The Entrepreneurial Sindhi Presentation by Neil Daswani, PhD

A review by Khalid Hashmani

A fellow Sindhi sent the links for the following six “YouTube” videos containing a thrilling presentation on “The Entrepreneurial Sindhi”

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF9cudirCBY&feature=related

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqzxax6bcgs&feature=related

3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EJUmqBNdQA&feature=related

4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtJkNPh3n8M&feature=related

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utJ8qHHOIIE&feature=related

I went through all six videos and was quite impressed by the style and the content of Dr. Daswani’s presentation. My notes from that review are shared herein in the hopes that many more Sindhis, particularly those young Sindhis who want to become successful entrepreneurs, will go through this presentation and apply some of things that Neil Daswani recommends and go on to reach new heights.

Dr. Daswani (www.neildeswani.com), is a top mind at Google, who has recently co-founded an innovative computer security company called Dasient, Inc. (www.dasient.com/). The presentation was made at the 8th Young Sindhi Adult (YSA) Retreat in Chicago Illinois held July 3-5, 2009 (www.youngsindhiadults.org/retreat.htm). Dr Daswani dedicated his presentation to Dr. Rajeev Motwani, a Stanford computer science professor and an investor in technology start-ups died at young age of 47. He was born in Jammu to a Sindhi family. According to his obituary in the New York Times an innovative computer security company called Dasient, Inc. (www.dasient.com/). The presentation was made at the 8th Young Sindhi Adult (YSA) Retreat in Chicago Illinois held July 3-5, 2009 (www.youngsindhiadults.org/retreat.htm). Dr Daswani dedicated his presentation to Dr. Rajeev Motwani, a Stanford computer science professor and an investor in technology start-ups died at young age of 47. He was born in Jammu to a Sindhi family. According to his obituary in the New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/business/11motwani.html, Dr. Motwani mentored many young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, including the founders of Google. Professor Motwani, an expert in algorithms and the mathematical theory underlying computer science, helped Larry Page and Sergey Brin (co-founders of the Google) explore the possibilities emerging from the analysis of the Web as a graph of interconnected pages.

Roots of Sindhi Entrepreneurs

The presentation elegantly traced the roots of legendry Sindhi Hindu traders of ancient times to the modern Sindhi entrepreneurs who are now making their mark on the global business scene. With the help of a map of global trading routes, Dr. Daswani traced the success of Sindhi entrepreneurs to their roots in Sindh, the only place where the two legendary Silk and Spice roots meet. He added that the great South Asian leader Mohandas Gandhi recognized the entrepreneurship of Sindhis, when he said, where ever Sindhis go, they will excel in business and contribute back to their communities.

Three Examples of Sindhi Entrepreneurship

Dr. Daswani gave examples of Sindhi excellence in business by talking about the accomplishments of the following three Sindhi entrepreneurs:

Ram Buxani, who migrated to Dubai when Dubai had hardly anything and through sheer hard work and business acumen ship, he earned the trust of the ruler of Dubai and was allowed to open the first “Limited Liability” company in Dubai. He is now the group President of ITL and authored a popular book titled “Taking the High Road”.

Rajendra Hinduja, who is President of a global garment company, is a member of well-known business family “Hindujas”. They are based in Banglore, India. The companies owned by Hindujas employ more than 48,000 persons world-wide.

Arun Nathani, President of Cybage Software, he recognized the need for outsourcing of software development and his company has grown to be a major player in software.

What is Entrepreneurship?

Neil makes a point that there is no magic to success and discussed the following key ingredients of entrepreneurship:

* What value you can provide?

* What innovative ways you will use to distinguish from others?

* Remember innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% persistence.

* Making money should not be the sole objective. Focus on what value you can provide to society and money will simply follow.

Steps towards becoming an Entrepreneur

* Find a specialty that excites you and in which you would love for work 10-12 hours a day without getting bored.

* One way to identify the area that you want to become entrepreneur is to imagine yourself being near death and ask yourself what work or deed you would want the world to remember you after your death.

* Deeply understand your strengths and limitations.

* Decide on what problem you want to solve.

* Think about the people who could help you to solve that problem and with whom you would like to collaborate, be in a trusting business relationship, and engage in a partnership.

* Identify the persons who could help you as advisors or mentors – people who are not only Subject Matter Experts in the area in which you want to solve the problem but also those who have broader experience and outlook that touch upon many areas. They can not only help you by their advice but guide to hire/recruit other talented people to join you as you grow.

* Prepare a Business Plan (who are your customers, why would they pay to use your product instead of some one else’s, etc.).

* Think about how you will convince “investors” to invest in your business when you need.

* Think about why some one would want to invest in your business – A good approach may be to have your friends and family invest in your business venture as well.

DOs and DON’Ts of Networking

* Take interest in people, understand them and be honest to them – this would help to build trust.

* Do not use people, people will detect that and you loose their trust for ever.

* Do not try to please every one – go for “quality” and not “quantity”.

References for further reading on “Entrepreneurship”

1. “The seven habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey

2. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

3. “The 10-Day MBA” by Steven Silbiger

4. “Founders at Work” by Jessica Livingston

5. “The Entrepreneurial Sindhi”: at (www.neildeswani.com

About Reviewer: Mr. Khalid Hashmani is a Washington DC-based veteran human rights activist. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and Chief coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of rural Sindhi.

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