Exploring the role of Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector

The troika of books that I am reading now for the startup stuff is Lean Start up by Eric Ries, The 4 steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank and Business Model Generation lead by Alex Osterwalder.

I have started out with the business model innovation stuff and best of all I am using the iPad app to create the business model for Family by Family. Like I said, I am entering the digital era and moving out from pre-digital.

As I was reading the Lean StartUp, Eric starts with defining entrepreneurship as “The concept of entrepreneurship includes anyone who works within my definition of a startup: a human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” This definitely makes sense and does not restrict first to tech only startups but to go beyond start ups. As he explains his work at Intuit, large and mature organisations and the managers who work there are extremely in the same situation as a start up, especially if they have read the Innovators Dilemma.

Eric clarifies,

“Anyone who is creating a new product or business under conditions of extreme uncertainty is an entrepreneur whether he or she knows it or not and whether working in a government agency, a venture-backed company, a nonprofit, or a decidedly for-profit company with financial investors”

When I write about business in this blog, I always mean entrepreneurship. In the about pages, I talked about business by providing the definition of the entrepreneur that Drucker used. I discuss startups, write about them, read about them, started a couple and failed in them and am totally energized to work in one now. However, what I have done from the almost my early working days is trying to “to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty”.

My first job was to sell the services of my organisation which was to design webpages on the internet. Year – 1998. Place – Hyderabad, India. This was before Hyderabad was a powerhouse with Google India HQ, the Indian School of Business etc. Ofcourse, this was when internet connections where 56kbps and the go to browser was Netscape. The challenge was so great that we had to actually ship a computer to a customer’s office to show a mock up web page on a 5 1/2 in floppy in monochrome colour. Don’t laugh!

My next area of work was in financial services and investment banking outsourcing for investment banks like Goldman Sachs in ADP Wilco. The most exciting part for me was when we were setting up a new project. After 4 years, I left to work for Deeshaa. A real social enterprise trying to make a difference in rural India. And it continued into the government here, two failed startups, and now in Families SA and TACSI I have always worked and thrived in areas when I was creating new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.

Reading this I had the epiphany about my entrepreneurship journey as I saw my last 13 years of working life and decided that will be the tag line for this blog, the headline in LinkedIn and clearly what I am doing now and will continue to do for the foreseeable future.


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