Is it fair or even right to rank startups? The ongoing Tata NEN Hottest Startup Awards 2008 contest certainly seems to think so. Worse, the five winners will be picked via a public voting system that will be combined with an expert panel review. I don’t even know how that can work in a practical sense. NEN expects 800-1000 nominations, which also come from the public, out of which 30 will be shortlisted via public voting. Another round of public voting will decide the five winners. So what we have essentially, is the reality television format and all its associated perversions being applied to entrepreneurship. Sad.
Make no mistake. I’m all for startup contests. But the primary objective has to be to ensure that the winners as well as non-winning participants get real value from the exercise.