ManipalBlog, held an Entrepreneurship Summit at the Manipal on 29th March, 2012. The event featured the success stories of three of Manipal’s most loved entrepreneurial icons – Timmy anna, SuperPower Laundry boss and Om Xerox akka, who shared their views and policies on the various key aspects of entrepreneurship.
The event was web telecast live over the ION Wi-Fi network across the entire University town of Manipal. Due to their busy schedule, the beloved entrepreneurs spoke from their workplaces,to an audience expected to be in their thousands. (Due to the very unstable ION connection, an exact number couldn’t be ascertained).
The camera first focussed first on Timmy anna, who posed a question to his audience – “How many of you want to be an entrepreneur?“. There was about a 20% increase in the attention on the ION Network, which was measured by increased chatter on the chat window. The next question was “How many of you are already entrepreneurs?”. There was no response from ION this time,suggesting that the answer “none of the viewers were an entrepreneur“!
This was really interesting. Timmy anna then asked – “How many of you listened to my first question as ‘may be he is asking if I am going to start a company in the future’?” Most people said that they listened to an interpretation of his question and not the question itself. Because for most people Entrepreneurship means “starting a company”, worse “starting a software company”. So, Timmy anna figured that it would be best to really tell the audience about what Entrepreneurship is not.
- It is not about starting a company: In fact, if we look around, we can notice that some of the best companies got founded primarily to manage the bells and whistles surrounding an activity; not the other way around.
- It is not about coming up with an idea:Waiting for a big idea is actually a bad idea.
- It is not about writing a business plan
- It is not about raising venture capital investment
- It is not all about being or becoming rich.
- It is not about being or becoming the smartest person out there.
Timmy anna had to stop here, because his customers were pestering him for change (the monetary kind). Timmy anna said, “Change nahi hai, ek aur cigarette le lo!” ; after completing the transaction, he proceeded to talk about marketing and stuff, at which time, the ION network collapsed due to too many people tuning in to the summit! It was a good 15 minutes before, The Talk could be telecast again and Timmy annahad a heavy rush of customers, who took a break from watching the telecast,to buy some much-needed cigarettes from the Oldest entrepreneur on the MIT campus.
The next segment went live from the OM Xerox shop, where OM Xerox akka,sat at the counter, with her web cam on! Special arrangements had already been made, to use ION wi-fi from her shop. As with Timmy anna, she put a question to the audience -” You’ve all heard, what entrepreneurship is not about. But can anyone tell me What Entrepreneurship is all about? Answers like “making smart decisions”, “having a vision” and “thinking out of the box” started coming up.
There was a hint of a smirk on her face as she said “Media has come up with a notion of Entrepreneurship as – “talk”, “talk”, “talk” and “talk”. If not “talk” – it is “management”! “. I have nothing against the Talk and Management, in fact it is far too necessary to progress in life. However one should remember that talking and management is always about something. Just like a Xerox shop is there to get your notes and assignments copied, management is done for an activity. A Xerox shop is pretty useless unless there is an educational institute or a steady flow of
gullible students! Anyways, I urge the audience to quit borrowing from the media all concepts of entrepreneurship and really dig within themselves to answer the question – what is it about?”
After a while Shiva Balath, a student of MIT, who claimed to have designed a weather manipulation system said – “it is about doing something!”. Bingo!
It is about taking Initiative. It is about taking Action! Taking Initiative/Action really expands our influence and the ability to create realities.
With this OM Xerox akka talked in length about the process of taking a photocopy, the “10 steps in operating a Xerox Machine” and on her forthcoming book – “Operating a Photocopy Machine: An Entrepreneur Speaks”. Expanding these points would make this article a thesis, so be sure to watch out for the DVD and book coming to a shop near you shortly!
The last talk of the day was by the entrepreneur for whom every male in the MIT Hostel yearns for. Yes, the SuperPower Laundry Boss! He started of with his characteristic clarion call “Bosssssss Kapdaaaaaaaaaaaaa de do!!“, before one of his minions reminded him that he was giving a talk and not campaigning for clothes!
At this, he started with a sentence from Stephen R. Covey’s book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” – Of all the things in the world that can have an effect/influence on us (called circle of concern) – there is a subset of things that we can do something about (circle of influence).
If we focus our energy on the “Circle of Concern” we land up expanding its influence on us – there by becoming less and less influential ourselves. Things like “How I wish…”, “There are not enough students in Manipal to launch a Laundry service!..”, “The education system is bad..” – practically every complaint we have about anything or anybody exerts more energy into the circle of influence!
Creation, any creation, requires us to use the right kind of raw materials. When you go about creating something new, the most important raw material is YOU! So it is very important to get clear about YOU!
Given that Entrepreneurship is all about taking action/initiative – one can take initiative to do something NOW! We don’t need any qualification for taking initiative.
He closed the talk with a sincere call to students to graduate as entrepreneurs (enterprising people) and not as workers with skills and to send more of their dirty laundry to SuperPower Laundry!
P.S.: All the events depicted in this article are purely fictional. The entrepreneurial icons are real people from whom we can learn a lot. Majority of the gyaan in this article on entrepreneurship is very practical and was excerpted from Prashanth Udupa’s exemplary blog on A talk on Entrepreneurship @ RVCE.