Top 10 Things I’ll Miss about India – 8. Dessert, 7. Animals

Doing two again since I was out and traveling yesterday. Without further ado…


So I really am not a dessert guy and more often than not find it to be a waste of money. I would much rather save the $5 that could be used on a dessert for a future $5 footlong at Subway.

But that was before India. Then it happened. Or more specifcally, The Chocolate Room happened. This place was our staple and we’d go there as our nightcap probably about every other night, consuming items like the “Chocolate Avalanche,” pictured here.

Then by a stroke of horrible luck, the Chocolate Room near campus closed down and got replaced with a subpar coffeeshop. Any ordinary person may have thrown in the towel and given up — but we are not just ordinary people! We took the change in stride, broadening our scope to ice cream, kulfi (indian ice cream), jalebi, gulab jamun, ladoo….you name it. Before I knew it I, Joony “dessert is a waste of time” Moon, found myself suggesting dessert after meals.

While I’ll probably go back to my old ways when I get back home, I will now have a soft spot for Indian treats and desserts. So heads up kulfi places in the U.S., I will find you!


One of the most striking things for me when I first arrived in India was the number of animals that share the city with people. Stray dogs and cows make any road an obstacle course and help add to the distinct scent that makes Ahmedabad Ahmedabad.

Although I’m still wary of dogs on the street since they could still bite me, I’ve grown fond of the cows that essentially own these streets. There’s something about large lumbering mammals that make them so intriguing to watch and to poke (still working my courage up to do this). They get up, walk around, eat random stuff, walk home, sleep. Awesome life. You can honk all you want, but if a cow walks at you, you better dodge. 

I’ve also grown attached to the dog that used to live at CIIE. He was a weird dog, but he loved us. He now lives on the other side of campus, owning his corner of the school like a boss, but he still comes by to give us love once in a while. Here is Mohsin rubbing the dog’s belly with his foot / using the dog as a shoe cleaner:

Sleepy cat napping under our chairs at a restaurant in old city:

Looking forward to hanging out with my brother’s new cat when I get back home, but these guys have been keeping me company in the meantime. Gonna miss these fools!

Focus on the Money and the Impact will Come

I’ve been meaning to get my thoughts down on this subject for a while and now that I have one month left at work and two months left in India, it seems like it’s now or never.

One of my biggest take aways from my experience in India and working at Unitus Seed Fund is the fallacy of the ‘social enterprise’. Through my work I’ve had the chance to look at a lot of ventures and I’ve been able to understand which of these ventures are winners and why.

The ventures that are really going to make it, that will scale, make money, and also impact the Base of the Economic Pyramid, are those that have found a legitimate market opportunity. Their founder wants and intends on making money. 

The problem today is that the concept of blending profit and purpose resonates with so many people that aspiring entrepreneurs are looking at social problems first and then trying to figure out how to make a for-profit business to solve said problem. I think this is inevitably going to build a crappy (read: unviable) business. If starting a for-profit venture is your objective, focus on the market opportunity (how you’re going to make money) first. If you want to start a business, figure out what your passionate about. What gets you excited. Be broad— education, technology, cleaning products.

For me, it’s food (literally everything about it). Are there a ton of social problems around food? Yes. Are there also a lot of market opportunities and ways to make money? Yes. I’m going to try to solve B before I solve for A. If you’re a person why gives a damn, I’m guessing the market opportunities you’re going to find, might just have some impact baked in. And those ventures are the most likely to actually make a profit and an impact. 

Ina Garten is practically a social entrepreneur. 

It’s like the old saying, “do what you love and the money will come”, except I’m changing it to “pursue your passion, look for market opportunities, and the impact will come”. Okay, that may not be written over an instagram’d picture anytime soon, but you catch my drift. 

If you are impact first, don’t for get about the good old nonprofits. That will be a blog post for another time, titled: “Why everyone be hatin’ on nonprofits?”

Ten Things I’ll Miss About India: #10 & #9

Ten Things I'll Miss About India: #10 & #9:


So it’s gotten down to my last 10 days of being in India and while I’m obviously excited to return home to friends, family, and the lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to, I’m feeling a little sad to leave after my time here. I think I’m going to do a countdown of sorts to commemorate what I’ll miss…

Ten Things I’ll Miss About India: #10 & #9

So it’s gotten down to my last 10 days of being in India and while I’m obviously excited to return home to friends, family, and the lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to, I’m feeling a little sad to leave after my time here. I think I’m going to do a countdown of sorts to commemorate what I’ll miss most about India, and since I’m traveling a little this weekend, I’l start with the first two today.


For those who aren’t familiar with auto rickshaws, they’re these small three-wheeled vehicles that are nearly as ubiquitous as cars and essentially serve as my transportation everywhere. Most places I go to range anywhere from 20-50 rupees ($0.30-$0.80) and the fee is divided amongst the three people that it typically can carry (though I think I’ve done up to 6 “illegally”).


Despite the near death experiences I have with traffic every other day, these guys get the job done. Luckily in Ahmedabad, they don’t try to cheat you as often and are pretty flexible with your requests, e.g. waiting for you run inside a cupcake shop and come out with your afternoon snack. 

You end up enjoying the wind in your face and a chance to explore the city outside of just the neighborhood of the office, and I’ve learned to enjoy these times. Yes, they’re dinky and dangerous by Western standards, but I’ll miss them.


The British colonized both the US and India, and the form of English that is used in the countries has diverged as a result. Although India keeps pace with American culture through movies and TV shows, there are definitely still some differences in the language that took some while getting used to. Now that I’m accustomed to them, I chuckle a little bit to myself every time I hear some of these differences highlighted.

Pronunciation: It’s well known that Americans created the harsh “A” sound that we use for words like “cat,” and that vowel has been picked up in only certain circumstances here. This one never ceases to make me stop laughing:

Me: Naaaasty….

Indian: You mean naaahhhhsty?

Same words, different usage:

Example 1 -
Me: Man that food was really good!
Indian: That food was yum!

Example 2 -
Me: I have a couple questions about your program.
Indian: I have some doubts about your program 

Example 3 -
Me: There were a bunch of old ladies at the gym today. Not a pretty sight.
Indian: There were a bunch of aunties at the gym today. It was yuck.

Pitching: Some Simple Advice

As we come up on our November 23rd Investor Demo Day  in Bangalore ( and all our Edupreneurs are working on their final pitches, I’ve also been thinking about effective messaging.  When you get down to it, pitching a business is all about effective communication.  In my career as a student, my time in the Silicon Valley Export Assistance Center, and now as a market scout, I’ve seen my fair share of pitches, presentations and demos.  A few tips to make sure your message gets across in a way that’s friendly to the listener. 

#1 Slides are for visuals, not text

As a presenter, you are supposed to give the listener the information they need- in words from your mouth.  Technology is for visuals: photos, graphs, charts, and timelines only.  For examples of great presentation style with proper use of visual aids, watch a TED talk.  They have it down to a science, plus you’ll learn something cool.

If you’re going to read your slides, what’s the point of presenting?  Any slide deck with all the presentation content on it is ONLY for the purpose of email correspondence (though I’d personally prefer an interesting 3 minute video to a slide deck- but that’s personal preference, not industry standard).  Please do not use the email slide deck for live presentations. 


This leads me to #2… Know your stuff and be confident

A simple concept, but many people overlook the importance of practice.  Practice the presentation and know the answers to FAQs about your product.  If you can rattle stats off the top of your head without looking at the slides, even better. 

#3 Brevity

The point of the pitch is to make investors curious enough to have a follow-up conversation.  Hit all the important parts of your business in a pitch and make sure you’ve put the time in to understand what’s critical and what’s not.  A great mind once said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” So true.  Put the time in. 

Presenting…Global Entrepreneurship Week!


In case you were wondering what work I actually do here, pay close attention! Over the past couple of months, I’ve been on a team here at CIIE working to set up the foundation and events for Global Entrepreneurship Week in India, serving as the event partnership coordinator. It’s involved calling and emailing any and everyone in India who runs events focused on entrepreneurship and getting them to join with us by holding their events under the banner of GEW. 

I’m excited to say that after the late nights and stressful times, GEW is just one day away! India is still relatively new to the game when talking about entrepreneurship and is miles behind the startup culture we have in Silicon Valley, but I’ve been encouraged with some of the response we’ve received so far. This country just has a LOT of people and there are bound to be countless entrepreneurs amongst them. Sometimes we leave out the small fruit vendor or the restaurant owner when we talk about entrepreneurship, but entrepreneurship is alive and well wherever you look. What lags behind in India is the culture and structure around these enterprising individuals that can help people express their ideas and push them to the next level.

GEW isn’t exactly what I came to India to do, but it’s opened my eyes to the role of ecosystem development and the sheer power of people sharing common goals. I had a chance during my last trip to Delhi to sit in on a meeting where grassroot leaders of the entrepreneurship community sat down together on the rooftop of a coworking space and discussed ways they could hold a series of events to train a new generation of leaders for their entrepreneur communities. While there may be some commercial benefit as well, ultimately these guys were giving up their free time because they believed in a goal and wanted to see what they could do as active members in their communities to make it come to life. Just a couple weeks later, their efforts attracted the attention of a large government-affiliated organization, who has offered full support of their events and is helping to grow it to new levels.

While GEW may not be a solution to the gap in the system, I’m excited to see what ends up coming out of it. Funding, useful connections, empowerment, corporate buy-in…these are all things that I can say that at the end of the day I was able to support and help actualize. If you want to find out more about GEW, I would encourage you to check out the GEW Global page or the GEW India page to see what we’ve been up to. Next time I’ll post about some of the awesome events that happened throughout the week!

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