Sunday, February 17, 2008

OCC Meet, Core Objects ,17th February, 2008

Today we had Sameer and Nandini of MadHouse/Seventymm with us.

Sameer and Nandini happen to be a married couple ( “We happen to be”, when asked how difficult is managing personal Vs. Entrepreneurship! )
So there was a very interesting case, both of them working in plush, cushy jobs in Silicon valley, come down to India for Sameer’s Brother’s marriage, way ahead of their actual intentions of settling in India, or a Venture , for that matter.
Now, there’s a twist, may be that’s why Sameer calls it an accident, “ The visa application gets rejected”, and Woops, not that they cannot find a job here in India, but yes, they seriously begin to think about being entrepreneurs.
Prior to this, Sameer, and Nandini had shot two short films, both in silicon valley , and when they sat down to really evaluate the entire film rental business model, that did come handy, because of their taste in Movies, and Media.

Nandini also happens to be a Mass Communication Graduate, so she worked on the operations, and Communication Management aspect of it.

In the Initial days, they hunt for VC’s , and with a support from family and friends, they kick-Start, and call it Madhouse. A place where you can rent a DVD, legally, Now that’s something really amazing, you get the finest print, and you get precisely what you want, not just browse from the catalogue and make a ,” ok, I will have this , then “, decision.
So that is Madhouse. As Nandini talks about what goes beyond it, I am not only mesmerised by the beauty with which she elaborates the details , the pain points, and how they got the staff to work for them, in the initial few months, when even they were cash Crunch.

Then, Sameer takes over, and tells that what really worked for them, is that they treated their staff, as not just Delivery Boys, or say call centre executives (They had this business model, where one could just call from home, and order the DVD’s , and that would be delivered by their field staff.)

He says, that their Staff was more of a family, and eventually it was like, “this team”, getting more people to work for them. Sameer mentions, may be because he never treated them as staff in first place, which was because of his own experiences in his firm, and how he believed people deserve to be treated.
I Guess, that’s how people, get that kick, because money is one thing, but there’s a lot more that goes in making a business model work, it is the rapport which one builds within the team, the ego less person one portrays to be. To this he adds, “By creating a world inside, we were able to compensate for the glitz and fatty pay cheques around the market.’

Nandini interrupts, adding, “If you are ready to get your begging bowl out, you are ready to hit the road, don’t assume people to trust you, when you are doing your venture, and not taking it seriously yourself. People say, “let’s keep it for weekends, but how effective is that? , it is like you are standing on a bridge and you are not letting it go, then how does a VC trust you , for you always have an “OPTION”, to fall back on, if this fails, so if something has to work, it has to work as soon , as you are prepared about the Idea. “

To this, Venkat, CEO, OutSmart360 adds, “There will always be this dilemma , of taking your interest further, and of taking that pay cut, and knowing that you have a whole lot of team to pay, for the current month, and then, think about the cash flows of next month, and only then, can you even imagine to take a pay check home. “

Entrepreneurship, like business is more of learning, relearning, and Nandini claims that may be because they did not have stereotypes about the way Business is run, it really helped.

What both Nandini and Sameer stressed was, the importance of creating a good interpersonal relationships, with the customers, their own team, and how his earlier experiences eventually mapped on to creating a conductive culture in their own venture.
They also mention an incident where a staff got in touch with a friend, who eventually got in some VC funding, now that’s what all rapport is all about. More so, it’s also about marketability, and giving the perfect package, you can; which translates to, if a customer does not like your idea in the first 10 minutes, chances are that, he would never really like it. So you have to make that impact, and then hit the chord right.

Then they also touch about the laws of preferential investment, in terms of the process, when they got acquired by Seventymm.

After this we turn the tables to the VC on board , Abhishek from Erasmic, and he briefs about why VC’s reject ideas.

Vc’s are answerable for other’s money ! Say, Google Lmt. , or Amazon is putting in money, along with the private investors,they not only want their money to go in safe ands, with pledge giving a good ROI , (20-30% ), but more so, a VC is answerable to a lot of questions, if one venture they invest in, does not kick. So they identify all the risks, and then set every thing in place.

Abhishek , did a good job of pulling over the “Evil VC”, to a “Considerate VC “ image .

We also had couple Aishwaraya and Ishwar , both IIMB Grads, discussing their Idea, about a Web based solution for ecommerce, and we did a lot of jamming, I somehow had the feeling, that they were taking my suggestions positively , so I kept speaking, and we then talked about making it a better lot, and the USP factor.

Then we break from the table as all of us are overwhelmed with the Gyan.

If you have been reading all this, you probably hit this page, because you really have an entrepreneur mind, so do drop by for the next meet, who knows, we might have a new start up traversing its journey, a story that all of us would love to hear.

We will be pleased to have you drop by for a little fun over coffee, the next meet..

See you there!

Ekta Grover
Stay Hungry , Stay Foolish.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How-To: Register for OCC Bangalore

As the OCC meet day starting nearing, my phone starts ringing with calls from people ( usually the first timers) seeking venue details, details with regards to the registration and some even enquiring about the dress code ;)

Well, for the information of all those who are interested in OCC but dont have any idea about the next steps, i am putting below a two step process for registering for Open Coffee Club @Bangalore.

1.) Enter the URL into the address bar of your browser. The page displayed is the official BangaloreOCC groups page. Click on the link " Join this group".

2.) Enter the requested details and also an appropriate reason for your interests in this group. Hit Submit and wait for your request to be approved.

If you are already a member of the group and would like to show up for the next meet on 17th Feb @ Coreobject, please do mark your confirmations at

Hoping to catch you all there.
Helping laymen become technology enthusiast at

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Guest factor, OCC Feb 17th, 2008

On the upcoming edition of OCC we will have Sameer Guglani & Nandini Hirianniah from Madhouse / Seventymm with us to share their rich experiences from their entrepreneurial journey

Sameer and Nandini are a married couple, entrepreneurs, and both enthusiastic bloggers.

As I choose to write about , them, I did some R&D through their respective Blogs.After all people are what they think about the world around them !

While Sameer’s blog talks of issues like,
Start up essentials , law of learning, openness to expressing the same (This I found very Interesting, ”Share the Idea,But only enough! “),
Customer Satisfaction,Experience,and Friendly Interface (I am deriving parallels from other topics.),Managing the risks, and Making Fearless decisions,and of course acting courageously on the same.
What amuses me, is the way he descibes the decisions, a strong Vs. a weak, and how a critical decision, becomes a weak one, if it takes a lot of time in acting upon the same.

He describes Performance as a Race Against Time, where a venture is set to meet its expectations, Either to stand up to the Investors confidence, or to get the Funding in the first place.

His Blog page can be read at:

Nandini on the other hand talks about issues such as,Taaree Jameen Par, the Bangalore Traffic , Honesty, Why movies do not do justice to a book (Harry Potter, and why it doesn’t come up to a reader’s Expectations),and the like.

Her Blog page can be read at:

About Seventymm :
Its all about Movies, and Indulgence.
I was happy to learn that someone takes fun Seriously !

Seventymm can be observed at:

Looking Forward to knowing more of you, and a rich Learning Experience at the OCC meet this Sunday, 17th Feb’2008@ Core objects!

See you there..

Ekta Grover

Friday, February 8, 2008

Next OCC meet on 17th Feb

During the last OCC meet held on 3rd Feb, we discussed about lots of things regarding betterment of OCC and one of the point discussed was regarding the timelines for publishing of dates and venue for next OCC meets.

Going ahead, OCC venue and timings shall always be published minimum 7 days before the actual meet giving enough time for interested OCC members to plan.

Below are the details with regards to the next meet.

Venue: CoreObjects
Brigade MLR, #50, Vani Vilas Road, Opp. National College, Basavanagudi,
Bangalore, Karnataka 560004
(Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps)

Timings: 11AM- 1PM

For those of you interested, do confirm your presence at

Stay tuned for more ...
Helping laymen become technology enthusiast at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

About Us..

OCC is just the forum you were looking for, if you want to know the A-Z of entrepreneurship, more so , if you wish to hear it from people who made it.

The key is that when we say “Open”, we mean it to the core.
And precisely that is why we have kept it so simple, if you have an idea, Push it forth, and we will take care of the rest.

At OCC like minded people come, and share their vision and everyone has a Take away, at the end of the day. Effectively, there is so much that can be learnt from the first hand experiences of people who have succeeded, but more so from people who are struggling, what the pain points are, what is the kind of revenue model that can be aimed at in this ever booming economy, and an endless other areas, you bring it forth, we will discuss about it.

Like an Idea-Jam, we practice the Six Thinking Hats, More so, in an informal way (Don’t be carried away, by my High end Methodology!)
Why the Six Hats, because, each one of us, tends to add on r contribute from a different Perspective all together, which means, while we practice this brainstorming, we actually simulate a board room milieu , where even if your idea guns down, you tend to admire it, because, the sooner you take the Risks into account, the better, it is.

Effectively, we believe in the famous Computer Networks principle, KISS, “Keep It Simple Stupid”

February 3rd, Core Objects..

This weeks OCC meet was at Core Objects, Basavnagudi.

We bunch of Unconventi’es started out by trying to chalk out a theme, and just then we identified we had a lawyer on board.
So, Sharda Balaji ,Cofounder and director NovoJuris, touched upon a few ‘legal’ aspects that need to be taken care of.
To begin with, there are some legal key issues that “start ups” often tend to ignore. These are:

Why shell out the money right away when things can wait?

The start ups are always unwilling to shell out money, for the simple reason being they want to keep the costs low. It is very difficult to hire a good lawyer or legal consultant, and the entrepreneurs often have reservations about every penny, they think can be saved. So they try to do all the running around themselves. Right from getting the venture registered, to getting the Pan card ,the current account .While if they were to seek some professional legal advice, they could devote more energy towards working on the Idea, rather than setting up everything in place.(The work-Environment)
What entrepreneurs fail to realise is that time lost is not money lost alone, but is like losing the ‘Zen’ or the energy.


When entrepreneurs seek out angel funding or venture capital, or partnerships, they are more focused towards hitting the deal, so they often end up overlooking the catches, which a law firm professional would analyse from strategic perspectives.
The truth is that a Start up needs a legal advice or consulting right from the day when the registration is done, to its entire process of emanating.
Hence one should avoid doing all the juggling by one self and should definitely not overlook this aspect, so as to avoid future liabilities and setbacks.

Having said that we moved to the “Clinical Session”. This session is ideally for anyone who is “In” for an idea and is thinking to hit the road very soon, or has already hit it.

We discuss the painpoints , say from challenges in Marketing and advertising , to risk Management, to Customer discoverability, and surprisingly the loopholes in the Idea Itself!
For eg, we had a Idea on “Retail Management”, and this followed a good amount of brainstorming.

If you have an Idea, you have to groom it. Putting on different Hats, because you were the one who thought about it in the first place, so most probably , your Business Model will be overly Optimistic. But that‘s now how things work in a real domain. You will always have competition, and because they have hit the market before you, they will always have an advantage, unless you have identified that there are some gaps or solutions that your Idea can fill, which is what prompts the customer to come to you.

We had Sameerkanth, from NEN, who talked about different aspects of entrepreneurship, and how NEN is different from TIE and Pan India.
We then talked about the challenges and what is the vision of NEN. Noteworthy here is the fact that NEN is a Not for Profit Organisation, which is managed by the Wadwa Foundation.

We also had a reporter from Mint with us, Namitha, who writes on Venture capitalists, and she brought out some important points, as to why Start ups are not covered so well in and why Venture capitalists get an upper hand.
What everyone admired was the fact that she said “I would love to cover a story of a start up fighting against all odds, rather than a story which all journalists pen down in tomorrow’s newspaper.’
Now that was it, leave alone the fact that she was young (Read, Unconventional), but what was interesting here is, that we have never commercialized OCC, as the name says, “Open”, is the key.
So, interesting here is that, in spite of not having Branded OCC to this extent, she was there, not to report the event, but to know, what actually goes behind ‘Making It’,
Now this speaks volume about OCC and its image in general.

Towards the end we wrapped up the day with, a pledge, to support and promote Entrepreneurship.

All in all, just the place to look out for every Alternate Sundays.

See you there!
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bangalore OCC Facilitators

Open Coffee Club is just the place where prospective Entrepreneurs meet, discuss their ventures, or Ideas, and Groom them.

We have a team of 5 Enthusiasts, who keep pushing to give OCC the zeal it requires to forge ahead, and push forth the best of the Ideas.
More so, We believe, that to learn what sells, you have to listen to people about their painpoints, afterall Every venture passes through all the stages,Be it, Incubating the Idea, to actually taking the call, and Hitting the Road.

The Facilitators :

Ramjee Ganti

Ramjee is a techie, all right.But more so he is an individual who wishes to break past the Monotonous chores of the otherwise technical front(i.e. a Techie Job), and wishes to plunge into his own venture some day.
Besides,Ramjee is a heath freak, and likes to run, Marathons. Speak of heath, and you would find him giving away “Gyan”, for hours!In his words,"If you are not well, all things are on the backseat anyway! ". His blogs can be read at


Vaibhav Pandey

Vaibhav is working as a Software Developer with SAP Labs, Bangalore. Vaibhav is a blogger and technology enthusiast. Apart from blogging he loves to play Badminton,is creative,and likes to meet new people. Vaibhav wants to start his own venture someday.
His blogs can be read at:


Amarinder Singh

Amarinder is currently on sabbatical between two entrepreneurial ventures. After making all possible mistakes in starting & running a niche virtual BPO (for 18 months) company, he is happy & excited to continue his learning in CoreObjects. On the personal front he is ever evolving but still to come a full circle.


Ekta Grover

Ekta is working as a Associate Software developer in VMware. She likes to read, and write, blogs, poetry, short stories. In her words, “I am lost, and do not know what I want to do with my life, but I know, what I do not want to do to it. Expecting OCC to help Rediscover the Creative me..”. She believes, that to listen to your voice, you have to break from the Chorus first.

Contact :

Sailen Kumar

Sailen as of now is a Techie, he loves to read, writes a lot and Virtually drinks technology. He is politician by heart(Read Multitasking [:D]).In near future, with couple of friends, he plans to to launch a "on the web " Applications. Apart from technology & Politics he likes to watch/play football and TT.