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From Proto.in: Mahesh Murthy’s Advice For Entrepreneurs; Left Handed Hockey Sticks

Some great tips from Mahesh Murthy of Seed Fund and Pinstorm, during his talk at Proto.

1. Spend as little as possible on advertising.
2. The only thing that builds your brand, with no advertising, is price. Price is unique – look at super premium products with super premium pricing. Competition is not as worried about companies that price their products cheaper, as they are about companies that price their product higher. Price is your first positioning weapon – and should not be based on your cost. No company has won the market by simply pricing a product cheaper.
3. Have great User Interface (Ed: later in the day, someone also mentioned that there aren’t enough UI experts in India)
4. Market your product – go to conferences and be a speaker (they get in free). Challenge speakers, and be seen as a thought leader
5. How to get media attention ( ed: I took that as – how to con journalists *grin*) – when you go to journalists, have data to back you up. Have a unique positioning, no matter how niche it is. Be the world expert in “left handed hockey sticks”. Position your product well, and back that up with data. They want to communicate new and interesting things to their audience, and how you position your product is important. (ed: very true)
6. Dont follow a trend: if you cant be 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the market – get out. Don’t follow a trend. Chances are, if you’ve read about a segment covered in a newspaper – it is probably too late already. You can almost never be successful by following a trend. In short – “The Trend Means The End”
7. Market Research is Crap: Every future expectation of market size is bullshit. You have to create a market, you’ll got to get feet on the ground.
8. Finding the right employees – if you’ve found someone who wants a raise to join your startup, that’s a clear indication that he’s not the right guy. You can’t hire a mercenary to fight your battles. It is your passion that will get people on board. Don’t go for the IITs, but get guys from small colleges, who have something to prove.

I also wanted to listen to Sanjay Anandram of Jumpstart Ventures, but had to leave early for our own Seminar and mixer. Hope the WiFi at Proto is up…will be there for the second half of day today.

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