Tag Archives: business

My latest piece on Mint: Question bank approach to learning from failures

I devised a new system to help me make sure I can learn from my past failures in the most opportune time. I call it the learning question bank. The question bank is a curated list of failure learning condensed into one to three questions in each category that I ask myself when I am faced with a new problem which has possible associations with something I have failed at doing before. I review the questions in the bank after I meet entrepreneurs to evaluate their opportunity and see if they can learn something from my failure. I usually send them an email, post our interaction to give them my experiences via the story of my failure which brings the learning back to the forefront.

Read the entire piece at Mint.

Why you should focus less on your Klout score and more on your Karma

Over the last few months Klout has gained more popularity among Indian entrepreneurs. I have noticed not only more invitations on my facebook account for Klout but also more questions on Klout score optimization. Most entrepreneurs who are not technical (have a sales, business development or operations background) seem to be increasingly interested in increasing their Klout score in the hope that it will improve their chances of gaining customers or meeting investors.  It actually does neither. While Klout has its place in scoring social media engagement, it is fairly narrow in its measure of influence is my opinion.

As an early indicator of future success I always look at developers as the early adopters before Marketing and Sales professionals. I have never found marketers tell or show me something a developer had not shown me a few days, weeks or months ago. That’s not to say they are late adopters, but my feeling is that someone has to have developed it for the marketer to know about it. That someone is a developer. Developers tend to talk to other developers to get feedback and perspective first, which is why the early adopter set for most new and innovative products are developers.

Most developers have been focused on increasing their Hacker News Karma for a few years now and not their Klout score.

I have found that the single biggest source of traffic and converted users for either my blog, or two of the previous web apps that I was developing was Hacker News. More than a post on any of the top media blogs in the US.

So, if I were a marketer or sales person who was a founder, and am looking to get early adopters, meet with potential investors, etc. I would spend more time on HN, than Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Notes from the BCG Global Wealth report 2011

The BCG report on Global wealth came out a few days ago. This report (along with another from KPMG) usually gives you an early indicator of what’s to come in the HNI and is an early indicator to the angel investor market. Some highlights:

1. # of millionaire households (worldwide) is 12.5 million (increased 12.5%). The million is invest-able income not including home.

2. Top 5 countries with millionaires – US, Japan, China, UK and Germany.

a) US 5.2 Million households

b) Japan 1.5 M

c) China 1.1 M

d) UK 570K

e) Germany 400K

India is #11 at 190K households (seems low, since the number of businesses doing more than INR 10,000,000 in annual revenue in India itself is  about 150K). Add politicians (local & state), film and sports personalities and you might easily get a 250K – 350K number.

The Ultra High Net Worth households (over $100 Million in invested assets) is about 12,000 worldwide, with the US leading at 2600+ households.

Of these the number of investors willing to fund risky technology startups is a very small 500-1000 number. Its obvious that most HNI in the non-technology space invest mostly in real estate and offshore investment vehicles. The real fun starts when the number of technology investors goes up to about 5000 (10 times the current number).