tinker on

dreaming up a web that works.

The desi garage startup redux

by Santosh

India 2.0 – Mercury News.

Kreeda, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary (and survived the ceiling of its garage headquarters falling and destroying one of its founders’ laptops), is getting VC funding.

The company now plans to move out of the garage.

Someone wrote earlier that what programmers need most are hygiene and motivation :). Perhaps we ought to add safety, no?

India tech entrepreneurs, though, face numerous obstacles, such as a lack of infrastructure — something as simple as well-equipped offices — and attracting top talent.

“They want to make a lot of money,” Manish Agrawal, co-founder of Bangalore-based Picsquare, an Internet photo sharing site, said of job candidates. “They can easily get a job at a big company and make three or four times what we can pay them.”

Even when an engineer wants to join his start-up, his or her parents, who value a stable job over everything else, might object.

“In India, parents have influence over which college you go to, which girl you marry — and which job you take,” Agrawal said. “The parents aren’t risk-takers.”

Added Picsquare co-founder Kartik Jain: “You don’t hire the candidate. You hire the parents.”

I would like to add “You hire the parents and the wives/girlfriends (please change gender as applicable) “.

Dilbert, Scott Adams

Venture Capital Aptitude test

by Santosh

Guy Kawasaki suggests taking the VCAT before you join a VC firm. Many feel that the tests demonstrate why entrepreneurs don’t appreciate VC involvement. I followed a discussion on Venturewoods on the topic of VC involvement to Guy’s blog. Mercury News is also running an article on how VC’s are shell-shocked by reality when they switch back to running a startup.

Guy’s VCAT is great from my point of view since it explains clearly what a startup founder needs to be good at in order to operate a company.

How do I stack up?

  1. Engineering background: 1 point.
  2. Been kicked in the groin by a long-lasting economic downturn, so that you know how powerless you are: 1 point.
  3. Worked at a failed startup, so that you understand three things: first, how hard it is to acheive success; second, that the world does not owe you a thing; and third, what it is like to be fired or laid-off: 3 points.
  4. Worked at a public company, so that you know what the end-goal looks like, warts and all: 1 point.
  5. Been an angel investor with your own money, so that you understand the fiduciary responsibility of investing other people’s money: 2 points;

Total so far=8 points. This is the tough part which can’t be answered at this time. These questions are geared towards operating a startup and Guy asserts that most VC’s will fail here. From the blog:

# How do I introduce a product with no budget? (add 2 points)
# How do I determine whether there’s really a market demand for my product? (add 1 point)
# What do I do if customers hate our first product? (add 1 point)
# How do I get Walt Mossberg to return my call? (add 2 points)
# How do I get to the folks who run Demo? (add 1 point)
# How do I get a plug in TechCrunch? (add 1 point)
# How do I get the folks at Fox Interactive to return my call? (add 1 point)
# How do I dominate a segment when there are five other companies doing essentially the same thing? (add 2 points)
# How much time, energy, and money should I spend on patent protection? (add 1 point)
# We bet on the wrong architecture for our product; what do I do now? (add 2 points)
# What kind of people should I hire: young, old, unproven, proven, cheap, expensive, local, remote? (add 1 point)
# How do I get them to leave their current jobs without throwing a lot of money at them? (add 2 points)
# How do I tell my best friend that he can’t be chief technical officer just because he was a cofounder? (add 2 points)
# How do I get to the buyer at BestBuy to return my call? (add 1 point)
# How do I handle a customer who wants to send back his purchase for a full refund? (add 1 point)
# How do I fire people? (add 2 points)
# How do I lay people off? (add 2 points)