21 January, 2016

9 ‘geek’ lessons to entrepreneurs from Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber



1.   Be a good geek

Travis started off his presentation with a picture of a young toddler in front of a computer. Referring to the picture and his childhood, Travis joked, “I have always been a geek and started coding at a young age. My dad was a civil engineer and growing up as a geek was not very easy for me.”
Before finally donning the role of an entrepreneur, Travis’s last coding feat including working on neural networks.
2.   Find something broken you are passionate about

Talking about how Uber came about, Travis shared, “We wanted to get a ride in Paris but couldn’t find a taxi.”
So he saw a big market there that hadn’t changed for a long time. He recalled,
This setup caused problems for both cab drivers who were trying to make a living and end consumers who needed to get from one place to another quickly, but couldn’t. Thus, through Uber he wanted to make things easier for drivers and end consumers.

3.   How bad is the problem you are solving?

Talking about his role at Uber, Travis shared, “I am the Problem Solver-in-Chief at Uber. Just like math professors who relish tough problems, we too were looking at challenging problems.” He went on to describe how Uber uses heat maps (analytics) to track cars and predict rider patterns and in turn help cab drivers be in the right place at the right time. He elaborated,“To give users a seamless experience, we need to predict demand and figure out when customers are looking for a cab 15 minutes ahead of time, so that we can bring down expected time of arrivals (ETAs) as low as possible.”
Uber has also tried to solve the problem of supply and demand through surge pricing, to ensure cabs are available where they are needed the most. Travis believes,
Travis believes that the day is not too far where autonomous cars will be able to create 3D models of streets around the world and take commuters from point A to B, without any human intervention.

4.   Be analytical and creative

Without creativity, computing doesn’t matter.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein
Travis believes that the magic comes when you blend analytical abilities with creativity. He says,
Talking about some of the creative initiatives at Uber, Travis cited examples of Uber Ice Cream, where they delivered ice creams via drones and Uber Chopper, where they provided helicopter rides on Father’s day.

5.   Know the difference between perception and reality

“There is always a large gap between perception and reality and that gap is the innovators playground, where the magic happens,” he said.
Travis believes that the one who follows the crowd, never gets ahead of the crowd and the ones who chart their own territories have the chance to do something disruptive. He joked, “Go against the grain, be resilient even if everyone thinks you are crazy. When you see difference between perception and reality, you better be right, otherwise things can backfire.”
Great entrepreneurs are great at understanding risk and mitigating them. So sometimes when the world sees something as risky as walking on rope across the Niagara Falls, entrepreneurs achieve the impossible because they have honed special skills to mitigate that risk.

6.   Make magic

Travis said, “Hire the right people. See the future and get your team excited. Steve Jobs had a patent for the iPhone and saw the future for smartphones before anybody else.”
The best way to make magic is to give people joy by either giving them money, helping them save money, or giving them value for money.
You generally know instinctively when you are seeing (and not seeing) magic. He said, “Even though I have been on the Golden Gate Bridge hundreds of times, I always feel like take a photograph when I travel on it. That’s magic.”

7.   Tell a good story

While a company should focus on technology and their product, the best way to create a connect with customers is to learn to hustle and tell a good story.
Travis then played a video of the world seen through the eyes of a taxi driver, including – everyday sights and marvels, we generally take for granted to further his point. He said,

8.   Seek adventure 

Travis believes that doing the impossible is what entrepreneurship is all about. He cited an example from his earlier startup, where he and his colleagues packed their bags and headed to Varkala, Trivandrum, booked a room and coded from the beaches for a few weeks. Regarding why they did such a thing, he said, “Because we could. The world is going global – Bay Area, Beijing and Bangalore – that’s where the action is!”
Talking about seeking adventure, he added that Uber decided to do the impossible by trying to enter China, a market that almost no foreign company has been able to gain a foothold of. He added a few words of advice for Indian entrepreneurs, “It’s not just about building for your city or country but, now is the time when innovation is going global.”

9.   Have a champion’s mindset

Travis advised entrepreneurs to put everything they have into what they do, any less and they will fail. He said, “Put everything you got on the field. If you have energy left you have failed. And if you keep getting back up after being knocked down, it is impossible that you will fail.”
Travis concluded his speech with an inspirational video of runner, Heather Dorniden making an incredible comeback after falling down midway during a 600m dash.

19 January, 2016

Know all about PM Modi’s historic Startup Action Plan

PM Narendra Modi announced the Startup Action Plan Here are the top points:

  1. Compliance regime based on self certification – To reduce regulatory burden, startups shall be allowed to self-certify compliance with labour and environment laws. In case of labour laws, no inspection will be conducted for three years. In case of environment laws, startups under ‘white’ category would be able to self certify compliance.
  2. Startup India hub – Will be single-point of contact and hand-holding.
  3. Simplifying the startup process – A startup will be to able to set up by just filling up a short form through a mobile app and online portal that will be launched in April.
  4. Patent protection – PM Modi said patent protection and IP rights are a major concern for Indian startups. The government will make IPR procedure transparent for stratups. Fast track mechanisms of startup patent applications – in order to allow startups to realise the value of their IPRs at the earliest possible. Patent applications of the startups shall be fast tracked for examination and disposal.
  5. Panel of facilitators to provide legal support and assist in filing of patent application – Facilitators shall provide assistance for startups in filing and disposal of patent applications related to patents, trademarks and design under relevant Acts. Government shall bear the entire fees of the facilitators for any number of patents, trademarks or designs that a startup may file.
  6. 80% rebate on filing patent applications by startups – To enable startups to reduce costs in their crucial formative years, startups shall be provided an 80% rebate in filing patents vis-a-vis other companies.
  7. Relaxed norms of public procurement for startups – to provide an equal platform to startups vis-a-vis the experienced startups/companies in public procurement, startups (in the manufacturing sector) shall be exempted from the criteria of prior ‘experience/turnover’ without any relaxation in quality standards or technical parameters.
  8. Faster exits for startups – To make it easier for startups to exit, provision for fast-tracking closure of businesses have been included in ‘The insolvency and Bankrupcy Bill 2015’. Startups with simple debt structures may be wound up within a period of 90 days from making of an application for winding up on a fast-track basis.
  9. Funds of funds with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore –  To provide funding support for development and growth of innovation driven enterprises, Government will set up a fund with an initial corpus of Rs 2,500 crore and a total corpus of Rs 10,000 crore over a period of 4 years.
  10.  Credit Guarantee Fund –  To catalyse entrepreneurship through credit to innovators across all sections of society, credit guarantee mechanism through National Credit Guarantee Trust Company/SIDBI shall be rolled out with a budgetary corpus of Rs 500 cr per year for the next four years.
  11. Exemption from Capital Gains Tax – Exemptions shall be given in case capital gains are invested in the fund of funds recognised by the government. In addition, existing capital gain tax exemption for investment in newly formed MSMEs by individuals shall be extended to all startups.
  12. Tax exemption for startups – To promote growth of startups, profit of startups, set up after April 1,2016, shall be exempted from income-tax for a period of three years.
  13. Tax exemption on investments above Fair Market Value – In line with the exemption available to venture capital funds to invest in startups above fair market value (FMV), investments made by incubators above FMV shall also be exempted.
  14. Startup fests – For showcasing innovation and providing a collaboration platform
  15. Launch of Atal Innovation Mission
    Entrepreneurship promotion via
    • Establishment of sector specific incubators
    • Establishment of 500 tinkering labs with 3D printers in universities
    • Pre-incubation training to potential entrepreneurs
    • Strengthening of existing incubation facilities
    • Seed funding to high growth startups
  16. Setting up of 35 new incubators in institutions – Funding support of 40% (subject to a maximum of Rs 10 crore) shall be provided by central government for establishment of new incubators in existing institutions for which 40% funding by the respective state government and 20% funding by the private sector has been committed.
  17. Setting up of 7 new research parks modeled on the research park at IIT Madras  Government shall set up seven new research parks – six in IITs, one in IISc with an initial investment of Rs 100 crore each. These parks shall enable companies with a research focus to set up base and leverage the expertise of academic/research institution. 31 centres of innovation, 13 startup centres and 18 technology business incubators in national institutions will be established.
  18. Promote entrepreneurship in biotechnology – Five new bio clusters, 50 new bio incubators, 150 technology transfer offices and 20 bio connect offices will be established.
  19. Innovation focused programmes for students – Innovation core program shall be initiated to target school kids with an outreach to 10 lakh innovations from five lakh schools. A Grand Challenge Program (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations) to support and award Rs 10 lakhs to 20 student innovations from Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres. Uchhattar Avishkar Yojana has earmarked Rs 250 crore per annum towards fostering ‘very high quality’ research amongst IIT students.
Source: Yourstory.com