ACCS ARM Design Contest: Food for thought for Budding Student Entrepreneurs


My Dear Student Entrepreneurs,

Some of you may be thinking you have been given this really boring task of preparing 5 slides to worry about for the sake of your proposal presentation on Mon, September 22, 2014, at ADCOM 2014. However, would you all rather try considering those 5 slides as an Opportunity to get really excited about from the standpoint of being challenged on your ability to present an idea Quickly, Clearly, Concisely and Sweetly?

Tell you why this is so very important. We have all gone through schooling and college education with the help of a lot of projects on which many of us were really hands-on and simply fabulous. Even so, these projects, did they reach anywhere to first benefit society, at large, and then you, in particular? No. Then what good were those projects if they were quietly slated to stay put at the project level in school or college and eventually disappear into oblivion? So you might now be thinking of saying, “Enough is Enough!” And you would be quite right in doing so.

However, here’s another way of doing things. Why don’t each of you students strive harder than ever before to sell your individual proposal or idea beyond the realm of the ACCS Student Design Contest into the domain of Budding Student Entrepreneurs? Well, it is a hard row to hoe. That is precisely why you need to look upon those 5 slides as an OPPORTUNITY to really hone up on your individual skills to PRESENT and have somebody BUY INTO your idea – KEY to the Budding Entrepreneur.

Now, first and foremost, you need to have the panel of judges on Monday, September 22, 2014, at ADCOM 2014 BUY INTO your proposal or idea to be able to get through to the 20 Best Proposals that will further be supported with hardware.

Now comes the FUN part. You need yet another painful slide not talked about so far, Slide number 6. In Slide 6, you will IDENTIFY for the judges exactly who your stake-holders are who would be able to enable you to take your proposal through a meaningful contest experience into a useful and beneficial device/product for society. Stake-holders are people who would also have to BUY INTO your idea at some later point during the contest.

Stake-holders would ideally be: (1) Users of your device/product, (2) Governmental or Municipal and/or Private Governing Authorities/Agencies in charge of the Civic Services/Amenities Space with which the Application Space of your device/product might overlap (as would a device having to do with transport, traffic, medicine and agriculture, to name a few) and (3) Existing Industries, such as the car or the medical industry, for instance, if your device had anything to do with traffic, transportation or drug delivery.

Now you might be wondering why all this about benefiting society First and only Later the individual such as yourself. Of course, that is the spiritual goal. However, EQUALLY importantly, it is the Foundation of Capitalism too! Dear Students, we have all been misguided in India into believing Capitalism is about being business-friendly and everything to do with it and making money. Absolutely NOT. According to Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate and Economist of the 20th Century who derives from and develops on the ideas of the famous 18th Century Scottish Moral Philosopher and Pioneer of Political Economy, Adam Smith, Capitalism is really all and only about the Final Consumer or Beneficiary, NOT the Businessman. It is all about competition and competition between businesses. To be able to SERVE the Final Consumer or Beneficiary with the Finest Product, businesses have to compete with one another. Those businesses that indeed have the expertise and the knowledge shall rise to the top, while those that do not shall fall to the bottom and perish. So Capitalism is only Indirectly business-friendly if the business has the requisite expertise and the requisite knowledge, not if it does not and quite rightly so. Milton Friedman famously said that the most Interesting and Important part of a Business is its Loss-incurring Ability, NOT Profit-making one. Because it is the Loss-incurring Ability that keeps the Business on its toes and ensures the Final Consumer always benefits. Sounds familiar, ain’t it? Sort of like what our elders have for ages been telling us about NOT focusing on the End Goal or Result, but only concentrating on Doing the Job Well.

Lastly, having given you a glimpse into Capitalism, we shall try hard on our part to feed back into the present Modi Government to have it consider reducing the 60 or so licenses it insists entrepreneurs or businesses should seek/get before they start working on their entrepreneurship/businesses. Know Why? Remember What ENSURES the Finest ever Devices or Products for the Final Consumer or Beneficiary? Competition and Competition alone, NOT Licenses. Licenses actually harm the Final Consumer or Beneficiary because they Kill competition by bringing in Protectionism. As many of you may know, Licenses cost money and involve a lot of paperwork or red tape, resulting in those businesses that know the ropes of getting through the process of seeking licenses (NOT necessarily those with the requisite expertise or knowledge for making a product) rising up. Licenses are antithetical to the spirit of Capitalism. Therefore, the Final Consumer or Beneficiary ends up with a bad, uncompetitive and, even sometimes, a product that is a failure. More importantly, Licenses prevent entrepreneurship – exactly what our country does not need in order to create the atmosphere that helps create jobs. Price-fixing by Government is yet another form of Protectionism that in the end hurts the very sections of Society for whose benefit prices of certain goods/products were fixed. Here are classic examples of situations that have caused immense damage to our society on account of price-fixing – Akash Tablet, Minimum Support Price (MSP) in Agriculture.

Might I say finally that it is hardly a surprise then to understand why Capitalism is so close to spirituality. For Nature plays itself out in the same manner – Competition or Survival of the fittest (Darwinian theory of Natural Selection).

Wish all of you the very best and really hope to be able to see something very interesting coming out of this ACCS Student Design Contest!


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