Arvind Kejriwal – A model Startup?
Last week I wrote a post in reaction to a ‘personality’ calling Arvind Kejriwal a moron. This post found resonance with 1000s on Quora. Many promoted it across various media. Yesterday, I was at a Nasscom Emergeout event at Westin, Pune and after some really boring , cliché ridden talks, I was spellbound by an extremely thought provoking presentation by V Srinivas. He mesmerized the entire audience by giving insights on how just one word defines entrepreneurship and that is “Purpose“.This morning, I saw that Times Crest has featured Arvind Kejriwal on front page . Finally Times admitted that he is a “Game Changer “. I am happy that opinions are fast changing and success of one more entrepreneur is in making . I was trying to correlate Arvind’s movement and relevance to startups. Here are my thoughts:
Purpose: An entrepreneur is born when she discovers such a BIG purpose that she can dedicate her life to it regardless of insecurities. These insecurities may be financial, physical or social. Arvind shows all three,
1. He quit his well paying prestigious job.
2 He is attacking the powerful (His life may be under threat now ),
3 When he started he was derided socially by established players and citizens as moron and a traitor.
To startups he is a hero nevertheless. He has found his big purpose. Great purposes create great markets if they do not exist. Steve showed it with a purpose to revolutionize cell phones. He set out to build touch phone which was junked by Nokia in 2004 as stupid and having no market. Finding a big cause is the essence of a startup.
Pleading and cribbing doesn’t work : For every one Arvind Kejriwal who is walking the path of fire, there are 1000s who just ‘wish’ that the political system changes for good. There are millions who profess “Kuchh nahi ho sakta “There are 100s of morons who still sing praises of Congress , Mandmohan or Khurshids. Similarly, for every one startup which starts building something useful there are 1000s who will just claim google, Microsoft, daily deals or groupons are great stuffs. Cribbing, criticizing, Dharnas, Bhookh hartals may be good beginnings but the real change happens when you drive the bus or can influence the driver. Getting in to the ring works. You have to go out and start fighting to make a difference. You cant clean the gutter by being outside it. Those in the gutter are minting money and spreading the stink for us. We need to get in, kill the scoundrels who are blocking the cleansing process. The fortifications in gutter are robust but we need to get into it and dislodge.
Ekla Cholo Re : When you startup you will have co founders. They will appear good at the start, show some degree of commitment but only the determined will burn their boats. Anna kept jumping back to his boat Ralegan Siddhi. Kiran Bedi always found a BJP ticket from South Delhi sexy. The guys who don’t burn their boats will always have disagreement with those who have. Those with purpose will keep walking ahead. Those with other safe constituency will be indecisive. Love your purpose, people will come and go in your journey towards a purpose. Whenever they wish to go back to their safe boats, let them go. Be a Johnie Walker, keep walking, you may not know how the paths will turn out to be but be confident. There will definitely be some new ones discovered, or they will be paths created by your journey.
Attack the holy cows , be brave and be stupid : One great thing Arvind and startups can afford to do is be irreverent to holy cows. Arvind attacked Vadra (He is moron ), he incorporated his startup ( He was a moron to start with ). He doesn’t have decent chances to win against Giants like Congress, BJP, Mulayam. You do not have decent chances of winning against Googles, Facebooks or Microsofts or Cisco, but be irreverent, attack all places where they suck. Attack all places where these corporations have been unethical and abusing your privacy. When you bring them to the fore, the pimps of these big corporations will call you stupid , moron but persist and relentlessly attack the unethical and inefficient. Speak fearlessly.
Committ to the mission from within and do whatever it takes :The purpose of Arvind emanates from within. A deep desire to cleanse the politics and to establish greatest form of governance, are the 2 dreams which drive him. The purpose of political parties comes from outside i.e their constituencies, their corrupt figure heads, their caste, their holy family, their religion, power grabbing etc .Startups similarly need to be driven by their inner purpose to make world better for their target users, customers. They need to be driven by their internal intuitions of what is best for their users, not what the users think is best for them. Great products, services are not made from what customers want because they do not have awareness of what can most delight them. You need to out think your customers to create elements of delight.
Conclusion :Arvind Kejriwal is an entrepreneur with a big purpose, his purpose is his business model. He doesnt have a revenue model but he does have a success model and I believe he, like all great entrepreneurs will figure it out.. Corporate India and VCs tell they invest in great team. He doesn’t possess world class team but his team will become world class during the course of this movement. Great teams are born out of war, they are not created in assembly shops. He is a first mover and is garnering a good mindshare. As in reality there are some people who are investing in his purpose and also there are doubtful investors playing pocket polo to invest in him when he gets enough traction. it may be too late for them. Yes, just like all other startups you can’t tell about the exit opportunity.