Indus Valley Strategies for Micropreneurs

Weekly #099 | The Wisdom, Vision & Precision of Mohenjo-Daro

Table of Contents

Mohenjo-Daro re-imagined with ChatGPT4


Anybody a fan of Sid Meier’s Civilizations VI game? If you are, then the name of today’s Micro Empire feature may appear familiar to you. George and I have spent countless hours leading ancient civilizations in Civ 6, gaining deeper insights into the complex societies that shaped our world.

Mohenjo-Daro is the Sindhi (an Indo-Aryan language native to the Sindh province of Pakistan) phrase for “Mound of the Dead”, only discovered as an archaeological site in the province of Sindh, Pakistan back in the 1920s. It was a city-state of the Indus Valley CiviliCivilizationsation, a Bronze Age Civilization that thrived between 3300 BCE and 1300 BCE, mainly in the north-western regions of South Asia, extending roughly from today’s north-east Afghanistan through to Pakistan and north-west India. The Indus Valley Civilization was one of the three early cradles of civilizations of the Old World, along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, famous for its advanced and thriving culture.

Around 2500 BCE in what is now modern Pakistan, Mohenjo-Daro (despite its age) featured incredibly advanced urban planning and infrastructure. Imagine a city so well-planned, with houses, markets, and public baths, all connected by meticulous street grids.

Today, Mohenjo-Daro is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1980) in celebration of its importance to world heritage through the timeless lessons it offers on urban sophistication and economic strategy making it a perfect study for micropreneurs.

3 Strategic Traits of Mohenjo-Daro

1 — Geographical Territory

Mohenjo-Daro spanned a geographical territory that can be considered a micro-empire due to its sophisticated urban planning and extensive control over resources and trade within a compact area.

Excavation of the Mohenjo-Daro site around 1922 revealed the remains of what was once the largest city of the Indus Valley civilization. The city’s size measure approximately 3 miles (5km) in circuit and was suspected

The layout of Mohenjo-Daro itself was highly organized, with residential and commercial zones, public baths and advanced water management systems, indicating a complex socio-economic structure within a defined urban boundary.

2 — Population & Economic Scale

With a population of approximately 35000 to 40000 at its peak, Mohenjo-Daro was one of the largest cities of the ancient Indus Valley civilization. It was a bustling hub of diverse skills, crafts and trade practices. The city’s large population allowed for specialization in professions such as metallurgy, pottery and garment making, which was critical to building their wealth.

These specializations turned Mohenjo-Daro into a powerhouse. Situated on the fertile plains along the Indus River, so it was perfectly placed for agriculture, while its urban planning supported a bustling market economy. The city’s trade networks extended right across the region contributing to its growth as a centre for commerce and craftsmanship. Their economic scale was aided by advanced technologies in irrigation and metallurgy, boosting agricultural output and craft quality.

3 — Influence & Autonomy

Renowned for its sophisticated urban planning and architectural innovations, Mohenjo-Daro quickly rose to prominence within the Indus Valley civilization. The city’s autonomy was reflected in its innate ability to maintain a distinct urban culture and governance, which was supported by both its economic strength and their strategic trade practices.

It’s influence stretched far, impacting surrounding regions through trade and cultural exchange. As a centre for craftsmanship, they catered to local needs but also to the demands they received from far away lands as far as Mesopotamia.

Micro-Empire Lessons from Mohenjo-Daro

  • Choose the right online platform for strategic positioning

  • Invest in efficient systems and technology to streamline operations

  • Build a strong community around your business

If I’ve learnt anything from these micro-dives into these ancient civilizations its this - niches are important. Mohenjo-Daro’s strategic positioning along the Indus River was a significant contributor to its development as a trade hub, meaning location, location, location is important in terms of planning for any micropreneur. That can mean choosing the right digital platform or physical location (where can you set up shop) can also significantly impact your business’s accessibility and visibility.

We also learned that Mohenjo-Daro’s advanced urban planning and innovative infrastructure was another defining factor in their success. This teaches us the value of forward-thinking and innovation in business operations. For micropreneurs, this means investing in efficient systems and technology that can streamline operations and enhance your productivity.

Perhaps most importantly, the social organization of Mohenjo-Daro suggests a strong community with shared values and collective goals. For today’s micropreneurs, building a strong community around your business can foster loyalty, enhance customer engagement and create a supportive network that drives sustainable growth.


As we draw lessons from the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro, micropreneurs can gain some of the most valuable perspectives on how strategic positioning, operational efficiency and specialization are not just modern business concepts but timeless principles that have underpinned successful enterprises throughout history.

Emulating Mohenjo-Daro’s example of wisdom, vision and precision in these areas could be crucial for building a sustainable and thriving business. Their legacy teaches us that strategic foresight, specialized skills and community engagement are not merely modern business tactics but are principles rooted in some of the earliest urban enterprises. There’s no doubt (to me at least) that these strategies could be crucial in building a sustainable and prosperous business.

So let’s all draw inspiration from Mohenjo-Daro and lay our own solid foundations for our Micro Empires. By focusing on the strategies outlined above, we can create thriving businesses that will stand the test of time.

Which Micro Empire would you like to hear about next?

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