It must have been 1988. I was assembling my college applications that winter. One of the teachers in school whom I had requested a recommendation letter from sat with me in an empty classroom.
“What do you want to do?” Mrs. Bhattacharya asked, curious what my infinitely fertile brain was cooking. I had a reputation in school as a troublemaker. In a conservative all girls’ school in 1980s Calcutta, the notion of out-of-the-box thinking hadn’t caught on yet.
“I plan to study Computer Science, then run my own business,” I declared.
I could see that the answer didn’t please her. “What about your femininity? What about all your talents in dance, painting, writing?” she asked.
Cut to November 2014. >>>
I don’t. On a number of issues. Most of all: Don’t play little ball—swing for home runs.
Over 99% of the businesses that seek financing get rejected. Asking every entrepreneur to swing for the fences is dumb advice, in my opinion.
Acc. to Peter, a small idea = bad idea.
I couldn’t disagree more.
I just published Bootstrapping With A Paycheck, where we have case study after case study of businesses that have been successful by starting small, taking small amounts of risk, and developing very nice businesses.
Sorry Peter, I don’t get why every entrepreneur needs to swing for the fences.
Here is an excerpt from my new book on sale today, Bootstrapping With A Paycheck:
Entrepreneurs looking to launch their startups are often faced with myriad difficult decisions, chief among them being the question of seed financing. If you’ve ever found yourself asking, “How can I fund this?” or “Can I fund this on my own, while I’m still holding my current job?” the answer is yes—you absolutely can.
Vasu Akula and his two cofounders launched Voziq in late 2011 with one simple goal in mind: to help companies who purchase advanced analytics and business intelligence solutions better utilize the information they gained access to.
What makes Washington, D.C.-based Voziq unique is that Vasu and his partners didn’t utilize outside investors in order to bring Voziq to life. Rather, they funded Voziq themselves while holding on to their day jobs. Vasu is a part of the 1M/1M premium program, and one of the many entrepreneurs who have bootstrapped a startup venture while holding on to a full-time day job.
Sramana Mitra: What were the specs that they wanted?
Harman Singh: There was a technology called Smile technology for education programs that wanted to deliver video-based along with some other content. These days, people would not know what that is. But in those days, it was really hot. We worked with professors and discuss what they needed. They had recording studios and we were the programming guys who put the whole thing together by integrating instructional design with technology. That’s when I got close to streaming media whether it’s real-time or video streaming. I was an engineer at that point but I learned a lot of about how business is done. I got into sales and project management. Those few years, we sold to many customers including our university.
Sramana Mitra: All of this was around the Smile technology of real networks to deliver video content?
Sramana Mitra: I don’t agree with that at all. We cover e-commerce extensively. I think there’s going to be tons of new brands being built. It’s like how retail and specialty retail have evolved for decades and decades. There are always new brands and user experiences. I think e-commerce will continue to build interesting businesses and there will be new brands and businesses being built. Your point though is true that people who were interacting more through web channels are going to move to mobile devices, that’s correct. But I think the statement that you made about there not being as many opportunities for businesses being built, I don’t agree with that.
Steve Wadsworth: I don’t disagree with anything you just said. I’d be crazy to imply that there’s not opportunity. There’s always opportunities for new businesses particularly when there’s a shift in the paradigm to something like mobile. >>>
Today’s 239th FREE online 1M/1M roundtable for entrepreneurs is starting NOW, on Thursday, November 20, at 8:00 a.m. PST/11:00 a.m. EST/9:30 p.m. India IST. Click here to join.
Today’s 239th FREE online 1M/1M roundtable for entrepreneurs is starting in 30 minutes, on Thursday, November 20, at 8:00 a.m. PST/11:00 a.m. EST/9:30 p.m. India IST. Click here to join. All are welcome!
According to Superdata Research, the global mobile gaming market is expected to generate revenues of $21.1 billion this year. It is projected to grow to $28.2 billion by the year 2016. The research study also says that mobile games account for more than a third of monthly spending among digital gamers in the US alone.
Sramana Mitra: You programmed your PalmPilot to have that available as a mobile application. You presented at this conference and everybody wanted it.
Steve Liu: Pretty much, yes. That was when we figured out we might have something. A few months later, we put up a booth. I was a physician. I just wanted to be a physician, but this took a life of its own. I actually talked to my parents. I said, “Mom, I think I have a company here. I think I have to do this, but I have no idea about businesses.” She thought I was crazy, but she also knew that I made that big decision to become a physician at the last minute. They supported me.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Some technology startup veterans will tell you that when the markets are crashing, it could be a good time to pick up great technologies at rock-bottom prices. SuccessFactors was such a company. It was born out of the dot-com crisis of 2001 when Lars Dalgaard bought some well-funded technology companies that had gone bust and resurrected them with his vision.
After the dot-com crisis, the economic crisis provided another such window of opportunity to Mike Onghai. Inspired by the success story of SuccessFactors, he bought the assets of Clickable in 2013. >>>