Product Entrepreneurship, A Long Arc

4th Jun 2012
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Do we not have the capacity to build a global IT product?If we closely look at the characteristics of product building and selling, there are many ponderables that come into play. First, a prototype of the product has to be built, then given to sample users who evaluate the prototype who validate it, and then the product should be rolled out for consumption. Whether you build a mass product or a niche product is another question that you need to answer. The initial capital before the product hits the market and generates revenue is another problem. Either the capital has to be raised from investors, or used up from savings, and like in some cases a service revenue stream to fund the product venture has to be put in place.

A lot of emphasis is placed on design of the product. A great design differentiates a good product from the bad. Steve Jobs is perhaps the first product entrepreneur to achieve a grand scale of success by focusing on design and user experience, or rather creating user experience. An awesome design makes a product look great.

Products don’t sell just because they are awesome but they only sell if the customer finds them useful. Some experts say build a product that you will use it yourselves. But developing a product and making it appeal to customers is not an easy task. In India, the product ecosystem is nascent and is building up fast. The software fraternity understands that the edge lies in product economy than in a services economy. So many initiatives are continuously focused upon building an impressive number of product companies from the country.

The successful product entrepreneurs are yet to make it big to lure other entrepreneurs into products. Sridhar Vembu built the ZOHO suite of productivity apps on Cloud using a workforce in Chennai. His success is an inspiration for product entrepreneurs and has shown what is possible if energies are focused upon right paths. ZOHO challenges Google and that should be heartening for aspiring product entrepreneurs. Suresh Sambandam’s OrangeScape has built a PaaS product that has found many marquee customers and the company has gone on to scale in the United States. But the product successes are still in the countable stage.

What do we lack today? The mindset to think products perhaps. Our lineage has been services and still many entrepreneurs are thinking of taking the services route to create wealth. Products do take a longer arc and there are many chasms to cross. The success of Rohit Singhal who created iPhone apps is another example of a product entrepreneur who has shown that wealth creation and awesome product is not impossible. His success shows that it is the kind of product that matters and not the labels that the entrepreneurs want to be associated with.

We did have some product entrepreneurs who dreamed big and couldn’t travel to their dream destinations. Successful entrepreneurs have taken a path that finally led them to success, constantly evaluating their progress. They have tweaked their business models, strategized differently, and have reinvented themselves to finally make an appealing product and then achieve success. It is the ambition and the drive to succeed that has remained powerful in their minds. Failure is not what it is unless you fail to take off that point at which you are struck. Ask successful people and no one has made it big with one idea and one product. It is a constant endeavour to search for the right product and try a multiple number of ideas. Product building needs a robust mindset. Fixed mindsets have done some entrepreneurs in.

If you have the bent of mind towards products, we have TechSparks to get you the stage for you to come to limelight. Join us in our endeavour to build a product economy.

For details, visit www.techsparks.in. This is the annual YourStory initiative and we are proudly in our third year. Come, join the party as we travel to six cities and end in Bangalore with a Grand Finale.

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