A Starry Eyed Entrepreneur’s Defence of Flipkart (Snapdeal, Zomato and every other Indian startup)

I share a hate-love relationship with Flipkart. I hate it because how small, at times, it makes me feel about my own business (Yes, we entrepreneurs are one of the most competitive lot). And I love it for how it continues to inspire me, tells me what it really means to dream BIG.

Bootstrappers : You got to do what you got to do
You got to do what you got to do

When I started Internshala in 2011, Flipkart, Zomato, and Snapdeal were my personal heroes; I quoted their examples to my parents on how ‘others’ have done it and if they give me a chance and put their faith in me; I could one day do it too.

And today, when I read abuses hurled at Flipkart (many want Bansals to be put in Jail and Flipkart to go bankrupt) for #bigbillionday glitches; I feel sad.

Yes, the execution was flawed and for that I can understand general public’s frustration; because they perhaps do not understand (and nor they should care) the challenges of pulling something as big as this off. But I want to say two things to them –

1. Do we really want these companies to shut shop so that we can go back to earlier days of brick and mortar shopping where we had no idea of prices and reviews; not to mention the hassle of stepping out of home on a weekend and waiting in the queue to make payments? Remember before Flipkart showed what e-Commerce could look like in India, Amazon was not even considering us as a market and Snapdeal was a different business altogether (Kudos to them also for quick transformation).

2. As a nation, we should get used to the idea of paying fair price for stuff. You would not work for a loss yourself; and it is unfair to expect a business to operate that way all the time.

My bigger disappointment has been when I hear folks working at startups or running startups themselves complaining. I am no judge on intent of Flipkart (Bansals know the best) but on execution part we need to extend them a rope. I, and many other startups would agree, firefight to run a show with a 20 member team and 2 servers; and to not have sympathy (or envy actually) for someone who is executing things at a 1000X scale; is not being proverbial man.

 

I believe we are at the cusp of Indian history where political, social, and business environment are coming together so that we can finally start believing in ourselves and march on to become a truly super power nation. Let’s not squander that opportunity and rise above ‘Oh, how could he/she get ahead in life’ mentality. We need to put our weight behind Flipkart, Zomato, Snapdeal and every other Indian start up that is pushing the boundaries of possible – we owe these role models to our children, our next generation.

I am not saying that we should shower these businesses with blind patriotic love, let’s keep them on tight leash so that they outdo Amzons and Alibabas of the world for every product feature; for every customer service experience. But let’s not abuse them and wish them bad.

They have delighted us many times in past and have already crossed half the bridge in their journey to create new markets; let’s us cover the rest of the distance and meet them halfway – shall we?sarvesh

[About the author – Sarvesh Agrawal is founder of Internshala, an internship portal.]

1 comment

  • IMHO you have a very naive way of thinking. How long do you think companies like Flipkart can burn investors money. None of the e-retail companies are in profit. Amazon makes tonnes of money from its AWS and associated stuff. They have moved on to solving some real technical problems, which in the longer run will give ROIs.

    However the Indian e-retail companies are nothing but glorified online shop, which keeps out giving discounts (read investors money) so that more people buy it. This is not a sustainable model and will go belly up one day.

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