Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Early Entrepreneur: The garage gangs!

It is sad that there are no garages these days.   We have apartments, and open parking lots.  Hence, like all things that change, the garages have disappeared.   So, in India, the legendary stories of start-ups from garage's are not too much - unlike the Silicon valley.  Well, may be, this blog may be incomplete without mentioning Infosys.  I can recall this as the only garage-to-glory startup story.
Infy:  India's most famous garage-to-glory startup

In the Silicon Valley itself, it may be reminisced that HP, Apple, Microsoft and many others, have emerged from the quintessential garage.   What is the garage belief?  Garage is a myth.  Garage is belief.  Garage is a launch pad.  A garage need not be a 'car garage' but a 10x10 room, a kitchen or a dorm.  But it reflects, more than anything else and the logistics of 'making use of what you have'.  This is another important aspect of entrepreneurship.
The Apple Garage, California

Garage also represents the 'first office' or something tangible to kick start your business on.  A place and a name. Also it represents the tools and the tinkerbox - especially reflecting the hardware or software workshop, if we may call that.  Home businesses, consultancies, online businesses all have started from the garage concept.   Even now, my laptop and my datacard, plus my handphone are the tools.   My garage, which opens on today, is in a business center - in Regus Thane.    Before that, cafe coffee day has been my garage for almost last 3 years.

I found this article in California Management review interesting - ( for further reading, please refer below).  One of the associates of the early HP story remarked  “I knew that if Packard’s car was in the garage, it meant they had no orders.'.  Garage, therefore also represents the startup's state of affairs.  It is sometimes a leverage point.   It is the difference between what we call a house and home.   One can either treat the garage as an inanimate work place, or a place where the spirit of entrepreneurship lies.

Another aspect of the garage are the set of early memories and the history itself.  History is literally trapped in that 10x10 sq ft space,    Just as Steve Jobs says, 'I met Woz when I was 13, at a friend's garage. He was about 18. He was, like, the first person I met who knew more electronics than I did at that point. We became good friends, because we shared an interest in computer and we had a sense of humor. We pulled all kinds of pranks together.'
The first Garage success story- Hewlett Packard

Another important aspects of the garage gangs is that they used the garage as the 'seat of innovation'. These places like Steve Wozniak or Steve Jobs tried to solve problems and got their 'flash bulbs' going.   As reflected in a 'Fortune Small Business' article in 2005, the garage “is a state of mind” and “a rejection of the status quo.  In short, they also reflect the romance of a 'rags to riches' story.

Now, our incubation centers, which we are proposing for the early entrepreneurs, will entrap and imbibe this 'garage spirit'.  Our idea is to foster this spirit, and build them big. That is the another essence on this initiative.  For dialogues or contributions, please email to

- Ashok Speaks

  1. CMR  on 'garage myth'.


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