2014 is coming to a close.
It has been a very interesting time for Startups. A Government change, with it expectations, a rising economy - which in turn will benefit startups.
Billions of VC money flowing into the ecosystem. Traditional investors become Angels.
Here is my wishlist for Startups - new and old for 2015 - to Fight the Good Fight.
Gain Customers, not Facebook Likes
No Short Cuts please. Gaining traction, gaining customers is not easy. This is the most important metric for any Startup. Not the Facebook likes, Alexa ranking, Twitter Followers - these will come automatically once customers start signing up.
To gain customers - you need to have a kickass product. Not a 80% almost there product, but a 200% going beyond the wildest customer expectation product.
To reach there, it takes lot of hard work, lot of iterations - there is no short cut.
Do not start a clone
There are so many problems waiting to be solved. If you have 2 ideas - one which is never tried before ( like a Music Lyrics Translation site - for Indian Movie Songs across all languages ) against doing the same thing a Startup X is doing ( an E-Commerce, Grocery Delivery etc.) - do the one that has never been done before.
There is no guarantee either of the ideas will succeed - but with the never been tried before - you get the first mover advantage, there is a good chance you will get noticed, you can get Media to notice you, a team will form around you and will dream the dream you have.
Go the Distance
The biggest differentiation I see between US and Indian Startups - is not in the area of Technology. We are as technically advanced as US Startups.
The area where US Startups shine is they go the distance. They give an end-to-end solution - always. They do not stop short of solving the entire problem.
I see many startups who have reached 80%, and do not complete the entire 100% or go beyond 100%.
For eg. Dropbox - they did not stop with just Windows and Mac - but created installers for Linux - how much ever small the marker share for Linux was. Or Uber - the end to end seamless workflow they have built - something which our Ola, or Meru has not been able to do yet.
Customers - Trust Us, Refer Us
This message is for Customers - start trusting us. Do not view Startups with suspicion. Transact Online, Pay Online, Give a chance to an idea, try that carpool, download that app, provide feedback - if the Startups succeed - so will you.
And please - please - pay for the value you receive. Just because FlipKart gives huge discounts do not arm twist Startups to give discounts. Not all startups are Flipkarts. Most are broke eking out a living and every Rupee you pay us is valuable - and we will give you 100X Value in return.
And last request - you love our product - tell your friends, share it in Facebook, Tweet it, email your colleagues. Most of the startups do not have the budget to put a hoarding on a Billboard or play an Ad on TV - but your kind referral will take us a long way.
Big IT Company Employees
This message is for the Brilliant Techies sitting in the Big IT Companies, reading Rashmi Bansal and attending Startup Events - put in your resignation papers and Start Up - or join a Start Up. We need you more than the Big IT Companies.
We have a huge pool of Technocrats in India - locked up in the Big IT Companies - and this base is larger than Silicon Valley.
Imagine if we all start hacking and forging new ideas - imagine what we will create!
Here is looking forward to a happening 2015 - a Bigger, Better, Beautiful StartUp World.