Entrepreneurship is positive for economic development, but the process is at its infancy in India. Hence, a few symptoms of aberrant behavior among founders are natural. If they persist, they could signal an approaching problem.
Reportage and commentaries on startups attract huge interest, creating as unreal an image about startups as Bollywood and Cricket. In a Martian’s reading of our newspapers, startup founders need not bother about a path to profits, they should chase something called GMV and losses over long periods of time are alright.
The narratives of super ego and toxic behavior among CEOs of large companies are disturbing and increasingly prominent. They have a pattern. After ascent, the CEO is powerful, power damages the brain, and the CEO’s behavior changes visibly.
On 20th January 2019, Los Angeles Times carried a report about the allegedly toxic leadership style and adverse impact on colleagues of an important public figure, the Chancellor of the University of California.
The cacophony and energy around Startup India and entrepreneurship has bypassed the agri-preneur. It is time to reverse this unfortunate and cumulative neglect. In economic terms, it is a bit like setting right traditional caste discrimination in social development!
In other countries, the concept of the founder/promoter of a company has relevance at the time of the founding—whose idea it was or who initiated formation of the company, a bit like the parents’ names when a child is born.
Business and entrepreneurship are clearly promoted by fostering and advancing trust in a society. I came across two books, both of which emphasized trust as a social and behavioral ingredient in the spread of entrepreneurship--Rainforest:
A superb CEO retires from executive position and becomes the non-executive chairman (NEC) of the same company. Is it a good idea or a bad one? Opinions are probably loaded on both sides of the argument, and there is no yes or no answer.
Many Indian startups, designed on Silicon Valley principles, appear to be aiming to ‘destroy the enemy’ and to grab the prize of ‘winner takes all’. In the process, they are drowning in a dangerous ocean of swirling losses.