Investor Mahesh Murthy spells out new rules at the NASSCOM Product ConclaveMahesh Murthy is a popular speaker. For 15 minutes, he just left the audience spellbound by spelling out 15 new rules for startups. On his LinkedIn page, he calls himself a digital brand management guy, venture capitalist, speaker and columnist. Founder, Pinstorm and co-founder, Seedfund.
The 15 rules might eventually go on to become Famous 15. Here they are and some rules are self-explanatory.
1. Geography is history
If Skype can emerge for Estonia and Nokia from Finland, you can start up from Yeshwantpur and become big.
2. The trend means the end.
All existing sectors are dead for you as companies already have taken more than 80% of the market. Prepare to be a trend-setter, not trend-follower. Toil for a few years.
3. The winner takes it all.
There is enormous value for success. You have to be No. 1 or No. 2, or don’t bother.
4. Harder to enter a pre-existing sector but easier to create a new one.
Discover a billion dollar business as you go along and cutting into the existing pie is always difficult.
5. Top brands haven’t spent on advertising.
The biggest determinant of success is insane customer delight and the resulting word of mouth. RedBull hasn’t spent a pie on advertising but still third largest selling soft drink.
6. Your marketing IQ is inversely proportional to your marketing budget.
Are you remark-worthy to your target group? If not, start again. Great marketing spends might not convert into sales.
7. Digital is not just cheaper than TV as a marketing medium. It is bigger.
TV ads cost a fortune. Choose digital media, which is cheaper.
8. Don’t just think 360º. Think 360 by 360 all 24/7.
Don’t just do the talking. Listening, responding, analysing, then talking should happen 24/7. Restructure.
9. Most important technical skill you need: recruitment and retention.
If you invite someone to work for you with less money or for free, it is a greatest way to grow. Your character, charisma, efficiency to attract and retain talent is bigger than other parts of the business. A CEO is first the Chief HR officer.
10. World’s most successful VCs: customers
NR Narayana Murthy, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Bill Gates haven’t grown to be billionaires with VC money. It is through paying customers.
11. Before getting a VC in, think about getting them out.
12. Forget about “team”: Here it starts with one man.
Sanjeev Bikchandani, Phanindra Sama, Kunal Behl all started with one man, that is, themselves. In India, it is a one-man show.
13. Hereditary brilliance isn’t bankable. Institutionalized brilliance is.
Vittal Mallya, Vijay Mallya, Siddharth Mallya. Contrast it with other businesses that have transferred vision to many people and brought in new talent.
14. Be eco-friendly with money. Break even burning as little as possible.
15. The pot of gold is the rainbow. The payout is the achievement.
What you do is valuable and your exit is your achievement.
Last but not the least, golden rule: “You don’t die of entrepreneurship.”
—Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, YourStory.in