Tuesday, December 14

Why dropouts create so many successful businesses

Common Sense Views on Technology :

Bill Gates is famous for having dropped out of college to start Microsoft. Steve Wozniak went back to college after founding Apple Computer. I understand many other businesses were founded by folks with little formal education.

When I was gainfully employed (still am, but am thinking of a period 15 years ago), our company layed off 25% of the staff over a year. Lacking a job, I became self employed for 2 years. I would never have quit a nice paying job to do what I did. But when that option no longer existed, self employment no longer seemed risky at all.

I think there may be a relationship with those, like the above, that lack formal advanced education and starting up new ventures. Their downside is little opportunity to make much money. Starting up a risky new venture is not really very risky - and the upside is tremendous.

This is why a recent article linked from this web site noted that when Cingular lays off thousands of workers near Seattle (the old AT&T Wireless headquarters), it will likely result in many new startup businesses. When you've already lost your job, starting a new venture does not seem risky at all. Which led to my satirical comment that the best way to spawn innovation is to lay everyone off!

> best way to spawn innovation is to lay everyone off!

Ouch that hurts....:-). In india and many developing nations I think more than half the population is an entrepreneur in non-classic chaotic sense. I mean from your panwala to milkman to newpaper vendor to fast food joint wala and others. But this is at the lower level where survival is the main issue and not the business and the business management and other practices. These all remain one man venture throughout the life, though they support the economy and even the lack of jobs situation - it doesn't create jobs, huge infrastructual requirements, stocks , etc.

The entrepreneurship itch is not seen that much in Indian educated or even semi-educated class, why ?

- The government makes it practically impossible due to redtapism. Even if somebody smart-ass starts daringly, he is more likely to get frustrated and drop in between.
- Indian education is one man activity - in india we dont provide the chance to do activities in team. Even in sports we are cricket fetish which is a team sport with stress on individual records.
- Parents play important part in decision making. A doctor's son is a doctor, a doctor's wife is a doctor and doctor's daughter in law is a doctors and so on. This area is seeing some improvement these days.
- Indian's are security hungry, there is so much survival game going on... I don't want to be the first one to play the game, if somebody else play a game, wins it and stays a winner then I may follow him.
- There is a lack of local inspiration from society and media. The television, society and the media is providing fast food junk thoughts for the mind, the politicians are either for entertainment and futile arguements (intellectual acrobatics) . There are every few handful inspirations like Late Dhirubhai Ambani, Narayanmurthy , Sabeer Bhatia, Azim Premji and others. Even being so successfull we indians just know them by there Names and Stocks Value and nothing more than that. If Indians are educated about the journey of these guys , I am sure people will be excited to take up their path even if it is hard.