Book Recommendations:

Womens’ Day Sessions:

  • Management is not command-and-control as Indian upbringing tells you – it is about gaining influence, gaining credibility, recognizing the best ideas and having the ability to marshall people towards them.  (Paulette Altmaier)
  • Don’t need to know 100% of the role before stepping into it. Nobody has done the POTUS job before – they all step into it, some do a good job. (Anjali Joshi)
  • The biggest mistakes made (as admitted by panelists about their own career) was to not imagine a big enough future for themselves. (Paulette Altmaier).
  • Tipping point is 30% of a team being women – that’s when the culture changes for good. Google strives for this, one of the ways is to have 50% females in the intern batch and encourage the interns.

 Entrepreneurship Sessions

  • “Will is optimistic, intellect is pessimistic”. Success depends on the right balance between will and intellect.
  • Supportive spouse and supportive co-founders imply that there is no risk for IITians in the valley to start up. [Spoken by an all-male panel].
  • It helped to hire a cold-caller to carry out product discussions with customers, {before} or {in the early days} of building out the product.
  • Execution risk v/s Market risk: You can either go for low market risk and high execution risk (tough technical problems in the enterprise space, where customer demand is known) or go for low execution and high market risk (social, web, apps).
  • Benefits of picking high execution risk: Tough problems are fun to solve, they help with hiring (distinguishes work at your startup from other routine work), can control it and increase barrier to entry.
  • Market risk cannot be controlled. A/B testing, pivoting etc help tame it.
  • “Entrepreneurship is about high highs and low lows – the best way to go about it is to have low highs and high lows”. Control your emotions on a day-to-day basis, and follow the average line, not your temporary emotional state. Helps with everything – being a better founder, leader, spouse and parent.
  • In the enterprise space, the literal power and monetary spending power is shifting from the IT department/CIO  to DevOps (new group), data strategy groups and even HR and sales within the company. Claim: Even the CMO has a bigger tech budget than the CIO now.
  • Interaction with devices has changed dramatically in the PC->mobile shift . PC interaction happened 9-5. Mobile interaction happens all of the waking hours, in bite-sized chunks. Nobody other than FB has > 10% of the user’s mobile interaction time.


Vinod Khosla Keynote

  • Don’t ask “why should I do this?” Ask “why shouldn’t I do this?” when evaluating opportunities or things to do.
  • Tidbits from personal journey:
    • Rented electronics magazines from Chandni Chowk as a teenager. That taught him about industry trends, silicon valley and about Andy Grove.
    • “Didn’t want to be different from others. I never bothered about what others were doing.”
    • “Every 4-5 years I go deep into a new area that I know nothing about. And I pretend as if I am back in school again.”
    • Took a sabbatical at age 45, learning complex systems, doing assignments, and hired a Stanford PhD student to tutor him for 3 hours a day.
    • “I reinvent myself not for the sake of it, but because I get bored.”
  • Every exceptional path involves risk – which is why most people don’t end up doing anything.
  • Technology as a religion because it is a resource multiplier – you can get 10x the amount of agricultural output for the same land, or 10x the number of miles for the same amount of gasoline, using technology.
  • 80-90% of Fortune 500 CEOs spend some of their time following media articles and responding to them. These are “supposed leaders”.
  • “Change your context to think differently.”
  • Public transportation may have made some sense a few years back. With driverless cars, it is obsolete.
  • Any investment that rigidly locks in things for the next 5-10 years (public transport, city-building) is a bad idea.