After a really long time I signed myself into attending a seminar which was not related to my job. I attended the panel discussion on Digital Media at IIT Powai, organised by WATBlog. I must commend them for the efforts put in organising a bus from Andheri to the venue in the wake of the Taxi/Rickshaw strike.
Being at IIT I should have guessed it would be a techie session but yet took my chances hoping they would discuss something on Internet Advertising, Revenues etc. But the discussions revolved around emerging technologies, VC funding and of course the hot topic – how do you survive in these tough times.
Let me share a few highlights which I thought were worth pondering over the weekend.
1. If there is something good about a recession it’s the fact that it maybe the best time to start a new company or launch new products. Funding is cheap, great talent is available at half the cost and while your big-fat competition is finding ways to survive you go out there and take away some market share from them.
2. Nobody knows the future of digital media and what’s the next success model. But if there is something interesting to look forward to is the mash-up of social networking and e-commerce. Consumers are very influenced when they see what their peer group is buying/using and tend to buy something similar which has been tried and tested. A great platform to push and execute your word-of-mouth activity.
3. Why do only bad times have to teach us lessons on cost cutting and streamlining operational expenses? Shouldn’t we all learn not to burn expensive VC funding or investor money at all times. Jolt up your teams and let them know this is how businesses should run at ALL times.
4. VC funding maybe the cheapest source of money but you’re giving away something very expensive – your equity stake. So think hard before getting more funding from them and use that money very wisely.
5. Are you launching a new product? Is it a COOL new technology? Or will it able to pinch a penny out of the consumer’s pocket. Unless you don’t have both it’s a FAIL.
Technology Out. Customer In.
6. And please don’t become an entrepreneur because your neighbour is one or your cousin brother became one. If you don’t have the fire within you to cater to a gap in the market or offer something which will make the consumer’s life easier – Please DON’T become one.
Photo courtesy WATBlog.