Learn from history

Learn from History

Reading teaches us a lot of things that we do not have the time to experience. There are so many things in the world, and our lifetimes are too short for us to be able to see and learn everything. That is why it makes sense for us to learn from what other people did – their successes and their failures; their mistakes and the things they did right.

Entrepreneurs can learn from everybody – from Alexander to Hitler. Alexander teaches us his organizational skills and his foresight. Hitler’s stories tell us about his people management skills (mobilizing a whole country against a certain race and motivating them to take on the world is no mean feat) and his oratorical skills. Mean though he was, he had some admirable qualities.

Indian history teaches us about a whole gamut of subjects – from what happens when you become a megalomaniac to what happens when you are a pushover. It teaches us about negotiating skills.

You just have to keep your eyes and ears open, and you will be surprised at how much you learn.

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How things have changed!

How things have changed

Around a decade or a decade and half ago, everybody in Hyderabad had a scooter (or a bike, or any form of a motorised two wheeler). The man of the house would work for six days a week. He would, typically, go to office at around 9 or 9:30 in the morning and come home by 6 in the evening. Life was not as stressful as it is today.

Those days, multiplexes were a foreign concept. There were no multiplexes in Hyderabad. So, every Sunday, families would go to RTC cross roads. This place had numerous cinema halls. It was a desi multiplex, with one area showing as many movies as were released. The family would go and watch a movie, followed by lunch, and the father would buy some trinket for the mother and a few balloons or toys for the children, and everybody would go home happy.

Today, an average person owns a car. People usually work five days a week – Monday through Friday – and use the weekends to relax. On a regular weekend, a regular family would be seen traipsing down the aisles of an upscale mall, and then in the queue at a multiplex, waiting to pick up the tickets they booked using bookmyshow.com. The movie would then be followed by lunch at the mall or at one of the fast food chains that are sprouting like mushrooms everywhere. The father would buy an expensive handbag or something like that for the mother, and some expensive electronic toys for the children, and everyone will go home happy.

The activities are similar, the feelings generated are the same, and yet, something has changed – the amount of money spent. People have more disposable income now, and they don’t mind splurging on clothes, shoes, accessories, and toys.

When I look at them, I don’t feel like leading the same lifestyle. I want to leave something behind – something that will benefit the society at large when I am no longer alive. I don’t think I can ever be a part of the rat race.

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Incremental innovation is better than disruption

Every now and then, we come across some article, here or there, that talks about a disruptive start – up or a disruptive technology.

What is a disruptive start – up or technology?
A disruptive start – up or technology is one that disrupts the current market. Such is its impact that it throws everyone in frenzy. People are excited; people are scared; people are apprehensive. The market does not know what to do. Contemporaries fear being out of business and resort to desperate measures to stay afloat. It is a bomb that is thrown amidst a peaceful sphere.

A child that disrupts a class draws attention (not in a good way), is punished, and taken to the principal. The same theory applies for start – ups and technologies. A disruptive start – up or technology will draw attention, and all of it will not be good. And if it fizzles out, you will not have anywhere to turn to.

Instead of bombarding the market and exciting them out of their wits and putting them on their guard, it is always better to reveal what you have in stages. Start with a pilot run. Then bring the first version out; then the second version, and so on. Give people time to acclimatise. Gradual introduction will give people the comfort of getting used to something at their own pace. They will be more accepting and welcoming then.

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