Designing Sustainable Startups


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This is the presentation that I gave at Barcamp Delhi 4 on 17th May 2008.

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Designing Sustainable Startups

  1. 1. Designing Responsible Startups Nirat Bhatnagar Co-Founder
  2. 2. The Times…They Are A-Changin…
  3. 3. These are really tough problems… <ul><ul><li>Dynamically complex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generatively complex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Socially complex </li></ul></ul>… and require nuanced solutions … But The Answer, I’m Afraid, Isnt Blowing In The Wind … Source: Solving Tough Problems, Adam Kahane
  4. 4. Or that they are not our business. We cant pretend these problems don’t exist…
  5. 5. Business Is Best Resourced To Provide Solutions Business Family Religion Government
  6. 6. But … businesses can only be as healthy as the inner state of the founders… Most entrepreneurs Self Actualization Ego Social Security Physical
  7. 7. … which isn’t all that great.
  8. 8. It ranges from pure lunacy… Source: My Lobotomy, Piya Kochhar
  9. 9. … to unadulterated greed…
  10. 10. … to unlovely McFlips… I want to be eaten by Google Microsoft – have me for dinner What ??? No one wants to buy me ?
  11. 11. … to the grey area of treadmill ambition. “Stuck on a monetary treadmill” “Addicted to running after more and more, and then more still, without ever stopping to ask why” “(I) will retire after he became “a real after-tax billionaire.” “I just want to have more money than Larry Ellison. I don’t know why. But once I have more money than Larry Ellison, I’ll be satisfied.” Source: The New New Thing, Michael Lewis; Built To Flip – Jim Collins
  12. 12. Some “fundamental tenets” taught in b-school, enforced by the media and embraced by us … I’m a loser if I don’t appear on CNN. Quarterly Earnings Forecasts are sacrosanct. All is lost if Kleiner Perkins does not fund me. To grow, a social network must offer its services for free. Hook or crook, get the damn deal. I NEED to cash out with at least USD 5 million Startups don’t have the resources to be socially responsible. Obliterate your competition. Kill it. Hack it to death.
  13. 13. … aren’t so fundamental after all … which means that we have the choice… Source: Electron: Wave Particle Duality
  14. 14. … to pause and ask ourselves: <ul><li>Why …. am I creating it ? </li></ul><ul><li>What …. am I creating ? </li></ul>And
  15. 15. … Is fear driving you ? Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to greed . Greed leads to unauthenticity. Inauthenticity leads to suffering . Water is going to run dry. I will be safe only if cocooned in a gated community. My life will come to nothing if I don’t become famous I’m scared of being poor. I want to have enough to retire 5 times over I’ve simply got to do something bigger than Ellison. Else nada. Source: Yoda, Jedi Master
  16. 16. Once you face your beliefs… … and see their limitations …
  17. 17. … you can start to design “good” businesses <ul><li>Businesses that … </li></ul><ul><li>… Make value adding products / services that are not Chindogu </li></ul><ul><li>… For customers you really like and respect … </li></ul><ul><li>… Working with people you like … </li></ul><ul><li>… In a place that feels good … </li></ul><ul><li>… With ethics you can be proud of </li></ul><ul><li>And all the time contributing to the community you operate in. </li></ul>Business design as conscious decisions
  18. 18. And that way … … neither you, nor your venture becomes a Frankenstein.
  19. 19. Some businesses we admire (and a person)… Jeff Skoll
  20. 20. Some Thoughts On The Next Steps... <ul><li>NCR “Good Business Club” </li></ul><ul><li>“Geeks For Good” club </li></ul><ul><li>Enlisting in the “1 Percent Club” </li></ul>… Anyone Game ?
  21. 21. Thanks  Nirat Bhatnagar [email_address] +91 98996.92572