Monday, May 21, 2012

I "met" a remarkable man today ......

I have been casting the net in the (internet) to see what I pull up .... a mix of nutrition and detritus but mainly nutrition because I have cast the net mainly in promising places.

One such is a video on Richard Feynman's last journey. It is about 5 minutes short of an hour but, to me, so very worth it. The link should you be interested, and I hope you are is:

Each one of us will get a different message from the video for we are shaped by our perceptions. But also watch if you can find an hour and 17 minutes the 1979 lecture he gave at the Univ of Auckland. This is the link

I just absolutely love the way the man thinks, and the way he treats others, and the honesty he portrays.

One particular chord that struck more than others was when (in the Univ of Auckland lecture video) he says that he tries to find an explanation or a reason for something - but is not biased by thinking what the expected outcome should be. He talks of removing from his mind "I like" or "I do not like". That has to be among the hardest things to do when trying to solve a problem.

In reading what I am about to write please do not assume that I am even contemplating equating myself to the man. I am only stating why that particular chord struck.

When I was at Dow Chemical, I was unpopular for many reasons - but one was my unrelenting focus on in finding out the real answer to a problem given to me. Why for example was the business analysis of the plant in Indonesia so glowing for the future but every historic report so dismal.

When I was at J.P.Morgan I was removed from a project because I specifically stated that I would report my findings - this on a call where a "senior" who went on to become one of the youngest SVP's was telling me that my work was good, but needed to support his conclusions more (never mind that his conclusions were based on thin air). Another "senior" actually had me do work outside of my job description (up to 70% of what I did for about 4 years was outside the job description). What was the work? Well the product folks would make Case A for something and the sales force Case B. This senior would tell me, we need an unbiased opinion on "what it really is" and knew that I would deliver.

A person I worked for in another organization actually told me that he used to make two sets of presentations with completely different recommendations and presented one that at the last minute he felt, better represented the views of the executive he was presenting to. Needless to say, this person is actually considered an expert!!!
What was more shocking was that this person actually thought he was being very clever. What a shame that an organization pays someone so much to be so deceitful - though often the "organization" or system has to be blamed, for it encourages such behavior.

Biased as it may seem, I have always held that honesty in assessing something to the best of your ability is what is so very key. Do not kid yourself or look only for the explainable. It will probably not do much good, it will prevent you from a a truer understanding, and it is not much fun - if your quest is for what is really happening.

In a world where EQ has somehow become how to be fake and get what you want, in a world where we are driven by ambition for all the wrong reasons (there are many right ones), in a world of scarce resources, I believe that when tasked with evaluating something we should do so without a bias for anything other than the truth.

I hope to have the courage to test myself again in this aspect as I go about trying to figure out how to enable entrepreneurship - or another related problem. The courage comes from the fact that you never do know if the attempt at discovery will result in failure. Honestly done, your effort though a failure in terms of one result will probably result in success on another front - key is to learn from your failures. To remember them and to connect the dots.

Stay well. Stay true.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Innovation and growth of a company

On March 31st I delivered a key note "speech" at the Hyderabad Management Association. Finally got around to adding some notes to the Powerpoint presentation.

Here is the link to the document.

Look forward to your views.

With my best wishes, Vishnu.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Entrepreneurship Catalyst

Have updated my profile to reflect my current status - changed my employer. Went from being employed by ISB's Wadhwani Center for Entrepreneurship Development to being employed by Entrepreneurship in India!! Will miss ISB. Reckon ISB has done so very well in the 10 years it has existed. My hope is that those who follow and those who are there, realize that they owe it to themselves and to those who helped get ISB to where it is, to bend their back to make ISB stronger and better.
I really enjoyed my interaction with the ISB Class of 2012. Got to know nearly a quarter of the students and those I knew were good humans and intelligent to boot. I hope to stay in touch with many of them.

Having left, the main difference is (a) that I will not be drawing a salary; and (b) that I will be spending my own money to enable entrepreneurship in this country. Of course I am scared and wonder if I will succeed, but I'll be damned if I do not give it a good shot. I now have the liberty to at least try.

Am travelling most of April but hope to pursue my interests relentlessly once I get back. "Miles to go before I sleep".

Here is to hoping that I will find some 30 humans who have a passion for enabling entrepreneurship in India and who will let me work with them to first create a practical agenda for doing so and then help me execute. At a later stage we are likely to need funding, but I first want to get to the point where people will WANT to fund the agenda.

Good luck in all you do. Stay alert, pause, think, then execute relentlessly.


Monday, March 26, 2012

An Agenda for Enabling Entrepreneurship or "Vishnu's Mission"

I have just created a link to the Google Docs folder in which I have put my recent work.
(Hope this works - am new at it and will learn as I go along).

Some are short and quick documents (apologies for the formatting of the PPT file - will fix its GDocs appearance when I know how) some are long. Suggest you read the shorter ones first.

I am convinced that with a few (or many!) good minds we can come up with a practical, intelligent, innovative strategy and execution plan to enable entrepreneurship. I have a few ideas on the strategy already, but I will keep my mind and ears open and work together with others so that a better result is ensured and more feel ownership and help execute. I am not egoistic enough to believe that an effort such as this can be thought through by just one person. The vehicle that will drive the agenda and execution is likely to be a bit of a mix. A hybrid model that is neither an institution nor a loose collaboration and that will hopefully have the best elements of both. But I am getting ahead of myself.

On a personal note, I have recently resigned from the center I work at (need to be there till May 06) as I felt that the kind of stuff I have written is my mission in life and I must pursue it. If I succeed I can help positively impact 10's and 100's of thousands. Would rather know I have failed than not knowing. Of course I intend to reduce the odds of failing :)
There is the possibility that I may continue my association with ISB in another role but which allows me to follow this mission I am committed to. Will keep you posted.

I would like the ideas in the documents to be as "open-source" as possible. Either we collaborate to make it better, or the more able person takes the idea (s) forward. Of paramount importance to me is that the right work is done and the end result is beneficial to many.

If you are interested in helping, please do let me know. I have a list of some 160+ people that I think could be really helpful. I need to expand this list and sign up at least 30 who will buy into the concept, and help propagate it.

For now though, feel free to use the material here as you see fit. I have coined some new terms ("Wikify Entrepreneurship in India"; and "Incubation Capital") and designed two diagrams (one on actos and factors and the other on the financing of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs) that I believe could be the first of their kind. Feel free to go ahead and use them and build on them to make positive impact. If you share the developments with me and others, even better, for then we can connect dots better and make the impact even more meaningful.

Here is to hoping the work is useful and the collaborators many!