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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mango-Walas and Money

Silicon Valley, SLP Chapter kicked off the 2010-2011 year with Raj Parekh as its first guest speaker. Before breaking into the meat of Raj’s talk, I would like to paint a picture of this year’s chapter and show how diverse a group of 26 can truly be.

There are members working on their own startups in the fields varying from technology to pharmaceuticals and members that had been part of national initiatives such as the Indian Unique ID Project. Some have taken a step into the world of Venture Capital and them some who are using and learning from the experiences of their peers to figure out their next career step. At this first meeting, we exchanged stories about our backgrounds and the paths we have taken to lead us to where we are now.

Hearing the stories behind people’s lives (who will ever forget the way in which Vikrant sold duplicated CDs to pay for college and international editions of textbooks to pay for his masters) helped introduce bonds that will only get stronger as the year goes on. When so many people from different backgrounds come together and discuss how the world can be made better, only good things can come out of it!

My Three Takeaways From Raj Parekh's Talk:

1. Good CEOs respond within 24 hours. The more awkward you feel when you read a message (instinct says, push it back, & ignore), the sooner you need to respond. However, make sure it is a rational response, not an emotional one.
2. Remember the mango-wala analogy: You don't need need to make money on the mangoes, you can make the same margin by re-selling the box while killing competition on the mango price!
3. You can never have too much money: When someone offers you money, take it. If they want more equity, give it. Why? Because the more money they give you the more they want you to be incentivized to succeed. Their success is dependent on your success. They will make the adjustments to incentivize you and your team. So take the money when it's being offered.

What a solid start to a promising year.

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