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Old 1st June 2015, 00:04   #16
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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Wasn't liberalization supposed to fix all of this ? And lots of state governments are trying to set up single desk windows where one department takes care of the so called red tape. Do you think this will help or it's all policy vanity.
I have never experienced this single window business although I hear about it. Government is more like an octopus, we have to deal with numerous tentacles [departments] separately. There are departments whose purpose I am yet to understand. Mine is a non-STP unit operating in its own premises, in a rural setting. Yet we have to register with STPI as a non-STP unit and pay them a sizeable sum every year for the sheer privilege of exporting. What gives? Ok, everytime we receive payment from foreign client, we need to request the bank for FIRC (Foreign Inward Remittance certificate). Using that FIRC, we need to submit SoftEx (software export) forms to STPI for certification. Once certified, these SoftEx forms must be filed with RBI, to prove why we got funds from abroad. We have to jump these hoops every time we receive funds, not just once a year or when we start the company. Meanwhile, when a US company receives foreign remittance, they have to do nothing. It will be treated like local remittance.

Check this: http://communities.nasscom.in/post/r...ware-exporters

What is the purpose of this STPI or RBI keeping such a close watch at the exports? Beats me! And this is exports, this is actually good for the country. Now imagine the dance expected from the businesses for imports, the so called bad thing.

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I remember reading in some interview, Azim Premji was asked about Wipro's success and he said it's because they have absolutely 0 involvement with the Indian government during Wipro's operations. That says much.
Wish that was possible. Few years back a visitor at my company asked me what sops I get from the government for running a rural IT company. My answer was "NONE", but I did wish for one, it is called "Leave us alone". I wish for zero involvement, but they won't leave us alone.

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Old 1st June 2015, 11:05   #17
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Smile Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

I strongly suspect the military-industrial complex in the US & Israel is behind Tesla's 'success' - for some reason they want a dependable electric vehicle and Elon Musk was at the right place at the right time. I wanted to post this yesterday from my tab, but was not too keen on typing it up with the onscreen KBD. This morning, guess what?

Elon Musk's growing empire is fueled by $4.9 billion in government subsidies

This is also the story behind Facebook and others. On the other hand, our government in collusion with this military-industrial complex will ensure failure of any such ideas and entrepreneurs. Welcome to the post-industrial world!
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Old 1st June 2015, 11:34   #18
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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but our system doesn't allow it.

Outdated Customs policy

Statues & Regulations to protect the old guard

Business/Taxation Laws from hell

And I have not even touched upon the corruption and harassment from other government departments or the employability of engineers from our colleges. We have the perfect recipe for stopping any Elon Musk from being produced. Instead, our system is engineered such that only wheelers and dealers who know how to grease the government wheels would see any success. Meanwhile innovators and researchers are either filling customs forms or moving to countries where they can operate freely.
You have nailed it perfectly. I have a few friends who began with their startups either in IT or Analytics domain. And they have the exact same "qualms" mentioned by you.

You have spoken more in terms of technology domain (and that's what the thread is inclining towards), however, there is another aspect which is perhaps not as relevant in technology startup (though I feel it is) but it is terribly important in other domains: enforcement of rights and contracts.
Trying doing a brick and mortar business and see how often one is faced with situations where you can't do anything about someone breaching these.
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Old 1st June 2015, 11:43   #19
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

Happened upon a very interesting perspective on "Being Elon Musk" the other day. In the words of, fittingly, his ex-wife, replying to a Quora question: "How can I be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Richard Branson?"
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Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things. Extreme success is different from what I suppose you could just consider 'success', so know that you don't have to be Richard or Elon to be affluent and accomplished and maintain a great lifestyle. Your odds of happiness are better that way. But if you're extreme, you must be what you are, which means that happiness is more or less beside the point. These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way. They developed strategies to survive, and as they grow older they find ways to apply these strategies to other things, and create for themselves a distinct and powerful advantage. They don't think the way other people think. They see things from angles that unlock new ideas and insights. Other people consider them to be somewhat insane.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

If you're not obsessed, then stop what you're doing and find whatever does obsess you. It helps to have an ego, but you must be in service to something bigger if you are to inspire the people you need to help you (and make no mistake, you will need them). That 'something bigger' prevents you from going off into the ether when people flock round you and tell you how fabulous you are when you aren't and how great your stuff is when it isn't. Don't pursue something because you "want to be great". Pursue something because it fascinates you, because the pursuit itself engages and compels you. Extreme people combine brilliance and talent with an *insane* work ethic, so if the work itself doesn't drive you, you will burn out or fall by the wayside or your extreme competitors will crush you and make you cry.

Follow your obsessions until a problem starts to emerge, a big meaty challenging problem that impacts as many people as possible, that you feel hellbent to solve or die trying. It might take years to find that problem, because you have to explore different bodies of knowledge, collect the dots and then connect and complete them.

It helps to have superhuman energy and stamina. If you are not blessed with godlike genetics, then make it a point to get into the best shape possible. There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that. Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp. It pays off.

Learn to handle a level of stress that would break most people.

Don't follow a pre-existing path, and don't look to imitate your role models. There is no "next step". Extreme success is not like other kinds of success; what has worked for someone else, probably won't work for you. They are individuals with bold points of view who exploit their very particular set of unique and particular strengths. They are unconventional, and one reason they become the entrepreneurs they become is because they can't or don't or won't fit into the structures and routines of corporate life. They are dyslexic, they are autistic, they have ADD, they are square pegs in round holes, they piss people off, get into arguments, rock the boat, laugh in the face of paperwork. But they transform weaknesses in ways that create added advantage -- the strategies I mentioned earlier -- and seek partnerships with people who excel in the areas where they have no talent whatsoever.

They do not fear failure -- or they do, but they move ahead anyway. They will experience heroic, spectacular, humiliating, very public failure but find a way to reframe until it isn't failure at all. When they fail in ways that other people won't, they learn things that other people don't and never will. They have incredible grit and resilience.

They are unlikely to be reading stuff like this. (This is *not* to slam or criticize people who do; I love to read this stuff myself.) They are more likely to go straight to a book: perhaps a biography of Alexander the Great or Catherine the Great* or someone else they consider Great. Surfing the 'Net is a deadly timesuck, and given what they know their time is worth -- even back in the day when technically it was not worth that -- they can't afford it.

I could go on, it's a fascinating subject, but you get the idea. I wish you luck and strength and perhaps a stiff drink should you need it.


* One person in the comments section appears not to know who Catherine the Great is, suggesting that this is "an utter lie" of mine + "feminist stupidity". But Catherine's ability to rise, and strategize around discrimination, holds interesting lessons for anyone.
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Old 1st June 2015, 11:44   #20
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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You have nailed it perfectly. I have a few friends who began with their startups either in IT or Analytics domain. And they have the exact same "qualms" mentioned by you.
Thanks, anybody who runs a startup would be painfully aware of these facts.

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but it is terribly important in other domains: enforcement of rights and contracts.
Trying doing a brick and mortar business and see how often one is faced with situations where you can't do anything about someone breaching these.
I am somewhat aware of it based on my F-I-L's experience, but I can't speak with confidence. I rather have somebody with extensive first hand experience talk about it.
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Old 1st June 2015, 11:50   #21
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

India has primarily evolved to be a "dalal" economy. Middlemen are enriched, and powerful. Everything is through middlemen. This is the attitude everywhere due to decades of conditioning. Until this changes, we won't see something like a Tesla coming out of here.
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Old 1st June 2015, 12:28   #22
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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Trying doing a brick and mortar business and see how often one is faced with situations where you can't do anything about someone breaching these.

Oh god don't even get me started. How many multinationals and local companies have gotten into scandals and thick BS over greenfield projects (building a new huge production site from a literally green field).

Tesla announced a battery factory and they already have huge progress on the factory.

Now take into account all the complaints from MNCs like ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel who once had a project sit for 8 years on an Indian bureaucrats desk thanks to red tape.

And at every stage you will have someone that will want a little something under their office table or some secret location I suppose.

I suppose there will never be an Indian Elon Musk in the brick and mortar sense for this reason only. Someone with an IQ of 200 with similar aspirations and all the money in the world can drop down from heaven tomorrow with the goal to build a Tesla or a SpaceX here, but I can imagine him being stopped for this one simple reason.

Just take into account what kind of headaches these infra companies go through when developing a simple powerplant. I know land acquisition is the stuff nightmares are made of for relevant industry executives.
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Old 1st June 2015, 12:53   #23
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?
I don't have the answer. But some the posts indicate red-tape as the primary cause. There are many non-US, investor-friendly countries in the world, which provide every bit of help get new business started. But they have not produced Elon Musk. I feel there are reasons beyond the parameter of difficulty of doing business.

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Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Chetan Maini from Reva calls himself the Elon Musk of India.
Other notable Indians:
1) Richard Branson - Vijay Mallya
2) Sam Walton - Kishore Biyani
3) Jeff Bezos - Bansals

Last edited by msdivy : 1st June 2015 at 13:19.
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Old 1st June 2015, 13:55   #24
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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India has primarily evolved to be a "dalal" economy. Middlemen are enriched, and powerful. Everything is through middlemen. This is the attitude everywhere due to decades of conditioning. Until this changes, we won't see something like a Tesla coming out of here.
You have hit the nail on the head with that, one of my friend who is looking to start something of her own, she had to go through so many middlemen its insane. They have a conglomerate on how each one of them is intent of making as much money as possible.
I dream someday, India will have policies that govern how these middlemen can be negated and layers upon layers of fat and unnecessary paperwork undone. However that wont bear any fruit as long as there are people who want to earn a lot of money for doing nothing and ensure their kin scavenges through.

Great topic to read first up on a Monday. T-BHP is definitely on the forefront to maximize knowledge be it Automotive or otherwise.
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Old 1st June 2015, 15:46   #25
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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Fortunately, we are not lacking in entrepreneurs. Just don't expect to see them in the same numbers as salaried people.
Not really. Over 50% of India is self-employed (it's less than 10% in the USA). Even if you look at small businesses, we have about 40 million (USA has about 20 million).

India has more entrepreneurs than the USA.

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Some of you might not have appreciated why I focused so much on statues & regulations. It is really a big deal.
Doing business anywhere in the world is challenging. If India has its hurdles, so does the USA. Google up regulations & small business in the USA and see how many business owners out there are whining...or worse yet, shutting down due to regulation. It's a matter of hot debate in the USA.

You can bypass rules in India due to a number of reasons. Try doing that in the States. Everything is by the rule book there.

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Happened upon a very interesting perspective on "Being Elon Musk" the other day. In the words of, fittingly, his ex-wife, replying to a Quora question: "How can I be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Richard Branson?"
A terrific reply! Very inspiring!

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Oh, this is very easy answer. As an entrepreneur operating in India over a decade, I think I am qualified to answer this.

We may have quite a few who have the potential to become like Elon Musk, but our system doesn't allow it.
Well, there are countries that don't have any of the 3 problems you listed, but still haven't produced 'Elon Musks'. According to the world bank (link), it's easiest to do business in Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Korea & Norway. How many Steve Jobs or Elon Musks do we know from these countries?

The real reason is $$$. Americans have unbelievable purchasing power and are big consumers. In what is a related point, investment is also easier in the USA than in most other countries. But really, it's the size of the economy + consumer mindset more than anything else. Forget American companies like GM, Ford & Chrysler, at one time, Honda made over half of its worldwide profits from USA. Toyota makes more money in the USA than the entire of Europe + Asia (except Japan, but including China) combined.

There's a reason why nearly all the big names we know today (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Nike, Marlboro are from the USA.

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Originally Posted by msdivy View Post
There are many non-US, investor-friendly countries in the world, which provide every bit of help get new business started. But they have not produced Elon Musk. I feel there are reasons beyond the parameter of difficulty of doing business.

Last edited by GTO : 1st June 2015 at 15:52.
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Old 1st June 2015, 17:05   #26
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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The way i see it, this is the formula:

Elon Musk = Money + Brilliance + Execution + Publicity
Money, indeed, does make a hell of a lot of difference. And, it gives you a lot of freedom (and save the time in chasing investors, bankers et al for funding)


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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Any entrepreneur is continuously looking for opportunities and concocting business plans in his/her mind all the time. It is the nature of such a person.
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Ok, everytime we receive payment from foreign client, we need to request the bank for FIRC. Using that FIRC, we need to submit SoftEx (software export) forms to STPI for certification. Once certified, these SoftEx forms must be filed with RBI, to prove why we got funds from abroad. We have to jump these hoops every time we receive funds, not just once a year or when we start the company.

Few years back a visitor at my company asked me what sops I get from the government for running a rural IT company. My answer was "NONE", but I did wish for one, it is called "Leave us alone". I wish for zero involvement, but they won't leave us alone.
I can understand what you are going through (even though I am on the other side of the fence).

And as you had mentioned, which I fully agree with, is that the whole focus of business is now on profit. There is nothing wrong in aiming to be rich, and getting rewards for hard work - but fostering ideas, purely for the sake of bringing out something good, appears to be rare nowadays (each and every listed company has to come out with their quarterly financials - God knows how that helps the investor or the promotor ....)

Rules are made to deter and not foster entrepreneurs in our country

To me Elon Musk is a phenomenon (and a rare one at that). Not just because of Tesla, but also because of Pay Pal (electronic money never featured even in the fiction I used to read); such individuals develop only because the whole ecosystem supports and nurtures innovation - we have a long way to go before we get there.


Samurai, you had mentioned 60s and 70s - of course, some unimaginable thigs have happened since then, but here's something from the 80's - computers were discussed vaguely in the text books I studied. And, there was this concept of mouse, e-mail (this was pre windows days) which was being discussed by a entrepreneur - unimaginable. Of course, he had come back from the US, so it was very much likely that such things were being conceived .... so I have kept myself a souvenir (the real thing, not the photos) to let me reminiscence in my old age :-) PS - I am told that there is a connection with this and Elon Musk....
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Old 1st June 2015, 17:12   #27
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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Not really. Over 50% of India is self-employed (it's less than 10% in the USA). Even if you look at small businesses, we have about 40 million (USA has about 20 million).

India has more entrepreneurs than the USA.
There is no disagreement here. We are saying the same thing.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Doing business anywhere in the world is challenging. If India has its hurdles, so does the USA. Google up regulations & small business in the USA and see how many business owners out there are whining...or worse yet, shutting down due to regulation. It's a matter of hot debate in the USA.

You can bypass rules in India due to a number of reasons. Try doing that in the States. Everything is by the rule book there.
And this is where we differ. USA has lots of regulations too, but they are not meaningless like the Indian ones. I am going by the first hand experience of running similar startup in US and India. US government regulations don't obstruct day-to-day operations, unlike in India. I spent 6 years in a US startup, before moving back to India. That company is the parent of my current company. The US company doesn't face any of the silly obstructions by government that we face here.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Well, there are countries that don't have any of the 3 problems you listed, but still haven't produced 'Elon Musks'. According to the world bank (link), it's easiest to do business in Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Korea & Norway. How many Steve Jobs or Elon Musks do we know from these countries?
They don't have the head count, statistically speaking.
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Old 1st June 2015, 17:15   #28
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

1. In India the rules and legislations in place before somebody starts a small business or does R&D are everywhere. This makes the cost or risk of analysing the probable risks a challenge and force's the entrepreneurs to seek out middlemen

2. The inherent difficulty to get funding or loans from financial institutions for small and medium enterprises, know a friend of mine running around to get funding for a small startup, the delay pushing them into pressure situations, where another friend of mine who works in a MNC Bank also concurred that it's difficult to find banks or FI's funding small startups

3. I'm also finding quite a few IT guys quitting their jobs and starting business around the IT hubs, maybe things will get better soon and the next generation growing up, watching their trials and success, take bolder steps in business.

But things are changing for the better, let's hope that the best is yet to come, for India.
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Old 1st June 2015, 19:16   #29
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Oh, this is very easy answer. As an entrepreneur operating in India over a decade, I think I am qualified to answer this.

We may have quite a few who have the potential to become like Elon Musk, but our system doesn't allow it.

Outdated Customs policy


Statues & Regulations to protect the old guard


Business/Taxation Laws from hell

Samurai, bang on!

As an R&D Engineer working for a US Oil and Gas Tech Giant, I have seen first hand the kind of bureaucracy, harassment and pointless fiddling by the government in our R&D centre's day to day affairs.

Any piece of equipment imported from the US/anywhere brings with a perennial wait for all the required department's officials to come and "inspect" the equipment. By the time, we actually get to use the equipment, one or two hardware/ software updates would already be out for the same. The visits by these so called regulatory authorities have nothing to do with the actual inspection of the equipment, the just want to see the invoice value and make the most percentage for their respective departments.

But, I have to come to understand that these are necessary in a developing country like ours where we still have strong legislations against import of high pressure accumulators (a sort of prerequisite for our work). These can only be done by government owned institutions. The guys in power need to understand that healthy competition is always welcome in any environment, it will only make things take a turn for the better. Until the I guess, we will have to bear these regulations just like we have been bearing corruption.

Another point that I think would be worthy of mention is the kind of drive that Elon Musk or his kind have when pursuing something. That kind of drive would simply not be possible in a setting like ours where parents/ family need to kept in the loop for every decision that you take.

As a person who has watched and read quite a lot of Elon, I can say this. He does not know when to quit. There was a point in his life after the sell out of PayPal, where all his ventures were in some kind of trouble or the other, his SpaceX program had still not built a working prototype, his Tesla venture was still in R&D, the roadster was yet to come at that point I believe. And finally, his Solar City enterprise was in debt. At that point, most would have quit and filed for bankruptcy, but not Elon. He put the remainder of his fortune from PayPal (some 40 million) into Tesla and said that he would not give up on this company no matter what. Not to mention the future battles he had to fight with the designer of the Fisker Karma (who used to work for Tesla then). After this investment, the US govt. announced investment into Tesla, his SpaceX program got a working prototype and his Solar City was back in business. I always believe that with such people, luck always plays a very important role.

Note from Support: Extra Smiley removed, Please refer Team-BHP Rules. Added spaces for make the post readable. Kindly proof read your posts before submitting. Thanks

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Old 1st June 2015, 21:59   #30
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Default Re: Why doesn't India have an Elon Musk?

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Outdated Customs policy

Statues & Regulations to protect the old guard

Business/Taxation Laws from hell
You have hit the nail on this. We definitely need an overhaul of regulations. I am certain that most people won't mind the regulations, its just that the speed of those is what is hampering!

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Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Superb answers in this thread already!

Let's first break down what you mean by "Elon Musk" in this current context.

The way i see it, this is the formula:

Elon Musk = Money + Brilliance + Execution + Publicity
In today's age with just seconds of attention spans of majority of the people, having good publicity is a must. You will need it more than the money and execution, since because of the publicity you will get funds and speed up the execution.

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Originally Posted by D33-PAC View Post
Why doesn't India have an Elon musk ?
While it is a very good question, unfortunately we will never have another person like him IMO. Paypal ,Tesla ,SpaceX ,SolarCity were all built up from scratch. Even when he made tons selling paypal, he could have retired, but no, he put his attention to some other idea. Even to the extent of pouring almost all of his money in Tesla when it was struggling. Today he might get subsidies from the govt, but he was struggling at times yet he never gave up. Maybe we can hope to find a person at-least half of him.

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I have never experienced this single window business although I hear about it. Government is more like an octopus, we have to deal with numerous tentacles [departments] separately.
This is the saddest thing ! Unfortunately this has now become the norm. We are made to run from pillar to pillar, this office to that office, forms not in order, etc and the list just goes on. Forget starting a company, just getting a name change in electricity bill is a daunting task (personal experience-took us more than a couple of years) !
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Few years back a visitor at my company asked me what sops I get from the government for running a rural IT company. My answer was "NONE", but I did wish for one, it is called "Leave us alone". I wish for zero involvement, but they won't leave us alone.
It feels like at times the government is trolling us. They themselves have no clarity at times. My dad had to import a piece of metal that is used as a guage (kind of like a 3-D scale to align to machines) - it is the highly engineered piece imported from Germany at a quite high cost. The customs refused to clear it saying a piece of metal can't cost that much! Finally dad had to fudge the invoice removing 2 zeros from the end. Funny thing is that dad's company was wiling to pay the customs duty on the high price.
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