Speaking at the T-Hub and Anthill event Merge on Thursday, ace Indian cricketer and management coach Kris Srikkanth doled out some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Taking lessons from the pitch and cricketers, here are some of the hilarious but sensible pieces of advice Srikkanth gave to both startups and investors
Throw out the ‘Dabba theory’ - have guts to implement
Referring to business models made on PowerPoint presentations (Dabba means boxes, the boxes in every ppt) of startups and investors to draw out strategy, Srikkanth says that is not enough. One must have the intuition and go out and implement the idea.
“Virendra Sehwag did not make world records by making a ‘Dabba theory’ and going step by step. That guy had guts to swing the bat each time without the fear of getting out,” he said. That is innovation, he adds. He says one must have guts to go big.
Investors too, much encourage more Sehwags in the startup ecosystem says Srikkanth.
To be an innovator, one must have the passion. “And what is passion? Every time Kapil Dev walked on to the pitch, people expected a century – that is passion for your work,” Srikkanth says. To do something, one has to be energized and passionate. It was Kapil Dev’s passion that got India the World Cup in 1983.
Have self-belief like Kapil Dev
In the 1983 world cup, no one expected the Indian Cricket team to win even one match. “In fact, we had booked tickets from Mumbai to the US with just a stopover in England. We thought we’ll play against West Indies, lose and move on. But that’s when Kapil Dev said that we should beat West Indies. We laughed it off,” Srikkanth recalls. Thanks to the belief one man had in himself and his team, the Indian team not only beat West Indies, but went on to win the World Cup.
To be an innovator, one must believe in himself and his passion.
Take competition by surprise
“The greatest innovation happened five days ago. When Kuldeep Singh, with his chinaman bowling took Australia by surprise. That is innovation and guts. He was an unknown commodity and yet won the test match for India,” Srikkanth said, referring to the India Vs Australia test match on March 25.
Innovation is taking your opposition by surprise. Innovation is beating your competition outright. “I’ll do this, I will scale up and all that is just dabba theories. Why would you start a company if you don’t want to scale?” Srikkanth said.
Innovation is not doing a typist job
Srikkanth says most entrepreneurs these days are just doing a typist job. “There is no creation. A Microsoft or a Google send you something from the US, they give you direction, the design, you only type on your computer and send it back and then it will come back to you at 100 times the price. That is not innovation,” he said. Create something that the outside world will look at and say, “Hey, we want that!”
Do some soul searching
Technology is important, but an entrepreneur must ensure that technology is for the betterment of the society and for the betterment of their growth, according to Srikkanth.
“The best milk, ice-cream is Amul's. And why? Because they help small farmers through cooperatives and make them rich. That is innovation,” Srikkanth says.
You may not be making big bucks, but are you reaching out to people and giving them what they need. What is the kind of growth you are looking at? Are you really doing something? Are you touching lives? Do some soul-searching, Srikkanth says.
Investors, too, must invest in small ideas and small companies and make a life for them. Investors must look at innovative ways of investing to make a difference to people’s lives, Srikkanth says.
This article has been produced with inputs from T Hub as a part of a partner program.