Open Coffee Club is a club for fostering entrepreneurship. The Bangalore chapter was founded in mid 2007. I have been wanting to make it to the meeting for the last 2 months but the event always clashed with other events. This time around thanks to a twitter message, I was able to make it. Twitter has changed the way I live my life. As someone wh
o had done the rounds at most entrepreneurial setups in India (barring a few), I went in with very few expectations. Most of these events when they started had very good quality & less quantity (back in 2006/2007) but my experience in 2008 has been vice versa, too many events no good quality. So my expectations were fairly low.The buzz around around OCC did peak my curiousity.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Amarinder Singh, the host of the event ushering in people. As people started trickling in there was a casual atmosphere set in.
We did a round of introductions which was very interactive. A happy medium between a structured & a casual “lets just chat up” discussion. It actually brought out a few things that wouldn’t come up during a conversation or lets catch up environment & it was more engaging. This event had a lot of newbies like myself which was refreshing. I didn’t get to see the same old faces that one normally sees at these events.
A common theme arose during these discussions – the passion to create something was oozing from everyone sitting in the room. Something that you often don’t see at these events. It was also nice to see people from different backgrounds be part of the discussion (Accountants, NGO, education, chip design to name a few). It made me think more about the fundamentals of creating a business. We often live in a bubble of creating a service for the tech savvy but spending time with “normal” folks did make a difference.
There were many entrepreneurial stories that came out during the round of introductions. One story stood out! Here was a college graduate who had the idea of doing something in the education space. Around the time he was graduating he decides to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. He approaches his father for a sum of 50,000 Rs (Approx 1000$). His father advises his against the decision and asks him to get a job. This gentleman decides to take the plunge anyways by selling his mobile phone, laptop & his motorcycle.
Call it audacious, stupidity or fool hardy, but you have to give this man his due for the risk that he had decided to take. As they say entrepreneurship is for fools! In an environment where working for a big conglomerate or a MNC (multi national company) is the norm of life, such acts need to be lauded! I still get looked upon at times as a fool for taking the plunge to be an entrepreneur, but it is not something that most people would understand. In my mind staying in a job is a risk in itself. I forget his name/website, if someone knows please leave a comment, lets promote his cause.
TiE– Event discussion:
A good number of them had attended the TiE Summit in bangalore. A quick discussion ensued about the event itself, the reactions were mixed. A few complained that the event was catered to the big/medium players while a woman was thrilled that she found 2 new customers. I for one decided against paying the 6000Rs (125$) for the event because it wasn’t the right time for me to attend it. It is nice to see TiE promoting entrepreneurship in bangalore, the one feedback/suggestion from this group was to cater it more to the grass routes. There aren’t too many events in this part of the world to deal with entrepreneurship at the grass routes, if there were more than there would more enterprising ideas being executed.
There were a couple of followup discussions about interviewing entrepreneurs and learning from their lessons learned. Another discussion was catered towards marketing & market research.
I was happy to see the event open up to networking as I wanted to catch up with other entrepreneurs & talk about their experiences. One good lead did emerge from the event 😉
All in all kudos to Vaibhav/Amarinder to have taken the initiative forward.
A few suggestions to these guys as always 😉
– standardize where the next event announcement is made. The OCC blog did not have an update!
– create a OCC twitter account
– I know diluting the mailing list is not something that the community wants but let the crowd take care of it or have a policy of kicking out people! Otherwise you are going to miss out on a few good ones joining the community. Its the community that stands to lose!
The event was at ZOE, a mediterranean restaurant that opened recently in Indiranagar that is nicely tucked in from the main road.Kudos to the person who chose Zoe, the ambience was really nice that I decided to take my wife for dinner in the evening. The food was even better!
If you are an entrepreneur with a new company or a wanna be entrepreneur then this is the place to be. Don’t worry about the Venture capitalists or a demo conference, this is where the action is. You will always get a chance to meet, greet & demo your products but there is no replacement for learning from other who have broken their knuckles time & again to climb the ladder. I will be back for sure.
This is where the ants go to work!