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My recent attendance at the Product Nation Growth Summit will probably account for 3 of the most memorable days during my startup entrepreneurship journey.
It all started on an eventful Friday morning where 7 buses bearing more than 200 starry eyed startup entrepreneurs made their way to the Infosys campus, Mysore for a 3 day entrepreneurship boot camp organized by iSPIRT foundation and the academia professionals of Stanford and Duke School.
The excitement and mere energy in the air was no less than that of a bunch of school kids out on a field excursion waiting to arrive at their destination. And much like a school field excursion our fun too began on the journey itself with a bus facilitator conducting a series of games to break the ice.
Highly charged up we arrived the Infosys campus, which was a visual treat to the eyes and after a short lunch where startups were interacting with each other, sharing their gyaan and listening to other’s share gyaan and everything was going in a smooth flow.
And this is where the Bullshit stopped! Yes, you heard it right.
Lesson 1: Stop the doing this
Through an interactive exercise where we were assigned partners, we were asked to exchange information on our company, vision and business model with the person sitting next to us and return we gave and were given feedback on our business. True to our basic nature of not offending anyone’s sentiment our feedbacks were sugar coated and diplomatic. And that is how we failed our first task.
The exercise exposed us to the amount of bullshit floating around and by not calling it as it is we stop our own progress in more ways than one. This was a much needed rude awakening which forced us to think deep, regroup and reconcile.
Lesson 2: It is not all about the money, honey
Day 2 of the boot camp opened our eyes on what our ultimate goal of our entrepreneurship journey should be. It basically encouraged us to set our sights high by going beyond from just building a profitable business to becoming world category leaders.
We were fist asked to identify the ‘unfair advantage’ that our business offered. Then through a bunch of examples we analyzed how existing category leaders played to their ‘unfair advantage’ to become the leaders in their respective categories.
The moment this concept was invoked a lot of start ups got charged up and started examining their own business’s and how they can be strengthened.
This unique business model was showcased to us by visionaries and academic professionals from Duke and Stanford.
Lesson3: Walk the talk
Contrary to the expression ‘lazy Sundays’, on the last day our Sunday session was more action packed then any of the Die Hard movie series. Everything we had learned in Day 1 and Day 2 was put into gear mode.
Through a session called ‘Shark Tank’ every company was given a 15 minute slot to present their business idea to a panel of investors. Basis our performance we were guided and given invaluable tips on improving our approach.
All the learning’s , mentorship and guidance during The PN Growth camp has completely reinforced my belief and those of the 200 hundred other entrepreneurs and I believe has truly helped us see the path in building a successful venture. And now the only step remaining is the journey.