Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Year End Review

I recently returned from visits to the US and Italy and realized during my visit that it's been one year since my return to India and the start of my entrepreneurial journey. I figured it would be fun to create a year end review of the decision pyramid that led me to take the decision in the first place. Were they factors a plus or a negative.

As a recap I had blogged about the various factors that one might think about when contemplating a return -- A decision pyramid as I called it.

Standard of Living and Children (neutral)
I would say that success in India really depends on your ability to manage people. Be it for the comfort of your home and day-day living or be it in your professional work place. India is a land of people and that can be it's greatest assets and it's strengths. One the count of standard of living I would things are neutral. When it comes to day to day living for the large part we lucked out due to living close to my in-laws and them being well established. It was easy to find an office space which reduces commute, we don't have to worry about cooking and cleaning as we have had help with finding good domestic help. We can share resources like drivers, cars, etc. Traffic and Infrastructure though is still a big pain.

Most importantly though the influence grandparents have had on our daughter tops the list. The love and attention she gets would not compare to what she would have had in the US. Thanks to grandparents she speaks her native language (Kannada) , she's very social and generally very happy spending a day with grandparents. Needles to say - so are we (Mansa and I) when we like to get some kid-free time by ourselves..

That being said  the biggest draw back is the lack of professional help when you need. Finding professional nanny's in the US would guarantee prob a min standard. We've been on the look out for one here in India and finding it really hard to find someone we could trust our kids with. I've heard of others who have had better luck than us, so we could be an exception.

Profession and Income (positive)
Here again I would have to refer to my earlier post of  The Economics behind my decision. Based on my interactions with professionals and entrepreneurs alike here in India, the conclusion I have to draw is that the economics of entrepreneurship outweighs that of professionals here in India. Had I landed a successful job here in India I would probably be getting around Rs 4.5 million /yr. Deduct taxes, living expenses, etc. One would be left with around Rs 1.5 to 2 million /year. In equivalent terms I was saving a net of about 3-4 million/year in the US. Now the question is whether my entrepreneurial income would yield better returns. The math here is a bit complex as a lot of my incomes are being reinvested in my company (which otherwise would have gone into the stock market), but to boil it down the simple answer is a yes. I believe in a year the returns I've made with my company is coming close to my professional income in the US. I've been aggressively reinvesting that back in the company however which I personally believe is a far better investment than any other sector (like the stock market).

Social Life and Fun (negative)

This one's a bit of a surprise for us. We expected that on our return back with all our family and friends our social life would be rocking. I think this was a negative on two counts. All of my good friends of 5-11 years were in the US. Fun activities were easier to come by in the US than in India. As an example - on a stressed out day I could take a walk down Lake Washington in Kirkland or walk down to my favorite coffee shop. Doesn't sound like the most exciting activity - but when you needed it it was an option and sometimes could be the highlight of my day. Having been away for a while we've lost touch with some of our friends and with the ones we are in touch, they're not a short drive away.  However the positive is that many of our friends and family from the US visit Bangalore often so we get to see them and spend time with them here as well.
This part of the pyramid takes a while to establish. Since our move back, we've met some great people we've done our bit of culinary research and have hit upon a few local favorites, etc. So given a little more time we hope to turn this around :)

Societal Impact (N/A)

Nothing to score ourselves on here. Although presented with a number of opportunities, we've not had a chance yet to make any kind of impact other than some modest donation to charity (which we used to do  during the Microsoft charity drive).

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