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We can produce Bill Gates/Larry/Zuckerburg in India – An Entrepreneur’s take

[Prashant’s earlier post on ‘Can Indian Society produce Gates/Larry/Zuckerburg?” generated mixed response. Lalit Bhise, CEO/co-founder of Mobisy has an interesting perspective on this entire debate. Read this inspiring article and do share your opinion!]

The recent post by Prashant got me thinking a lot and instead of writing a comment on his post, I decided to write a lengthier post myself.
I agree with everything Prashant says, I think he has seen the things first hand and has a fair authority on the topic. IMHO, he is sort of right in his diagnostic and to certain extend his forecast.(I would be extremely happy for one if his forecast about India not producing a genuine technology entrepreneur in recent future turns wrong.)
Also the comments were quite interesting especially the one from Sony Joy. (sorry, could not read all of them)
I feel in today’s context, the ‘society’ Prashant is talking about, is us – i.e. readers of a techie blog like Pluggd.in, people who attended Proto in Delhi, people who attended smarttechie event or people who attend Mobile Monday events all over country.
Here is my take what we all can try and do .. I am sure lot of us may already be doing it.

Lead

If you believe in something just go ahead and do it, you will meet plenty of good & smart people on the way who will say your ideas are worthless, pay no heed. Listen to the other good & smart people who will offer help to improve your idea. Spend at least 2-3 years of your life trying to create something you truly believe in.
If anything, at least you will rub off your attitude on few other people which may help spread the fire. You may also teach your next generation to chase their dreams no matter what.

Follow

Look around, there are thousands of cool ideas taking shape around you, go be part of

it.
To the least, you can be part of organizations like Momo/Proto , these are ground up organizations with altruistic intentions of building an ecosystem.
Prashant is a great example himself having built MoMo Delhi from scratch.

Encourage

Let all the kids in your family and neighborhood fool around with your carefully done ubuntu installation.
Hire undergrad students in your companies for training and trust them with something big. Encourage everyone to find information on their own, think outside the “box” and take risks.
I remember when I was 12, one of my elder cousins taught me how to switch on his computer and then told me,”Lalit, just go ahead and try anything you want.You cannot break my computer so much that I cannot fix it back again”
Though I actually did crash the OS a few times and even accidentally formatted his hard disk once, I cannot forget how much I enjoyed the freedom, it’s no wonder I fell in love with computers and software after that …

Or just *#$%ing get out of the way

If first three suggestions are not your cup of tea then my humble suggestion would be to get out of the way.
Stop discouraging others from taking the step and finding their own path.
One of my ex bosses told me once, ” Lalit, you do not have enough contacts in the industry to run a successful start-up”.
Stop being that bozo – Just let others follow their hearts even if you do not want to.
(BTW better way to phrase the same comment if you are in a similar situation, “Lalit, I have plenty of contacts in the industry which I can share with you to help your new venture” ..:-)

It CAN be done

I am originally from Mumbai and I first came to Bangalore in 1999. I have seen it first hand that even in 1999 every street corner in Bangalore had a software company and every street corner in Mumbai has a financial institute/an advertising agency.These people may or may not have invented something huge but they at least they invented a viable business by chasing their passions. Sony Joy’s comment in the other blog is a true inspiration if you are looking for one.
The point being that entrepreneurial ecosystem exists, and thanks to our huge population, we have critical mass of people of every kind, risk taking or otherwise. Even the “nerd” kinds whose parents brought them up to be techie entrepreneurs.
Now it’s up to us to make sure that we discover, nurture and flourish that spirit.

Note of caution :- If you follow my suggestions, you may find out that entrepreneurial bug is very addictive and may sweep you off your feet. It may turn out to be a one way path to happiness and freedom as many of us have found out.
Disclaimer :- All the things mentioned here are not necessarily things I always follow myself but the things I would like to follow.

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