Minnows can beat the giants [Lessons From Ireland-England Match]

Yesterday, I was delighted to watch probably the most exciting and historic match of Cricket World Cup 2011. It was great watching minnows Ireland beat relatively mighty England through bravery powered by skills that were applied intelligently.

There is a lot for startups to learn from it; I thought it will be worth sharing with you all what I think was my key takeaway from this match and get to know your thoughts as well.ireland_worldcup

After the match when I reflected upon this incredible win of Ireland, what I realized was the significance of the timing and application of a power play. We all as startups plan a power play to become big in our growth journey as a startup, what matters is when we go for the power play and with what sort of attitude and skills.


Ireland was 111/5 in 25th over and was chasing 328 and it was only possible to achieve it in a dream. Choice was between continuing at the same pace and end up losing (with dignity) or attempt to play unconventionally and try for a historic win (Glory) without worrying about the level of dignity of loss. They choose glory! (The attitude)

The Strategy

What was required for the dream to become a reality was to score at an amazing rate for a few overs while they have wickets in hand and get closer to target without losing further wickets. Probability was bleak!. O’Brien’s only hope was the power play, which they took in 32nd over with immense confidence on his and his captain’s (on the other end) abilities (Risk taking and self-confidence) .

Achievement: Input Vs. Outcome

It took Kevin O’Brien to smash the fastest century in World Cup history to register the highest run chase ever in a World Cup.

Relevance to Startups

As startups, especially bootstrapped ones, we keep putting hard work and grow our ventures slowly and steadily, whatever may come. We all wish for glory and wanna win the game against the biggest of competition despite resource constraints. We all have a plan wherein we will enter a phase where we will need to take “Power Play” – in terms of scaling business through aggressive marketing efforts but we mostly avoid taking it early as we are waiting for more funds, more resources, and more customers to have in place before we unleash ourselves.

Is this the right approach? I think not, especially because more resources/funds is something only a few can manage (VCs have a 99.79% rejection rate), so one must not delay their plans beyond a point else you will end up losing, only solace will be, it may be a dignified defeat (some sort of low value exit).

What Ireland taught us is that you might not have the best skills (experience and record) and resources (5 wickets in hand) but, if you are playing for glory (WIN) then have the self-confidence and go for the kill, apply your mind to come out with a plan that might be risky but is feasible, only then you can get glory despite being a minnow.

So think and identify when to take your power play (when business demands) and how to go about it despite the constraints. You definitely need lots of luck but luck also favours the brave only!

[Guest article by Sumeet Anand, Founder CEO of Kreeo (i-nable Solutions), a startup in the space of Enterprise 2.0 and collective intelligence.]

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