Nuggets from Karthik Reddy
Pie chart of time in Venture Investing
In any profession, it is important to understand how to spend time on the right priorities. People often get consumed by the urgent and miss out on the critical. That pie chart looks different across professions. Karthik talks about how he spends his time as a Venture Investor and as an entrepreneur at Blume Ventures.
Venture Investing - What does it take
Karthik talks about what it takes to become a successful Venture Capital Investor. He also discusses the nuances across Angel Investing, Venture Investing and Private Equity Investing. Each of these often requires a different set of skills and strengths. People often club all these Investing roles into one large umbrella but there is a significant difference in the type of person that would enjoy and flourish in one versus the other.
Settling effectively into Venture Investing
The first 30-60 days in any profession are often quite tricky. Hairline cracks can quickly turn into fractures if not handled carefully. Karthik talks about how he works with the incoming members and thinks about the early passage of play in the organization. He also talks about how he pre-empts the derailment risk by suggesting to interested individuals to seek certain prior experiences before venturing into Venture Investing.
What they don't teach you at B-School
Business Schools (especially in India) often taken in students without prior work experience. Several students that work hard to get into elite business schools often assume that they are job-ready when they graduate. Karthik talks about some of the key elements which are not taught which can have a profound impact on your effectiveness in the work-place
In Summary - Playing to potential
For people to play to their potential, people should have clarity around what they have potential for. Karthik talks about the importance of the process of reflection and self-awareness that could significantly increase the odds of people playing to their potential over the long run.
Transition pitfalls - Banking/Consulting to VC
Transitioning from one industry to another are always fraught with uncertainty and risk. Leaders are straddling several sub-transitions - settling into a new organization, flourishing in a new space which requires a different set of skills and mindsets. Karthik talks about the common derailers that could come into play when Consultants or Bankers are transitioning into Venture Investing.
IIMB, Wharton & path to Venture Investing
In a world with an exponential increase in career paths and complexity around opportunity, it can be unnerving to make key decisions around Stay in India Vs Go overseas, specialize in a field Vs Get a degree in Management etc. The multiplicity of options also makes career decisions complex when people graduate from the best of the programmes. Karthik talks about how he thought about going to Wharton after IIMB and his choice to do I Banking, Corporate Development etc till he got into Venture Investing.
Articulating culture and hiring for it
Articulating the organizational culture is often treated as one of those fuzzy things that large organizations like GE and HUL do. But it is arguably more critical in a young and small organization where the cost of a wrong hire hits the organization much harder than when you have 10,000 people. Karthik talks about how he thinks about culture and how he hires for it.
Picking Founders effectively
Backing the right founders is a combination of a science and an art. How do you back an entrepreneur who has the conviction arond his idea but is also amenable to input. At the stage of Venture Investing, a big part of value creation is often around getting this judgment right on the Founder. Karthik talks about what he looks for during investing.
Dealing with hyper-growth and scale-up
Organizations often outgrow the entrepreneur very quickly. Unless the entrepreneur is proactively thinking about scaling up himself/herself and proactively getting the right people who can drive scale, the start up can very quickly taper off. While 1 out of 10 startups succeed at a Venture stage, he talks about the patterns from the other 9 that don't "make it"
Scaling up the leadership muscle
Scaling up the leadership capability of the entrepreneur and the top team needs to go hand in hand with the business scale up for sustainable growth. Karthik talks about the role of vision, purpose and culture in the early years of a start-up.
Current portfolio of time spent
Nandan talks about how he organizes his time currently and more importantly, the design principle behind how he prioritizes his time. He also talks about his journey through Infosys and Aadhaar to the current portfolio of initiatives that includes India Stack evangelization, EkStep, Philanthropy and investing in & mentoring select start-ups.
Backing an entrepreneur
Apart from being an academician, Kartik is also an active entrepreneur and invests and mentors start ups. So who better to ask, how does one pick an idea to back? Kartik elaborates on three main skills he looks at before deciding to support an idea or a person.
Staying relevant over the long-term
We live in a world where professions are being threatened and jobs that existed yesterday may not exist tomorrow. Atul talks about how the world of photography has been democratized with the penetration of mobile phones with good cameras. He shares his insights on how one could think about being relevant in these changing times.
Entrepreneurial pursuits beyond photography
We often have to reinvent ourselves along the way as we go through our career. There are variuos trigger points where our priorities change and market opportunities change. Atul shares his perspectives around how he has managed to go beyond Photography to venture into new domains. He shares a piece of feedback that one of his friends provides which paved the way to a new possibility.
Balancing commerce with creativity
Film production is a tricky area where one has to walk the tight rope between creativity (as appreciated by the audience) and commerce. Atul talks about how he thinks about it and also alludes to the evolving consumer mindset where some early opinions could significantly swing the fortunes of the movie one way or the other.
Enlisting and empowering people in your team
In any profession, it is very easy to be treated as suppliers in the value chain. How does one elevate oneself to move beyond being perceived as a mere supplier? How does one engage and empower the team members so that they don’t feel like suppliers and have greater ownership of the end product? Atul talks about his views in this context. He also talks about his experiences while making the film Neerja and alludes to the role of authenticity in being able to enlist people in his journey.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
How do individuals stay relevant amidst all the change and opportunity around them? Atul shares his perspective around how individuals should think about their future when the current education system is preparing children for jobs that possibly don’t even exist today.
Consulting (McKinsey) as a career option
Pramath talks about how he ended up joining McKinsey in Canada instead of pursuing a career in academics which he had originally intended when he completed his PhD. He also talks about how students should think about evaluating consulting as a potential career option including the common mistakes people make when they consider a career in consulting.
Functional Leadership to General Management
Moving from a functional leadership role to a general management role is a big shift and Vinita argues that it is possibly the biggest transition that a leader often makes. She talks about how people should think about success in a General Management role and the need for an adaptive leadership style.
Venture Investing – Supporting without intruding
As an entrepreneur who has built a business, how do you engage with an entrepreneur when you are an investor. Avnish talks about walking the tight rope of providing input while holding back as appropriate.
Misconceptions around Venture Investing
Avnish talks about the realities of VC investing as a profession and debunks some of the common myths around a "cushy lifestyle" that some people associate with the profession.
Sharpening investing skills
In Venture Investing, several years can pass before you realize the returns on your initial investment. Avnish talks about how investors can create a feedback loop in the interim and learn from the journey without having to wait for that long.
Backing the best founders
Success of a Venture Investing firm is inexorably tied to the fortunes of the investors they back. Avnish talks about the science and art of how they pick investors and engage with them to drive value.
Three things they do not teach you in B school
Can competitiveness and calmness reside within you side by side? Why should one’s mind and heart be aligned? Listen on to find out what things, Amish thought, were not taught enough in B-schools.
In Summary – Playing to Potential
Thinking of a transition in life? Reflecting upon your purpose in life? Living a life that someone has decided for you? Amish shares a powerful quote from the Bhagwad Gita to conclude this conversation and urges people find their own uniqueness and ‘swadharma’.
Achievement Orientation to a Giving Mindset
Vijay talks about the notion of “paying it forward” and how that attitude towards life got shaped in his early childhood given the influence of his family. He talks about how some of the things that his parents and relatives did when he was young have had a profound influence on how he goes about thinking about giving back to the wider society. He talks about a specific anecdote where he learnt a lesson about giving from his uncle.
In summary, Vijay talks about the role of passion and enjoying what you do in us producing our best work. He also alludes to a certain mindset with which we could approach life that will help in us playing to our personal potential. He refers to inspiration from Thurgood Marshall and Buzz Aldrin to talk about how we could approach life to ensure that we go as far as we can given the unique capabilities that each one of us has.
Feel like you are not using your potential to the fullest? Thinking about taking a new course or certification to harness this potential? Wait! Hear what Raghu says about the ‘journey of your full potential’ and how you might already know what you need to know! Intrigued? Hear on!
In summary, Viren talks about how OGQ is all about selecting and grooming athletes and helping them play to their potential at the highest stage. He also talks about the opportunity that all of us have to support some of these supremely talented sportsmen who may not have the financial resources to pursue their dreams. If you are interested in contributing, please visit http://www.olympicgoldquest.in. It might be a great opportunity for us to invest in a Mutual Fund that carefully picks the human capital and helps them appreciate over time and could make us and the nation proud.
3 things they don’t teach you in B-school
“The cost of our dreams is much lower than we think it is in our heads!” Using this profound thought Papa CJ discusses what business schools don’t teach us. Don’t miss the part about the three things that constitute happiness!
What they don’t teach you at IIMA
B-school education can often be focused around picking up the “tool-kit” that makes students ready for the world of employment. Prakash talks about some of the non-academic elements that end up mattering so much in the long run.
What they don't teach you at HBS
A good education provides a strong starting point at best. Avnish talks about how he has evolved over time through the various experiences he has had and the decisions he has made.
In Summary – Playing to Potential
We all have an aim that we work towards. But in the feverish rush to achieve this goal, we often forget something. Hear Kartik talk about what is really important before we set any goal or take any career decision. It is something we hear a lot about but do we really follow?
To conclude, Abhijit answers three quick questions: One piece of advice to students leaving B-schools and making their transition into the workplace; three things they don’t teach enough at B-school and three apps he finds valuable! Find out the answers in this nugget.
Picking leaders to invest behind
One of the many hats Ravi wears in his professional life is that of an investor. He is a venture partner and invests in young companies. In this nugget, he talks about the five main qualities he looks for in any entrepreneur before backing him and how he goes about deciphering whether those qualities exist in the individual or not. Hint: It is much more to do than your academics or career record!