The tyranny of the Indian Political system

Books like The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor have long served to confound peoples’ impressions about the Indian freedom struggle. Tharoor in his book makes an abortive comparison between the Indian freedom fighters and the eponymous characters of the Mahabharata. It can neither qualify to be a satire or a serious study on both the independence movement and the epic, but creates rather an anomalous and unfair picture in making us see that even the freedom struggle was conceived, scripted and executed like a dynasty war. It is tragic let alone being satirical that we have to come to understand the movement and its glory only around the iconic image of Gandhi, his protégés and the workmanship of the Congress.

The folly is not in the way history is presented but with our own sensibilities. We have been happy in the fantasies of the long lost folklore, believing in our heroes who always liberate us and save us from damnation. Hero worship could still be the tenet of a proud society but in our country we would even not let the hero’s sons, daughters and nephews die!  The age old feudalism that we thought had been done away with the British rule has now given into the anarchy of democratically ruling families.

Pandit Nehru was the protégé of the talismanic Gandhi, Indira her daughter, Rajiv her son, Sonia his wife and now Rahul. Why did we have to endure this boorish legacy? Why do we have to accept that they can be the guardians of our system? The gandhis which are the largest of such tyrannical ruling families of the country are emblematic of the our feudatory political system. A political class of today is not representative of the people of the nation that are put to vote but of the numerous feudal clans. We are free as a nation yet caged in our insecurities; we are empowered yet lack the will; we stand for equality yet are impassive to differences of birth, gender and caste; we have evolved into a society of half-breds who believe in principle but fall short in practice. It is less demeaning in not making to the Football World Cup than being told by one Rahul Gandhi that the crisis of Babri Masjid could have been avoided if his extended family would have been in office (that alludes to the tyrant Sanjay Gandhi!).

We lack imagination as a nation. Whenever we have been awakened by the impending dangers of oligarchy (political families) by new age thinkers of the likes of Jayprakashs, Rajagopalacharis and George fernandes, we have been coerced back to these damned families due to our indecisiveness. We have long forgotten to ask questions, instead have learned to devolve responsibilities and obfuscate answers. We need no overhaul, no revolution that would suddenly jolt the tender equilibrium of our political system and create more chaos (who would clean the mess!), we may have to just think collectively in a more determined manner and enforce our will.


Mistaken Mannerisms (Part I) – The Misplaced Milieu

A smart middleman need not be a MBA!

Mr. XXX (daniel craig) stalls the sinister plans of his adversaries in the climax of 2004 noir Layer cake,  puffing in all the confidence of a successful drug heist and producing  pearls of wisdom that, the art of doing business is in being a good middleman, and I thought the director may have forgotten to mention but probably our man was an   MBA!

Nothing wrong in saying that being a smart middleman is the key to doing business. Most good businesses, I can add, are viable because they identify and prudently plug the missing links in the perennial chain of demand and  supply. But what is more blatantly palpable is the over exuberance in budding middlemen (entrepreneurs) to run with solutions that let alone would serve any unmet needs, are mindless iterations of solutions already discovered!

Is this because of how we seed entrepreneurship or how we breed it?

I would say both. It still puzzles me to see entrepreneurship being taught in business schools as  a subject. The most  it does is acquaint those crediting it, with nit-bits of writing and framing a good business plan. Consequently, most management graduates become adequately inept in even identifying  good business models among  tangible entrepreneurial solutions. It is common place to see them use elaborate revenue models, SWOT analysis, exit strategies etc. to routinely brandish non-existent ideas. Perhaps as I see, they are qualitatively skilled to become the eponymous middlemen minus the needed solutions, and in more hopeful cases  correctly identifying the missing links in the chains but lacking  the know-how to plug the gaps!

Silicon valley and its history provide great lessons to emulate. It is not only a must read for those who wish to know how utter passion and cringing problems metamorphosed   the valley into a hotbed for innovation, but also serves correctly to teach why wishful thinking and   forceful problem solving (synonymous with a management educations) cannot seed or foster entrepreneurial ideas. Management graduates in their haste to join the big league have in fact disfigured the entire exercise that fuels and directs this activity.

Young tech graduates on the other hand may look a little clumsy and naive in understanding these brandishing tools, possess an uncluttered mind in connecting  problems to ideas. This is essentially because of not learning entrepreneurship in classrooms, they evolve  a mindset of  salvaging  opportunities (problems) than validating  opinions(as most management graduates do). It also suffices here to add briefly that all those tech graduates (allusion to all my semi-educated IIT classmates) who  believe that entrepreneurship like any other degree that they aspire of, would have to fall in their repertoire in the future are party to same mistaken thinking like MBAs! This is not to undermine the contribution of astute managers (mostly MBAs) in successfully running big businesses. But a very strong example from the Silicon valley and a very detrimental subversion of the fundamental exercise of problem solving in management education point to technology institutes as the ideal seeding grounds for entrepreneurship.

The misadventures of the internet revolution in the valley even made it realize that saturation levels had reached. Leading  internet investors like Tim Draper felt that on the cusp of internet saturation, many ideas were results of wishful thinking and artificial brandishing (the culmination of all these being people selling dog food, baseball bats and balls on internet!). Most of these irritating cliches were part of the growing up (with entrepreneurship) years at IIT.  People looking to create niche out of niche markets, act as non-required progenies of  successful businesses had become emblematic of the startup activity for me!

Why are we so obsessed in becoming the apocryphal middlemen when precedents exist in creating markets and breaking technological barriers?

Sadly the ecosystem that seeds and breeds it breathes at the wrong places. The resolve in young tech graduates in creating meaningful businesses is still new founded and meek. Most of them are merely happy to  tread the trails of delusional paths carved by their management peers. Notwithstanding, these times are the most exciting! I am the most passionate proponent of the Silicon Valley success story not because it has been one of the most original story to tell but because it had its heart in the right place.

It build for itself  an officious self-correcting mechanism that purged the system whenever entrepreneurial activity went astray.

I don’t know if most people realize that China is inadvertently following the same example.I mawkishly believe that breeding vibrant entrepreneurial activity requires the support of a fundamentally resilient ecosystem. Only science and technology could lead the way. All other dirt would eventually get trashed. The middlemen would eventually find their dutiful place when strong markets are in place. Mr. XXX feels that when done the right way, it is all about honour and respect,  yes I agree   but  for the right system.


Confusions of Conflicting Identities

I have had the most startling revelation of late after being inflicted upon by the most absurd as well as the most baffling interpretation of people’s one dimensional understanding of  orthogonal identities. I should not call their perception entirely laughable or nonsensical but without exception they  show what potentially great TRAGEDIES people can create when they carelessly characterize conflicting individualities into one single tenet!

I had accidentally (well it was intentional to some degree!) stumbled upon the so called MISSION STATEMENT of a not so new Business Plan Competition who very proudly take the onus of instilling the spirit of entrepreneurship in young minds by , as they say, taking the painstaking effort of making these YOUNG and PROMISING minds realize that idea generation and identification of business opportunities is a process, an exercise in itself which if even not imbibed  as an  all-cure tonic to all confusions, if appreciated  as a loose but articulate framework can do wonders to their understanding and  decision making as  wannabe entrepreneurs. BINGO! agreed and accepted to the last word.

But just when I was thinking to deify the planners of this BPC, glorify their vision, they made this most astonishing revelation which  put forth their naivete and inexperience in handling YOUNG MINDS which they supposedly propose to serve, and I quote as they most emphatically approve of, that entrepreneurs are people who ” manage themselves, manage others and manage their businesses.”  ummm!! (Thinking……………………………. got it – idiotic definition!)

Well this  is as much a syndrome as can be called a conundrum and I do not personally wish to castigate these BPC organizers but I call it so because it seems a conundrum in the sense that right at the start the understanding of entrepreneurship  as a career is not only confusing as well as misguiding (to one and all!). It is becoming a syndrome because people ( moderately successful entrepreneurs and BPC organizers like these!) who believe that they can preach it to young wannabes, do it by mixing and messing up all definitions and jargons associated ( no puns intended!).

Entrepreneurs can be great MANAGERS but should specifically have great managerial skills ? No, not required as for me.Lets not talk about the trite examples of great organizations and companies being built around astute managers executing out of the box strategies and entrepreneurial skills, these heroic stories and sagas are just information to the untrained minds of wannabes and not at all stimulating. I think we should get this straight that  entrepreneurs are carriers of a contagious bug, an infection, people who  are “infected themselves, can infect others or work with only like-a-like infectees and start businesses which can virally infect a lot of people!”

I can relate to this because I have personally seen two such contrasting examples in my life,  of one being an entrepreneur at heart and the other an articulate manager just lucky to be in an entrepreneurial setup. People when try emulate the latter are mistakenly taking his fortuitous success to be the likely outcome of his enterprise! This person never had  the passion to create anything meaningful as a business but at best is associated with something that has had moderate success and in the future can replicate nothing even close to it.This is just because the  person displays terrific managerial skill  and his priorities would have certainly shifted to something more suited to his ambition of a “successful” career than a “successful” business.The former is categorically an entrepreneur, an agent of change who is ready to forgo a plump job at a leading MNC just because he misses the challenge! For all young wannabes please do not emulate the latter, he has been just lucky to be at the right place at the right time ( as accepted being a great manager of oneself!). He is an example to be emulated by different kind of people, people aspiring to be great managers in life ( aspirants of an Harvard MBA!) but for people who are true wannabes please understand that entrepreneurs are not expected to have an all round articulate personality, infact are at best expected to be infected and of unstructured kind who are ready to forgo all hackneyed opportunities in life that these so called MANAGERS ( Bozos I call them…) value so  much.

Shailendra SS

The search of the “Snow Leopard”

With almost 100 million blogs across and only 15% of them being active, I must admit that thinking of starting another was an audacious initiative.

I have not begun to write because of sheer boredom or because I have plenty of time to play with or that I have an old personal account to relate, but beacuse I feel very fortuitous to have been hit by a stroke early January last year so as so, the effects have been spilling all over my body ever since.It is actually an idea that has been stuck like a tumour in my brain and since been palpitating, I most often nauseate when it engulfs me, perspire under the heat of its possibilites and of late have been getting fits in awe of its magnificence and magnitude!

The feeling I must admit has been overbearing and nothing has made much more sense in my three years of college education as has ENTREPRENEURSHIP.The filthy lure of the lucre, amassing unimaginable wealth, being an overnight millionaire have never been the enticing factors that pushed me to take the billing, ascribe to its understanding.It is not that they are at all unholy causes to do so but I believe certainly in the long run futile,unchallenging and abortive.

The feeling had been inside much deeper and had prodded me much before I knew of the word.It made me realize that ‘excellence’ was a much misunderstood word long back in school when I saw my brilliant(young) friends muscle mindlessly through all those coveted examinations, It gave me solace in my confusions in college, when my peers,all agonizingly preparing themselves have been showing me all these apocryphal career paths after IIT but inside, nothing seemed the right one. I have always been a confused skeptic, was never intelligent to know the right answers but always had my bag of questions and that was exactly what pushed me towards it.

Am not Entrepreneur myself as yet but ‘Seeing is believing’ as they say, nothing has been more believable and delightful than seeing some very smart people do it before my eyes. Now this blog ain’t a hackneyed self realization story.No it is not, never meant to be.After almost two years of aimless and abject search of trying to connect my college education with ultimately what I would do later and always remaining clueless and more wretched, ultimately or I must say fortunately the last one year has been the most meaningful and invigorating piece of action outside classroom and has made me evolve as a much more revitalized individual so as so, I feel enabled to connect all possible effects to causes in what I do now.It started off while working with a student organization at college but rather than passing by as an experience it has evolved into a mindset.My blog would largely center around how with each passing day I discover and connect to newer possibilities around Entrepreneurship and what makes it significantly different and appealing for a technical student like me at IIT.

Shailendra SS