Have you ever wondered why very few Indian startups make it big globally? Why are companies like Snapdeal, Flipkart and Ola despite their market leadership and timing advantage are facing tough time against global entrants such as Uber and Amazon? Unlike Google, Apple and Facebook, why isn’t there any tech giant from India? This entire difference between the startups in the Silicon Valley and the startups in India is a natural outcome of the difference in between the work culture of the two places. There is certainly a difference in operation of startups in both places. Given below is a list of six habits that every Indian entrepreneur must inherit from the Silicon Valley.
1. Silicon Valley values time more than anything else
We Indians are very well known for using “chalta hai” and “jugaad” in almost everything. Starting from breaking rules to not valuing one’s time, everything works for us. But this is something which is not very prevalent amidst the entrepreneurs of the Silicon Valley. Time is something which they value more than life. Punctuality is more of their habit than just being a rule.
Now, sit back and think of some of the past previous meetings you had attended. In how many meetings did it ever happen that you reached a bit early or even on time? Any person in a meeting will feel offended if you, who are to attend the same meeting, reach 5 minutes late. A revolution and change in this attitude of ours is very important. We need to apprehend the worth of ours and others time. And unless we do that, these white skins will continue to lead us in every sector.
2. Metamorphosis of Business Model
Most of the startups that have emerged in India have their focus on the present day problem. Their reference to future aspects is very sparse. Most of the business models concentrate on short term problems and hence, achieve short term success. This is widely in contrast with the startups in the Silicon Valley where the focus lies on both present and future aspects thus, leading to long term productivity.
Then again, the “copy-cat” policy of Indian startups hinder its growth. They tend to copy successful business models from the west and mould them to suit the local market in order to get quick money. This approach needs an immediate change.
3. Carousing Failure
Failure is a nightmare that haunts the lives of possibly every single entrepreneur in India. All of us have grown up probably fearing it, because success has been showcased as the ultimate victory point in one’s life and failure has been portrayed as an act of worthlessness. Achieving success is undoubtedly excellent, but this can in no way bring down the worth of failure and the proverb, “Failure is the stepping stone to success”, describes the fact very well.
To realize the joy of success, one needs to undergo the pain of failure, but courageously. And this is the deficit prevalent among Indian entrepreneurs, which the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley are well aware of. We as a society have started looking down upon people, who despite trying very hard, fail. We altogether ignore their endeavor and we ignore the fact that at least they dared to take the plunge! And this results into nothing more than the widespread assail of discouragement. Something that is worth learning from the west, especially the Silicon Valley is the art of celebrating failure.
Might sound a bit visceral but celebrating failure really aids an individual to succeed. Again, celebrating failure should not be mistaken with celebrating mistakes. Mistakes are part of life meant to be learn from, but failure should be embraced wholeheartedly, because this is what gives you the liberty to keep trying. The more you try and fail, the more you get to learn, to discover and to innovate. You get a chance to think something out of the box , think 10x without any fear because now failure and success is something immaterial to you. What really matters is that you keep trying miscellaneous things and keep padding towards a bigger change.
4. Say no to the unwanted and develop focus
In the trending startup ecosystem of India, most of today’s Indian entrepreneurs have been found to be attempting to solve more than a single hurdle at a particular time which is encouraged by the belief that taking up too many problems at the same time will help in becoming big even faster. The basic flaw in this ideology is that, today we see most of the big giants, especially from the Silicon Valley, and get influenced by what they are doing today. But sadly, we fail to realize that all of them had started off with a focus on a single problem.
Facebook, had never focused on revenues for its initial 5 years. Amazon had started off just by selling books and Uber had its reach in only one city and only solved instant bookings when it started. Had these companies started with everything at once, they would have failed disastrously.
Culturally, there is an intrinsic difference between the outlook and approach of people in India compared to that in the Silicon Valley. People outside have greater concentration on perfection in a particular field rather than diversification, which is an attitude, we Indians need to imbibe at the earliest. We need to learn to say a no to so many amazing things around us, which are not our point of concern at the present moment. It is always advisable to take one thing to 10x rather than taking 10 things to 4x.
5. Adhering to Humility
We Indians have a very poor habit of getting hyper excited and over egoistic at small successes. Once we start meeting the face of success, ego starts taking over our self-qualms. We start ignoring others and do not listen to people’s advises. Our attitude undergoes a sea change as if we have conquered the entire world and start developing strong biases. Pride takes over us which ultimately dims our vision towards greater success. This is something which the residents of the Silicon Valley take due care of.
They rejoice at their success but this in no way comes in their pavement of achieving their real goals. In other words, they are not blinded by some small achievements. Indian entrepreneurs should take this as a lesson. Whatever is the height you might be flying at, but your feet should always be stuck to the ground. And moreover one must listen very carefully. Listening is the key to grow big. Listen to data, people, users and everything that is useful around you. The more you listen, the more you learn.
6. Respect for Subject Matter Expert
A vital aspect for the Indian startup ecosystem is that it should start respecting the subject matter experts. Subject matter experts are not necessarily the CEO’s but, they have a special niche at whatever they do. There is a huge respect for subject matter experts in the Silicon Valley.
For instance, someone who understands email in and out might get greater respect in Silicon Valley as compared to India. There are few hackers and designers in India, but the exposure which they get is quite limited. Getting a breakthrough in the Indian community unless you are a celebrity is difficult. Success lies in understanding the ability of these subject matter experts and giving them a chance in this emerging startup ecosystem.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What more differences do you find in the ecosystem? Let us know!
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