TechSparks 2014 had a lot of great talks and things to take away. Nandan Nilekani’s talk was not only excellent but reassuring in certain ways. YourStory’s article covers it well.
Having a co founder with complimenting skills is key and I don’t think I could have had a better co founder than Shiladitya. We bring tons of complimenting skill sets, we do have very similar sensibilities for most things, for example, design aesthetics has been a significant factor.
He spoke about meeting college dropouts from India and that being an indication of changing times of our startup ecosystem. I cannot say I am a college dropout because I never went to college to start with, a decision which worked very well for me and was possible only because of my awesome family. In 11th grade, photography became a very serious hobby and by 12th grade I knew this is what I wanted to do in life. Going to college would have made no sense for me but practical experience by assisting a photographer would be key and that is what my parents pushed me towards, thankfully. This was 11 years back, when most people thought I would be taking passport pictures when I wanted to purse photography.
His talk about building a global brand and thinking big made a lot of sense as well, specially for a brand like Hipcask which is heavily backed by great content, which has a global audience. One of the main reasons for us to rebrand to Hipcask was to approach a global audience and it has been working well for us. I won’t forget what Nandan said, “think big, it takes the same energy as thinking small”. This is something which recently came up with one of our internal discussions where we did think that perhaps we are thinking small and its time to think big, which is what we are doing and has led to a very exciting roadmap for Hipcask.
Building a strong core team and leadership were important points he mentioned as well. Although very early days for us with just a team of 6 right now, its interesting to see how our core team is shaping up. We are in a industry (wines and spirits ) which has seen little or no tech innovation in the consumer space. In a way it’s a good thing and gives us a clean slate to begin. We don’t have any company or product to replicate. India and South East Asia bring unique challenges and our young team is in a super charged mode to move ahead.
Lastly, it was amazing to be at TechSparks and for Hipcask to be selected in the Tech30 list along side some very innovative startups. Do follow YourStory on twitter and I hope they will post the video of Nandan’s talk soon. Apart from all this, he spoke about the roadmap and plan with Aadhaar/UID which is extremely promising.