It is Sunday afternoon, and I’m driving through the forests of IIT-Madras, at 20 kmph, respectfully conceding the right-of-way for the monkeys playing around on the roads with half-eaten fruits. Given the meditative mood that the campus invariably creates, I don’t mind losing my way through Bonn Avenue, Delhi Avenue, and so forth, before at last reaching the venue of the Startup Idea India event at the Biotechnology Department.
Allen Peru and Jagadeesh are my hosts, and there is Dorai Thodla, the serial entrepreneur, ably guiding the youngsters through the event. The hall is full of startup enthusiasts – those who are already entrepreneurs and the ones ready to jump in. My presentation is on ‘How startups can get their stories across to media,’ to make a case for getting the startup story to a wider audience.A 30-second exercise that I began with was to get everybody whip up the recorder in their phone and speak into it a few sentences about their venture and work. It was the first time I was trying out the exercise in a gathering like this, and the result was predictable – many found it inconvenient enough not to do it.
However, when I returned to the same exercise, a dozen or so slides later, it was found that the adoption had improved. The reason, perhaps, was that I appealed to the startup entrepreneurs that if they have a story to tell, it all begins with internalising the same. Tell it to yourself a hundred times, a thousand times, live it, breathe it – I urged – because if you do not like listening to your own story, you can’t expect a media person to show interest, or anyone else, for that matter.
Importantly, when you live your dream, you become that, and vice versa. You move from ‘you, the entrepreneur, and your story,’ to ‘you, the story.’
Which is what I found in the presentations by quite a few of the entrepreneurs, at the event – be it Vimal Kumar of Juspay.in losing himself in Ilayaraja, or Vasan Sowriraja of 1000Lookz getting enmeshed in hairdos – or the quick pitches by startups like Gentle Ninja, iMakeRobots, Insane Labs, and GinGly.