Sanjeev Kumar is the Chief Operating Officer of Portal Player Inc, known around the world as the company that supplies chips to Apple for its hugely popular iPod. It develops "semiconductor, firmware and software platforms for portable multimedia products such as personal media players, secondary display enabled notebook computers and personal wireless entertainment devices".
At the Tie-ISB Connect 2006, Sanjeev Kumar spoke about the eight lessons he has learnt as an entrepreneur. These are mantras that all budding entrepreneurs should keep in mind.
1. It always takes a long time to establish a company.
2. It always costs more (than you thought it would) to start a company.
3. We need leaders, not managers, for an enterprise to succeed.
4. Perseverance pays. You have to believe in what you are creating, and keep the faith. In 2001, many people told us we were over, but we are still here.
5. History does not always repeat itself.
6. Communication is key. Listening is extremely important. You should have the ability to listen to your employees.
7. Be prepared for the culture factor in the US and in India, though a lot of cross-pollination has taken place by now.
8. In good times, be prepared for the bad times. Good times will not last forever. Business is cyclical.
He also compares India of the past to what it is today:
1. India today has the right mix of technical resources.
2. There is a better ecosystem in place. In 1999, when we were establishing ourselves, we had only personal contacts.
3. There is a more developed and distributed academic system in India today. Silicon Valley succeeded because of better academia. Today, in India, you have not just the IITs, but many good private institutions that produce excellent, technically competent people.
4. The speed at which the domestic market is growing is very heartening.
5. Infrastructure is developing fast, and is as good as what's in America.
6. India has more cost-effective communication channels.
7. Accessibility is easier today.
8. The Indian government has realised the importance of having business, so there are more incentives from the authorities. The best thing is states competing with each other to attract new ventures.
9. Many states have realised the importance of Tier 2 cities. We need more Tier 2 cities in all states.