One year down, many more to come

“I loved the to-do lists in the e-commerce edition,” emails one early-stage entrepreneur. “Reading the Starting Up section is exciting,” says another. Since launching The Smart CEO in October 2009, we have received several such e-mails, phone calls and text messages. Frankly, there is nothing more heartening than a reader acknowledging that a story was useful or inspiring. We have also heard numerous suggestions that we try to act upon and we yearn to outperform in every issue.

One year back, we set out with an idea to present a perspective, as real as possible, about the world of entrepreneurship. And the last twelve months have been spectacular while helping us achieve our objective. We have interviewed over 120 entrepreneurs and chief-executives from across sectors including information technology, e-commerce, microfinance, education, infrastructure, energy, cleantech, advertising, food, agriculture and automobile. We have picked the brains of marketing and branding experts, legal and human resource professionals, financial stalwarts – all with a passion to bring to our reader the latest in business and management thinking. We do understand that strategies and to-do lists can only help so much. Execution is still very tough and we salute those entrepreneurs who bring about useful and relevant change, solving some of India’s toughest problems through their game-changing businesses and ideas.

In this anniversary special, we opted to do a cover story on Indovations – India-centric innovations. As widely accepted, entrepreneurs are critical for a growing economy. In an economy like India’s, businesses play a central role in the upliftment of society. As part of our cover, which focuses on companies that innovated from an Indian context, we interviewed business leaders from Google India, Aravind Eye Care System and The Honey Bee Network. We also gathered information from some companies we interviewed in the past – companies like BSA Motors and ITC’s eChoupal. Based on our conversations with these business leaders, we put together a step-by-step guideline, so to speak, for entrepreneurs trying to build on innovative business models.

Several of our readers are early-stage entrepreneurs who run businesses that are less than five years old. We have heard from these entrepreneurs that there is always something they learn from the stories of their peers. Our section on Starting Up, which takes our readers through the world of early-stage businesses, aims to do just that. For this anniversary edition, we went back to 10 startups and growth enterprises we featured in the past and wrote about the progress they have made since we featured them in the magazine. Each of these companies innovated on product strategy, business model or implementation processes and there is much heart to be taken from their success.

We end this edition with an analysis of the movie ‘Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps’, a sequel to Wall Street I – the movie in which the world famous business fictional character Gordon Gekko was created. Gekko’s popular line “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good” is now famous in financial markets across the world. As guest writer Varun Prasad explains in the article, Gekko’s character portrayed both the positives and negatives of Wall Street professionals. As the world economy comes back on track, let us hope entrepreneurs and businessmen become less ‘greedy’, for lack of a better word, but, remain as ambitious as ever.

And finally, we look forward to November more than ever. While Diwali is one event to look forward to, for us, this time of the year marks the start of getting that much closer to our readers. Come November and we shall be a click away, on the Internet.

So, here is hoping you enjoy reading us as much in print as on the web. Till November!