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H1B Change to Salary are Less of an Impact than Educational Qualifications for the Visa

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H1B Change to Salary

The US government announced dramatic changes to the H1B visa which is used by over 85K individuals each year to work in the US. By some estimates there are over 500K workers using the H1B visa in the US.

Now, the estimate is to cut these by a third with new rules that change how much employers pay H1B employees.

Below is the list of the top 20 H1B employers in 2020 (to date) and the average salaries they have paid H1B employees.

RankH1B Visa SponsorNumber of LCA *Average Salary
1Cognizant Technology Solutions28,526$86,456
2Infosys21,473$87,248
3Tata Consultancy Services11,868$86,453
4Google10,577$143,373
5Ernst & Young8,893$122,887
6Capgemini8,411$89,750
7Deloitte & Touche8,258$91,413
8Amazon.Com Services7,705$134,117
9IBM7,237$107,449
10Microsoft6,041$142,132
11Accenture5,654$120,461
12Hcl America4,688$92,901
13Wipro4,291$77,533
14Tech Mahindra (Americas)4,175$85,711
15Larsen & Toubro Infotech3,625$93,122
16Facebook3,212$166,068
17Wal-Mart Associates2,277$121,993
18L&T Technology Services2,117$83,366
19Syntel1,893$80,899
20Jpmorgan Chase1,796$122,750

Credit: MyVisaJobs

While the Indian outsourcing companies pay about $85K, the US multinationals pay about $115K on average.

Under the new rule, which is due to be published later this week and which will take effect immediately, H1B applicants will need to be earning a salary equivalent to the 45th percentile of their profession’s salary if they’re an entry-level worker, rising to 95th percentile for higher-skilled workers. 

In the past, the boundaries were set at the 17th and 67th percentiles respectively. 

So what will these employers have to pay?

Depending on where they are hired (city in the US) and their role, the average increase in salary to get an H1B approval for a outsourcing company goes to $115K and for a multinational to $130K.

While it is an increase, it won’t be that dramatic in terms of the pay.

The other changes are the qualifications for the H1B. As outlined by Quartz and the WSJ:

The Department of Homeland Security’s rule would narrow who qualifies for H-1B visas based on their specific education. Currently, foreigners with a college degree or the equivalent amount of experience can apply to work in what is known as a specialty occupation.

Under the changes, an applicant must have a college degree in the specific field in which he or she is looking to work. A software developer, for example, wouldn’t be awarded an H-1B visa if that person has a degree in electrical engineering.

This is the major change. If you look at the filings of H1B visas at MyVisaJobs, then you will see that over 80% of the H1B visas awarded were for software developers who did not have educational background in computer science.

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Creating Artificial Constraints as a Means to Innovation

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Artificial Constraints

Many of the entrepreneurs I know have created new innovative startups thanks to real constraints they had. For example, I was hearing AirBnB’s Brian Chesky, on the Corner Office podcast and he mentioned that when he and his cofounder were trying to get some money to get started and the only way to keep afloat was to “rent” their air bed they had in their room. That, then led to Air Bed and Breakfast, which is now AirBnB.

This was a real constraint they had – no money to “eat” so they had to make it happen somehow.

I have heard of many stories of innovation where in the protagonists had real constraints of either financial, technology, supply, demand, economic, social or any number of other characteristics.

The interesting story that I have also recently heard of how Facebook has “pivoted” from being a desktop offering to getting a significant part of their revenue from mobile is how they were given the arbitrary constraint of only accessing Facebook via the mobile phone.

So there are ways that you can create “artificial” constraints to force innovation to happen.

Most larger companies and some smaller ones as well, have to constantly find ways to create artificial constraints – to find a way to innovate and be more be a pioneer.

While some constraints are good – lack of funds at the early stage for example and lack of resources, there are entrepreneurs that are stymied by these constraints and those that will find  a way to seek a path to go forward.

I think this is a great way for you to think about innovating in a new space. If you have constraints, find a way to use it to your advantage.

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The Great Mobile App Migration of March 2020

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Mobile App Migration

Over the last few weeks as many in the world have been in lockdown, there has been a temporary “mobile app migration” happening. There are new apps downloaded and they replaced existing apps on the “home screen”.

While some of these apps are likely temporary use, for e.g. I have 6 “conferencing apps” – Zoom, Uber Conference, Webex, Google Hangouts, Blue Jeans and Goto Meeting. That is because of the many people I have conference calls with – each company seems to have chosen a different web conference solution.

Other apps seem like they will have staying power – Houseparty, for e.g. which has games, networking and video conferencing all built into one app to keep in touch with friends and relatives.

Houseparty

The apps that have moved away from my “home” screen, which I expect will come back once the crisis will be behind us include – Uber, Lyft and all the airline apps from Delta, Alaska and United.

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Perseverance with the Ability to Pivot on Data: 21 Traits We Look for in Entrepreneurs

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Perseverance with the Ability to Pivot

There are 5 key inflection points I have noticed which makes founders question their startup, to either make a call to continue working on their startup, pivot to a new problem or quit their startup altogether.

It is at these points that you really get to know the startup founder and their hunger and drive to be successful. I don’t think I can characterize those that choose to quit as “losers” or “quitters” because of many extraneous circumstances, but there is a lot of value that most investors see in entrepreneurs who face an uphill part of their journey to come out on the other side more confident and stronger.

These five inflection points are:

  1. When you have to get the first customers to use and pay for the product you have built after you have “shipped” an alpha / beta / first version. Entrepreneurs quit because they have not found the product-market-fit – because the customer don’t care about the product, there is no market need, or the product is really poorly built, or a host of other reasons.
  2. When you have to start to raise the first external round of financing from people you are not familiar with at all. Entrepreneurs quit because while it is hard to get customers and hire people, it is much more harder to get a smaller set of investors to part with their money, if you do not have “traction”, or “the right management team” or a “killer product”.
  3. When you have to push to break even (financially) and sustain the company to path of being self sufficient. Entrepreneurs quit at this stage because they have now the ability to do multiple things at the same time – grow revenues and manage costs, and many of them like to do one but realize it is hard to do that without affecting the other. So, rather than feel stuck they decide to quit.
  4. When you have to scale and grow faster that the competition – which might mean to hire faster, to get more customers, to drive more sales, or to completely rethink their problem statement and devise new ways to grow faster. Entrepreneurs quit at this point because they are consumed by the magnitude of the problem. They overassess the impact the competition will have on their company, give them too much credit or focus way too much on the competitors, thereby driving their company to the ground.
  5. At any point in the journey, when the founders lose the passion, vision or the drive to succeed. Entrepreneurs quit a these points because they have challenges with their co founder, they don’t agree with the direction they have to take, or encounter the “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome.

While I have observed many entrepreneurs at these stages at  discrete points in time, I have also had the opportunity to observe some entrepreneurs in the continuum, and I am going to give you my observations on 3 of the many folks I have known, who, have quit.

Perseverance separates great entrepreneurs from good ones
Perseverance separates great entrepreneurs from good ones

One went back to college to finish his MBA after getting a running business to a point of near breakeven, another found the business much harder than he originally thought he would and got a job at a larger company and the third was just unable to have the drive to go past 11 “no’s”‘ from angel investors.

Over the last 8 years, if I look at my deeper interactions with over 90 entrepreneurs, who I would have spent at least 100+ hours each, I would say that of the 24 people that are not longer in their startup, the one thing that stands out among the ones that persevere is that it is not “passion” or “vision” at all.

It is the inherent belief that they are solving a problem that they believe is their “calling”. They also don’t believe that there is any other problem that’s worth solving as much, even though there may be easier ways to make money.

So most of my questions of entrepreneurs to test whether they will pivot or quit are around why they want to solve this problem (which I am looking to see if they know enough about in the first place) versus any other one.

The answer to that question is the best indicator I have found to be the difference between the pivots, the leavers and the rest.

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