“You will not forget this conference for a long long time,” says Ankur Lal of Black Shirts, NASSCOM Product Conclave 2011
NASSCOM Product Conclave 2011 at Taj Vivanta, Bangalore, on 9 and 10 November 2011; YourStory is the online partnerIn the runup to winter, when the wind gets a bit chill and a bit before that when sun shines and weather is pleasant at Bangalore (Bengaluru, for diehard Indianizers), NASSCOM Volunteer team called Black Shirts brings pulsating action with the vision of creating 2000 product ventures in India by 2020. The NASSCOM Product Conclave on November 9 and 10 is importing experts from the Silicon Valley to tell the participants what product business in software is about. Product entrepreneurs congregate here as if it is their annual pilgrimage not to seek God but to seek learning. The Conclave hasn’t failed in its hype and potential to deliver.
The Product Chair at NASSCOM is a contrarian who believed in products. Sharad Sharma right from his graduation did not wink an eye at services business. But his belief, thinking different and sticking to madness of product despite setbacks has translated into building a super-duper team of volunteers, now called Black Shirts, to bring to the community immense learning and associated benefits of connecting with each other. The volunteer force is not made of simpletons. Each volunteer is a successful product entrepreneur, some perhaps with revenues of $1 million (that rings in the mind rather than saying Rs. 5 crores).
In an email chat with Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, Ankur Lal, one of the volunteer Black Shirts and founder of Infozech Software, gives you a compelling proposition to attend #NPC 2011.
Keep away from your routine schedule for 2 days. Spend your time with the best of minds in business. Learn from them. Register here.
YourStory: Two editions of the Product Conclave have created many expectations from the community. What's new in this third edition?
Ankur Lal: During the last two years Product conclave has set new standards for the best speakers, delegates, content and curation. This edition will actually be the 8th edition of the conclave (for this team, it will be the 3rd). This year we are going to focus on setting new standards in networking, delegate to delegate experience, delegate to content experience and most importantly delegate to speaker engagement.
Forces@Work -- how is this theme of Product Conclave 2011 likely to benefit product entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is a journey and over time it becomes more complex - with multiple Forces @work. The art of entrepreneurship lies in simplifying these forces and enable them to become more effective for entrepreneurs. Our theme this year is going to focus on Sales, Marketing, Product positioning and Management. We are going to go under the hood and walk through lessons from what has worked and what has not.
When people leave the venue at the end of the conference, they should have significant takeaways relevant to their business (what needs to change, or how they can become more effective by looking at their most important challenges differently). These insights will be distilled and delivered to them tailored to their specific needs such as differentiation based on customers they sell to.
We have special tracks for entrepreneurs engaged in consumer business, those selling to SMB enterprises as well as those to large enterprises.
All the content has been built keeping the startup, young entrepreneur in mind (be it a single individual or companies less than 10 employees). There is content for more established companies as well.
Silicon Valley is the springboard of innovation and spirit of entrepreneurship. The Product Conclave is likely to feature Silicon Valley experts this time. Can you please elaborate?
We will have several global leaders from the valley - some of them being Vinod Khosla, Sanjiv Sidhu, Anand Rajaram, Naveen Jain, Vivek Paul, Jim Geisman, Bob Wright, Harry Gould - these are people who have built multiple businesses, across multiple industries and business models. They have played the STARTUP role several times over. Most of them have seen adversity and diversity which a startup goes through and bring in practical and rich insights of how to respond to complex and unpredictable situations.
These are people who thrive in the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship -- they are keen to engage with speakers, delegates at the conference and learn from what Bangalore and India provides.
The conclave provides a unique opportunity to interact with them -- in sessions, smaller networking groups, one - on - one. Our goal is to make the engagement rewarding and memorable for all people coming there.
Can you give us an indication of what are the broad outlines of the agenda aimed at specific segments of entrepreneurs? What are the ones that entrepreneurs never should miss?
There are over 50 sessions planned -- each of which has been thought through in great detail. The Volunteer team (aka Black Shirts) who form the Program Team and a group of 10 entrepreneurs who have built successful SME businesses in India and understand the pain points. They have also spoken to several delegates, past attendees, other entrepreneurs to understand the core pain points of Entrepreneurs.
We discovered that most entrepreneurs face challenges in getting across to the right customers, positioning themselves, their company or product, building customer recall, pricing it appropriately and finally making it a scalable and rewarding journey (aka Entrepreneurship).
Keeping this in mind, we have kept several sessions of how to sell (and nuances of selling in different situations – such as, selling to consumers, or selling to small businesses or selling to large customers); Defining Value proposition (how to articulate the value proposition of a product in a complex sale); specific workshops on Marketing and Pricing.
Jim Geisman is global leader in pricing – he will run a specific workshop. Bob Wright is a leader in Positioning and Launch (and will run a specific workshop on that) - (you may want to search more on google and find out more about them).
My top 3 for you will be: The two workshops and Vinod Khosla’s keynote – I promise --you will not forget them for a long long time after the event.
Into the future, what is the objective that NASSCOM Product Conclave 2011 is likely to achieve?
The objective of NPC is to create the best platform for software entrepreneurs to connect, learn and grow. Three pillars of our conference is Content, Entertainment, Networking. We believe people love to come not just for content, but for the overall experience, networking and feel good about themselves and what they do. Our objective is to Nurture the software ecosystem and create 2000 global product companies from India by 2020 – NPC will play a key role in getting Industry, academia, people from India, US, other countries together and in strengthening the connection of the dots.
Any specific session you would pick and choose that would be highlight -- for example, Vivek Wadhwa vs. Vishal Gondal was interesting last year.
It is a very difficult choice. If you had trouble picking sessions last year – this year it gets only tougher. Depending on what you are looking for, there is a session or workshop for everyone. Some suggestions above include Vinod Khosla and the workshops from Jim Geisman and Bob Wright.
An open question to share your thoughts.
Did you knowIndia’s future lies in Creating Jobs in the knowledge economy. In the last 2 decades the Global knowledge economy has been redefined by Indians – both inIndiaand Outside.
In the next decade who will create the most jobs? Will it be government, private sector or large companies? No. Most jobs will be created by entrepreneurs like you, wannabe entrepreneurs – who are thinking to jumping in. The difference between you and professionals lie in the fact that you are a job creator, while others are job seekers.
Talking on knowledge and entrepreneurship, we believe the best way to learn is through mistakes (and sometime not always our own) – we can learn from others mistakes too (and sometimes it is fun watching).
Learning is often about sharing and gaining from experiences of others.
NPC, “Forces@work”, is set in an environment which encourages learning and Entrepreneurship in Software. It focuses on Business of Software through sharing Pains of small to medium entrepreneurs. Yes people with less than 1 crore revenue (some of them even pre –revenue), looking at problems of growth, profitability, recurring revenue. There are several people going through the journey and you will get an opportunity to meet them and share your story. Some sessions and speakers above will provide an outline of what is in store. You could also visit www.nasscom.in/productconclave.
You can learn by hearing from the horse’s mouth (people will share their stories and how they responded to difficult situations).
Finally it is about actions we take, our response and the courage to go out of our shell and explore the unseen. It is about choices you make.
I would encourage you to choose to come and attend this exciting session and learn from fellow Entrepreneurs – I can assure you, you will meet several others like minded people who share your pain and the vision.
A compelling pitch for entrepreneurs to be there at Taj Vivanta on November 9 and 10.
If you are thinking “should I attend” you are not alone! If you are thinking “what will you get” let me tell you “you will not forget this conference for a long long time”. Each session, topic, speaker, takeaways have been carefully designed and executed for your benefit.