Saturday, November 29, 2008



The book speaks volumes about the practical experience of Gordon Binder, the CEO and Chairman of Amgen from 1988-2000. When he joined, the firm had bare capital to sustain for a period of three months and no products to move forward. Gradually the company became one of the best biotech companies in the world under his leadership setting ideal example for others to follow. When Gordon was interviewed by George Rathmann and was asked “What is biotechnology?” he was unable to reply and the same person became the CEO and put Amgen on the map of biotechnology success. It is indeed incredible to believe a person who did not know the anything about biotechnology and making the biotech firm a runaway hit. For Amgen it is a credit to have been crowned as one of the America’s best companies to work for by magazines such as Fortune, Working Mother and Industry Week five years in a row. Let us know what made the company to tick and the secrets and strategies behind its phenomenal success.

Before joining Amgen, the author served in System Development Corporation (SDC) as vice president of finance for ten years, supported a workforce of roughly four thousand. He moved with his wife and two young sons from Los Angeles to Detroit, the business machine giant’s headquarters. When he was in Harvard Business School he had a goal to be chief financial officer CFO of a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Consistent growth enabled Amgen to establish itself as one of Wall Street’s top performers of the 1990s. The company debuted on the NASDAQ stock exchange on June 17, 1983. The author says, “If you’d purchased one hundred shares that day (IPO Day), at $18 per, by 2000 your original $1,800 in vestment would have been worth eighty times that, roughly $ 150,000”.

Gordon says, “Science Lessons is not primarily a company history, nor is it my life story. My purpose in taking you behind the scenes is to highlight real-life examples of the guiding principles and management techniques that contributed greatly to Amgen’s success. Amgen was and is a unique place. We did things differently from most businesses, beginning with our decision to let research and development lead the way.”


Amgen was successful because of its corporate culture and values. Gordon says a company’s culture emerges from its values; we interviewed hundreds of staff members in all areas of Amgen to learn which values they believed constituted the core of that culture.

The author, Gordon Binder has always been fascinated by the inner workings of companies. When you think about it, a business is much like a living, breathing, entity, experiencing constant change. How are some corporations able to achieve success year after year? Does the company mold its personnel, or is it the other way around? I say it’s a bit of both.


The venture capitalists apply various tactics initially to lure the entrepreneurs and Gordon Binder comments on venture capitalists as, “They always seemed to argue that you didn’t need as much money as you thought you needed, and they’d hint that there would be more money down the road. Except that when you came back to them for a second or third round, they’d make it very difficult. It creates this vicious cycle where the board members hold complete control of your company. And the weaker you are, the happier they are, because they’re going to get bargain-bin prices”.

He explains how an IPO is floated. Under his leadership Amgen pushed its IPO successfully. He says, “ A successful initial public offering typically takes at least six months, and that’s assuming the stars are all in alignment: a strong stock market and an organization with its house in order. Yet Amgen pushed its IPO through in half that time.”

When a company resolves to cross over from private to public the following points should be noted:
• Hire a chief financial officer.
• Develop relationships with seasoned underwriters, attorneys, and accountants.
• Employ an outside accounting firm to audit the company for at least the past three years.
• If necessary, give your board of directors a makeover. And
• Make sure that company policies concerning executive loans and stock-option plans conform to SEC regulations.


Amgen was successful because of its exceptional workforce. It looked beyond the resumes while recruiting staff such as resourcefulness, ethics, and adaptability which is usually not found in the resumes. Gordon writes, “We usually interviewed five or six people per job opening. Then we narrowed the list to two and asked them back. Each candidate might have an audience with some of the same interviewers as before, while meeting other Amgen staffers for the first time”. He further writes, “Corporations, such as IBM, Amazon.com, and Motorola have adopted the practice of peer interviewing, wherein the folks who would work alongside the candidate sit down with her and ask questions of their own.”

At the time of interview it is not good to make false promises as it conveys wrong image about the company as the employees will know once they join. Any job interview should be a mutual exploration of whether the two parties would make a harmonious match, with full disclosure on both sides. Gordon writes about the integrity of George Rathmann who interviewed Gordon for the position of CFO when the former expressed the sorry economic plight of Amgen.

Employees are not fired due to lack of necessary skills. They are rather fired because they have alienated their coworkers, or they are ineffective communicators or they are not team players. They are out of step with the rest of the organization. This cuts both ways: at a poorly managed company, really good employees tend not to last very long because their work ethic, integrity, and so on conflict with the prevailing office culture.

Amgen emphasized on referral recruitment. Good workers mix up with good workers like the eagles fly with eagles not with turkeys. The good workers refer their friends for employment in Amgen. As a result, Amgen began getting the right talent and over a period of time it built strong teams. Besides it saved lot of money by of advertisements, recruiting procedures and formalities. At the same time Amgen never supported in cash rewards as it is obvious from his writings, “ Some organizations, such as computer networking giant Cisco Systems, have instituted programs that give cash rewards to employees for referrals.”

Amgen explored unconventional talent pools such as Baby Boomers (the generation born between 1946 and 1964), recruiting the personnel from armed forces. The author writes, “I may be guilty of generalizing here, but people who come out of the military tend to exhibit many of the traits that a manager should have: leadership, responsibility, self-sufficiency, a belief in teamwork, and a drive to get the mission done, all grounded by a moral center. I particularly like the fact that military veterans rarely make excuses.”


After recruiting the right talent for the Amgen, the company kept them highly committed and motivated by various ways and means. Amgen believed in mentoring younger generation employees continuously. The most effective and economical way to maintain the employees’ commitment is not to offer one incentive after another but to eliminate the negatives as much as possible.

The author recalls how he handled the problems of pilots of Prime Jet (which was founded by him after leaving Amgen) by asking them about the problems. The pilots complained that the hotel rooms booked for them were filthy and as a result, they spent their money and stayed elsewhere against the company booked hotels. As a result, the author made it a rule to stay in any hotel as per their comfort and the amount would be reimbursed by the company. It enhances the commitment of the employees towards the organization when the organizations take care of their employees.

Creating collaborative working environment is another hallmark of Amgen company. Both men and women in Amgen would plan their work. It helps in sharing their knowledge and information. Amgen was a place where ideas flowed freely, and people were empowered to make decisions with minimal bureaucratic interference. Former CEO George Rathmann believed in the old saying that two heads are better than one-or, in the case of most of our teams, six to eights heads.

Amgen’s Tips For Teams:

• Groups of five to nine people tend to be most effective. Adding two or three members has been shown to aid productivity; if your go higher than that, however, scheduling conflicts and other problems begin to surface.
• They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but teams whose members stay together for a long time actually performs better.

In Amgen there is no room for office politics. It encouraged a free-ranging perspective where meetings were always open to anyone in the company and that helped in sidestepping all sorts of petty office politics.


Amgen believed in the importance of training and development on a continuous basis. The author writes, “Most good workers – and that describes the majority of professionals – genuinely want to do well at their jobs and see their company prosper.” It indicates that the workers would like to contribute their best for the company and training is essential to equip them with skills and abilities so that they can perform their duties effectively.

The author quotes, “Without continued training and education, your best people will seek opportunities at firms that will invest in their future. Even more troubling, your less-talented personnel will stay – and stagnate. According to an internal study, 4 in 5 IBM employees who are afforded learning and developmental opportunities stay with the company for at least three years.

Amgen paid for one university course per semester for all employees, who were entitled to take one class per year unrelated to their jobs. Apart from providing training and developing their precious human resources, Amgen helped in balancing the work-life of their employees. It has provided child care and offered generous compensation to their employees.

The author took the quote of Warren Bennis, a distinguished business professor and prolific author, “Good leaders make people feel that they are at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens, people feel centered, and that gives their work meaning.”

The author said about the ways and means of building morale:

• Help your staffers draw the connection between their duties and the company’s success.
• Get into the habit of saying “we” instead of “I”. As per the Chinese proverb, “The best leader, the people do not notice. When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”

The author mentions the necessity to share the credit freely with others as it builds their morale and bringing them under one platform.

The author believes in 360 degree feedback where he took his feedback from all sources for his improvement. It is always advisable for the CEOs to have their performance reviewed from all quarters.

It is necessary to deal with habitual underachievers. Studies suggest that in the average company about one in seven workers can be considered complacent. The authors adds, “A single employee’s feeble effort can subvert productivity across the board. The rest of the staff sees what’s going on. If management turns a blind eye, may be it’s not paying attention to the people who excel at their jobs. Therefore, why bother trying? Failure to take action may ultimately drive model employees, those with pride and ambition, from the company in search of an organization that values hard work and diligence.’

The leader should keep track of what is happening with in the organization. If an employee resigns it should not surprise the boss and if it so then it is a sign of poor management as the leader/boss is not in tune with his employees.


Change is the only constant in the corporate world. Employees should be willing to embrace change as per the changing times. The author says, “The philosophy of Procter & Gamble was ‘there is always a better way’. Senior managers were expected to spend three-fourths of their time working on keeping things running as usual. But the other one-fourth was to be devoted to new ideas. It was made very clear, even to us summer interns, that innovative managers were the one who got promoted.” Usually entrepreneurs maintain high energy levels at the beginning of the start-up and gradually it fades away as the things go smooth. But to keep the organizations alive and kicking it is vital to sustain the energy levels from the beginning to the end.


Ethics are the important ingredients for any entrepreneurial success. People look at the background check during marriage and while making friendship they look at the back ground of the person. Very few people look at the background check of the company that you are partnering. It is essential to check thoroughly the background before entering any partnership in business. The most important ingredient to be looked at is ethics. Gordon says, “One lesson we learned from our happy experience with Kirin Breweries was that the most important factor in any partnership is ethics.” And also added that, “We learned rather late – and the hard way – that ethics should have been at the top of the list.” Gordon recalls the famous saying of George Rathman, “Success is the ability to survive your mistakes.”

It is only a few companies emerge successfully out of many. The main reason for the same is the importance of ethics. The author writes companies usually fail due to lack of ethics in business. He cited companies like Enron, MCI WorldCom, Inc., and Martha Steward Omnimedia. The ethics should start from the top of the leadership. He narrates about his father who discovered his passion for teaching and loved kids. His father was extraordinarily principled. He put in many extra hours to help students. All these things have had tremendous influence on Gordon. The author mentions, “In a company where ethics are entrenched in the culture and practiced consistently, with no double standards based on hierarchy, staff members are more likely to expose unethical practices.” He recalls the quote of Roy Ash, co-founder and president of Litton Industries, “When in doubt, do the right thing.”

He announced his retirement plans publicly on December 7, 1999 and that happened to be Pearl Harbor Day was purely coincidental. After his retirement from Amgen, he founded Prime Jet and it is also successful. And the principles and philosophies of the Prime Jet are also that of Amgen. When it worked in Amgen, it did work in Prime Jet and it works for all companies irrespective of their areas of interest and operations.


The daring business strategies, ethical principles, and management values of Amgen and the ethical leadership of Gordon Binder brought Amgen from nowhere to top status on biotechnology. The eight ethical values of Amgen, its transparent corporate policies, encouraging research activities, its agility to float IPO to EPO in four months, innovative recruitment policies, building strong winning teams by continuous training and development, the 360 degree feedback for CEOs, embracing change are worth reading and worth to be emulated by all. The book is a must read for all who aspire to be managers, entrepreneurs and leaders as the business lessons that have been learnt by way of experience have been distilled for the benefit of readers. The book helps in sharpening your managerial, entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

Monday, November 24, 2008


“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure” – Abraham Lincoln.

Motivation is the ability to move from one failure to another without losing one’s energy and enthusiasm despite being confronted with hurdles. We can not define that people are motivated when they move from one success to another success. When success begets success we can not call it as motivation but when failure begets subsequent success then we can define as motivation. Motivation triggers the people to move ahead towards achieving anything and everything. To put it succinctly, motivation is the desire and drive that directs our energies and efforts in achieving our goals.

When we talk of motivation the famous personality comes into our mind is Abraham Lincoln, who was the 16th President and the first Republican president of America. He was a symbol of motivation as he underwent many failures right from birth to death. But nowhere his spirit was halted and no way had he stopped moving ahead all along his life. When we look at his biographical graph it is very obvious that it was low all along his life except at the fag end of his life where we find steep peak. Let us look at the list of his failures that provide insights and ideas about his unflagging determination and motivation.

Lincoln failed in business at age 22; defeated for Illinois State Assembly at age 23; failed again in business at age 24; suffered a nervous breakdown at age 27; defeated again for Speaker of the Illinois State Assembly at age 29; defeated again for presidential elector at age 31; defeated again for US Congress at age 34; defeated again for US Congress at age 39; defeated again for US Senate at age 46; defeated again for Vice president of the newly formed Republican party at age 47; defeated again for the US Senate when he ran against Stephen A. Douglas at age 49; elected President of the United States at age 51.

All the above failures did not deter him from dreaming big and doing big. He learnt lessons from his failures and he always failed differently which is an indication of experimenting creative and innovative ideas to reach the top slot. All along the way he was motivated with optimism that one day he would make it big. He rightly said, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come”.

Lincoln was less fortunate by birth as he was born to a poor farmer. He lost his beloved mother at the age of 10. He had to struggle for his living and learning right from his childhood. He was cared and brought up by his stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston, who provided a fine model and who inspired the ambitious but unschooled boy to discipline and educate himself. He was self-educated.

He was initially underestimated by the people as he was viewed as a second graded and unworthy, ugly president by his looks. But nobody realized the hidden potential and strength of Licoln. Lincoln had his goals well set. He divided goals into short term and long term. It is basically because of his long term goals he was unmoved when faced with several failures in his life which can be treated as short term goals. Since his long term goal was well set and was very confident with his convictions that he would reach the right slot and top slot Lincoln kept putting his efforts and energies throughout his life.

Lincoln had exemplary courage and character. His ideas and insights are priceless and timeless. He was defeated seven times before becoming the President of America. He failed whether in his personal life, or in political life, or in professional life or in social. But he never quit his endeavors to achieve big in his life. He proved to the world that success is the product of successive setbacks. To put it in the words of Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi, "Winners never quit and quitters never win."

Irrespective of our nationalities, let us all salute the highly motivated and inspirational legendary leader – Abraham Lincoln, on the eve of bicentennial birth celebrations to be held in Feb 2009.



“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”- Abraham Lincoln

Soft skills have been evolving as an interesting discipline. There are many definitions related to soft skills. Some call them as life skills or non-domain skills. And some call the same as success skills or people skills. Soft skills are collection of certain skills like interpersonal skills, team spirit, social grace, etiquette, negotiation skills, motivation, time management, conflict management, change management, presentation skills, attitude building, leadership skills, assertiveness, taking continuous feedback, etc; Abraham Lincoln was smart at these skills much long back. In this context, let us see how the soft skills were effectively used by Lincoln.

He was good at communication skills both in written and in oral means. He had the habit the maintaining diary and wrote the ideas and insights that came across to him as he believed that a short pencil was better than a long memory. He had the ability for speech writing and it helped him tremendously to communicate orally at ease. In many debates he communicated eloquently and won the debates. Lincoln was more known for winning in several debates which were the milestones in his career. One of the most memorable one was the Gettysburg speech: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Another famous speech by Lincoln was "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." It was highly touching. He demonstrated his ability of communication by way of speeches, letters, and humor to the audience. It is one of the most important among the soft skills.

Lincoln had the ability to change himself with the changing times. He managed change effectively in his life as well as effected the changes in his functioning. From his several failures he changed himself a lot from various areas like business to law and finally to politics although he was basically from farming community. He reinvented and evolved himself from farmer to politician at ease. Change management is another important aspect of soft skills.

He maintained grace and etiquette well. Although he might have not worn aristocratic attire he was always dressed well neatly and maintained his grace. He was not good looking but his etiquette which was filled with modesty and compassion appealed the people. He was modest and unassuming. This is yet another aspect of soft skills.

He neither believed in the slogan of “I win and you lose” nor in “You win and I lose” but he just believed in the slogan of “We both win”. It reflected his assertiveness and win-win attitude. During the Civil War he believed in negotiations rather going for war but the then prevailing scenario compelled him to resort to war with the sole intention of the preserving the Union together. He believed in the concept of win-win situation for all. He was a patient listener which helped him demonstrate his negotiation skills time and again. It also helped him to become an effective negotiator with assertiveness. This is part and parcel of soft skills.

Lincoln was a trouble shooter. He had the knack of handling conflicts. Whether it was within the party or during the bickering after his initial defeat he sailed through. Through his persuasive skills he handled the conflicts at ease. During the Civil War, it was a tough job to manage divergent people with divergent ideas and ideologies. He pushed ahead with his pro-Union policies at ease which is an indication of his abilities as an effective manager of conflicts. He always came out with flying colors by managing the conflicts through tact and diplomacy. No other leader could have handled the conflicts the way he handled during his tenure.

He had great capacity for empathy. As a listener he empathized with others by stepping into their shoes. It helped him to understand the problems of the people. He was combination of sympathy and empathy. He was sympathetic to even Southerners who were opposing to his ideologies and he extended his hand despite their losing the war.

He was a very good time manager as he planned his daily activities in a systematic manner by avoiding time wasters. He created time for himself to read various biographies and selected works of writers. He also studied law at home by proper time management. He was punctual for the meetings and respected the others’ time by being in time always.

He worked in teams whether in politics or during the Civil War. In his political life he realized the importance of taking suggestions from his team members and worked with them effectively to ensure the success of the party. He made few mistakes during the Civil War during the selection of generals as he was not expert in military operations. He worked with them in teams and ensured the success of war. He demonstrated and displayed his team building skills both during war and peace. It is yet another important one among soft skills.

Lincoln liked in taking continuous feedback especially from his critics. He invited constructive criticism and improved the areas wherever he was weak without resorting to false-egoism. A friend may tell the good things and it may not lead to any improvement. On the contrary, Lincoln said a good critic can provide the right feedback for improvement and enhancement. However he made it sure that the criticism did not affect his self-confidence and that was how he balanced himself.

He was highly motivated as it would be clear from the background of his failures in his life. Anyone and everybody can achieve success when the going gets easy and especially after series of success. But it requires extraordinary energy and enthusiasm to move forward especially when the going gets tough. Motivation was the extraordinary trait of Lincoln that made him stand out from the rest of the leaders from America.

He had positive attitude and believed in looking for opportunities out of adversities rather looking for adversities out of opportunities. It indicated his optimism and the attitude towards his life and others. His attitude against slavery was clear. Right from the beginning he was against slavery and anybody who supported slavery he talked of applying the same on him.

The leadership traits of Lincoln are unique in many ways. He had the all the ingredients of courage, confidence, character, convictions and communication. He was the only leader who possessed the traits which no other American president possessed. He was a leader with various characteristics like motivation, inspiration, transformation, servant hood, democratic, creation, wisdom and charisma. Therefore, we can call him as an inspirational leader, motivational leader, charismatic leader, transformational leader, thought leader, servant hood leader, creative leader and democratic leader.

The importance of soft skills is being highlighted heavily now days across the world in all walks of life. But to our surprise Abraham Lincoln applied soft skills long ago.

Ordinary leaders have limited memory span among the people. The great leaders have unlimited memory span among the people. Leaders like Lincoln are legends in the history of mankind. He was rated as the most distinguished President among all the presidents of America. Leaders like Lincoln are born in the hearts of the people irrespective of nationalities.

Cutting across our nationalities, let us all salute this highly motivated and inspirational legendary leader – Abraham Lincoln, on the eve of bicentennial birth celebrations to be held in Feb 2009.



Nobody would have expected a farmer to be crowned as the President. Nobody believed that a person who had successive failures in his life would become the Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. Nobody imagined that a non-glamorous and self-educated person would have the courage to fight for the abolition of slavery tooth and nail. Nobody ever thought that a leader can command respect across the world cutting the nationalities. It was Abraham Lincoln who proved to the world that a leader is a leader and a great leader like him is born in the hearts of the people not in the minds.

Let us look at his brief profile on the eve of his bicentennial birth celebrations to be marked in Feb 2009.

Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 Feb 1809. He lost his mother at ten years of age and was brought up by step mother who was affectionate and caring. He was not blessed with formal education and learnt of his own with his interest and enthusiasm. He was self-educated. He married Mary Todd and they had four boys and only one of whom lived to maturity. He faced several failures in his life but no failure broke his passion to grow. He became an excellent symbol for his dogged determination and motivation for others. He was respected by many but his anti-slavery policies hurt Southerners and incurred their displeasure. As a result he was assassinated by a racist and Southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, 14 April 1865.

He lived during the most turbulent times in the history of America where there were divisions like North and South and the burning issue of slavery. No other president would have handled the way Lincoln handled and brought country out of chaos and strengthened. He was the pioneer in ending slavery from the soil of America.

He was tactful and diplomatic in winning over his rivals by his story telling techniques. He was a wisdom leader, benevolent leader, charismatic leader, transformational leader, motivational leader and inspirational leader. It was a rare combination for any leader to possess combination of all such ingredients. His leadership and character has often been compared with George Washington. He was the rarest of the rare presidents America ever had.

He was modest and always kept low profile. The success did not go to head despite reaching his tipping point. He never forgot his humble origins. He always took pride in having come from humble background. His lawyer professional helped him to analyze the problems from various perspectives so as to find solutions and that helped him to evolve himself as a leader. He was a very good net worker and believed in maintaining the relations without expecting anything from others. He had the great habit of writing the ideas through his diary and it helped him to draft his own speeches in his later life. He believed in thorough preparation in every aspect of life. He was champion of self-discipline.

He took continuous feedback from all and mostly from his critics. It was his critics who provided right inputs for his intellectual growth and for his ideological improvement and refinement. He respected his enemies more thereby making them as his friends. His knack of story telling in every situation helped in winning over his opponents both as a lawyer and as a politician.

He was initially underestimated by the people as he was viewed as a second graded and unworthy, ugly president by his looks. But nobody realized the hidden potential and strength of Lincoln.

He was undeterred by false accusations and calumny made by and strongly believed in what was right and what was wrong not who was right and who was wrong as we can draw from his quote, "Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us…. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

Although he was a farmer by origins he worked all the way by building education informally, read about law, built his strengths like writing and speaking skills, developed networking skills by his humble and humane contacts and gradually rose to the top. Lincoln’s success was not an overnight one but it was a continuous and sustained effort to achieve big. All along life he knew where he was heading because he had vision.

He was a voracious reader of various books, good dealer in negotiations and a life long learner. He never believed in perfection but in excellence as he knew that perfection was neither feasible nor possible. He demonstrated his team building skills during the Civil War and it helped him win the war and prevented the Union from the brink of disintegration.

He was like an eagle in his vision and he set out his goals based on his vision. He divided his goals into short term and long term. It was because of his long term goals he was undeterred by short term failures. His long term goal was to become big as it would be reflected from his quotation, “Someday I shall be President”.

Although Lincoln looked simple by outlook he had enormous emotional intelligence and strength that catapulted to greater heights of presidency. His ideas and insights are priceless and timeless. He was a benevolent leader as he treated others with compassion as it was evident that he extended his hand to the fallen South in stead of taking revenge. He left a legacy behind. He became a good ancestor although he was a poor inheritor.

Lincoln prepared a lot as it was evidenced from the below statement:
"Lincoln was a rewriter, who constantly revised his writing, and he was also a pre writer, who was always making notes on things he wanted to get across to the public," Wilson said.

He firmly believed in just causes and right causes irrespective of the consequences as it is clear from his quotation of "The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just."

In the initial stage of Lincoln’s political career nobody took him seriously based on his physical appearance and family background and also on his track record of failures. But gradually people began taking him seriously. Mahatma Gandhi aptly said, when any leader takes up the charge initially he would be ignored and in the second stage he would be to taken seriously and people start criticizing him by comparing with other leaders and with their policies and thoughts. And in the third and final stage he would be accepted and respected as a leader. Lincoln also underwent all these stages in his life and became one of the most respected leaders in the American history.

Abraham Lincoln is always remembered for his exemplary character and for his leadership qualities. His dogged determination, perseverance and high motivational level led him to the nation’s highest office.

His tenure as the President of America would be remembered as one of the most glorious periods in the history of America. When he took over the reins everyone was skeptical about his abilities and doubted his capabilities to deliver the goods, but he proved his critics wrong.

When a farmer could rise to the top slot and seat of America why not we? We too can achieve. Anybody and everybody can achieve anything in life if the efforts and energies are sustained backed by passion, vision and mission.

To sum Lincoln was an average person. He made it happen though his courage and leadership qualities. The way he handled the crises during the turbulent times of American is a memorable one it is worth to be emulated by all. He would be remembered and respected as long as the human civilization exists.


Friday, November 21, 2008



The article speaks at length about the basic jargon of entrepreneurship like angel investors, venture capitalists and their role. It differentiates between entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship and the qualities that are essential for becoming a successful entrepreneur. The advantages of entrepreneurship and what triggers entrepreneurs to resort to innovation and it justifies that innovation and entrepreneurship are two sides of the same coin. It mapped out a plan for budding entrepreneurs to pursue their passion. At the end it has concluded that entrepreneurship is only for brave heart.


KEY WORDS: Introduction, Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists and Their Role, Entrepreneurship vs. Intrapreneurship, Characteristics of Entrepreneurs, Advantages of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship As a Career, Conclusion.

“An entrepreneur assumes the risk and is dedicated and committed to the success of whatever he or she undertakes” Victor Kiam.


Human beings have the inherent quality of competitive spirit. Individuals want to prove themselves as extraordinary with identity for themselves. Individuals chart their own routes for success. A few take the path of entrepreneurship to display their extraordinary abilities. Majority of them fail and only a few succeed in their entrepreneurial journey. Why? Is it due to lack of abilities or because of other reasons beyond human control? Let us look at the same. Before we begin let us get to know the jargon related to entrepreneurship.


Angel investors will provide critical capital and guidance in turning the dreams of entrepreneurs into realities. A few provide mentoring to the entrepreneurs. By this they promote entrepreneurship and further employment opportunities indirectly. Angle investors are basically affluent people who offer their capital for the ambitious entrepreneurs for setting up new business ventures and they provide their knowledge as well in few cases. They are also called as business angels. Angels invest their own money. They could be retired and experienced people in their domain who are passionate in offering their services and guidance to the next generation. Angels are very much beneficial to the venture capital industry.


Venture capitalists invest their money in new ventures, or growing companies and also in the companies that are starving from funds. Usually they are with deep pockets and entrepreneurs approach when they need more funding. They invest in high growth companies so that they can have quick, fast and high returns for early exit for reinvesting their funds in other start-ups. Their duration of investment may be approximately from 3 to 10 years. Venture capitalists need not be rich people but can pool the resources to make it a limited company. The risks involved are higher and as a result, their returns are also higher. In majority of the cases the failure rate is higher and proportionately their losses could be higher. As a result they keep high margins and expectations to offset the losses in other firms. They also involve in the functioning of the firm as they are accountable. Some entrepreneurs do not like their involvement as they meddle in the affairs of the company. That is the reason why few call them as vulture capitalists because of the same reason. But when we look at from the perspective of the venture capitalists there is a strong reason to involve in the formulation of the policies of the company as there is involvement of financial risk and also accountability. There are some venture capitalists who act as mentors to the entrepreneurs.


Venture capitalists are a group of professionals who form a corpus and offer their investments for setting up new business enterprises. The capital comes from high net worth individuals and institutional investors. They invest in exceptionally high growth sectors where risk is high and returns are also high. They do not usually have more than 7 years of timeframe. They are aggressive and want quick results so that they can exit and go for funding other business ventures. There are five stages of VC funding and in the first stage they encourage the idea which they are convinced, in the second stage they generate the idea by minimizing the risk of failure, in the third stage they assist in setting up the enterprise, in the fourth stage they help in growth of the enterprise and in the fifth and final stage they exit the venture.


Entrepreneurship is the art and science of setting up a new business venture right from conceptualization to completion with an intention to earn profits. It is a discipline and it is being taught at the educational institutions. Those who do not like to work in any organization and those who are passionate in starting off their own will go for entrepreneurship. There are many risks involved in it. According to Wikipedia, Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organizations or revitalizing mature organizations, particularly new businesses generally in response to identified opportunities.

On the contrary, intrapreneurship is the art and science where an idea would be encouraged by the employer to try out without any risk on the part of the employee and with the risk on the part of the employer. If the idea clicks the employer would get huge benefits and the employee would get excellent rewards by way of promotions or incentives. By this way the new ideas of the employees are encouraged by the employer by encouraging the employees. Many companies encourage their employees to become intrapreneurs to encourage their creativity and innovation. Intrapreneurship is sometimes referred as ‘corporate renewal’ and it was coined by author and innovator speaker Gifford Pinchot.

According to Wikipedia, Intrapreneurship is the practice of using entrepreneurial skills without taking on the risks or accountability associated with entrepreneurial activities. It is practiced by employees within an established organization using a systemized business model.

Entrepreneur is the employer and the intrapreneur is the employee. While the former creates the empire of his own right from the scratch the intrapreneur gets everything equipped with regular pay checks. The returns for the entrepreneur are far higher than the intrapreneur as the risks are also higher. The entrepreneur always looks at the broad and big picture where as the intrapreneur looks at the small picture. To sum up it is ultimately the entrepreneur who takes the final call not the intrapreneur.


• They are basically optimists with an attitude of “do or die”. They believe in converting problems into prospects. They are undeterred by stiff opposition.
• They are passionate in what they are doing. They take up the tasks that they love the most. They are burning desire to become big. They have fire in their bellies.
• They believe in their gut feeling and intuition. They are excellent decision makers and are willing to risk to any extent.
• Money is not the motivation for them. They get immense satisfaction when they achieve something that is usually unachievable by others.
• Thinking big and dreaming big is one of the fundamental traits of entrepreneurs.
• Taking up a new idea, experimenting the same and learning lessons from failures is the quality of entrepreneurs. They are continuous learners and trailblazers leaving mark behind.
• Getting into the rat race is the least expected quality of entrepreneurs. They stand apart from the crowd. They follow the unconventional routes and strongly believe in innovation and creativity.
• Entrepreneurs are excellent communicators and effective net workers. These two skills promote their entrepreneurial ambitions. These two keep fueling their goals.
• They believe that change is constant and they keep reinventing themselves.
• Their energy levels are always higher and they always demonstrate their enthusiasm.
• They are round the clock workers and they enjoy working and they love crises and are very good trouble shooters.
• Team spirit is the essential ingredient for effective entrepreneurs. They bring synergy and leverage the same to reach their goals and objectives.
• They are self-starters and self-motivators.
• They don’t like routine and are always different. They are impatient and independent and always crave for recognition and prestige.
• They know their strengths and weaknesses better than others and have the uncanny ability to covert their weaknesses into strengths.
• Looking at the broad and big picture is the quality of the entrepreneurs. When confronted with problems they see for various complications and implications involved in it with their imagination.


• Entrepreneurship ensures great satisfaction of creating your own rules and regulations and working with freedom as per your convenience. It provides a kind of excitement which is missing in employment.
• There is sense of independence to work as per your convenience. There is no one to boss over you.
• It is a kind of thrill as there is always an element of risk involved in it and this uncertainly provides you excitement. There is tendency to work harder so as to get the results. More the amount of hard work more the returns.
• It helps in stretching out your abilities and helps in widening your thinking base with a big picture.
• There is always an element of adventurism in entrepreneurship.
• Entrepreneurship encourages competition resulting into innovation and creation of new products and services. It makes the entrepreneurs always alert thereby adding dynamism and enthusiasm. It also helps in developing new markets. And it brings benefits to the consumers and customers by way of reduction in prices. Rather it is like more for less to the consumers.
• It promotes all kinds of sectors and especially the services sectors in the contemporary business world. Entrepreneurship can not be confused with ordinary business. The entrepreneurship involves creativity and innovation while the ordinary business involves with traditional functions.
• Helps you in expanding mental abilities extraordinarily as entrepreneurs plays multiple roles which is challenging.
• Lot of employment opportunities can be created. When work under somebody it only offers limited scope of working for somebody. Where as when you work independently more jobs can be created.


“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” Peter F.Drucker.

Innovation is the process of implementation of new ideas. It is the process where new ideas are conceptualized and are made reality. It may come as a result of competition or may be as a result of need to have new products or services. Innovation is the conversion of knowledge and ideas into a benefit, which may be for commercial use or for the public good; the benefit may be new or improved products, processes or services. Innovation has several steps such as researching, discovering, developing, patenting, producing, marketing for viability and adopting. For survival of any enterprise it is necessary to innovate constantly. It is equally important to welcome change and adapt the change for achieving the desired objectives. Innovation and change go together. It is basically because when you innovate you need to change the things for the new conditions and environments. There are several types of innovations such as mechanical, chemical, biological, managerial and institutional and so on. It is the inventors and researchers who covert every problem into prospect through innovation. Ultimately it is the entrepreneurs who encourage the inventors and researchers to innovate so as to keep their enterprises vibrant. Majority of the companies earmark a percentage of their profits in R&D which does all the activities related to innovation. To put it succinctly innovation and entrepreneurship are two sides of the same coin to keep the enterprise kicking and alive.


Entrepreneurship as a career is catching up across the globe. As every problem leads to a prospect, the laid off employees begin thinking in terms of setting up their own enterprise. The dot.com era has produced many entrepreneurs and the technology is opening more gateways towards entrepreneurial adventurism. Those who dislike working under somebody and those who are fed up working under somebody are trying to set up their own enterprises to test their waters. Although success rate is low yet the zeal to entrepreneurship is strong among the youth. Universities are also coming out with course curriculum to encourage entrepreneurship among the students. The course content would help to have the theoretical outlines and guidelines to get acquainted with key concepts, case studies, policies and procedures and it will help to have apprentice in the selected companies as an experience and exposure. Mere theoretical knowledge would not help for becoming a successful entrepreneur. The students should work in companies for some time to understand the corporate culture, business ethics, policies and various basic functions of any organization. Working in a company also provides valuable contacts which help in setting up one’s own enterprise. According to the research findings, the success rate is higher among the entrepreneurs with business or working experience than that of others who do not have any experience at all. It is also advisable to work during the day time and set up enterprise as a part time till the business gets established. Once the business goes on with good speed and it requires full attention and also the confidence to earn the returns is higher then an individual can switch over smoothly to entrepreneurship on a full time basis. Society needs to be sympathetic towards the entrepreneurs who fail and the governmental support is necessary in case of failures to bail out the budding entrepreneurs.


Becoming an entrepreneur is not a cakewalk. Entrepreneurship is for brave heart. There is no magic wand to entrepreneurial success. It requires lot of struggles and sacrifices to become a successful entrepreneur. Above all it requires the ability to experiment, willingness to take risk, facing failures, the uncanny ability to spot the opportunities and the knack to convert problems into prospects and last but not the least the passion to pursue till the end despite several constraints and setback.




The article highlights basically about effective teaching and motivating and inspiring students to learn well. It speaks of the role of teacher like how many hats the teacher dons during this profession, various styles of teaching and the skills involved in teaching. It also focuses on the teaching methodologies and strategies by which a teacher can motivate and inspire students. Ability to provide feedback to the students and the ability to evaluate the teaching process is explained. It concludes with a message that a student has the breadth of knowledge in all disciplines and a teacher has the depth of knowledge of a particular domain or discipline and that makes the difference between the both.


Introduction, Role of Teacher, Teaching Styles, Teaching Skills, Teaching Methodology, Motivating Students, Teaching Evaluation & Conclusion.

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." - William Ward


Teaching is an art and it is not a child’s play. It requires passion to teach students. Having mere knowledge to impart is not enough. What is needed is the ability to understand the role of teacher, the styles of teaching, teaching methodologies and strategies, correct usage of evaluation techniques, the psychology of the students and the ability to motivate the students. When a teacher knows all these things properly he or she can become not only an excellent teacher but also a great leader thereby transferring the knowledge, experience, skills and abilities from one generation to another generation through students. In this context, let us first see the role of teacher.


Every teacher dons many a hat. He teaches the subject or topic and imparts knowledge to the students. That is the primary role and responsibility of the teacher. He also acts as a friend, philosopher, guide, parent and facilitator. He is a continuous learner and an excellent listener. The more he listens the more he learns and the more he learns then the more he teaches. That is why it is said that the teachers are life long learners and their learning is from cradle to grave.


Teaching styles can be categorized is as: formal authority, demonstrator or personal model, facilitator and delegator.

In the Formal authority, the prepared content is delivered by the teacher to the students according to the syllabus. In this style the interaction is the least, delivery of the content is the most. No bridges are built with the students. It is just delivered formally by the teacher.

In the second style of Demonstrator the teacher demonstrates to the students empirically so that students can comprehend and learn easily. For solving any mathematical problem the teacher just uses the formula and solves the problem and asks the students to solve other problems. Similarly the technical students can learn in the laboratory the methodology by way of demonstration by the teacher so that the students can learn and apply the same.

In the third style of Facilitator the teacher encourages the students to involve in their activities like role plays thus facilitating learning environment. Here the students learn themselves and the teacher only facilitates in the learning environment. This is often meant for independent learners. The trainers usually apply this style so as to equip skills and abilities to the trainees.

In the fourth style of Delegator, teacher gives tasks to the students and asks them to execute their tasks either individually or collectively by forming groups. The students are provided with various options to choose of their own. The students learn by themselves as the teacher has given freedom to learn by delegating.

We can not rush to conclusion that particular teaching style is proper and appropriate. It all depends on the nature of the teacher, then the profile of the students, the discipline and the situation and occasion that makes sense of a usage of a specific style of teaching.


Teaching is a skill not a talent. Anybody and everybody can cultivate this skill. Before teaching in the class it is necessary to profile the level of the students and find out what are their requirements, expectations and aspirations. Once this is done effectively then the content has to be created keeping all those points in view.

First and foremost it is essential to have clarity of the concept. Once it is formed and framed properly then look at the suitability and relevance of the same for the students. All efforts should be made to ensure that the content is relevant and appropriate to the students.

Structuring and sequencing the content should be proper with chronological order with key concepts and examples and anecdotes. It all comes under organizing the course content in a methodological manner.

It is aptly said, “People remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they hear and see and 80% of what they hear, see and do”. While teaching, the teacher’s oral language should be supported by the usage of blackboard or power point presentations, or cue cards. There has to be effective coordination between these two for effective teaching. It makes the students to concentrate effectively. If students fail to understand the oral language then the black board writing material will come to their rescue for better understanding and retention. The teacher while using the black board should not spend too much time towards black board as it loses the touch with the students. There has to be a fine balance between these two elements.

After ensuring the right combination between these two the third element is the involvement of the students into the teaching process by questioning and by interacting with them. Once the students are involved then it helps in better retention. Role-plays or demonstrations will have far reaching effects towards better teaching. Story telling is an art and if the teacher narrates good stories which are message oriented and theme oriented then the students will pay more attention and listen effectively. Besides giving the subjective knowledge it also helps them develop good character. Socratic Method as a tool of teaching is very interesting for the students. When students pose any questions the teacher should teach them by providing answers usually generated from their questions by way of introspection and deep grilling. It also helps the students to unlock their hidden potential.

To put it succinctly the teaching skills vary from person to person depending on his or her style, nature and also it depends on the domain, topic and on the profile of the students. There is no fixed or regimented teaching formula in teaching skills.


'It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts... it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.' --- Robert Hutchins

During teaching the teacher should adopt various tools and techniques towards effective teaching. The teacher can start the topic with an interesting or shocking or an inspiring events or happenings. It is also good if the teaching process is started with a short story to arouse interest among the students. If the teacher takes the class for the first time, breaking the ice by asking about the profile of the students is better. If the classes are conducted routinely then it desirable to question the students by asking them about what was discussed in the previous sessions thus linking the previous sessions with the present sessions. It helps in breaking the ice and helps in connecting the students naturally to the present thereby making a smooth move.

Once the ice has been broken then gradually the teacher should deliver the content by maintaining equal eye contact with all students. It helps the teacher to gauge the body language of the students. If any unfavorable signals are noticed then the teacher need to explain the same once again and again gauge their body language. If it is favorable then the teacher can proceed further. If the body language of the students is still not favorable then the teacher has to revise his style of teaching style to suit the students. Once it is okay then the teacher should pose questions intermittently to draw the attention of the students. Giving adequate pauses during teaching helps the students understand better as they can paraphrase the delivered contents and the teaching process should go on in this way.

The teacher should keep reserve stuff ready incase if the content is dried up or if the teacher is run out of content. The reserve stuff will help the teaching process go on smoothly and it does not affect the students. If the reserve stuff is not ready then the teacher should involve students more by way of questioning and interaction. The teacher should encourage the students to shoot questions related to the topic. It helps students to be active in their learning process as well as it helps them to think deeper and better.

During the teaching process the teacher should be cool and composed and should ensure that the students are aroused with enthusiasm and interest. It is the students who should get excited with teaching not the teacher himself or herself.


A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. ~Horace Mann

Motivating students is not a child’s play and it is indeed a Herculean task. The teacher has to motivate and inspire the students by being a role model and through various innovative and creative teaching methods. Here is the way how a teacher can motivate and inspire the students:

First of all, it is necessary to know the names of the students as it creates a type of affinity and bonding with the students. Everyone loves to be recognized by his name and called. The sweetest thing in the world is to be called someone by his or her name. This is just the beginning of building bridges and rapport with the students.

Find out what motivates the students and what are their aspirations and expectations from the teacher. Every teacher is knowledgeable and is strong in his domain. But that alone does not work out. What works out is the ability to find the needs of the students and deliver the same. In this process it is necessary to gauge the pulse of the students. The needs of every student are different. The knack involved is to find out the same and cater the same effectively and efficiently.

The teacher should have energy levels and demonstrate the same during teaching. This helps the students to get interested in the topic and encourages being involved in the teaching process.

During the delivery of the content the flow has to be lively, smooth and natural filled with real life examples and the rags to riches stories. This helps them to think in a big way, enhances their imagination levels and then they try to touch their upper points. The thought process has to be chronological interconnecting various ideas with smooth transitions. It helps them to understand the content better and there will be least possibility for raising doubts.

Set goals in such a way that the goals are realistic and achievable. It helps them to attempt the goals and move further thereby building their confidence levels. Once they reach their goals appreciate them and set bigger goals where they find the same challenging and stimulating.

Giving feedback continuously helps the students to improve themselves. It is necessary to offer praise immediately and instantly when they achieve something and that too in public as it boosts their self-esteem. In case if the feedback to be given is negative it is proper to call privately and offer the same. And while giving negative feedback it is essential to depersonalize the same. The intention is to attack the issue not the individual. The object is to attack the behavior of the individuals not the individual themselves as it offends them. Even in this, it is proper to provide sandwich feedback. That is start the sentences with positive then in the middle attack the negative behavior and then close the sentence with positive words.

Writing on the blackboard daily with a motivational quote will help the students to break the ice and to get motivated. When such quotes are given daily to the students it sends right signals and fills their mind with intellectual and inspirational inputs and it will help in having everlasting impact in the minds of the students.

Start the class with a motivational story as it conveys morals and also inspires them. We humans love to listen stories and story telling is an art every teacher has to master so as to cater to the students. Along with the story the topic can be discussed. Often storytelling breaks the ice and initiates the teaching process.

Conduct quizzes, debates and brain storming sessions depending upon the profile of the students. It creates informal learning environment and also promotes healthy competition among the students. It brings you closer to the students. It gives extra knowledge and information apart from the knowledge related to the curriculum. Giving small prizes to the winners and some consolation prizes to others will encourage other students to participant in such activities. All these activities will help in creating binding and bonding with the students forever.

The teacher has equally challenging role in motivating the dull or shy or introvert students. The teacher should regularly put in the extra efforts that are needed to focus on these students especially. The teacher should encourage this segment of students to talk and then listen to them fully. In this world there are few people who allow others to talk and the majority of the people talk about themselves. When the teacher encourages such students to talk then they would be happy to open up their minds and gradually streamlined along with other bright and active students.

Empathize with the students by stepping into their shoes. Understand what their needs and wants and drives and motives. Listen to them carefully and then proceed towards motivating and inspiring them.

Be warm and friendly and go extra mile. Call them personally to your personal cabin and talk to them closely what they want and what else extra they would like to learn. Despite constraints give them your best so that they revere you forever.

It is improper to compare one student with another as it creates divisions among the students. It leads to ego clashes among the students. Everyone is unique in this world. Even twins are not alike. Then how can we expect all students alike or how can we compare one student with another?

The teacher needs to sympathize the students who fail in the examinations. The teacher should encourage such students by helping them in realizing their hidden potential. There is a need to diagnose the reasons of failure and help the students to avert such failure and to overcome the drawbacks in their learning methods.


Teacher can evaluate either by observing the body language of the students or by asking informally the students outside the class. Instead of posing how the teaching style and process the teacher can ask the students whether they are any suggestions for improvement or if there are further requirements. It helps in finding out the gaps existing the teaching process or methodology. If the same question is posed in the class the students may not respond in the presence of all. For effective evaluation it is always better to mix up with the students informally and take their feedback. Even if the students come out with negative feedback it should not be taken personally but should be taken for professional improvement. Continuous feedback is essential from students especially from informal discussions.


A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown

Teaching is the noblest profession. It is the teacher who connects the knowledge from one generation to another generation through students. If the teacher possesses the depth of the knowledge in one domain then the students posses the breadth of the knowledge in various domains and that makes the difference between the teacher and students. The teacher shapes and moulds the characters of the students by teaching. One cannot expect huge money in this profession but one can expect great respect and regards. The amount of satisfaction is indeed immense when taught with passion. When teacher goes extra mile with extra efforts by motivating and inspiring the students then his or her role as a teacher is priceless and timeless. We can conclude that great teachers are not born in the minds of the students but they are born in the hearts of the students.




The article highlights about the role of entrepreneurs and the science of entrepreneurship. It focuses on the case study of RedBus Company where the problem has been converted as a business opportunity by Phanindra Sama, CEO of the company. It also focuses on the case study of Skype where new technology concept was created and sold for good amount. The article justifies from research findings that an entrepreneur with experience of business background can fare better than that of an entrepreneur without any experience of business background. It successfully differentiates between entrepreneurs and managers. It dwells at length about the essential ingredients that are essential for effective entrepreneurs. At the end it concludes that entrepreneurs are not born but made.


KEY WORDS: Introduction, Entrepreneurship, Role of Entrepreneur, Case Study of redBus and Skype, Business Plan Processing, Entrepreneurs with Experience, Entrepreneurs vs. Managers, Essential Ingredients for Entrepreneurial Success & Conclusion.


Anything about entrepreneurship excites all. Everyone would like to be his own boss and nobody would like to work under somebody. But there are certain challenges and constraints in becoming boss of his own business. There are elements of risks involved by being boss of an enterprise. Anybody can become the boss of an enterprise but everybody can not become. Why? Is entrepreneurship a skill or a talent? Are entrepreneurs born or made? What differentiates between wheat and chaff? What differentiates between an employer and an employee? Let us look at the same.


Entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organizations or revitalizing mature organizations, particularly new businesses generally in response to identified opportunities. In yet another definition of entrepreneurship, it is the assumption of risk and responsibility in designing and implementing a business strategy or starting a business .

From the above definitions it becomes clear that entrepreneurship is the art and science of setting up an enterprise right from conceptualization to completion with an intention to bring profitable returns. It also offers ample of other advantages and opportunities for the entrepreneur and to the society as a whole. The person or the persons who are involved in initiating this process are known as entrepreneurs. The word entrepreneur originates from the French word “entreprendre” which means “to undertake”. An entrepreneur is a person who has possession over a company, enterprise, or venture, and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome.

Entrepreneurship is a discipline and a process. It not only involves entrepreneurs but may also involve others like angel investors, or venture capitalists and mentors. If we compare entrepreneurs as actors then entrepreneurship is the process of acting. And we can also compare angel investors as producers and mentors as directors. Entrepreneur is a catalyst who will bring out changes. The discipline of entrepreneurship can be taught. It is more of a skill than talent and can be cultivated by way of education like any other discipline.


"Entrepreneurs are risk takers, willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise. They willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets." - Victor Kiam

The role of entrepreneur is crucial and critical in the context of building the enterprise. He plays many roles linking human resources, finance, production, marketing, operations, research and development and overseeing the same with a broad and big picture. He networks with bankers, major clients, suppliers and others thereby ensuring smooth functioning of the enterprise. Besides, he identifies the opportunity, builds the base and leads the organization by attracting and retaining the precious human resources. He usually looks at the niche areas and goes by the road less traveled. In the sense, he looks for novel and innovative methods so as to try and work out his idea. In a nutshell, he is an innovator, creator, risk taker and leader. A successful entrepreneur is one who senses the opportunities constantly, manages the risk, collaborates effectively for building strong teams, raises the bar, learns from mistakes and failures and constantly innovates and pursues the project with passion till the end.


The entrepreneur in us sees opportunities everywhere we look, but many people see only problems everywhere they look. The entrepreneur in us is more concerned with discriminating between opportunities than he or she is with failing to see the opportunities - Michael Gerber, author, entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are optimists and they always convert problems into prospects. They have uncanny ability to convert threats into opportunities. For instance, let us take the case of Phanindra Sama, CEO, redBus who set up www.redBus.in.

When he wanted to travel from Bangalore to his home town for celebrating Diwali he found the tickets being sold with in minutes before he reached the travel agent. Because he was not sure of getting his leave granted during his tenure at Texas Instruments, Bangalore, he planned to go by bus as it was easy to get ticket to travel. But he noticed the problem of tickets being sold with in no time. And unfortunately he did not get the ticket to travel. It was indeed a painful experience for him. Then he realized the need to provide information to all travelers about the buses leaving from one point to another. He conceptualized redBus and provided solutions for the problems. With this, the customers can get information through the website, over the phone; they can book and pay for a bus ticket using GPRS on their mobiles or through sms or they can just walk in to any of the ITZ cash, Done Card, Sify or Oxygen outlets to collect the tickets. From this case study it becomes very obvious that how problems are converted into opportunities by the entrepreneurs.


Now let us look at the case study of Skype. Skype allows people to make free voice and video calls over the internet. It was a new concept and became an instant hit. It was founded with small capital by the founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. Anything new and novel will see the light of the day. The technology has provided so many opportunities to think out of the box and start business ventures. They minted good amount of money by selling it off. With the rapid growing technology many novel concepts are coming up and giving scope for entrepreneurship. Orkut is another example of instant idea which is a runaway hit. Sabeer Bhatia’s Hotmail and Deshpande’s Cascade Communications went on well and all that is an indication of entrepreneurial successes in the arena of growing internet and other technologies.


The entrepreneur who has plans to try his idea need to prepare his draft well with both pros and cons with details related to the requirement of investments, risks involved, period of break even point and other relevant details. Once it is prepared he can send it to venture capitalists that would look at the feasibility of the project and once they are convinced they will call for interview after short listing. It is the first sign of having entry. At this time the entrepreneur has to explain everything with merits and demerits with a practical approach. If the venture capitalists are convinced then they come out with their terms and conditions and if the same are acceptable to both sides the business venture will take off. The entire procedure can be compared with that of employment interview where the CV would be prepared, and then short listed, then called for interview and at the end employment offer would be made.


According to the research findings, entrepreneurs with past business experience are more successful than the entrepreneurs without any business experience. It is basically because they learn the things in a hard way. Perhaps they might have failed in some areas and learnt lessons or may be the confidence they gained when they actually worked under various conditions and constraints. For instance, there are entrepreneurs who are successful such as CEO of redBus, Phanindra Sama and Subroto Bagchi, the cofounder of Mind Tree Consulting whose previous business experience helped them evolve as entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is advisable to have business experience before you start your enterprise. At the same time it can not be said that the entrepreneurs without business experience will not succeed. What is needed is the business acumen, right plan right resources, right execution and so as to make the enterprise tick. Research reveals that the children of entrepreneurs also do well probably they have been brought up in business environment and that makes them more sensitive and successful in their venture.

Again when we find from the research it is obvious that the entrepreneurs with educational qualifications are more successful than the ones without educational qualifications. The percentage of success is higher in the case of educationally qualified entrepreneurs as they have knowledge, managerial skills and are well versed with technology. Again in this we find a few great exceptions like Bill Gates who is a college drop out, then Michel Dell, Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson who is a high school drop out.


Entrepreneurs take risks while the managers are risk averse. Entrepreneurs lead while the managers execute, entrepreneurs inspire while managers administrate, entrepreneurs believe in innovation while managers believe in execution,. If managers see problems the entrepreneurs see the opportunities. Entrepreneurs are revolutionaries while managers are evolutionaries. Entrepreneurs are business focused while the managers are systems focused. Entrepreneurs enjoy the thrill of uncertainty and risk while the managers like to be certain and safe. Entrepreneurs are employers while managers are employees. Entrepreneurs are creators while managers are only generators.

Managers live in the present where as the entrepreneurs always stay ahead of time and think of future. The managers just execute the stipulated and given tasks and the entrepreneurs know the implications and complications involved and the fall out of executing such tasks. The managers often look for survival where as the entrepreneurs always look for success. The ability to look at big picture is the core philosophy of the entrepreneurs and the managers mostly focus on small and narrow picture.

Imagination is the key to entrepreneurship while knowledge is the key to management. Peter F Drucker rightly said, “A manager is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge”. When the managers work hard and climb the ladder of organization, the entrepreneurs work smart and place the ladder on the right side of the wall. It is the entrepreneurs who envision ‘where to go’. On the other hand, it is the managers who come out with possible and feasible plans for entrepreneurs by telling ‘how to go’. To put it succinctly the entrepreneurs are visionaries and managers are missionaries. by telling ‘how to go’. To put it succinctly the leaders are visionaries and managers are missionaries.

"Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make." - Donald Trump , real estate and entertainment mogul

Be passionate in what you are doing. Do what you love to do rather than loving what you do. Most of the entrepreneurs do not start their ventures to make mere money. They start because they have fire in their bellies and they are achievement oriented. They want to create history and they want to leave their mark behind.

Find out the existing gaps in the business, products and services and try to focus on those areas. And ensure that the idea is unique and has longevity. Having niche areas will help you keeping you apart from the crowd. And also there is higher possibility of success as there is a need for it and the marketing would become easier.

Don’t be a copy cat. And don’t get into the rat race. Never follow the crowd. Always be different and stand distinguished from crowd. Follow the road less traveled and become a trailblazer.

Cash is king. Always keep sufficient capital ready to avoid default in payments and losing good will. Reinvest the capital for further growth and expansion. Or else try to diversify with your reinvestments out of your earnings. Don’t just spend money lavishly just because you began earning. Don’t go for fancy cars or become a spendthrift. Keep cash ready and if surplus is there invest in other related or unrelated diversifications.

If possible try to work in the similar area for sometime so as to understand the practical problems. It will help to have better experience in the same field for some time and also it will help in having better contacts with customers, suppliers and other officials.

Don’t get dejected by failures as each failure is a lesson and in fact a boon in disguise. Many inventions are the result of repeated failures. Perseverance is the key. Once faced with failures the next task is to find out where you went wrong and take remedial action immediately and proceed further.

Learn to live with uncertainty and learn to change fast as per the changing times. In this complex and technology world there is an element of uncertainty everywhere. Always be prepared for challenges and have the mindset for uncertainty.

Always try to look at low cost alternatives without compromising the quality of products or services. This helps in offering the products or services at a cheaper rate than that of your competitors and enhances your business volumes and returns.

Always think fast and act fast as it helps in checkmating your competitors. This is a technology dominated world. Innovate regularly and think out of the box to find out the ways and means to stay ahead of your competition.

Be ready to work round the clock. Becoming an entrepreneur is not a time bound job as it involves constant attention round the clock and wholehearted involvement to face challenges in both internal and external business environment.


Encouraging the entrepreneurs is essential for the development of the industry and the overall prosperity of the country. Only when entrepreneurship is encouraged then there will be more generation of employment, more opportunities, more production and ultimately having better standard of living.

Research reveals that many of the entrepreneurs are self-made excluding the few who are blessed to take the charge of entrepreneurs by their parents. The majority of the successful entrepreneurs are the first generation and a few successful entrepreneurs are second generation which proves beyond doubt that entrepreneurs are made rather born. Over and above entrepreneurship is a skill rather a talent. Talents are innate while skills are cultivated by way of observation, education, experience and training. Therefore we can comfortably conclude that entrepreneurs are not born but made.


Monday, November 10, 2008


"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." -Abraham Lincoln

There are many distinguished leaders in the world who are remembered by the people. But it is the Abraham Lincoln who stands unique in many ways with his leadership traits and skills. The Abraham Lincoln proved to the world that leaders can be respected and revered irrespective of their nationalities whenever they champion for certain values and principles. He championed for the cause of ending slavery and he became the President of America during the most turbulent times where union of America was under great threat. He showed and proved to the world that leader is a leader irrespective of his or her cultural, national boundaries. In this context let us look at the lessons that we can learn from Lincoln’s leadership.

The Lincoln realized the importance of listening skill and he gave the highest priority in his leadership style. He listened about 67 percent by controlling his internal conversation and spoke only 33 per cent. It is the secret for his success in winning many of the debates. This is obvious from his quotation, “When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.” He realized the collective efforts are better than individual efforts and put efforts to align the individual efforts of all of his followers to reach the goals. He was passionate in his work and was unmindful of who gets credit. He was never an opportunist as he maintained his relations without expecting anything from others. It is his relations and network that led him to recognize his candidature for Presidential post in the Republican Party.

He was modest and unassuming. When he first assumed president ship one of the members who hailed from aristocratic background commented by saying that his father used to make shoes as a cobbler. Lincoln did not forget his humble origins and he took pride by saying that there was no complaint against his father in the workmanship.
Whatever he worked he did with perfection and involvement. He did not mind against the background of his father but defended and took pride in the craftsmanship of his father. This shows how humble and how simple Lincoln was.

As we know that trust begets trust, he believed in trusting the people as a result his followers supported him wholeheartedly. At the same time he demonstrated that he was trustworthy and he never let down his people. He proved his integrity and character many times and the same was displayed even though he was under test of time. That earned him good will and support, and people began reposing confidence in his leadership.

He was a very good role model for his followers. He practiced what he preached and there was no credibility gap. Besides, his humble origins helped to establish his initial credentials followed by his practical and realistic personal example and performance. All these things have contributed for becoming an ideal role model for others.

He was prompt in attending the meeting and was always punctual throughout his life. He knew the value of time and respected others’ time as he was a very good time manager. He managed his daily life through proper time management by allocating priorities.

He never allowed himself to be dominated by others nor did he dominate others. He neither showed his aggression nor submission during his leadership, and he proved that it was the assertiveness that is essential for any leader. He knew the art of saying ‘No’ firmly but politely.

He believed in sticking to his commitment as commitment is the key to leadership. Whatever the promises he made he delivered. He neither promised more nor delivered less nor did he back out of from his commitments despite several odds stacked against him.

All along the life he was a continuous learner and he studied of his own out of his passion to learn. He was self educated. He borrowed books from others and read. As an youngster, he read many books such as biographies of Washington, selections from Franklin, Demosthenes, Cicero and also the passages from Henry V and Hamlet. In the case of Lincoln, it was a life long learning from tragedy to triumph.

Taking continuous feedback helps the leaders to improve themselves. It is through this feedback that the leaders realize their weaknesses and try to improve upon. Lincoln strongly believed in taking continuous feedback from all especially from his critics. He felt that friends may not correct much but it was the critics who provided the inputs for his improvement all along his life.

Lincoln happened to be the first President from the Republican Party. He built the party brick by brick with his ideas and insights. Lincoln was not a slave but was against slavery and also a servant leader who served the cause of his people and who served for what was right and not who was right thereby becoming a Legend in the American history.

Lincoln’s passion, vision and mission are priceless and timeless. He is always remembered for exemplary character and integrity. He will be remembered forever as an exceptional leader in the history of mankind. He motivated and inspired everyone that anything and everything is possible in the world through his quote, “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”

Cutting across our nationalities, let us all salute this highly motivated and inspirational legendary leader – Abraham Lincoln, on the eve of bicentennial birth celebrations to be held in Feb 2009.