Upcycling

October 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Some really innovative stuff  (in a video format)- http://planetgreen.discovery.com/videos/g-word-upcycling.html

For the restless souls, here is what its about- 🙂 The video is about a new concept called ‘Upcycling’. A team collects hard plastic bags such as the ones in which chips, lays, etc are sold. They clean the collected bags in and out thereby removing any food particles, stitch the them into one big bag and sell it to super-markets (i guess!)

Advantages – plastic is not disposed into the environment!! better than recycling the plastic coz, the recycling process is energy intensive.

I am wondering why this should n’t be done in India! 🙂

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Back to work

November 28, 2009 § 2 Comments

Great! It’s been a while since I made a proper post. There are two reasons for saying that. One is, almost 3 weeks has gone by without anything new here and the last one that was published is basically a FYI post.

Also, one of my friends who do not normally comment on my posts called me up to say he was disappointed by Brand: Gandhi post. His concern was 75% of the post, were comments and quotes from other people/websites and very little own thoughts included. Hmm. Point taken. I tried to convince him saying, my reading time has gone down worryingly and without enough inputs it’s hard to churn out original content. And thanks a lot for the feedback.

Fine then, over the last 1-2 months, I have been interacting with quite a number of people (advertising, marketing professionals & government officials primarily) to keep my entrepreneurship spirit alive. I try to get their opinions on few ideas which we are/were planning to implement and to get a better picture about their industry. It does take a lot of time to fix an appointment with one, buddy. But once, you become crazy enough to walk up to a qualified professional and talk about your venture or idea, which he won’t normally expect from a jean, t shirt wearing guy, lot of things change in you. Your confidence shoots up like hell. 🙂

Most people ask, “Which company do you represent?” First time, I stuttered a bit, but then, started replying with a, “I represent myself”. Denzel Washington tells this to a drug dealer in American Gangster when he directly goes to a cocaine plantation. I don’t think many people knew that. Haha 😀

To accommodate all these crazy time passing’s, I even had to take PTO’s on Wednesday’s and be at the Secunderabad railway station at noon. No idea what my manager and colleagues thought of these.

Sometimes, I tend to think, am I going the right way? Is this the best possible method to implement a business idea or get more clarity on a new venture, going out and asking your potential clients/customers? No idea. 🙂

But one thing I am damn sure is Entrepreneurship is a no-rules game. There is no one way. Different people have found out their own paths out of their character and luck. Some people follow them and it may even be a proven successful model. 🙂

Entrepreneur!

Some of my friends are pursuing their Masters in U.S, some here in India, many trying to get into some academic stream to become “someone”. I see my efforts similarly. A stone with my name written on it, thrown into darkness and waiting eagerly for the “ting” sound. (If it hits something)

If it does not work-out, there are easier/proven ways to be “someone”, like cracking CAT. 😛 What say?

—-
Arun Vallappan

Blogging platform for MBA Students ONLY

October 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

I had an idea for a start-up and want some feedback. I have outlined it below. So, go ahead. 🙂

Creating a blogging portal for B-school students. Take a look at these two sites:
http://www.brandmanagement.com/articles – 20 to 30 writers post articles on branding, brand identity, promotion, creating a brand, nurturing/building it. Every post will be related to brand. It inspires a cult following among communication managers, PR guys..

http://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/ideasatwork/ – Students of Columbia b-school blogging. (its an official blog by the way)

Put these two together.
Top b-school students in India, blog about academics, learning, class room related things, business cases, etc but no personal stuff. The site would not have anything on to “How to crack CAT” or “Tips to get a better CAT score” or “Model CAT papers”, etc. This site could have everything related to the 2 years that a MBA student spends in a b-school. It could have an article on Leadership or Creativity or an article like “Why i-banking will make a splash again and relate it to cyclical theory” or pretty much anything from an academic perspective.

What could be the advantage for the readers?

If the readers are b-school aspirants-It would give them a great insight into the subjects, theory, methodology of teaching and the b-school as such. Peter Johnson, Director of MBA Admissions at Berkeley-Haas feels “At some point in the application process, visiting the b-school and understanding the difference in offering between the same programs in 2 different B-schools is very important”. The blog would basically serve all outsiders/aspirants to know about a program in a particular school by filtering out the articles based on tag.

If the readers are fellow b-school students– It would act as a discussion board for the brightest minds in the country, there could be endless possibilities, wisdom of crowds could take place: given the fact that the crowd has only smart minds, it would have an explosive amount of intelligence. I could only wonder at the possibilities. Ideas being thrown and a education can actively take place riding on massive collaboration.

What would inspire b-school students to blog at the portal? – Many could already own personal blogs. But this is strictly business. Building a brand for yourself. Having your article/name read by thousands of other smart people like you and wannabees.

Let’s say, initially we consider only IIM’s, XLRI, Symbiosis. Together probably out of the total 2000 seats (just a guess), 20 people (1 % of 2000) are ready to start with. It would not be late before another 100 people join given the audience and popularity they would get.

An initial guest blog post from some of the top IIM professors could set the tone. There were a few sites like OneIndia, Sulekha where there are b-school related blog posts featured or universities which have their own blogging portal, but they are merely blog aggregators.

Coming to the commercializing part: ??? 🙂 am not sure. Google ads would dilute the essence. So, NO WAY. Other than that..We could ask companies like Google, Amazon, etc. to pay for some non-intrusive ads Or weekly once feature a company or their best practice, some thing like that.. think it would work out?

OK. Am pretty much done with what i wanted to say. You can share your thoughts, thumbs up/down or anything.. If you want to channelize your feedback, think in terms of the prospects, market, commercialization..

One of my friends pointed out that pagalguy has Life@bschool module. But, think in the lines of an exclusive portal to showcase Indian b-school talent to the world.

—-
Arun Vallappan

Give it a try, would you?

September 18, 2009 § 8 Comments

Over the last few months, I have been quite restless. Generally, was bored to death, did not feel like working (managed to meet the targets/deadlines though), friends & life everything seemed to go slow, future goals blurred, etc.

Around the same time, also got convinced that I should start-up a company in the technology front preferably a service based website (like bookmyshow). I read about flipkart(which sells books online) and thought why don’t we develop the same thing or a website to sell magazines online(Indiamags). Unfortunately, whatever comes to our mind, it already exists in market place (sad story, uh?). We considered Hospital ERP, School ERP as well. But the base point, is even if the same product/website offering same service exists, why not tweak a bit and offer it in a different geographical region if possible?

Lots of thinking went into all these. Sometimes I would realize i either do not have the technology know-how or business know-how. For e.g: Creating a website which sells all retail items online from grocery to tooth brush to cookies. To put it simply, managing a store like Reliance or More online. Now for a start-up, it means competing against Amazon and Reliance Fresh put together. That freaks me out!

Entrepreneur

Finally, i kind of realized, i may not be prepared to take all of them at once. I clearly don’t have the guts to run something like that. (Realization is the 1st step, buddy 🙂 ) If I had a MBA, i would have given it a shot. But, armed with just a B.E, I am nowhere close to taking the 1st step. So, thought would put down in writing and see if it distills out, below is the essence.

What i thought is needed to start a business?

1. Technical knowledge – Being the best in what you do (if you are selling ropes for bungee jumping, do u know how to manufacture the strongest one with least cost?)

2. Business knowledge & Money-matters – Being ahead of the curve in the area, taking care of business partners, clients, vendors involved, working out more than just profit, loss

3. Last but not least, Kick ass confidence

I have personally met many people who say they want to do something with their life, but never do (am one of them, trying hard to cross the bridge). They could cite all sort of reasons from lack of time, or “am not sure” or “ya, in a few months”, etc. One thought which often comes to my mind is: If at least once it had occurred that you should start a company or running a venture on your own, then you are destined to start one in the future. A good number of people are comfortable and so conveniently placed in their career, they never want to lose that cushion in their life.

As Henry ford says,

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.

No one can build a Microsoft or IBM in a day. Step by step. A winner gets to victory inch by inch. So,

What actually is needed to start a business?

1. Even if you don’t know how to build the best product on the 1st day, start with something basic, put it out in the market, start improvising it. (Make sure the bungee jumping rope does not fail under tension, primary requirement). No one gets it right the 1st time. That’s why even pencils have erasers! Strive towards perfection.

2. Be in touch with your area, it definitely helps. Do not worry about all the client, vendor, financial over heads. When the situation demands a business case presentation or a negotiation, you will raise up to the occasion. Virgin’s turnover was around $100 million in 1984 when they first brought in a proper financial guy/CA to manage the accounts. (from Richard Branson’s autobiography Losing My Virginity)

3. I am not going to refute the kick-ass part, it will always hold good.

Recently i came across a link which had featured 4 serial entrepreneurs. All of them around 20 yrs old and one Jessica at 19 yrs with 3 start-ups under her belt. Wow! Richard Branson managed to get the 1st issue of his Student magazine out in UK almost 2 years after he started working on that. Imagine the amount of determination and the courage needed to sustain oneself for that long.

What is with these people? What makes them tick this big? They take chances, they do not say NO! They commit themselves to things and events, put their foot down, get things DONE. For people who can’t make that commitment, they simply don’t deserve it.

If your heart says something, there should be nothing in the entire world to stop you from going for it.. Give yourself a chance, give it a try!

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