failure. This must be one of the reasons that ‘Our Startup’ should simultaneously scale the organisational structure for the betterment of the users and enhancement in user experience. In India, at this moment there is no issue of not getting new users for ‘Our startup’ but the on-boarding process has screwed up a lot of things and is endangering ‘Our startup’.
Few of the major hiccups that are surfacing is the gap in mindsets. The cultural dynamics of taking a failure as a setback and not as a learning is a constant recurring one but it took to main leagues with the ‘Tiny Owl’ issue. Many have written about this issue in length and each one had an apt reason to write. Media covered it as a scoop and an issue that can raise few tempers everywhere and garner some traction to their sites. Since, even they got tired of covering how much funding a startup they didn’t bother to cover until the funding round.
Another hiccup is these publication’s coverage. They are more concentrated on only few exterior outcomes like how much funding the startups have gotten and not many of the intrinsic ones like the functioning, market research and innovations. Media being a part of the community is still sticking to old house media publication metrics rather than tweaking new ones. By sticking to this approach the new users never witness the neutral nature of the ecosystem.
Next, Founders have this view point that when they fail, they should be lauded for the effort and amount of risk that they put into building the startup. And on the other hand, the early adopters feel that the startups have to be accountable and stable and should be more benefiting to them personally. Early adopters include the employees also. It has been cited that remuneration is the highest factor in early employees joining startups. I am not saying any of this is wrong , people need to look out for themselves and look for their best interests career wise. With all these differences, difficulties and notion gaps , the functioning of a startup becomes complex. In spite of these factors , they shouldn’t exceed their limits and turn up damaging the ecosystem. Unfortunately, at this time in our country it is at juncture of tipping over.
Next we address the issues with ecosystem, Why all of a sudden so much importance to this particular ecosystem? It is because, startups are pitched to become the forces to drive economy and what India has as its advantages is a much larger user base than most nations combined. And we would be foolish to loose out on this opportunity or let anyone else take benefit of it.
Lastly, at this moment we don’t want many different communities involvement, especially that of the governments. What it usually does is make a propaganda out of it and use it for its favour instead of the cause, rather we need it to facilitate the process but not involve directly in the ecosystem. A prominent figure like Ernesto Sirolli states that it is our foolishness to think there will be proper innovation through government, its the local entrepreneur who drive the change and innovate in dire necessity not the government. People may say, it has the largest reach and can initiate in various regions but this comes with a cost, it reaches all the masses with the wrong concepts of startups. And this contamination of the Ecosystem will only pull us back instead of evolving as a community. We as a community are self sustaining and there are thousands of reasons to prove how is it but one of the most important is the diversity of fields that people come from into the ecosystem. So , we just need the facilitation for us to prosper independently and achieve the real thrive.
The generation of Fault lines is not just a single entity’s responsibility , instead it is the culmination of all the parties involved in the ecosystem. Let me state it one more time, I blame all the parties not all the people involved in the ecosystem. And from basic analogy of game theory, we can say that just the bare minimum people are enough to swing the impact towards negative from positive even though there is a vast majority for it. And these few handful are continuously contaminating the concepts of startups which can turn this whole drive into a big hoopla and bring it crashing down to ashes.
We as a community are very unique, unlike all other communities. We welcome everyone with open arms, share information without holding important parts out of the Gyaan and believe in healthy competition. These are not followed in most of the other communities and this is the soul of the startup community. But at this moment in our country i don’t think we are anywhere close to achieving these potentials that lie within the community.
Our shortcomings are, we are not open ended on Onboarding new members, we still prefer reputed (preference to IITians). We don’t share information with no holds bar down attitude because of the fear of being ripped off. I am not saying it doesn’t happen anywhere else but it is in the state of paranoia in our country.
Let us take the example of mindset gap between founders and Adopters. Both are the essentials in the community and it won’t thrive if either one is ignored. Founders are in no way superior to anyone in the community, and yes when a startup fails it needs to be a learning curve. But this learning curve shouldn’t be just alone for the founder, it is not fair if the founder’s value increases while the adopters diminishes through the same outcome.
Being a entrepreneur is a Shitty job, you shouldn’t do it unless you have clear cut vision for yourself but in our country it is portrayed as cool thing rather than a highly passion driven thing. Portraying them as rockstars when one succeeds or terming them frauds when they hit a setback is certainly no way of treating the founders, instead we should aim for a balanced viewpoint.
Not all the concepts of the valley can be implemented in our community but everyone part of the community should spend sometime to set some sort of essentials so that people who decide to join the community get the correct analogy and help to enhance the community in the process. It is essential that all the participants of the community involve in a dialogue and set ‘Our Startup’ back on tract so that it can retain its title for 2016 and many more years to come. We are still in nascent stages and addressing these fault lines this early can give the whole community an undue advantage over any other Country’s community as ‘ Our Startup’ becomes a standard that everyone can look upto for finding a solution when stuck up.
P.S. Please dont forget to like and share the article. Would mean a lot to me and hope you drop in few of your views and let me know in more depth.