Conversation with Umar Saif continues on ITLoW
In Part 2 of my conversation with Dr. Umar Saif regarding entrepreneurship on “In the Line of Wire”, we get into greater detail about the pains of being an entrepreneur – the funding, the structure, the legal framework, etc.
It’s exciting times when you come up with an idea and a few friends decide that turning that idea into a business is the way to go. The brainstorming, the coding, the planning, the nights you stay awake figuring things out over pizza or tikka and coke is all very exhilirating. But this is fun and games compared to the real tough parts.
When you have a partner(s), no matter how much you may trust each other, you need to think through your professional business relationship. You need to decide at the outset the ownership structure, the roles and responsibilities, what happens if someone wants to leave the startup at any given point in time – in fact all the possible scenarios should be discussed out in the open so that there are no misunderstandings. People grow, their visions and interests may change, they may have reasons for treading a different path. It is important to plan that ahead of time so that the company doesn’t suffer when faced with such issues – and neither do any of the founders or partners.
Dr. Umar Saif shares his experience in setting up the 4 startups and he suggests that open conversation, sharing reservations and honesty and trust be a part of any new setup. He has only formalized the structures once investment came in because it is an expensive thing to do and also because investors want certain conditions met so restructuring may be required anyway.
We also discussed Jawwad Farid’s book “The Bluescreen of Death” which Umar used for teaching and he said it proved to be much more useful than Harvard case studies because the kids related to the content in the book, to Jawwad’s predicaments, the way it affected relationships, etc. The book has so far been available as a free download but has been updated and will be launched as “Reboot”. I will run some sort of exercise and give away some copies of the book. So watch this space for an announcement regarding that.
Finally I got Dr. Umar Saif to talk a little more about the Saif Center for Innovation and what his plans are regarding that initiative. Listen in to what he had to say.
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