All posts by Lavin Mirchandani

Detect, Observe and Manipulate over Decades : Notes from an interaction with KRS Jamwal

I had the privilege of interacting with Kr. Rameshwar Singh Jamwal at a closed-door dinner organised by TiE Mumbai yesterday. Jamwal is the Executive Director of Tata Industries Ltd who had the opportunity of working with JRD Tata, Ratan Tata and now Cyrus Mistry. He was kind enough to brainstorm and dissect GetEvangelized’s business model, as I attempted at applying some of these learnings to our cause. It’s refreshing to hear and interact with visionary leaders from the the non-startup-fraternity, because it gets you the ‘conglomerate perspective’ that one can yo-yo with the frugality and agility from the early stage startup ecosystem- where I come from.

I’ve listed below my three key takeaways along with some of my own notes relating it with our journey of building GetEvangelized, hoping It’d be good to share and learn back through this blog

Lavin Mirchandani and KRS Jamwal

Think and plan in 10 year cycles

      Most early stage companies and startups have been known to adopt and pivot on to the next hot wave. VCs also follow the same approach very often. Perhaps we are motivated with short term goals- valuation, flips. This room had only one entrepreneur who had IPO-ed, a rare case in current times with startups. Economic cycles, business themes and several businesses have seen their rise and fall in 8-10 year cycles. So it’s ok to lose a race in the next 2 years as long as one is geared up for the long haul.

I applied this to our industry of social networks- we’ve seen Hi Five, Friendster, My Space, Orkut, Facebook and Twitter experience the rise and fall within 8-10 year life cycles. Facebook exists and continues because it has been constantly attempting to reinvent itself to be relevant in the next decade. 13-20 year olds that I meet, consider the original Facebook as an old boy’s club, where their parents hangout. They use Twitter to consume updates from live sporting events when they’re not in front on a video streaming device. Some of them breakup and resign over  text. They use Snapchat to update their friends. This is the next gen of creators and consumers who will posses that quintessential disposable wallet. Are we thinking and planning for them?

It’s important to understand the constraints applicable to the business model and how they scale 10 years ahead. With a two sided marketplace model such as that of GetEvangelized’s, the constraints become open ended and Co-dependent. There is merit in scaling the constraints and the business with patience without using rocket fuel too early.

Be Cognizant of human behavioral patterns

      Humans first develop the ability to detect, then comes the ability to observe/understand and then emerges the ability to manipulate. The products and services that experience manipulation also achueve mass adoption. The same happened with the discovery/ detection of of electromagnetic waves, said Jamwal, look at where we are with the myriad applications of electro magnetic waves.  Blockchain has been detected, we are currently understanding it, so attempts at manipulating it are likely á¹­o fail as it’s premature. Same applies to AI and chatbots. However, if we think and plan 10 years ahead aligned with the human behavior, it all falls in place and we may get less anxious with the short term speculation.

Applying this to social networks again, it’s interesting to look at the evolution of networks and their revenue models in the last 2 decades. From the days of AOL/ chat rooms (remember the phrase “ASL please?”) to modern day networks such as Facebook and tinder that give you the age, sex, location, relationship status and work profile upfront without asking. Users were “detecting” this phenomena of connecting with friends and strangers. They started “understanding” it better as a communication channel that gets enriched (in data, intelligence and revenue) as they use it more- a platform that gives them reach. Now some users are manipulating it – creators understand that the network get enriched because she creates and publishes content- so the user aka creator is now demanding monetisation for enriching the network.

Start with early adopters

      At some point in the evening the conversations started tilting towards agriculture,turns out there were a few farmers in the room who are also CXOs of leading companies. It seems every agricultural locality, they are divided into blocks, have 2-3 farmers who proactively adopt and experiment with newer methods. The adoption of newer progressive techniques in agriculture has been a result of these early adopters implementing them in a certain block, which then goá¹­ perceived as a must have success strategy across the district and then moved on to different parts of the ecosystem.

It was refreshing to observe Geoffrey Moore’s theory from Crossing the Chasm being applied (in retrospection) to non-tech cases.

At GetEvangelized, we have worked with early adopters in the form of large consumer brands such as Cadbury, Fastrack, Flipkart who seem to have use the creator engagement model successfully and repeatedly helping us build success caselets that now attract several progressive mid sized companies. It was important to keep the community gated (invite only) to build and prove the methods with the correct set of early adopters who co-created the best practices for a new method to work and eventually produced case studies to inspire other relevant brands. It was important to politely refuse a lot of business that did not fit the ‘early adopter’ bill for their best interest and ours. You can now request an invite to GetEvangelized.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these themes, as á¹­hes ideas are always in beta mode while I’m detecting and observing  😉

Short Story: I’m an Angel – but I like being the Devil’s advocate

Posting a snippet from a recent conversation I had with one of our investors and mentor. I still love and respect the guy.

The point of this post is two-fold:

  1. As founders we keep reminding ourselves (and at times our mentors and cofounders do so) of the big picture we set out to paint. The fundamentals need to be remembered. The same applies to some of our stakeholders- they need to be reminded of this as well. Even more so as this is not their 24×7 activity – it’s the job of the founders to keep this up.
  2. Since we are kickstarting the next round, this might also help keep the wrong ones away 😉

Continue reading Short Story: I’m an Angel – but I like being the Devil’s advocate

Desi Media Disruption Founders at FICCI FRAMES 2015

It was an honor to help FICCI FRAMES 2015 co-curate their first track on entrepreneurship in association with Media Entertainment Network by TiE (MENT) – the special interest group I co-founded at TiEMumbai. Thanks to my colleagues Jehil Thakkar and Nandini Mansinghka, we were able to set up a couple of panels around founders and funders in the Media & Entertainment space.

I particularly enjoyed moderating the panel titled ‘Desi Media Disruption: Founders building Media companies’, where I had the privilege to share the dias with some entrepreneurs responsible for disruption in the new media space –Parikshit Dar (BookMyShow), Samir Bangara (Qyuki) , Ramki Sankaranaraynan (Prime Focus Technologies) and Anshulika Dubey (Wishberry). Just like a true entrepreneur, I opened the panel by asking the audience what they wanted to takeaway in the next 60 min (customer insight) and then steered the questions.  The interaction that followed was insightful and I’m putting this post to share a few key learnings that I noted or got reinforced … FICCI FRAMES panel on entrepreneurship Continue reading Desi Media Disruption Founders at FICCI FRAMES 2015

Entrepreneurs and Porn

I had a batchmate in engineering college who was obsessed with watching porn. He perhaps had the largest collection of such videos on campus and was always updated on this circuit. His intense passion and dedication towards porn videos gave him the innate ability to translate any situation in life or those from engineering textbooks into a porn analogy. Some of us credit his analogies for helping us understand  some very complex and ‘difficult to visualize’ engineering concepts. He went on to achieve accolades as he  moved further in his career.

Recently I went on a couple of road trips with a bunch of startups being accelerated at #TiEBootcamp. Continue reading Entrepreneurs and Porn