CERRITOS, CA – The Indus Entrepreneurs Southern California’s signature annual conference themed ‘From Zero to Hero’ brought together entrepreneurs, corporate executives and business professionals for a good combination of substantive conversation and peer networking here, at the Sheraton hotel on Oct 31.
Striking a personal note, she said the essence of the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita was karma yoga and that had motivated her throughout her life to do good for the humanity, and to have a positive impact on those around us. She added that society as a whole was best off when we have people in politics, business, medicine, education and every single sector of the community working towards one common goal. While introducing Gabbard, Navneet Chugh, managing partner of The Chugh Firm and TiE SoCal co-founder lauded her career record of service to the nation and urged for more participation from the Indian-American community in politics. The keynote speaker for the event was Managing Director of Inventus Capital Partner, Kanwal Rekhi, who also cofounder TiE. Talking about his journey, Rekhi said he was laid off three times in the first two years of his career and that toughened him up as a person and made him realize that one cannot depend on a job for very long. He said working for others was like handing over one’s life and destiny in someone else’s hand. He also talked about his lonely journey as an entrepreneur as he had no mentors or advisers to talk to. Rekhi said as he grew things were not easier, as there was a time when the company board even asked him to step aside because of the fear that the company IPO might fail as Wall Street might not accept an Indian CEO.
The other keynote was given by CEO and founder of Nutanix, Dheeraj Pandey. In his talk, ‘Design thinking and innovation’, Pandey discussed a protocol designed for problem solving and discovering new opportunities. He said the most important aspect of running a show was understanding your employees and having empathy for them. The same holds true for customer satisfaction as well, he said. He added one commonality among all the popular brands was customer satisfaction. He said mantra for success was to define any product and innovation by analyzing with the basics of Why, How and What.
In the Q&A that followed, Pandey said the key difference between an entrepreneur and non-entrepreneur was the ability to absorb pressure. He said chaos was acceptable as it gives birth to order.
While answering a question Rekhi said his story started with failure, which proved to be a great teacher and recovering from failures provides valuable learning experiences. He also said another mantra of success was to invest in the people and not in the markets and technology. Conference Chair Smita G. Bagla introduced Rekhi and Pandey to the audience.
Harina Kapoor, President TiE Socal said entrepreneurship is the engine that drives the economy and it was the lonely entrepreneur dreaming an impossible dream that had made United States the envy of the world. She added TiE was the very heart of this entrepreneurship revolution as it helps countless zeros around the planet to become heroes we look up to. She said the essence of TiE was the ‘Guru Chela’ model, the mentor connect program, and anyone can sign up to get an assigned mentor. She thanked the members to re-elect her as president for 2016. Kapoor also facilitated Q&A session with Wing Lam, CEO and Co-founder of Wahoo Fish Tacos and Ryan Patel, Vice President, Global Development Pinkberry Ventures. Lam said whatever one is trying to sell or do, it should be funny or compelling. He said if you are able to take the business to personal level, then competitors won’t be able to make inroads in yours. Talking about marketing mantras, Lan said, lack of money makes people creative.
Patel gave solid advice on social media marketing. He said in order to get best results, pay your employees well and treat them well.
Speaker and author Liz Goodgold moderated the ‘Open Mic Pitch’ session where 13 new entrepreneurs looking for funding made a business pitch in 60 seconds to get noticed by the funders and were analyzed on the basis of most innovative, most scaleable and most likeable products. Other workshops held during the event were ‘Energizing Your Startup’, ‘Fund Your Business’ and ‘Ideation and Innovation.’ Nitin Chawla, Vice President-Strategy, business and development and innovation for Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media informed the participants on the next steps in the evolution of play-fun experience where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real. Panelists from the entertainment and media industry shared future trends, opportunities, challenges of the industry and also talked about work cycle and evolved integrated platforms for creative and technical collaborative workgroups around the globe in panel discussion titled ‘Global Entertainment Industry.’