My first post on Quora and the SV Harlem Shake

I ended up making my first set of contributions on Quora very recently. It was Deepak who alerted me to a conversation thread on Quora that was severely critical of Startup Village. While that was disappointing in itself, what was even more disappointing was that much of the facts were misrepresented by the user (who posted them as Anonymous). The content matter of the response is copied below for reference.

First of all “Technopark” and “Infopark” are not startup incubators. They just provide all the basic infrastructure for the medium to large IT companies.

Now coming to the “Startup Village” in Kochi. Although the Indian media especially in Kerala have been very enthusiastic about this project, the grim reality according to me is very different from what is being projected. Here are my thoughts regarding the same.

1. First of all the Kochi startup village is funded by many ex IT employees, bank managers and various telecom, mobile phone companies. Now if you visit there website and look at their “Apply Now” page, you will find that they are asking the wrong questions like “Explain how your Company will make money?”. For me this is the wrong question for a startup project. Making money should not even matter at this stage. What matters is how does your product/service help users.

2. The whole management team seems to be comprised of people who have never ever in their life made a product of their own. I even doubt that they have ever been involved in any kind of startup projects earlier. What is evident is that almost all them have worked with big IT companies like Infosys, TCS, etc. These companies are great but, just because you worked there does not make you understand or gets you the experience to nurture a startup. Moreover big IT companies do not make any innovative products as such. All they do is take up contracts for building some software or maintaining legacy software IT infrastructure.

3. Recently I read an interview with one of the investors. He claims to be an angel investor, but the only thing he talked about is how he was looking for an exit strategy. Now with people like these you can only guess how helpless the startups would be.

4. Recently there was a news article about young programmers participating in a program held by RIM (Blackberry smartphone company). The news was all over the place claiming that 150 apps were developed for the new Blackberry OS from the startup village. I looked up some of the apps and found that almost all of them were useless for the real world users.

The whole idea of startups is not just about creating apps for a phone company. It is about creating something useful or disruptive and it shouldn’t be necessarily apps. It could be any product/service from any field like mechanical, civil, computer, etc. Personally I consider the “Kochi Startup Village” as a DOA.

I decided to provide my responses on the very same day itself. Although the initial response after reading the critical response was a slight disappointment, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that few very good positives did come out of the exercise

1. It served a good opportunity to validate the value of the contribution of Startup Village to the startup ecosystem. On that note, a personal thanks to all the entrepreneurs and well wishers who came out in support.

2. It also provided me an opportunity to capture and document the commendable efforts of the larger community in nurturing incubation and entrepreneurship activities in the state of Kerala to some measure. Special gratitude to all those visionary leaders who have been and still are tirelessy working towards a promising future for the state of Kerala

3. It has also been on my ToDo list for sometime to be an active contributor on Quora. The opportunity served as just the right trigger for me.

I first proceeded to answer the original question that was posted. Subsequent to that I provided my response to Anon’s answer. (Links to both provided below)

My response to the original question, My response to Anon’s answer, The conversation thread

I request all of you to contribute with your thoughts, comments & vote ups.

Just after the episode was over and just when I was feeling generally good about the support voices from the community, I was treated to a superbly brilliant creation by none other that the team who is creating the Starup Village a reality. Loved it! You really have to see to believe how freakin awesome it is.

The timing of this SV Harlem shake video could not have been any better guys. Thanks a ton for this! Im still laughing even thinking about the piece. Awesome is the word

Special credits to Ashiq & Ann!

Request everyone to spread the love with your likes, shares and comments!