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February 23, 2014

Entrevista with Raj Nair, Founder of Avalon Consulting

Cross Posted from the Entrevista blog.



Interview with Raj Nair, Founder-Chairman of Avalon Consulting, the Mumbai-headquartered, international consulting firm and also research and analytics firm Ugam Solutions and artificial intelligence software firm . Interview begins with how Ugam Solutions' founding & funding - especially how the company "pivoted" to completely new business in 50 days flat! The interviewer is fellow entrepreneur Chandu Nair. Chandu earlier founded, successfully raised venture capital for and exited from Scope eKnowledge, one of the earliest KPO firms in India.




The Audio (podcast) version can be downloaded from here 

Highlights:

  • Striking balance between Flexibility & Measurement in the Early Years: In the initial years of starting up,  it’s important to have the flexibility to course correct and not put pressure on the business with a rigid business model, ambitious target, etc. “There is (however) a difference between chaos and experimentation. Every day, you need to check if things are ‘happening or not happening’. You cannot be like Christopher Columbus saying 'I somehow want to reach India' and set sail without doing any homework. For every Columbus who got lucky, there are probably thousands who just lost their way.”

  • Pricing based on Value: How even with no relevant experience behind them, Raj and his team decided to price their market research services at double the prevalent rates and got away with it.

  • Spotting Entrepreneurial Opportunities - in the Pre- Liberalization Days (Market Research) and in Today's Social Media Driven Days (Germinait which mines Social Media for market research using technology tools). Very interesting accounts of the work that Germinait did  for measuring the impact of a well known teleco's ad campaign and how it's helping an leading kids TV channel measure social media conversations to decide which characters to promote.

  • Experience brings Empathy: “When I started my journey, I used to view colleagues as fellow professionals and it was all about delivering results to clients. Today, I look at them as individual persons - someone whose wife had a migraine in the morning and he had to deal with it before coming; another whose child did not get admitted into a school or that he deserved to and so on. One understands how the environment affects an individual’s behavior, output and productivity at the workplace. In one word, Empathy. And that is something that can’t be taught in a business school.”

  • Don't tell your children what (career) path to take. Only if they decide for themselves, will they will own up to the responsibility for what they do!

  • Parting Wisdom: Make sure you are having fun! "When you are enjoying, a lot of the hardships don’t seem that big. When you are not enjoying what you are doing, even a small thing becoming a big issue. So make sure whatever you are going to do will give you tremendous satisfaction and happiness. Don't do get into some line of business just because 'the money is great' (and) unless you are going to enjoy the journey."
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